Every year for the past 19, Meredith Porte, ivoh Trustee and an independent media producer/host, has gathered Miami-area media practitioners to consider media’s impact on society and advance a more meaningful approach to engaging with the public.
This year, the gathering exceeded expectations, with nearly 100 filmmakers, artists, musicians and writers convening on May 23, 2018 at Miami’s Betsy Hotel—long committed to presenting immersive experiences in arts and culture—to discuss how artists can bring hope and healing to their community. Former World Editor of the Miami Herald and fellow ivoh Trustee, John Yearwood, hosted the gathering that explored the theme, “Arts to Inspire, Energize and Transform Our Communities.”
Meredith recounted that “it was a magical evening,” responses to the conclave were extraordinarily positive, and within the context of the divisive media climate, people understand ivoh is more important than ever. John also agreed it was the best South Florida ivoh event yet. Meredith explained that this year in particular the gathering gave attendees feelings of hope, purpose and empowerment that fuel their motivation to overcome competing feelings of cynicism. She also noted that practitioners often feel isolated in their efforts to create change and the convening provides connections, peer support, and inspiration for innovative ideas.
Among the change-agent speakers who spoke passionately about their quests to marry media and meaning were:
–Veteran investigative journalist and ivoh Trustee, Roberta Baskin, who shared how ivoh’s reflective approach has impacted her dogged investigations,
–Miami Herald Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Carl Juste, who recently received a Knight Foundation grant for a book and exhibition on the connection between Haitian and Cuban cultures, who was mesmerizing in explaining how his camera allows him to amplify his voice and that of others and the importance of creating change now,
–Choreographer and dancer, Pioneer Winter, who talked about the importance of incorporating marginalized people, such as individuals who are LGBTQ and disabled, into his dance company,
–Menena Cottin, celebrated author and illustrator of children’s and adult books, including one teaching kids about blind children’s experiences, who conveyed how to find the extraordinary in the ordinary and,
–Co-founder of the premiere Borscht Film Festival, Lucas Leyva, who relayed how he has supported young Miami filmmakers in telling stories about their city and connecting them to opportunities, including linking the Director and writer of Moonlight at Borscht.
Veronica McHugh, coordinator at Miami’s Brahma Kumaris Center, conducted a guided meditation so attendees could reflect on how their work could bring peace and harmony to their communities.
Miami was the first community to bring together local practitioners after the inaugural ivoh New York Summit in 1999 and over the years many attendees have become a part of ivoh’s Annual Summit in the Catskills. Meredith remains committed twenty years on to continuing the important conversations these convenings generate and building a community of reflection and innovation.