Big Thinkers

New Festival of Ideas hopes to shape future of Dallas

New Festival of Ideas hopes to shape future of Dallas

Rahaf Harfoush
Digital innovation and foresight strategist Rahaf Harfoush is one of the speakers at the inaugural For the City: The Dallas Festival of Ideas. Photo courtesy of Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture
Vishaan Chakrabarti
New York architect, developer and planner Vishaan Chakrabarti will look at the future of architecture in Dallas with a critical eye. Photo courtesy of Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture
Elizabeth Green
Elizabeth Green, who wrote the New York Times bestseller Building a Better Teacher, will attempt to tackle education in Dallas. Photo courtesy of Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture
Rahaf Harfoush
Vishaan Chakrabarti
Elizabeth Green

The annual TEDxSMU is an event where you can get inspired by people with innovative ideas, something which will also be in high supply at the inaugural For the City: The Dallas Festival of Ideas, taking place February 27-28, 2015, in the Dallas Arts District.

The event, co-presented by the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and Dallas Morning News, will attempt to take stock of where Dallas stands on certain key issues and where it's heading in the future. Various speakers will address Dallas' potential as a physical city, cultural city, innovative city, political city and educated city.

"Our goal is to ignite and challenge the people of Dallas really to think about what they want their city to be," said Dr. Larry Allums, executive director of the Dallas Institute, in a release. "It is our responsibility to bring ideas together from all walks of life, all ages, all cultures and all ethnicities. Once we do that, we can then harvest that energy for the greater good of Dallas."

Among the national keynote speakers will ​be New York architect, developer and planner Vishaan Chakrabarti, who will talk about the physical city; Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, on politics; Elizabeth Green, ​author of Building a Better Teacher, delving into education; ​digital innovation and foresight strategist Rahaf Harfoush talking about innovation; and writer Luis Alberto Urrea investigating the cultural side of things.

There will also be a variety of local speakers and panelists involved in the program, including DMN architecture critic Mark Lamster; DMN cultural critic Chris Vognar; Cafe Momentum executive director Chad Houser; and Teresa Coleman Walsh, executive artistic director/founder of TeCo Theatrical Productions, among others.

The festival, which starts on Friday, February 27, with a kick-off event at Dallas City Performance Hall, will take place at multiple venues of the Arts District on Saturday, February 28, including Dallas City Performance Hall, Dallas Museum of Art, Crow Collection of Asian Art and Meyerson Symphony Center.

The lobby of Winspear Opera House will serve as the event's hub, featuring free family programming like interactive stations, visual art and performances.

The Saturday event will consist of two sessions: A morning segment with conversations between the national keynote speakers and local experts, followed by an afternoon session at which a group of panelists will further discuss the issues.

With each presentation involving an audience Q&A portion, organizers of the Dallas Festival of Ideas hope to encourage community participation in helping shape Dallas' future.

Tickets start at $30, with two-day passes starting at $90. Tickets and passes are now on sale at www.thedallasfestival.com. Students with ID receive 50 percent discount on tickets.