Kathryn Velvel Jones, Co-leader of the Collective Agency (RMC)
“RSC meets every week, all two hundred plus of us. The best people I’ve ever worked with in my entire life. The most generous, the most creative; working for something bigger than themselves.”
Meet Kathryn Velvel Jones. Kathryn is the co-leader of the Collective Agency — which is dedicated to using media to amplify the voice of the Resistance — and a Civic Hall Organizer in Residence. She is a former actor, founder of the first company dedicated to live-streamed performing arts, a digital media expert, and proud New Yorker. You can follow her on Twitter
What Does She Do?
As the leader of Collective Agency, Kathryn’s day-to-day involves a fair share of project management, community engagement, business development outreach, as well as a lot of ops. On a typical day, with the phone ringing off the hook, she is the matchmaker between urgent project needs and Collective Agency’s more than 200 media professionals.
To date, Collective Agency has created videos, animations, live-streams, social campaigns and graphics on topics that range from immigrant rights to universal health-care, Muslim-American identity to women’s rights, from media literacy to Trump’s taxes, for both large organizations like Indivisible and The Women’s March, to tiny grassroots organizations. Collective Agency is also a founding partner in Action Blitz, creators of the Universal Healthcare Action Blitz, which was held at Civic Hall earlier this June.
How Did She Get Into This Work?
Kathryn is the founder/CEO of Virtual ArtsTV and was a pioneer in live streaming. She can recall when her life first changed to the very day — April 17, 2007. It was moments after the birth of YouTube and the emergence of online video that she realized as an actor that “online was a place where I could green light my own projects.” And on that day, watching a Ustream show that friends had upload she recalls, “My heart started beating. I thought to myself, “This is the future for the performing arts, and the future for me.” I stopped my podcast right then and sixth months later launched first-ever livestream series.”’
Ten years on, the aftermath of the election once again scrambled her life and her plans. Shortly after November 8th, Kathryn found herself in Dumbo, drawn to the first meeting of the Action Group Network. While many were there because of the star power of Beau Willimon — the showrunner of House of Card – actor Kathryn was blissfully unaware of his fame. As participants volunteered for special interest groups during the meeting, Kathryn found herself speaking up: “You’ll need media to amplify, and I’ll run a media group.” But during the breakout sessions, she realized “I was waiting for someone to take charge and I realized, “That’s me. It’s time for you to rise to the occasion.”’ The participants from that meeting formed the core of what would become the Resistance Media Collective.
“RSC meets every week, all two hundred plus of us. The best people I’ve ever worked with in my entire life. The most generous, the most creative. Working for something bigger than themselves.”
How Did She Come to Civic Hall?
Kathryn initially came to Civic Hall through her partnership with Civic Hall ambassador Ellen Mendlow, Rapi Castillo, and David Ambrose on the Universal Health Care Action Blitz. As of August 1st, she is part of Civic Hall’s inaugural Organizers In Residence Program, a six-month program funded through the support of the Craig Newmark Foundation which seeks to offer organizers a place to work, with mentoring and support from Civic Hall.
What Project Is She Working On?
While Collective Agency is working on dozens of projects, here are a few — past and present — that Kathryn wanted to amplify:
•Sister March Global Live-Stream. Using a software/hardware hack, Collective Agency created one 12-hour consolidated live-stream of the Sister Marches from all over the world, from Vienna, to Oaxaca to Phoenix to Reykjavik to Paris.
•#MayDayAction – Collective Agency created the Call To Action Video for Casa In Action’s DC Immigration Day March, as well as the social media strategy for the campaign. The video was repurposed as a CTA for both Make The Road NY’s Immigration Day events, and the Rise Immigration day events.
#SanctuaryHomes with Eve Ensler will be released September by Hand In Hand: The Domestic Employers Network (Hand In Hand’s Carolyn Silveira is a member of Civic Hall).
What Is Her Ask of Civic Hall?
“This moment reminds of when tech first embraced livestreaming in 2007/8. It was a huge reeducation and huge pivot then. And it is again. This whole new world (of Civic Tech) is brand new to me. I want to learn everything that I can and meet everyone that I can.”
Kathryn has a question for our members: “Culture and community: How do you keep it thriving month after month? Especially a mostly volunteer community.”
“Everything is in flux. The branding people are gonna hate me. But in time Resistance Media Collective will need to change its name, even its logo. Why? It’s time to stop resisting. It’s time to start talking about what we stand for.”