Here's the plan for Light City's innovation track - Baltimore


Feb. 3, 2016 9:16 am

Here’s the plan for Light City’s innovation track

Light City U will feature a series of two-day conferences.

City Garage will host a portion of Light City U.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

It’s been about 11 months since the initial community meetings and early announcements that pitched Light City — a weeklong light, music and innovation festival that’s set to debut at the end of March.

In that time, details have been trickling out about the various installations and musicians who will perform at night. That includes a 1.5-mile art walk around Inner Harbor, and concerts headlined by Dan Deacon, Thomas Dolby and DJ Jazzy Jeff during the March 28-April 3 event.

On Tuesday at the Top of the World Observation Level, organizers released details about what’s happening during the day. The innovation conference portion of the festival, called Light City U, will feature a series of two-day conferences. Days focusing on health, social innovation and sustainability will be at IMET, while a day focusing on creative industries is at City Garage.

The big names involved include AOL cofounder Steve Case, who is making his second visit to Baltimore in eight months, Radiolab host Jad Abumrad and Design Matters’ Debbie Millman. Baltimoreans include UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski, Wes Moore, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen and writer D. Watkins.

At the initial community meeting at Betamore, the festival organizers reached out to the tech scene. The conference days were a major way they’re getting involved. Speakers from Baltimore tech include Mindgrub Technologies CEO Todd Marks (whose company is also developing the Light City app), OrderUp cofounder Chris Jeffrey, Sisu Global Health CMO Katie Kirsch and Baltimore Corps CEO Fagan Harris. Intrinsic Events, which is part of the team behind Startup Soiree, is also on the team organizing conference.


More details

Overall, the focus of the conference is exploring ways to harness innovation for social change. Brooke Hall, who is CEO of What Works Studio and created the festival with her partner Justin Allen, said it boils down to the question, “How do we become a more responsible and equitable society?”

“We need people from all walks of life to come together and address social change, right here,” Hall said. The innovation conferences will help make the festival, and, in turn, the entire city, a destination for ideas, she said.

Hall said 20 percent of all the tickets to the conferences will be awarded as part of festival scholarships (apply here by March 1). Employees of conference sponsor BGE are also getting some tickets.

“My intention is to provide tickets for our employees so when they come back they bring back the ideas that are the very best and brightest that will drive our company forward,” said CEO Calvin Bulter. He encouraged other companies to give their employees tickets, too.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the lead reporter for Baltimore. A graduate of Northeastern University, he moved to Baltimore following a stint in New Orleans, where he served as managing editor of online news and culture publication NOLA Defender. While there, he also wrote for Times-Picayune. He was previously a reporter for the Rio Grande Sun of Northern New Mexico.


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