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UCLG 2nd World Culture Summit: Jeju, South Korea

The 2nd UCLG Culture Summit will take place May 10-13, 2017 in Province of Jeju, Republic of Korea. The Summit is the leading annual convening for municipal governments and key stakeholder groups concerned with advancing the essential role of culture in sustainable development. I will participate in an interactive panel that will examine different approaches to evaluating cultural aspects of sustainable development.

Entitled “Commitments and Actions for Culture in Sustainable Cities,” the 2nd UCLG Culture Summit will respond to the growing importance given to the nexus of culture, cities and sustainable development by international organizations and frameworks by focusing on the following themes:

Implementing Culture 21 Actions: How are cities in different world regions working to fully integrate culture in their sustainable development strategies, programs, and projects? What progress can we observe? What are the challenges?

Towards a Global Culture 2030 Goal: The Summit will review progress made towards the goals outlined in the UN 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda and identify critical steps to strengthen global knowledge on culture and sustainable development long-term.

Cultural Rights and Local Alliances for Culture: Participants will learning from emerging efforts around the world to advance cultural rights and inclusive practices. Around the world, many cities have established participatory models of local governance have integrated cultural practices into sustainable development. Internationally, progress in the field of cultural rights is also being made by the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, who will present current research at the 2017 Summit.

Strengthening Economies in the West: A Regional Forum for Coal-Reliant Communities

Event: Strengthening Economies in the West: A Regional Forum for Coal-Reliant Communities

Date: April 19 – 21, 2017

Location: Denver, Colorado

Is your county or region experiencing economic challenges due to the contraction of the coal industry?  Are you seeking effective approaches to support economic diversification, workforce development, and improved quality of life in your community? Join the National Association of Counties and the NADO Research Foundation in Denver for a free forum designed to help coal-reliant regions in Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming imagine alternative futures.
This convening will bring together stakeholders from a variety of public and private sectors for an educational and interactive gathering to share best practices, lessons learned, and new opportunities to support economic diversification.  Prepare for a mix of plenary sessions and smaller group discussions covering a variety of topics including infrastructure, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, local foods and arts, and tourism.
Join me the afternoon of Thursday, April 20th to explore how creative development strategies can help regions in transition achieve greater cultural vitality, equity, and environmental resilience.


Art of the Rural: Next Generation National Advisory Group

Next Generation: The Future of the Arts & Culture Placemaking in Rural America engages artists, organizations, and communities across the public and private sector to advance collaboration, share innovative strategies and research, and elevate emerging leaders in the field. With support from The University of Iowa and the National Endowment for the Arts, this initiative is designed and facilitated by Art of the Rural and the Rural Policy Research Institute in concert with a range of partners. I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful group as we celebrate the many faces of American life and create thriving places beyond our metropolitan regions.

Next Generation operates through three interlinked activities: Regional Networks that spark exchange, collaboration, and dissemination of best practices; a Digital Learning Commons that shares this knowledge and contributes further perspectives from across the rural arts and culture field; and a Rural Creative Placemaking Summit that will merge the activities of the Networks and Commons and expand the rural placemaking network.


Art of the Rural is a collaborative organization with a mission to help build the field of the rural arts, create new narratives on rural culture and community, and contribute to the emerging rural arts and culture movement. They work online and on the ground through interdisciplinary and cross-sector partnerships to advocate for engaged conversation and policy that transcends imposed boundaries and articulates the shared reality of rural and urban America.

Photo 1 courtesy of The 100 to 115 Rural Arts and Culture Map has been developed by M12 Creative Director Richard Saxton to highlight the rich offerings of the High Plains and Rocky Mountain West regions of the United States. This map is intended to bridge both geographic and cultural distance and offer a platform for connection between artists, institutes, cultural sites, and tourists in the expanse of the American landscape that is roughly bracketed by the 100 and 115 latitudinal meridians.

Photo 2 courtesy of the incredible mural artist Chip Thomas, aka Jetsonorama.


GIA 2015 Conference: Experience the Unexpected

Event: Evaluation Test Kitchen

Date: October 19th, 2:00pm – 3:15pm

Location: Los Angeles, California

Responsible evaluation of arts and social change work will require disrupting mainstream evaluation practices that can undermine or distort the connections between art, culture, and social justice. Evaluation Learning Lab (ELL) is a partnership of Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, the Arts X Culture X Social Justice Network, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Over the past year, ELL has convened arts practitioners, evaluators, and funders to develop these resources. Participants will test frameworks and criteria designed for assessing social and aesthetic qualities and outcomes and increasing equity and access in review processes coming out of the Lab’s test kitchen. Participants will offer feedback regarding usefulness of frameworks in their grantmaking and in balancing power in evaluation. Discussion will inform positive actions grantmakers can take in their own review and evaluation activities and guide further development of practical field resources.

Organized by Pam Korza and Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Co-directors, of Animating Democracy at Americans for the Arts. Presented by Kiley Arroyo, Executive Director, Cultural Strategies Council, Denise Brown, Executive Director, Leeway Foundation, and Mark Valdez, independent artist.


Image courtesy of Populous / HMC Architects 


The Art and Science of Place-Based Evaluation

Event: The Art and Science of Place-Based Evaluation

Date: October 5th and 6th 2015

Location: San Diego, California

The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, and the Neighborhood Funders Group will host this national convening on effective practices and new approaches to evaluating place-based initiatives.

“The Art and Science of Place-Based Evaluation”  builds on two prior events hosted by the Aspen Institute “Towards a Better Place” and the University of Southern California “Prioritizing Place” to provide a deeper, targeted discussion about how to use evaluation to improve understanding of place to accelerate change.

The results of this convening will be curated into a central portal, designed to extend the lessons learned from GEO’s Place-Based Evaluation Community of Practice. This convening, and its resulting Community of Practice, will ensure an ongoing dialogue for continued learning on place-based evaluation’s role in affecting positive change. Stay tuned for a review of the event and the insights that emerge.

 Photo credit: J.R. – Inside Out Project – Naplouse, Palestine (2011)



Keynote Speaker—8th International Conference on Planning and Design, Taiwan

Event: 8th International Conference on Planning and Design (ICDP), National Cheng Kung University
This focus of this biennial international forum is to exchange knowledge and emerging research on the leading edge of industrial design, architecture, urban planning, and technology.

Theme: Agenda Tomorrow

Date: May 25th – 28th, 2015

Location: Tainan, Taiwan at the National Cheng Kung