Light City's innovation conferences are 'pay what you can' in 2018 - Baltimore


Dec. 13, 2017 5:10 pm

Light City’s innovation conferences are ‘pay what you can’ in 2018

Labs@Light City is set for April 18-21, 2018, with tweaks to the format and ticketing.

Panelists speak at one of the innovation conferences of Light City 2016.

(Courtesy photo)

Plans are coming together for Light City, the art, innovation and music festival that will be held for the third time in 2018.

Members of Baltimore’s tech community have been particularly involved in the conferences focused on social innovation and equity, known as Labs@Light City.

The event has a couple of key changes for this year. Overall, McDonald said survey data showed 93 percent of last year’s attendees would come again. But some other pieces of feedback led to adjustments.

One big change is in the advertised cost to attend. Tickets to Labs@Light City will be “Pay What You Can.” According to Labs@Light City Chair Jamie McDonald, the change was made as part of an effort to make sure the event is “completely accessible to anyone who wants to participate.”

On the registration page, the value of a ticket will be shown. But attendees will now be able to enter any amount for a ticket.

The organizers always had a mechanism to offer admission conference to anyone who struggled to pay the sticker price, but the new model makes that clearer.

In terms of the format, there will still be seven themes explored. But this year the programming will be held over four days from April 18-21. On three out of the four days, speakers and activities will explore two themes. McDonald said the change was designed to allow people to explore more topics, as many could only commit to a day or two. Additionally, each day will have a design thinking lab during lunch.

“We want this to be not just something where people can sit passively and feel like they learned something interesting, but they can also interact with other people, and share and exchange perspective,” McDonald said.

Speakers announced so far this year include Crisis Text Line CEO Nancy Lublin, Art-activist Aaron Maybin, Fix Baltimore owner K.C. Cooper, Chef Art Smith and former NFL player Mateo Blu. Others include Johns Hopkins Professor Lester Spence, McArthur Genius Grant award winner Joyce Scott, and Union Square Hospitality Group Chief Culture Officer Erin Moran and Black Male Yoga Initiative founder Changa Bell.

Here’s the schedule for each theme:

April 18

  • EduLab@LightCity presented by University System of Maryland.
  • SocialLab@LightCity

April 19

  • GreenLab@LightCity presented by BGE.
  • HealthLab@LightCity presented by Kaiser Permanente.

April 20

  • CultureLab@LightCity presented by Brown Advisory.
  • MakersLab@LightCity.

April 21

  • FoodLab@LightCity presented by Visit Baltimore, followed by Baltimore Food Makers Marketplace by Cureate


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