Not all Bloggers Wear Capes: BlogJam Atlantic 2017 Recap

That’s right. I said it. Bloggers are basically super heroes.

Why? You ask.

Well, first of all, because they are BRAVE AS EFF. Bloggers have the guts to bare their souls on the interwebs for all to consume and critique and criticize. You might be thinking “um how is posting a recipe or a furniture DIY being brave?” And to that I say, “Because they’re showing you their creativity! They’re showing you what works for them, what doesn’t, what they like, how they do it, and it’s all out their for your consumption.”

Blogging is 1 part creative writing, 1 part tech savvy, 1 part visual design, 1 part engagement, and 1 part heart-on-your-sleeve. 

77E751F1-7A1C-4F7A-BDB9-312BEBEBC64E

At BlogJam Atlantic this year, not only did we have an amazing audience of these blogging super heroes, but we also had a line up of amazingly brave folks who stood up to share their stories, give some tips, answer some questions, and generally give the audience a great time. BIG shout outs to all the speakers who took a deep breath and stood up on the BlogJam stage.

C1619F91-DDA2-465A-AABD-9FF9D3784E3A

This year we were so fortunate to have some amazing special Keynote speakers including the Maritime Bhangra Dancers who helped us start the day with a “Bhang(ra)” by sharing what fuels their passion. Then we had the extraordinary Elayna Fernández, the Positive MOM, deliver a dynamic morning Keynote before breaking for a whole day of concurrent sessions. Our jam-packed Event wrapped up with a great presentation by Candace Derickx of Life in Pleasantville who shared some fantastic insight on behalf of Sunwing – the audience just ate it up!

0D806015-AA45-4F5A-B823-52BB4DFECFA9

Of course, all this magic was captured by the one and only Michelle Doucette, who has a talent for photography that is second to none. Oh, and she is a blogger too. Obvi.

I have SO MUCH MORE to share and learned so much but I’ll be breaking out my ideas into several future posts. Stay tuned and be sure to check out the other blog post recaps by attendees by following BlogJam on Facebook and Twitter.

9AC3EB8A-A4E1-46CB-A381-3A11723E511F

Design

 

Farewell to Nova Scotia…

Good morning, Baltimore!

Design

Yep! You read that correctly. I’ve travelled south from the sea bound coast and have settled in Baltimore, Maryland in the ol’ U.S. of A.

Listen, I’m as surprised as you are. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a devout Haligonian (now as much as when I first arrived seven years ago). I will continue to proselytize the virtues of Nova Scotia to any and all during my tenure abroad — don’t you fret about that. Alas, a research opportunity for my partner arose here that was too good to pass up. So, for the next 2 years, I will be blogging about life as a displaced Canadian (with every intention of returning to my home and native land).

Despite my heartbreak when leaving NS, I’ve decided to embrace this experience with open arms. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a wee bit culture shocked here already. It’s so interesting how close we can be geographically, yet still be so uniquely different cities. (And we both know my politics don’t align with the current US agenda…to put it lightly.)

I’ll also be continuing to work on growing BlogJam Atlantic and will keep you apprised of all the exciting developments we have this year! Have you registered yet? Click here to do so now!

If you’re interested in checking out Baltimore and my neighbourhood here, check out my insta stories! Follow @halitrax on Instagram.

Design

 

How to Plan a Feminist Conference (Without Really Trying), or, BlogJam 2016 Notes from a Feminist Killjoy

BlogJam Recap Time!

BlogJam 2016 was almost three weeks ago and I’m still getting my bearings again after the whirlwind of planning and hosting such an incredible event. Overall, I think it was a resounding success and I know my teammates and I are already looking forward to ways we can build and improve on the event for 2017.

Rather than gush too much about what a great event it ended up being – and it was largely thanks to our amazing volunteers, speakers, sponsors and participants –  I wanted, instead, to shed some light on something that is, personally, a very important part of BlogJam Atlantic but that wasn’t, and isn’t, necessarily highlighted as an aspect of the event. Specifically, I’m talkin’ feminism.

My personal brand of feminism is intersectional and inclusive. (I believe feminism isn’t for everyone – it’s for women – but it does benefit everyone…Eventually. The ultimate goal is a society of equals regardless of gender, culture, race, socio-economic background, etc. BUT, that’s a post for another day!)

So, for me, BlogJam 2016 needed to be both woman-powered and inclusive in as many ways as possible.

downtown-halifax5

Female Keynote

Erica Ehm was an amazing choice for a Keynote speaker. Not only is she a badass blogging wizard, but she demonstrates how women can be successful in this industry while balancing career, family, events, partnerships, and all the other amazing endeavours she pursues.

Diversity of Speakers

BlogJam had a strong female representation, don’t get be wrong, but what enhanced the speaker’s line up was that it also included men. Sounds contradictory? It shouldn’t! We all have stories to tell and this event welcomed the voices of all, regardless of gender, culture, race, or any of the other factors with which we are generally divided. And don’t worry, the voices of our female presenters will continue to be amplified at future BlogJams to come.

Diversity of Participants

Ditto for participants. I was beyond thrilled to see such a range of genders, ages, abilities, and experiences.

Accessibility

We wanted to ensure that the space was accessible to varying mobility needs. While Pier 21 itself is accessible, I will admit to wanting to do more to be accommodating and inclusive in this regard. BlogJam is going to continue to grow and that means making sure that all participants can experience every element of the event comfortably.

We were also able to accommodate babes in arms and breastfeeding, which is a really important way our event empowers women and participants in general.

Accessibility also means affordability of the event. We worked hard to get sponsorship and create partnerships that would allow us to keep the price of the event low for participants while still delivering awesome content. Anyone for whom the cost was still out of reach was welcome to join us as a volunteer – an offer we’ll continue to extend to future participants.

The BlogJam Unofficial Code of Conduct

While we have yet to ratify anything as the BlogJam Atlantic Management Team, we do operate by a Code of Conduct that aligns and supports my scheming, bra-burning feminist agenda. Some of my favourite highlights are:

Commitment to a Safe Community

  • BlogJam Atlantic will not tolerate any harassment or inappropriate physical conduct, sexual attention, objectification, or threatening of any participant at any time
  • While dialogue is encouraged, sustained disruption or deliberate interruption of speakers/conversations is not permitted
  • Like the blogging community, BlogJam seeks to showcase and welcome the diverse community of its audience regardless of gender, age, (dis)ability, physical appearance, intellectual ability, ethnicity, or religion

Commitment to Inclusion

  • Whenever possible, the costs associated with attending this event will not be prohibitive to participants of any economic status with provisions being made for anyone who wishes to attend
  • The event is hosted in a mobility-friendly, accessible space
  • Participants requiring additional support to attend the event will be accommodated as much as possible (support personnel, interpreters, printed material, etc.)
  • The event welcomes all individuals and respects all forms of gender identity or expressions of gender or orientation and is LGBTQ2+ safe

(Don’t worry, we’ve got some other clauses thrown in there to protect the environment and some other stuff too.)

The Team

2016-11-06-blogjam-72.jpg

What’s a feminist conference without a team of strong, smart, creative women at the helm?

For many of us, so much of this is common sense. Unfortunately, it’s for that very reason that it’s so easy to let these pieces fall by the wayside when planning events. We need to be conscientious of all of these (feminist) factors to make sure that all voices are included and heard.

I believe doing so will improve the experiences of all our events.

I’m so proud of our team, the volunteers and speakers, and everyone who helped contribute to the positive outcomes of BlogJam 2016. Did you attend? I’d love to hear what you thought!

So, who’s ready for next year?

Krista