I don’t need to tell you what unsettling times we are living in or how strenuous it is trying to navigate the day-to-day, let alone any sort of future planning. As you’ve no doubt seen or experienced yourself, many large events are being canceled or postponed. The AIGA Arizona Board and Phoenix Design Week team have decided to follow suit and make the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 PHXDW Conference. We will, however, still move forward planning Phoenix Design Week — a full week of community and AIGA AZ planned events, taking place all over the state October 2–9, 2020. This will no doubt be a much needed time for the community to come back together after a very tough year. It will also leave us some flexibility to shift to a virtual setup, should we still have that need.
While it may seem silly to make this decision to change anything about an event so far out, what we’ve found is that over the past several years Phoenix Design Week and the PHXDW Conference have become so high-caliber that they take nearly a year to plan. That means that the next couple of months are vital to that planning. We not only feel that it is not the right time to be announcing, promoting, and selling tickets to any large event, but it’s also apparent that it would be extremely difficult to execute logistically, given the current state of everything.
For you tl;dr’ers…
Here is the gist of the factors considered:
Current hindrance of necessary planning (speakers, venues, travel, etc)
Lasting economic effects for attendees, sponsors, and partners
Mental health and well-being of the team
General unknown. None of us know what next week will bring, let alone the next 5 months.
Have no fear… we are going to instead focus our resources on making the full week of events bigger and better than ever.
For those of you who’d like to know more about how we made this decision, read on…
The logistics of an event of this size are already extremely difficult for a small group of volunteers. At this time we’d normally be in full-swing planning mode and yet we’re unable to seek out or coordinate speakers, travel or arrange things like venue tours. We also know the hits our community sponsors and partners are taking and will continue to take, making time and financial commitments very hard to make, indefinitely. And if I’m being completely frank, this rightfully just isn’t the type of thing that’s a priority right now — for anyone.
I understand that there’s no way to know how lasting the effects of everything will be. Many in our community, if they’re lucky, will simply be torn between several rescheduled events in the fall. But many not so lucky ones will be recovering financially, mentally, or physically from this stressful time and unable to attend any larger event, let alone commit to purchasing a ticket to one right now. I hope the community will understand that we ourselves are a small group of volunteers who put a lot of time, effort and hard work into planning such a large event. I must also take into consideration the well-being of our amazing board and dedicated PHXDW team who are also navigating these tough times affecting their livelihoods, families and physical/mental health.
I care very deeply about this community and am saddened to make such a drastic change to an event that we all love so much, but I assure you that PHXDW 2020 will still be the incredible opportunity to recharge and be inspired that you’ve all come to crave, not to mention, will most certainly need. The conference will return bigger and better in 2021.
And hey, just think, we’re all primed and ready to find ways to make this year’s PHXDW just as fun, energizing and inspiring as ever. Past year’s PHXDW themes, speakers and conversations have prepared us for this. It’s creative thinking at its finest. Our friends at OH Partners and User10 along with the AIGA AZ Board are already hard at work coming up with ways to amplify the week of events. I’m proud of this creative community and look forward to seeing how this brings us all back together in October. All I can say is, challenge accepted.
Stay tuned to phxdw.com and @phxdw on social for more details in the coming months. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll announce this year’s theme (it’s a good one — and oh so fitting!) If you’d like to be involved in planning, hosting an event, being a sponsor, or just want to say “hi”, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you’re all being smart, taking care of yourselves, and being kind to each other. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, comments or concerns. Sending one giant virtual hug to all of you.
Let’s stay connected by sharing our favorite AIGA Arizona and PHXDW memories. Got some PHXDW swag to show off? How about photos from your favorite events? Share them on social using #aigaaz and #phxdw!