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IdeasCity Detroit
Fellows

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Joe Ahearn is a curator and cultural practitioner based in New York. He is Program Director at Clocktower Radio, an online art radio station, and a member of Silent Barn, an arts collective and multidisciplinary community space in Brooklyn.

Taylor Renee Aldridge is a writer and arts administrator based in Detroit. Aldridge is Director of Programs at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art and is a cofounder of ARTS.BLACK, an online publication for art criticism from black perspectives. She was formerly a junior fellow at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Ava Ansari is an artist, educator, and curator based in Detroit. She is Community Events Organizer at the Arab American Museum and a codirector of the Back Room, a curatorial and pedagogical project that facilitates exchanges between artists, curators, and scholars in Iran and the United States. Ansari has exhibited her work at Dixon Place, Eyebeam, La MaMa, and the AC Institute.

Hallie Applebaum is a creative strategist based in Washington, DC. Applebaum is Open Innovation Specialist at the World Bank, where she develops tools and policy for entrepreneurs and governments that enable economic development and modernization through innovative design thinking.

Leonardo Aranda is an artist and programmer based in Mexico City. He is currently Director of Medialabmx, a nonprofit organization focused on art, technology, and social change. Aranda is also Associate Professor at the Faculty of Arts, Autonomous University of the State of Morelos.

Nick Axel is a writer and researcher based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He is Managing Editor of Volume magazine and Interactive Specialist at Forensic Architecture. Axel’s work spans the practices of criticism, research, cartography, and design, and has been published widely. He has lectured at Strelka Institute, Design Academy Eindhoven, and the Bartlett, University College London.

Merve Bedir is an architect and researcher based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She is a PhD candidate at the Del University of Technology and a partner at Land+Civilization Compositions, a studio that focuses on urbanism through the lens of artistic practice. Bedir codirects the Shenzhen Architecture Biennial’s educational program and is a contributor to Volume magazine and the Funambulist.

Francesca Berardi is a writer and journalist based in New York. She is the author of Detour in Detroit and a Master’s candidate at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Berardi’s writing examines urban inequality, the economics of race, and immigration policies, and appears regularly in Italian newspapers and magazines.

Beverly Chou is a designer based in Ann Arbor, MI. Chou is Mechanical Engineer at Leon Speakers, a design company whose vision is to mix art with audio and technology. Her interests lie in sustainable manufacturing, consumer product experiences, and the design of shared objects and spaces.

Carolyn Concepcion is a design strategist and cultural innovator based in Detroit and New York. She is a Master’s candidate at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Concepcion’s work focuses on visualizing possible futures and creating interactive experiences for cultural institutions and social impact organizations.

Gabriela Córdoba Vivas is an artist based in Bogotá, Colombia. She is a cofounder of CaldodeCultivo, a collaborative practice that emphasizes civic, community, and artistic engagement in cities. Her work spans the fields of art, urbanism, photography, and politics.

Afaina de Jong is an architect and writer based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is a PhD candidate at the Del University of Technology and the founder of AFARAI, a design studio that focuses on urban strategies and the do-it-yourself city. De Jong is the author of For the People, by the People and has been a contributing editor of MARK magazine.

Pınar Demirdağ is an artist based in Paris. Demirdağ is a cofounder of Pinar&Viola, a digital art and media collective that works in fashion, graphic design, ceramics, and print. She has collaborated with MTV, Rhizome, Koché, IKEA, and Adidas, and is a regular contributor to Dazed & Confused magazine.

Fataah Dihaan is a creative practitioner based in New York. He is Director of Strategy for the creative agency Social House and a cofounder of the online pop culture network Arcade44. His clients include Pepsi, Adidas, W Hotels & Resorts, Red Bull, and Warner Brothers.

Shaida Ghomashchi is a writer, photographer, and curator based in Tehran. Ghomashchi is the foreign editor of Tarikh Irani, an online platform for studying Iranian sociopolitical history and current affairs. She is also a cocurator of “City Inc.: Bata Cities/Corporate Towns,” a collaborative exhibition exploring urban design and the cultural legacy of the twentieth-century notion of urban utopia.

Jon Gray is a cultural practitioner based in New York. Gray is the founder of Ghetto Gastro, a transdisciplinary collective in the Bronx devoted to youth empowerment, education, and food culture. His work has been featured in the New York Times and the Observer.

Kunal Gupta is a creative practitioner based in New York. He is a cofounder ofBetter, a community-driven sharing start-up that connects people’s skills and resources with businesses and grassroots organizations. Previously, Gupta cofounded the arts collective and multidisciplinary community space Silent Barn and the video game art space Babycastles.

Tommy Haddock is an architect based in San Francisco. Haddock has worked on several international projects for the Tokyo-based firm SANAA, including the recently completed Grace Farms. In 2015 he started his own architectural practice.

Jason Hilgefort is an urbanist and architect based in Rotterdam, Istanbul, and Shenzen. He is the founder of Land+Civilization Compositions, a design studio that develops approaches to urbanism using artistic practice. Hilgefort codirects the Shenzhen Architecture Biennial’s educational program and is a regular contributor to uncube magazine.

Ekene Ijeoma is an artist and designer based in New York. His practice strives to connect people and data through visceral experiences. Ijeoma has exhibited his work at Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Design Museum, the Istanbul Design Biennial, and Salone delMobile. He has lectured at Parsons School of Design and has led critiques at the School of Visual Arts and Yale University.

Tamara Jafar is a musician and artist based in New York. Her work explores the creation of surreal agonistic experiences in urban contexts. Jafar is currently in residence at the New Museum’s art, design, and technology incubator, NEW INC, and is a Master’s candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Stacy’e Jones is a cultural practitioner and DJ based in Detroit. Jones is the founder of Liquid Flow Media Arts Center, an online community devoted to cultural empowerment and the music scene in Detroit.

Toms Kokins is an architect and urban designer based in Riga, Latvia. He cofounded Fine Young Urbanists, a design studio that aims to redefine public spaces through provocative actions. Kokins organizes the Riga Technical University International Summer School in Latvia and lectures at the Umeå School of Architecture in Sweden.

Cindy Lin is a researcher, bio enthusiast, and artist based in Ann Arbor, MI. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information. Lin’s work focuses on the politics, organization, and material engagement of do-it-yourself culture in Indonesia and the American Midwest.

Monty Luke is a curator and music producer based in Detroit. He is Curator of Public Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and a founder of the electronic music label Black Catalogue. Luke has worked for Carl Craig’s techno label Planet E and participated in the D25: Detroit Twenty-Five World Tour, an event that celebrated twenty-five years of techno music in Detroit.

Daanish Masood is a politician based in New York. He is Advisor on Political Affairs and Media at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and a member of BeAnotherLab, a conflict resolution system that merges neuroscience with performance and virtual reality. BeAnotherLab’s work has been featured in Wired magazine and the Verge, and on the Discovery Channel and the BBC.

Tiff Massey is an artist and activist based in Detroit. Her work explores class, race, and contemporary culture through the lens of African adornment and has been exhibited in China, France, South Africa, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Massey was awarded a Kresge Visual Arts Fellowship in 2015 and previously worked as Adjunct Professor of Metalsmithing at Macomb Community College.

Jose R. Mejia is a creative strategist based in New York. He is a cofounder and Editorial Director of Industry Standard, an anti disciplinary studio that focuses on branding, design, and creative direction for the arts, media, and urban development. Previously, Mejia worked on Another Detroit is Happening, a conference that set out to foster connections between activists, creators, and entrepreneurs.

Cara Michell is a Master’s candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In her work, she explores impactful art and design interventions. Michell has worked with Theaster Gates and Place Lab on the master planning of Rebuild Foundation’s Stony Island Arts Bank, an international platform for contemporary art and a cultural space for the local community.

Marsha Music is a writer, poet, and presenter based in Detroit. She has contributed to anthologies, documentary films, an HBO movie, and narratives, including Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit; Untold Tales; and Unsung Heroes: An Oral History of
Detroit’s African American Community, 1918–1967. Music was awarded a Kresge Literary Arts Fellowship and a Knight Arts Challenge award.

Ryan Myers-Johnson is an arts administrator, dance educator, and curator in Detroit. She is the founder of Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts, an annual celebration ofDetroit’s independent and alternative performance arts. Myers-Johnson has curated and choreographed pop-up performances throughout nontraditional spaces across Metro Detroit.

Claire Nowak-Boyd is a community advocate and preservation specialist based in Flint, MI. She works as Urban Planner for the City of Flint, for which she coordinates zoning inquiries and casework. Previously, she was Executive Director of Preservation Detroit and organized anti displacement preservation in St. Louis, MO.

Evelina Ozola is an urban designer based in Riga, Latvia. She is a cofounder of Fine Young Urbanists, a design studio that focuses on redefining public spaces through provocative actions. Ozola is Program Director of the Riga Technical University International Summer School in Latvia.

Paolo Patelli is an architect and researcher based in Milan. He is a cofounder of La Jetée, a collaborative design practice operating at the intersection of space and society. Patelli holds a PhD in Architectural and Urban Design from Politecnico di Milano and has exhibited his work at the 24th Ljubljana Biennial of Design, Slovenia, and in RMIT Gallery, Melbourne.

Margarita Pournara is a journalist based in Athens. She is a staff writer at the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini, where she focuses on urbanism, archeology, politics, travel, and food. Pournara is a member of LABattoir, a cultural platform for the city of Thessaloniki.

Jay Rayford is a cultural practitioner based in Detroit. He is Community Director at the Future Project. Rayford has previously worked with Mobilize.org, the Youth Development Commission, FlockTAG, and FoodCircles, and has spoken on youth civic engagement at the White House.

Unai Reglero is a visual artist and art director in Bogotá, Colombia. He is a cofounderof CaldodeCultivo, a collaborative practice that emphasizes civic, community, and artistic engagement in the city. Reglero is also the founder of Künstainer, a curatorial collective dedicated to the relationship between art and territory.

Alethea Rockwell is an arts professional based in New York. She is Assistant Educator for Adult and Academic Programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Rockwell has also contributed
to exhibitions and public programs at the Courtauld Gallery, Tate Modern, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Slought Foundation.

Ruhi Shamim is a creative practitioner based in New York. She is a cofounder of Better, a community-driven sharing start-up that connects people’s skills and resources with businesses and grassroots organizations. Shamim has also consulted for media and technology start-ups throughout the United States and South Asia.

Giuditta Vendrame is a designer and researcher based in the Netherlands. She is a cofounder of La Jetée, a collaborative design practice operating at the intersection of space and society. Vendrame has exhibited her work at the 24th Ljubljana Biennial of Design, Slovenia, and in RMIT Gallery, Melbourne.

Nikolas Ventourakis is a visual artist and photographer based in Athens and London, whose photographic practice fuses fine art and documentation. Ventourakis was a Fulbright Fellow at the California Institute of the Arts and a recipient of the Deutsche Bank Award in photography. He has exhibited his work in Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, Germany, and the United Kingdom.