IdeasCity > Detroit > Speakers

IdeasCity Detroit


Charles Adler is a Kickstarter cofounder, designer, and lifelong nomad. Previously he founded the web-based arts magazine Subsystence as well as Source-ID, a multi-disciplinary design studio. Since 1994, his work has centered on supporting independent creatives. The Center for Lost Arts, his next endeavor, continues this thread of empowering creativity. Lost Arts launches this summer in Chicago.

Ellie Abrons is Assistant Professor in Architecture at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Her work has been exhibited at Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York; A/D Gallery, New York; and the Architectural Association, London. Abrons was recently selected, as part of the architectural practice T+E+A+M, to exhibit work in the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Michelle T. Boone is Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. As a member of the Mayor’s cabinet, Boone is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs that support Chicago’s arts and culture sector and creative industries. Previously, Boone was Senior Program Officer for Culture at the Joyce Foundation and Director of Gallery 37, a program that provides job training in the arts to Chicago youth.

Bryan Boyer is a strategic designer with experience in public sector innovation, entrepreneurship, and contemporary architecture. Boyer cofounded Dash Marshall, a design consulting practice focused on strategy and urban innovation. Additionally, Boyer cofounded Makeshi Society Brooklyn and Helsinki Design Lab, and is on the Board of Directors at Public Policy Lab in New York.

Rembert Browne is Writer-at-Large at New York magazine, where he covers culture, entertainment, politics, and style. Browne contributes regularly to Daily Intelligencer, Vulture, the Cut, and New York magazine’s print edition. He has reported from the front line in Ferguson, MO, questioned President Obama on Air Force One, and moderated the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum. From 2011 until 2015, Browne was a staff writer at Grantland.

Halima Cassells is a Detroit-based artist and community activist devoted to foster community inter-connectivity. She designs spaces for authentic engagement, artistic expression, as well as engenders new economy practices. Cassells assumes leadership roles at Center for Community Based Enterprise, O.N.E. Mile project, Oakland Avenue Artists Coalition, Incite Focus Fab Lab, North End Soup, and the Free Market of Detroit.

Maurice Cox is the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Detroit. Previously, he was Director of the Tulane City Center and Associate Dean for Community Engagement at the Tulane University School of Architecture in New Orleans. Additionally, Cox has served as Design Director of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC, where he led the selection of design grants and leadership programs such as the Mayors’ Institute on City Design.

Theaster Gates is a Chicago-based artist who has developed an expanded practice that includes space development, object-making, and performance. He is Founder of the Rebuild Foundation and a professor in the Department of Visual Art and Director of the Arts and Public Life Initiative at the University of Chicago. Gates has exhibited his work and performed at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Punta della Dogana, Venice; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA; and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany; among other venues.

dream hampton is a filmmaker, writer, and organizer who was born and raised in Detroit. hampton has contributed to magazines such as the Village Voice, the Detroit News, Harper’s Bazaar, Vibe magazine, Essence, and Ebony, and collaborated with Jay Z on hisbest-selling book Decoded. She has directed the films I Am Ali and Treasure: From Tragedy to Transjustice, Mapping a Detroit Story. hampton was also Coproducer of the show Black GirlsRock!

Walter Hood is an artist and designer based in Oakland, CA, whose work focuses on community development and sustainability. He is the founder of Hood Design; Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley; and the author of Urban Diaries and Blues & Jazz Landscape Improvisations. Hood has designed a landscape garden for the de Young Museum in San Francisco, a master plan for the Pittsburgh Park Conservancy, and a solar strip for the University at Buffalo, NY.

Jenny Lee is Executive Director of Allied Media Projects. From 2002 to 2010, Lee was a youth organizer for the community organization Detroit Summer under the mentorship of Grace Lee Boggs. She founded Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, a community organization that promotes the usage of media and technology in schools and neighborhoods across the city.

Sonya S. Mays is the President and CEO of Develop Detroit, a real estate and housing development company that focuses on the revitalization of Detroit neighborhoods. Mays has served as Senior Advisor to the Emergency Manager of Detroit and played a key rolein guiding the city through the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. In that position,she was responsible for a diverse range of legal, financial, operational, and economic development activities across Detroit’s restructuring efforts.

Amanda Williams is an artist and architect based in Chicago. Her work spans the fields of painting, installation, and photography, and reflects the cultural relationship between color,race, and space. Williams has exhibited her work at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Chicago Architecture Biennial; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; among other institutions. She is Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Claire Weisz is a founding principal of WXY architecture + urban design. WXY’s architecture and planning work for cities and with communities, is centered around the art of re-imagining infrastructure. Additionally, Weisz is cofounder of The Design Trust for Public Space. She is on the faculty at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and a visiting critic of Urban Design at Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning in New York.