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Meadows Faculty, Staff and Alumni to Participate in 2017 Dallas Festival of Ideas, April 29

Meadows representatives to participate in panels on “The Cultural City” and “Ideas to Action”

Dallas Festival of Ideas

Meadows faculty, staff and alumni will be among the presenters in the third annual Dallas Festival of Ideas, a free, public conference on April 29 to be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas, 650 S. Griffin St. The festival, co-presented by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and The Dallas Morning News, aims to shape the future of the city by “igniting, uniting and energizing the diverse people of Dallas through the power of ideas.” The Festival’s goal is to act as a convener of ideas, a positive force and a catalyst for concrete, collective action for the good of the city. SMU is an official supporter of this year’s festival.

The festival was preceded by a series of community forums held in the fall and spring that focused on issues of social equity from five different “city” perspectives – physical, healthy, cultural, educated and entrepreneurial. Each of these perspectives will be further explored at the festival itself.

Several Meadows representatives will participate in “The Cultural City” panels, scheduled for 1:30-4:30 p.m. in rooms 306/307 on the third floor of Section A. The panels will examine barriers to participation in the local Dallas arts and culture scene, as well as issues of access to resources for a wide range of arts organizations. Clyde Valentin, director of Meadows’ Ignite/Arts Dallas initiative, will open the session with a short state-of-the-city talk. He will then join a city response panel discussion from 1:45 to 3, led by journalism alumna and arts writer Lauren Smart. The event will conclude with a community panel from 3:15 to 4:30, titled “A Conversation on Cultural Legitimacy: Who Decides What Is Art?” The panel will feature Zannie Voss, chair and professor of the Meadows Division of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship and director of the National Center for Arts Research.

Jim Hart, director of arts entrepreneurship in the Division of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship, has served on the festival planning committee for the past year and coached the participants who will pitch for funding after the festival ends to help bring their ideas to fruition. Hart will also present an interactive workshop from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in room 304, Section A titled “Ideation: Techniques in Coming Up with Big Entrepreneurial Ideas.” It will offer tools to both aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs to help them come up with a “big idea” that has the potential to be impactful and sustainable. In addition, Hart will serve on an “Ideas to Action” panel at 3:15 in rooms 124/127, on the first floor of Section A, titled “How to Turn Ideas into Action.”

Other SMU participants in the festival will include Regina Nippert, executive director of The Budd Center: Engaging Communities in Education, housed at the Simmons School of Education, and Jessie Zarazaga, a landscape-urbanist, Lyle Engineering faculty member and director of SMU’s Initiative for Spatial Literacy. Nippert will be a community panelist in “The Educated City” session, discussing the topic “The Path Forward: Separate but Equal or Integrated?” Zarazaga will be a community panelist in “The Physical City” session, tackling the question “How equitable is access to public space?”

The Dallas Festival of Ideas sets itself apart from other “ideas” conferences in producing tangible results: After each Festival, several citizen groups, facilitated by SVP (Social Venture Partners), take the ideas and propose ways to bring these ideas to life. The Festival’s goal is to create a lasting, equitable impact for the city of Dallas and its citizens. This action serves as the Festival’s foundation – and the lens through which Dallas’ citizens frame the city’s future. Learn more about the progress that has occurred as a direct result of the Dallas Festival of Ideas here.

The Festival is produced by CrowdSource and PublicCity and made possible by title sponsors AT&T and Bank of America. This year, the Festival has expanded with a partnership with the Dallas Book Festival to co-locate events in the Dallas Central Library and Dallas City Hall/Plaza.

For more information about the 2017 Dallas Festival of Ideas, visit

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