The Dallas Morning News
Dallas Festival of Ideas seeks unity
Inclusivity is theme for topics including affordable housing, equitable health care
How can Dallas become a more unified place?
That’s the question on the minds of organizers of the Dallas Festival of Ideas, now in its fourth year. With a theme of The Connected City, the festival will aim to address issues of inclusivity, from affordable housing to equitable health care.
“This will be a year of real focus for how we can be a citywide festival,” said Larry Allums, executive director of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. “I’ve envisioned Dallas as a great city in so many ways, but I want it to be at the forefront of great cities intellectually as well.”
This year’s Festival of Ideas,
sponsored by The Dallas Morning
News and the Dallas Institute, will take place April 7. For the second year in a row, it will co-locate with the Dallas Book Festival at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown Dallas. The four keynote speakers at the Festival of Ideas each represent a track that will include panelists from around the city. The speakers are:
■ For the Educated City, Nikole Hannah-Jones, a MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow and award-winning journalist who has reported on segregation and education for The
New York Times Magazine, NPR’s This American Life and more.
■ For the Physical City, Larry Scarpa, a landscape architect and co-founder of the Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute whose design work “is deeply rooted in the conditions of the everyday,” according to his firm’s website.
■ For the Healthy City, Gina Kolata, The New York Times science and medicine reporter and author of six books about medicine and health care.
■ For the Inclusive City, Wajahat Ali, a contributor at The
New York Times who speaks on the American Muslim experience, Islamophobia and overcoming stereotypes.
That last track, the Inclusive City, is new for this year’s festival. Allums said organizers debated whether to call it the “inclusive” city or “welcoming” city, as the aim is to foster a conversation of how Dallas can welcome newcomers and create an integrated culture citywide.
“We’re thinking a lot about unity in the city and ideas that’ll make it better,” said Mike Wilson, editor of The News. “The whole idea of
the festival has been finding ways to make Dallas a more equitable place.”
The Dallas Festival of Ideas is free, but attendees can register now at thedallas festival.com.
Between the Dallas Festival of Ideas and the Dallas Book Festival, there will be events on all eight floors of the Central Library. Alongside the Festival of Ideas panels and keynote speeches, the Book Festival will feature book sales and signings, readings, workshops, performances and children’s activities.
Announced speakers include Mudbound author Hillary Jordon, Caldecott Medal winner and graphic novelist Mariko Tamaki, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl author Jesse Andrews and Christian fiction author Lisa Wingate. More speakers and panelists are expected to be announced soon.