5 people face the camera and smile.

Adblock AGM 2024

On a sunny Saturday in July, Adblockers from across the UK gathered in Bristol for a day of headdress making, curry eating and billboard hacking otherwise known as the Adblock AGM. The AGM is a chance for Adblockers (members of our network of local volunteer groups) from around the country to network and plan for the year ahead.

The day began with a visioning session, encouraging us to imagine ourselves in a utopian 2040 and tell the story of how we got there, weaving our work against outdoor advertising into wider threads like sustainable transport, community food growing and sharing economies. This session was led by experienced facilitator and climate communicator Emma Geen and Adfree Cities’ own James Ward.

A man wears a headdress and carries a sceptre with a label reading "mellow village".
The outcome of the opening visioning session. A monument to a possible future.

After a delicious lunch we were treated to an eye-opening presentation from Ruth Taylor, of the Common Cause Foundation, about values and how advertising reproduces certain values whilst obscuring others.

We then heard from each Adblock group who talked about big wins over the last year, such as Adblock Reading’s amazing cover-up actions as part of The ZAP Games 2023, and Adblock Lambeth’s deputation to the local council, and surreal run-in with the police.

Adfree’s Robbie managed to make Theories of Change fun with a quick look at how our network can work together to make a difference, especially in light of the recent general election and a new government. It’s always inspiring to see how small actions can snowball into big changes.

People seated look up at a presentation projected onto a wall.
Common Cause’s Ruth delivers a fascinating look at values.

We closed the AGM with a look ahead to the next year. Each Adblock group present devised 3 aims for the next 12 months and drew a cycle path to get there. We wrote postcards to ourselves, which will be sent in a month’s time, to remind us of the commitments that we made.

After the main AGM session, we visited the nearby Burg Arts board to install a new design by HOLA MERZI. Despite a rising wind, the artwork went up and now shines over the streets of St Werburgh’s.

A group of people stand beneath a billboard which carries a artwork celebrating local community.

The 2024 AGM was a fantastic chance to reconnect with Adblockers old and new, to celebrate the wins we’ve had over the last year and to look ahead to the future and the possibilities it contains. If you’d like to join your local Adblock group, or start your own, you can find all you need to start here or email hello[@]adfreecities.org.uk.

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