Wayne State University

Van Dusen Archive

To Build a Bank: Notes from the Construction Site (October 8 - 9, 2015)

The 2015 Richard C. Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum at Wayne State University welcomed artist and urban planner Theaster Gates to Detroit for a lively keynote and discussion titled “To Build a Bank: Notes from the Construction Site". Following his keynote, Gates was joined on stage by Lauren Hood, director of Live6; Erik Howard, co-Founder and director of Young Nation and The Alley Project; and Rebecca "Bucky" Willis, founder of Bleeding Heart Design and project manager at the Detroit Collaborative Design Center. A half-day workshop took place Friday at the University of Detroit Mercy in partnership with the Live6 Alliance, where participants engaged in a walking tour and visioning session to explore how Live6 can serve as a steward for future development along the McNichols corridor. 

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Buccaneers, Robots, Yetis and Other Agents of Social Change (November 4 - 5, 2014)

The 2014 Richard C. Van Dusen Urban Leadership Forum at Wayne State University welcomed Dave Eggers, best-selling author and co-founder of 826 National, for a lively public lecture titled “Buccaneers, Robots, Yetis and Other Agents of Social Change”. The lecture was followed by a , discussion with Amy Peters, co-founder of Rebel Nell, Julia Putnam, Principal of the Grace Lee Boggs School, and Sharnita Johnson, Program Officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. A smaller, half-day workshop took place Wednesday at the Golightly Education Center in Detroit, where participants teamed up with the creators of 826michigan's Detroit locale to shape their new Robot Factory.

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Three events took place in 2013, each organized around a theme based on the Knight Foundation's Soul of the Community Report. Visit our Tumblr page for photos from each lecture and workshop. 

Joy: in the Midst of Transition (June 17 - 18, 2013)

With safety and blight both real concerns in many areas of Detroit, how can individuals, non-profits, businesses and governments best support, facilitate and encourage activities that use joy as an organizing principle? Guest speakers include executive director of the Laundromat Project, Kemi Ilesanmi; Archie Lee Coates IV from the multi-disciplinary design studio PlayLab; and artist, designer and urban planner, Candy Chang.

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Beauty: in Unexpected Places (September 9 - 10, 2013)

Recognizing the transitional nature of the Detroit landscape, what are unique ways to continue to enhance the aesthetic qualities of the urban fabric? Three national experts explore unique ways to drive the enrichment of place, and how these approaches often build stronger communities. Speakers include NY Times Best-Selling author, Eric Weiner; the founder and executive director of ArtWorks, Tamara Harkavy; and co-founder of BoxCar Grocer, Alison Cross.

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Welcome: in Unfamiliar Territory (December 2 - 3, 2013)

Why is it important to welcome new faces, ideas and entities to Detroit, and how this can be done while maintaining a sense of identity, authenticity and pragmatism? Speakers include nationally renowned comedian, author, and entrepreneur Baratunde Thurston of Cultivated Wit and The Onion; Jeff Aronoff of D:hive Detroit; cultural critic and producer Dream Hampton; and Kirk Mayes of the Brightmoor Alliance.

Click here to view photos from the event!