Allied Media Conference returns to Detroit

Organizers MARS Marshall and Liz Kennedy say the enthusiasm and dedication of young Black Detroiters has sustained the conference for 22 years.

Organizers MARS Marshall (left) and Liz Kennedy at WDET's studios.

The 22nd Allied Media Conference (AMC) returns to Detroit on Thursday to connect a vast network of artists and activists. The conference aims to provide a space for celebration, strategizing, skill sharing and movement building in order to create relationships across issues, identities, organizing practices and creative mediums.

After originating in 1999 as the Midwest Zine Conference in Bowling Green, Ohio, the AMC moved to Detroit in 2007 under its new name. Director MARS Marshall says the move was in large part due to the enthusiasm and dedication of young Black Detroiters.

“Since moving to Detroit, the conference has been increasingly a home for young, queer, disabled Black folks, Indigenous folks, folks of color coming from low-income communities who are using media to transform the world.”

This year, the conference will offer over 130 sessions online in addition to in-person programming in Detroit. Part of this programming includes AMC@NIGHT, a three-night festival produced by Tunde Olaniran showcasing artists at the intersection of art and social change.

While the conference has usually been held in Midtown, it’s moving to Marygrove College’s campus this year.

“We think that being on Marygrove’s campus will be a more accessible neighborhood-centric way of gathering folks. The AMC’s priority first and foremost is Detroit and thinking a lot about the movement work that has emerged in Detroit, and also how Detroiters also need a space to come thrive, meet each other and think about the organizing strategies that we need here in the city.”

The conference will also offer child care and a youth art space to uplift the next generation of leaders.

“It’s not just millennials coming into the space, it’s thinking about, at this point, the folks that come after millennials and what they have to offer.”


Photo credit: Sophia Jozwiak/WDET

Listen: AMC organizers MARS Marshall and Liz Kennedy on what to expect at this year’s conference.


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  • Amanda LeClaire
    Amanda LeClaire is an award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. She’s a founding producer of WDET’s flagship news talk show Detroit Today, and a former host/reporter for Arizona Public Media. Amanda is also an artist, certified intuitive and energy healer, and professional tarot reader.