A packed house turned out for Ignite Baltimore 11 on Thursday evening, held at the Brown Center at the Maryland Institue College of Art.
While 16 speakers were slated to give quick, five-minute presentations, just 15 people presented. (Catharine Robertson, scheduled to talk about how to put together a “great online dating profile,” was ill and could not attend.)
Unlike Ignite Education, which adhered to a common theme, the talks at Ignite Baltimore covered a variety of subjects.
Johns Hopkins University PhD student Mike Specian spoke about WWE wrestler CM Punk and his vaunted stand against the creative impulses of professional wrestling. Richard Boly, who has worked with U.S. diplomats his whole career, wondered what might innovations might spawn if diplomats and techies came together.
A moment of levity — although he was quite serious — came when Tom Sadowski of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore appealed to the audience’s pride, chastising us for being so “pathologically modest” about Baltimore while showing photos of great moments in Charm City history. Like the bombardment of Fort McHenry, which he called an “all-night beatdown” of the British and no “Francis Scott Key sing-a-long.”
The winners of two Ignition Grants worth $2,250 apiece were also announced. Ignition Grant director Kate Bladow summarizes each grant project below:
- The first grant was to Celia Neustadt and the Inner Harbor Project. Neustadt will supervise Baltimore high school students who will lead discussions with other Baltimore youth about the tensions in the Inner Harbor. They will explore what is happening in the Inner Harbor and, based on the discussions, develop a plan to ameliorate tensions between police, city officials, and local youth about rising crime in the area.
- The second is to Amissa Miller and What Do You Do? Miller will interview people who are unemployed, underemployed, and otherwise find answering the question “what do you do?” uncomfortable. With the stories from these interviews, she will create a theater performance that involves the interview participants and local artists. This piece will be performed free for the community and be followed by a post-show discussion panel to continue the dialogue.
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