The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

10 online/offline communities taking the globe by storm — July 17, 2015

10 online/offline communities taking the globe by storm

Digital communities can be just as powerful as real-life ones, bringing together like-minded people to share knowledge and create change. Today’s brightest communities make use of all channels to be exceptionally engaging:

  1. TED
    Renown for TED Talks, this nonprofit is dedicated to sharing ideas and sparking conversation. From science to global issues, community members can reap the benefits of powerful ideas in more than 100 languages.
  2. Creative Mornings
    People in 117 ‘creative cities’ participate in a monthly breakfast with a short lecture, covering topics like music, design, and new technology. The offline meetups offer members a chance to learn something new while meeting like-minded peers.
  3. Travel Massive
    Travel Massive counts travel industry insiders, leaders and innovators in more than 95 global cities, hoping to connect insiders and empower change in travel. Community members meet, learn and collaborate at events all over the world, helping move the mission forward.
  4. Responsive Org
    In-person meetups take place from Brussels to Brisbane, bringing together those interested in creating a fundamental shift in the way we work and organize in the 21st century. Examples of Responsive Organizations that fit the Community’s manifesto include Google and Tesla.
  5. Social Media Club
    Founded nearly ten years ago, Social Media Club remains one of the world’s most digitally connected communities with a mission to expand digital media literacy and promote standard technologies. Knowledge transfer happens at meetups, which take place at events that range from ‘Content and Coffee’ to ‘Happy Hour with Chipotle.’ Membership levels range from educational to professional, offering flexibility for anyone interested in joining the Club.
  6. Girl Geek Dinners
    Breaking down “old fashioned stereotypes” is no easy feat, but Geek Girl Dinners is intent to do so by empowering women (and men) to talk about their experience and knowledge in the technology industry — over a fun dinner! Founded in the UK, Geek Girl Dinners hopes to make technology accessible for anyone, ditching outdated myths about women and young people in the field along the way.
  7. Startup Grind
    More than 200,000 entrepreneurs take part in shaping this incredible global community, which counts local chapters in 175 countries. Designed to educate, inspire and connect founders and creators through events and discussions, Startup Grind continues to grow and thrive by attracting the best and brightest.
  8. Product Hunt
    Product enthusiasts around the world delight in reading about the latest and greatest gadgets and innovations, surfaced daily by Product Hunt. Hailed as a ‘must read’ for those in technology and startups, the site has amassed a cult-like following in a few short years.
  9. PassionPassport
    Writers and photographers make up this passionate traveling community, created for sharing tales of completed trips and sights seen. An impressive Instagram feed boasts more than a quarter million followers, with photos garnering tens of thousands of likes along with countless comments. Contests encourage friendly competition, but members remain consistently supportive and inspired by one another.
  10. SoulCycle
    Sweating it out is serious business for SoulCycle riders who attend class in more than 30 global cities. The philosophy in each location is the same, inspiring riders to be strong and give them confidence and courage for personal and professional endeavors. Community is at the heart of what SoulCycle does, and its rides are at the center of many friendships.

What, if any, other communities belong on the list? We’d love to learn about them in the comments.

Top 10 writers festivals around the globe — February 23, 2014

Top 10 writers festivals around the globe

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What makes a great writer’s festival?

Regardless of size, location or theme, a great writer’s festival provokes discussion and debate, encourages creativity and reflection, and showcases inspiring writers and thinkers. It celebrates its local literary culture while also facilitating discussions of global importance. And most importantly, it’s fun. Here are a few of the world’s best to add to your bucket list.

1) Jaipur Literary Festival (India)

The air I breathe is filled with words – Mahasweta Devi 

The Greatest Literary Show on Earth – or so its organizers call it. And when you’re sitting in a huge tent surrounded by a very vocal audience of Indians and travellers from all around the world, it’s hard to deny that the Jaipur Literary Festival is one of the most vibrant. Founded by charismatic British author Will Dalrymple, this festival blends music and fun alongside thought-provoking and lively debate.

January each year – http://jaipurliteraturefestival.org

2) Digital Writers’ Festival (everywhere) 

Are we live? –  Sam Twyford-Moore

Aimed at connecting emerging writers around the world to talk about their writing lives, the Digital Writers’ Festival is an innovative online event that takes place in real time via Twitter and Google Hangouts. The extensive program overcomes time zone challenges to present international discussions that are experimental, challenging and informative.

February each year – http://digitalwritersfestival.com

3) The Bookworm International Literary Festival, Beijing (China) 

I’m told that laughter is the highest wisdom of the human race.  – Li Er

At once cosy and a bit chaotic, Beijing’s Bookworm bookstore hosts several exciting weeks of bilingual literary events and fascinating discussions about the Asia region. The lantern-lit on-site café is a great place to order a cup of tea (or wine) and strike up a conversation with ex-pats and Chinese students alike.

March each year – http://bookwormfestival.com

4) PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature (USA) 

The creative act requires not only freedom but also this assumption of freedom. –  Salman Rushdie

Aligned with PEN, a social justice organisation giving voice to writers around the world who have been silenced, this impressively diverse festival is one of the most important on the global literary calendar. Each year World Voices features an impressive selection of challenging and thought-provoking events across New York City to inspire discussion, reflection and debate.

April to May each year – http://worldvoices.pen.org

5) Etonnant Voyageurs, St Malo (France) 

And this brings us back to literature’s ability to relate the world. – Michele le Bris  

Etonnant Voyageurs (‘Amazing Travellers’) has taken the idea of a festival of travel writing and stretched it to become an exploration of world literature in French. Set in a historic city on the beautiful Brittany coast, the festival of mostly-free events attracts a lively international roster and throws down some challenging sessions. It also offers exhibitions of French graphic novels, a film festival, and a huge book market. Allez!

February or March each year – http://www.etonnants-voyageurs.com

melb-writersMelbourne Writers Festival

6 ) International  Literary Festival  of  Paraty (FLIP), Brazil 

Fiction transforms memory and imagination into language – Milton Hatoum

Throughout its five-day duration FLIP holds, amazingly, over 200 events, including debates, shows, exhibitions, workshops, film screenings and school presentations. The main events are presented in unique round-table style, making it an engaging experience for writers and the audience alike. The enthusiasm of Paraty’s residents adds to the good vibes surrounding this unique festival.

July to August each year – http://www.flip.org.br

7) Edinburgh International Book Festival (Scotland) 

Thank you for your excellent questions. – JK Rowling

It’s hard to go past the oldest and largest literary festival in the world. Year after year, the Edinburgh International Book Festival attracts the biggest names in writing for serious literary discussions. The Festival takes place in an elegant tent city in Charlotte Square Gardens and its on-site bookstore is astounding, with separate shops for grown-ups and children.

(And a bonus festival tip: be sure to pop into the Book Fringe at Word Power bookstore, part of the Edinburgh Fringe, bringing writers and activists together for lively readings and discussions.)

August each year – https://www.edbookfest.co.uk

8) Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference, San Francisco (USA)   

Here’s how I lost my voice and found my vision – Don George 

Part-conference, part festival, this four-day intensive is the destination for aspiring travel writers. Chaired by legendary travel writer Don George, the weekend features talks, workshops and industry networking events. It’s an illuminating and informative weekend but most of all, as you would expect from a killer lineup of travel writers, a conference filled with good parties and remarkable stories from the road.

August each year – http://www.bookpassage.com/travel-writers-photographers-conference

9) Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (Indonesia)

Books opened the world to me. –  Ahmad Fuadi

Sunny days, balmy nights, open-air venues and lush tropical views make Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali one of the world’s most appealing literary destinations. Long-table lunches and sundowner cocktail events make this festival highly sociable, and if the fun gets too much there are plenty of places to escape for a quiet swim, relaxing pedicure or a spot of peaceful yoga.

October each year – http://www.ubudwritersfestival.com

And of course…

10) Melbourne Writers Festival (Australia)! 

Meaning lies in the magic of the coincidence that you should come across work at just the right time. – Tavi Gevinson

I’m proud to be a part of a writer’s festival that holds its own alongside the world’s biggest, best and brightest literary events. Melbourne Writers Festival is the literary festive season to Melbourne’s busy annual calendar of writing events. Whether you like your writer’s festivals to be intensely thought-provoking or wildly fun – or perhaps a both at the same time – we have you covered.

August each year – http://www.mwf.com.au

Subscribe to The Fetch in your city for reminders about the festivals and other related events throughout the year.

About our contributor // Lisa Dempster is the Director of the Melbourne Writers Festival. She travels widely in search of literary and other adventures. Follow her on Twitter via @lisadempster.

Image credit: Melbourne Writers Festival and sloeginfizz.

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