About

About Spark Camp

Spark Camp, the producer of The Future History Festival, is a next-generation convener, dubbed "the ultimate summer camp for influencers" by Fast Company. We engineer productive collisions of talented people to tackle provocative questions, develop meaningful relationships and lead ideas into action. We facilitate important conversations that propel society forward. We challenge convention. We value intimacy. We have fun. And we form an enduring and diverse network of innovative thinkers set on bringing about positive change in their worlds.

Spark Camp was founded in 2010 by Amy Webb, Amanda Michel, Jenny 8. Lee, Matt Thompson and Andrew Pergam.

“[Spark Camp] is the only conference of any sort I attend, because it is the only one that has ever lit me up, puzzled me, excited me.”

David Plotz, CEO of Atlas Obscura, former editor of Slate

FAQ

Answers

What happens at The Future History Festival? Is there a program available online?


If you've never been to a Spark Camp, we can understand why you might feel like you're walking in blind. For a peek into our camps, here's a piece from Fast Company, "What happens at the ultimate summer camp for influencers." First and foremost, a Spark Camp is driven by its people. Our network has innovators and creators from tech, policy, media, design, social entrepreneurs, financiers, -- the list goes on. Spark Camps bring these minds together to address challenges, give answers, share ideas in unique formats with questions decided on the spot by Spark Campers.

The Future History Festival will include some of our Spark Camp hallmarks — like facilitated discussion sessions, a Spark Swap and a Spark Slam. Unlike our usual events, programming will be a mix of performance, play, presentation and workshop. We’ve also packed in plenty of downtime, so Festival attendees can get to know one another. Locally-sourced, delicious meals and libations will also be an important part of this event. Check our programming page often for updates as well as the final schedule to be release in the weeks before the Festival.

When should I plan to be in Baltimore?


For those attending the Festival, mark your calendars from 9 a.m. ET Friday, April 8 through midnight Saturday, April 9. While we dont have Festival programming on Sunday, you should feel free to explore the city. We'll be sending recommended activities to registered attenedees in the weeks before the festival.

SPARK CAMP ALUM: We are hosting special reunions for you Thursday night. If you'd like to join, you’ll want to be in town and ready to reconnect by 7 p.m. on April 7.

What does the theme mean?


The gathering, and this theme in particular, is about relating personal insights and experiences across domains and industries. If the past is any guide, many of what historians will deem the most notable events of our time are escaping our notice today. Epochal shifts are happening below the radar, while minor blips dominate prime time. For a weekend, we'll look at today's world from the vantage point of the future, uncovering the fundamental changes hidden in plain sight.

Who can I expect to meet?


We are extending invitations to everyone in our 400+ alumni network. So, you’ll be mingling and talking with Spark Camp alum from Real-time Camp back in 2011; the Data and Design camps in 2012; the Money and Storytelling camps in 2013; the Management and Newsroom Summit in 2014; and our Giving Camp this past summer.We've also opened invitations to the general public, and encouraged Spark Camp alum to invite Sparkly friends and colleagues, who we may have not yet had the pleasure of meeting.

I still don’t quite get what happens… Can I take someone else’s word for it?


Absolutely. This Fast Company piece, "What happens at the ultimate summer camp for influencers," should give you an idea.

In his feedback form after attending Spark Camp, David Plotz, former editor of Slate wrote, “[Spark Camp] is the only conference of any sort I attend, because it is the only one that has ever lit me up, puzzled me, excited me.”

Last year we were awarded a generous grant by the Knight Foundation to expand our events. Here’s what Michael Maness, Knight Foundation’s former vice president for journalism and media innovation, said about our work: “By building on its current model that centers on creativity, in-depth discussions and idea flow, Spark Camp will help strengthen a network of thought leaders and doers who are equipped to tackle the challenges facing today’s newsrooms.”

What costs does registration cover?


Registration covers all Festival programming, including evening events as well as breakfasts and lunches. It does not cover dinner on Friday and Saturday night. However, you have the option to participate in our Friday and Saturday night Supper Clubs, where a seat will be reserved for you at a local Baltimore restaurant, along with 8-10 other Festival attendees. Participants will be responsible for the cost of their dinner as well as transportation to and from the restaurant (should it be necesssary). More details including how to opt-in to these Suppers will be announced in Festival communications following registration. You can also check our Program page for updates.

We've made our campus walkable - so you currently wont need to worry about transportation to and from sessions. Participants will need to cover travel and transportation costs to/from Mt. Vernon. Baltimore has a number of public transportation options, details of which can be found on our logistics page.

I don’t think I can afford to attend on my own, but really want to be there. Is there a reduced rate?


We’re a not-for-profit and thanks to generous sponsors, the charge to you is far less than the actual cost to have you attend. We think you’ll find it a worthwhile expense. Currently we are unable to offer stipends or scholarships, however as we get closer to the Festival, we this may change. We'd like to caution that we cannot promise tickets will still be available should you choose to hold off on purchasing a ticket, and we cannot guarantee a program will be in place. However, if you'd like to be on a waiting list to hear about stipends or work-play opportunities, should they become available, please send us an email at festival@sparkcamp.com.

I bought a ticket, but now I can’t make it. Can I get a refund?


We get it. Things happen. Up to one month before the event, we’ll refund your ticket price in full (minus any transaction fees). As the event gets closer, actual costs are incurred so we will not be able to refund tickets after that point. To request a refund, please email festival@sparkcamp.com.

My organization is interested in sponsoring The Future History Festival. Who should we get in touch with?


Please reach out to Katharine Mobley (sponsorship@sparkcamp.com), who is managing our partnerships and sponsorships for the Festival. Our sponsor-partners are involved in collaborating with us on the weekend. Some of our previous sponsor-partners and co-hosts include Google, the Knight Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, the d.School at Stanford University, WBUR and Cox Media Group.

Wait! The tickets are sold out. What do I do?


Similar to other Festival experiences, we're releasing blocks of tickets in rounds. Tickets will be available for purchase from Jan. 20, 2016 until Feb. 18 or when tickets are sold out, whichever comes first. So act now! If you were not able to purchase a ticket, please sign up for our mailing list and we'll notify you should things change.

Does the Festival need volunteers?


Yes! Volunteers will be an important part of our Festival staff. Although the roles may not be glamorous -- like trash pick-up, bussing, set-up, breakdown -- we can promise the team is fun! If you're interested in volunteering, please email festival@sparkcamp.com with the subject line "Festival Volunteer." We'd love to have you!

Who is producing The Future History Festival?


The Festival is a production of Spark Camp. There are four of us: Andrew Pergam, Amy Webb, Matt Thompson and Amanda Michel. This is a labor of love for us. Our goal is to build and support an enduring, diverse and multi-disciplinary network of innovative thinkers and practitioners set on bringing positive change in their worlds. We started Spark Camp as an antidote to the mass-manufactured, factory-produced event. We are committed to tailoring the Festival’s programming to attendees, just as we’ve done for our camps.

How can I be involved in Festival programming?


Send us a note at festival@sparkcamp.com with the subject "Festival Programming" outlining how you'd like to contribute -- be it a presentation, a discussion, or an experience. We'll see how it fits with our current schedule.

Wait, you still haven’t answered my question! How can I reach you?


Email us at info@sparkcamp.com. We’re always happy to hear from you.

 

Time Capsule


The Festival ends with the sealing of a time capsule containing artifacts — fashion, media, technology, kitsch, personal — that will come to exemplify 2016. Check back soon to get details on the unveiling of the digital time capsule that will commemorate the event.

About Spark Camp

Spark Camp, the producer of The Future History Festival, is a next-generation convener, dubbed "the ultimate summer camp for influencers" by Fast Company.

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