Labs@LightCity April 18-21


Celebrating its third year in 2018, Labs@LightCity is one of the largest and most unique social innovation convenings in the US.

From Wednesday, April 18 through Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the IMET Columbus Center,  leading national thinkers will share the stage with brilliant Baltimoreans.  Emerging voices and established changemakers will explore the innovations and practices that will build stronger, more equitable cities in seven Labs: Education, Green, Arts, Social, Health, Makers and Food.

The content of each Lab is curated by a group consisting of artists, activists, community leaders, executives and entrepreneurs.

Every attendee of Labs@LightCity will have the opportunity to learn, network, and be heard.

Labs@LightCity is accessible to all, regardless of ability to pay.  New for 2018, Labs@LightCity introduces "Pay What You Can" pricing. Join us at whatever ticket price you can afford. And if you are able to cover the cost of a ticket for a neighbor, "Pay What You Can" for someone else.

Why do more than light up the night at Light City? Because we believe that Baltimore can be a global center for social innovation, and Labs@LightCity is the annual gathering that uplifts the innovators who are moving society forward.

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Labs@LightCity 2018

Time April 18 April 19 April 20 April 21
Track 1 8am - 12pm Education Green Arts & Culture Food (Beginning at 10am)
Track 2 1pm - 5pm Social Health Makers Food (Ending at 4pm)

Labs@LightCity 2018 Speakers


Explore the labs from 2017

HealthLab explored emerging technologies and innovative practices that have the potential to affect the quality of life and health outcomes for all people, here and around the globe.

Highlights for HealthLab included an opening keynote from physician, biological scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee; a conversation between Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and “The Future is Here: The Peril and Promise of our Genetic Information” featuring Jeff Kahn, Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and Dr. Luis Diaz, Head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

GreenLab GreenLab encourages citizens to join the conversation about how we think about energy, ecology and economics while providing a glimpse into innovations that provide a more sustainable path to the future.

Topics explored at GreenLab include “How Does Your Garden Grow? Encouraging conservation in urban communities,” a panel by The National Aquarium featuring Curtis Bennett, National Aquarium, Genevieve LaRouche, Chesapeake Bay Field Office, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Holly Shields, National Wildlife Federation. U.S. Forest Service Team Leader Dr. Morgan Grove and Vice President of Humanim Jeff Carroll educate the audience on how The Baltimore Wood Project is improving environmental, economic, and social outcomes in the city and Abell Foundation Vice President Lynn Heller speaks on “Our Clean Energy Future: Climate Change, Poverty, and Eliminating the Energy Divide.” 

EduLab encouraged audiences to rethink learning and join future-focused education innovators for a dialogue on the central role of education in our society. 

EduLab opened with a welcome from University System of Maryland Chancellor Robert Caret followed by a conversation between University of Maryland, Baltimore County President Freeman Hrabowski and New York Times best-selling author, technology policy expert and innovator Alec Ross. Then, University System of Maryland faculty members participate in “Dear Mr. President:” A lightning round of ten big ideas for reshaping the future of America, framed in a 5-minute pitch to the President. Noted education leaders Dr. Kim Schatzel, President of Towson University and CEO of Baltimore City Schools Dr. Sonja Santelises discuss their backgrounds, the moments that make them love their jobs, their biggest challenges and their hopes for the future. 

SocialLab@LightCity is a gathering of social entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers to explore, together, how we can build a more equitable and responsible society.

Featured speakers at SocialLab included opening keynote Luvvie Ajayi, renowned blogger and New York Times best-selling author of I’m Judging You, author and speaker Nilofer Merchant, and Destiny Watford, the youngest person to ever win a Goldman Environmental Prize. 

DesignLab features some of the most inventive designers, makers, artists, entrepreneurs, storytellers and thinkers convening to explore how emerging, creative practices shape our world and create change.

Nationally acclaimed speakers at DesignLab include Andrew Coy, Founder of Initial Velocity, former director of the Digital Harbor foundation and former Senior Advisor for Marketing at the White House; 2016 MacArthur Genius Grant Recipient and artist Joyce J. Scott; Founder & CEO of Maker Media and MAKE magazine Dale Dougherty and Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage Kwame Kwei-Armah. Also speaking is Dan Pallotta, who invented the multi-day charitable event industry, CJay Philip, Director of Dance & Bmore and Thibault Manekin, Co-founder of Seawall Development. 

FoodLab unites acclaimed culinary thinkers and chefs with local personalities in Baltimore’s food scene to explore the world of food and how our attitudes toward what we eat may change the trajectory of society. Among the nationally acclaimed chefs participating in FoodLab were Chef Jeff Henderson, Creator of the Food Network’s “The Chef Jeff Project” and host of “Flip My Food,” who delivered an opening keynote for attendees on the power of culinary training for citizens transitioning into the workforce. Marcus Samuelsson, award-winning chef, restaurateur and author, gave the closing keynote and a cooking demonstration of Berbere Smoked Gravlax with Deviled Eggs and Pickled Mustard and Fried Chicken with Killer Collards with samples for the audience.