I have only been to one conference in my time as a graduate student. And, it was this past weekend. The Self-Employment for the Arts Conference or SEA. My fellow classmates from high school who have completed or are now in grad school, might balk at this singular number. But, let’s be honest, conferences are in large part a chance to learn a small amount really quickly in chunks of time, and most importantly a time to bond with your colleagues. I went to the conference with my friends Kelsey Hayenga and Reneé Rock and we had a grand ‘ole time, as you will read shortly…
We were lucky enough to get some funding to attend the conference, and a start-up that I am working on with fellow MAM candidate Kelsey, received a modest prize to put towards initial costs. The Future Founders Foundation provided valuable support and tipped us off to the prize contest. The conference itself was split into two days, and was informative as well as a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and received a valuable refresher on some of the topics that we had learned in our classes thus far.
The first day we arrived slightly late, and were treated to a key-note address by Jade Simmons who took us on a journey through classical music into the world of rap in one fell swoop. Jade is an exemplary concert pianist, and her speech and musical performance were exceptionally engaging. The entire first day was a huge success, while at the same time very entertaining.
The second day there was such a multitude of valuable workshops that it was difficult to pick between all of them. I ultimately chose a workshop on lean start-up social media, which centered around social media initiatives for craft businesses. I’ve since passed those notes along to my fianceé in the hopes that they would prove useful for her business.
The workshop on trademark was a quick rundown of trademark law and searches for existing trademarks, (thrilling right?!). I thought it was thrilling. It was essentially everything that we had learned in our Arts, Media & The Law class during the trademark unit, compacted into and abbreviated into an hour and half. Our Law class featured a more nuanced and detailed version of the topic, but this session at SEA was a valuable review at a valuable time.
The pitch contest came and went, and Kelsey received the audience vote for our start-up and, as was previously mentioned, a modest prize to help fund our progress.
If I ever go to grad school again, I am definitely going to attend more conferences, and choose carefully which conferences to attend. This one was useful and fun, but future conferences may prove to be more functional and beneficial for my goals. In short, attend a conference whether you are in grad school or just entering undergrad, or even in high school. They are worth it, and if they’re not, make them worth your while. Creating value out of any circumstance is a great asset, and adding value to an already positive circumstance is just good business.