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Our 2018 Chicago Ideas Week Short List

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It’s our favorite time of year, y’all! No, we’re not talking about sweater-weather autumn. We’re talking about the approach of this year’s Chicago Ideas Week, which of course brings with it our 2018 Chicago Ideas Week Short List!

This annual festival is coming round’ the mountain, kicking off on October 15. Chicago Ideas Week gathers over 200 global thought leaders and innovators to stimulate, inspire and enlighten attendees. We here at Catalyst Ranch relish any opportunity for knowledge-sharing and connecting people over ideas, so we think it’s only natural that our beloved city hosts this one-of-a-kind festival.

With over 150 events scheduled across the city over 7 days, it’s tough to choose where to go and who to hear. Though there are many big draws such as recognizable names and faces Amber Tamblyn, Jamil Smith and Boots Riley, we’ve made a list of our own highlights! These subjects and speakers all caught our eye for pertaining to our fascination: the journey of new ideas, from conception to fruition and beyond!

Naturally, the one event that’s got our juices racing fastest has got lots of folks lined up already, and it takes place right in our own confines. Redefining Being Human in a Tech-Centered World is one of CIW’s interactive Labs Series: Through games, self-reflection, brainstorming, and other hands-on activities, attendees will be challenged to redesign the role of humans in a tech-driven world and learn about the possibilities for technology to make our jobs more human and bring out the best in us. The downside is that this event has quickly SOLD OUT! Since this event is at capacity, Grab a ticket to a different chance to visit Catalyst Ranch, and then check out:

Our 2018 Chicago Ideas Week Short List!:

1. Ideas Day (Morning Session) 

Friday, Oct 19, 2018 9:00 – 11:30 AM @ Harris Theater

Meaningful, lasting change at a citywide level doesn’t only come from policies or social media—it comes from humans. At Ideas Day, get an opportunity to connect to real people who are affected by the causes you care about and make lasting connections centered around creating better communities. Our re-imagined premier event, Ideas Day is an all-new experience that will give you a day to focus specifically on driving positive change in Chicago.

During the morning session, take part in a program that will activate your senses and leave you feeling inspired. Hear from visionaries who are fighting for a better future and see groundbreaking performances that create ideas you can feel. After lunch, you’ll have an opportunity to take action at the moment of inspiration with the help of Chicago Cares, an organization dedicated to transforming citizens into active participants for change through volunteerism. Together, we’ll go to Englewood, Bronzeville, or North Lawndale to participate in volunteer activities with a community organization, encouraging lasting relationships built around change between you and members of the organization, as well as the Chicago Ideas community.


2. Creativity: What Comes After the Spark

Monday, Oct 15, 2018 4:00 – 5:30 PM @ Venue SIX10

Debbie Millman knows a thing or two about ideas. At this Talk, she’ll host a lineup of creators from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines in an effort to take a peek into their processes and ways of thinking. What’s the creative driving force behind a great playwright? How does a musician choose her collaborators? This Talk is a unique opportunity to explore the psyches of some of the most exciting creatives working today in a 90-minute span.


3. Creative Writing Workshop with Statue Stories Chicago

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2018 2:00 – 4:00 PM @ American Writers Museum

If Chicago’s most famous statues came to life, what would they say? Statue Stories Chicago has partnered with professional writers and actors to construct stories around statues from all around the city that people can listen to via their smartphones. Now it’s your turn! In this Lab for history buffs, writers, or anyone who’s interested in tapping into their creative side, learn more about how Statue Stories was created and take part in a Q&A. Take a walk to Bronze Cow and find out what she has to say. Then, reconvene for a guided creative writing session.

This Lab requires a mobile phone, so you can hear the statue stories.


4. Inside Red Bull’s Hack the Hits

Monday, Oct 15, 2018 3:00 – 5:00 PM @ mHUB

Autotune, synthesizers, the Serato mixer. These were all music technologies that changed how we create and consume music today. Chicago Ideas and Red Bull are partnering up to go behind the scenes of music technology and the next generation of engineering geniuses with Red Bull’s Hack the Hits, and we want you to help.

Red Bull’s Hack the Hits program stretches the boundaries of music technology by challenging tomorrow’s leaders in engineering, programming, and artistry. College students fly in from across the country to compete in building and coding new technology that could be the next great industry disruptor.

At Chicago’s first Hack the Hits, students will present their creations to a panel of judges featuring industry experts and YOU: the audience. You’ll get the chance to interact with the contestants and learn about creating technology for music. At the end of the competition, you’ll be able to vote for your favorite group alongside the panel of judges and decide who takes home the top prize.


5. Screening Event: Blueprint for Better: Architects as filmmakers on the front lines of civic change

Thursday, Oct 18, 2018 5:30 – 7:30 PM @ Pritzker Military Museum

When architects and filmmakers come together, the result is a wealth of well-told stories that stretch the bounds of “traditional” architecture. That’s exactly what happened this year during The American Institute of Architects’ fourth annual AIA Film Challenge. The theme of this year’s challenge was Blueprint for Better – stories of architects working with civic leaders to enact positive change.

At this event, we’ll screen five noteworthy films from the Film Challenge, followed by a conversation with this year’s People’s Choice winner. Join us for a cocktail event prior to the screening, and a compelling session that will expand your understanding of how architects are leading the charge toward creating better cities.