SMU will engage in Dallas’ future at Festival of Ideas Feb. 19-20

SMU is part of “Dallas Festival of Ideas: The United City,” focusing on ideas for the future of the city.

Dallas Festival of Ideas

DALLAS (SMU) – Thirteen SMU faculty members, three SMU student groups and the Cézanne Quartet will be featured at the second annual “Dallas Festival of Ideas: The United City,” a two-day conference Friday and Saturday, Feb. 19-20, at Fair Park.

Dallas Festival of IdeasThe festival brings together a variety of innovative thinkers, along with programs and performances, focusing on ideas for the future of Dallas in five areas: as an entrepreneurial city, literary city, educated city, healthy city and physical city. A full schedule of the conference is available online.

The Entrepreneurial City panel is presented in partnership with SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Included on panels throughout Saturdays’ program are Dallas Entrepreneur Center co-founder Trey Bowles, a Meadows adjunct lecturer; adjunct professor of Communications and alumna Brittany Merrill Underwood; and Zannie Voss, chair and professor of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship.

SMU participants also will present a contest and two workshops as part of Entrepreneurial City programming. Award-winning director of Meadows’ Arts Entrepreneurship program Jim Hart will lead a fun, game-based workshop that teaches skills in primary market research, networking, articulating traction and attracting capital. Susan Kress, the director of SMU Engaged Learning will serve as master of ceremonies for a Big iDeas pitch contest, where three SMU student groups will pitch their big ideas and audience members will decide the winner. Look for a "Peanuts"-style advice stand (think Lucy), charging 5 cents for entrepreneurial advice from faculty in the Cox School of Business Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship: Jerry White, adjunct professor and institute director, and Simon Mak, professor and institute associate director.  

The Literary City panel will feature Darryl Dickson Carr, professor and chair of English and SMU alumna Lauren Smart, adjunct journalism professor, as moderator. On the literary stage, novelist and director of the SMU Writer’s Path J. Suzanne Frank will give insight and advice to aspiring writers during a lecture titled, “Wild Detectives: Take your book from Pile to Publisher.”

Other SMU participants include director of Meadows’ Ignite/Arts Dallas program Clyde Valentín as an Educated City panelist; professor of Global Health and director of the Institute for Leadership Impact Eric Bing as a Healthy City panelist; research professor and the director of design and innovation programs at the Lyle School of Engineering Kate Canales as Physical City panelist.

SMU Artists-in-Residence the Cézanne Quartet will be perform at Saturday morning on the Women’s Museum Performance Stage. The group includes SMU senior Eleanor Dunbar and SMU alumni Mai Ke, Steven Juarez and Elizabeth White.

The mission of the Dallas Festival of Ideas is to help shape the city of the future by igniting, uniting and energizing the people of Dallas through the power of ideas. The Festival hopes to be the leading Ideas Festival in the nation by fostering and executing action and creating a lasting legacy for the city of Dallas and its citizens.

To make the festival accessible to everyone, General Admission is FREE, but registration is required. Visit for more information on tickets, scheduling, and directions.