On January 15, 2011, GBCA’s executive director, J. Buck Jabaily, in collaboration with Scott Burkholder, Dave Troy, and Andrew Hazelett, hosted CreateBaltimore, a convergence of the arts and technology communities at MICA. Over 180 participants joined the unconference for an electrifying day of discourse.
In the unconference format, the conference participants democratically select the content of the sessions, and most of the sessions follow a horizontal hierarchy, where anyone is allowed to participate. The sessions at CreateBaltimore included manufacturing, food, social justice, diversity, collaboration, mapping, film, and many more.
Why CreateBaltimore Came To Be
In recent years, Baltimore has witnessed a surprising renaissance in two important areas: the arts and technology. Even in the midst of a Great Recession, an increasing number of technology entrepreneurs have emerged to build a buzzing hive of innovation, events, and idea-sharing. At the same time, alongside Baltimore’s established cultural institutions, a remarkable variety of innovative artists, performers, and arts organizations have taken root in Baltimore.
These communities, largely working in parallel, have more in common than they realize. Their differences may also be sources of some really interesting cross-pollination.
* More than ever, entrepreneurs need creative methods, design thinking, and oblique strategies. Businesses are rediscovering the importance of “high touch” concepts like story, empathy, play, and meaning.
* Artists and cultural workers are already using technology to shape their work and share their vision. But they could benefit from technologists’ deep knowledge of digital tools and networks (not to mention entrepreneurs’ practical business and marketing savvy).
Ultimately, both communities depend on one another to help make Baltimore a lively, thriving, sustainable, and fun place. Baltimore has immense unrealized potential as a place to live, to work, and to experiment with new forms of social, economic, and cultural organization.
Though the arts and tech crowds already overlap (as seen at events like Ignite Baltimore), there has not been a conscious effort to combine the creative energies and common interests of these two communities.
CreateBaltimore is an event to draw out the surprising similarities and productive contrasts between these two dynamic communities. We believe there will be concrete, practical benefits and profound, creative consequences for both “sides.”
Baltimore’s creative communities are already driving significant social, cultural, and economic change in the city. But the potential exists to do much, much more.
CreateBaltimore was made possible by the generous sponsorship of MICA, Direct Dimensions, Joe Squared, Flying Dog Ales, Zeke’s Coffee, MP3Car, The John Henry Sculpture Initiative, Mindgrub Technologies, MacMedics, Community Analytics, and the individuals participating.
Come back soon for more on CreateBaltimore 2.