by Katelyn Walsh
Last month, several Black Public Media fellows and I joined our other member organizations from Black Innovation Alliance (BIA) to experience one of the biggest tech conferences in the world, Collision 2022. More than 1,500 startups, nearly 500 exhibitors, and more than 35,000 attendees filled Toronto’s Enercare Centre for this year’s event. As BPM’s social media manager and photographer, I am not a techie, and the sheer volume of events made it impossible for me to attend everything. My main focus was shooting video and photos of our BPM Fellows and BIA friends as they worked the conference.
Over the course of three days, the conference hosted multiple forums on four different stages, featuring speakers like actress Lupita Nyong’o, Calendly CEO Tope Awotona, BIA CEO Kelly Burton, and executives from TikTok, DoorDash, Tinder, Airbnb, and so many others.
The highlight of the conference was the attendees. Meeting different Black tech entrepreneurs, talking to them about their experience, and discussing ways that BPM might collaborate or partner with them on future projects was beyond joyful. On the other hand, locating these Black organizations was sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. BPM was only able to identify and interact with a handful, so we hope to see more representation at Collision in the future.
BPM 2022 NCU Fellow Blanca Burch received many opportunities to network with like-minded creatives working in augmented reality content production, such as Vanessa Ford, COO of Kukua and executive producer of the first African superhero animated franchise, called “Super Sema.” It was wonderful to see accomplished Black women in tech supporting and networking with each other.
Overall, Collision is definitely an event that Black creatives should consider attending. BPM will continue showing up and being recognized at this one-of-a-kind conference, bringing creative technologists with us and, ultimately, helping to make the tech world more accessible and inclusive.
— Katelyn Walsh is the social media manager at Black Public Media