NEXT Presents The Cities Project: New Life For New England’s Industrial Past

John Dankosky, Elihu Rubin, Cathy Stanton, Nico Wheadon, and John Thomas

New England is filled with old factory buildings and other remnants of our industrial history. This built environment is one of our distinguishing characteristics, but it also provides challenges as our cities grow and adapt. How do we best reuse spaces that contain cultural importance? How do we balance this adaptive conservation with the need for new civic spaces? Join us for a live event NEXT in collaboration with The Cities Project as we travel around our region and learn about how communities are honoring their industrial heritage while looking to the future.

Ideas talks are going on all Festival long! Read our advice on how to get the most from these explorative conversations >

John Dankosky

John is Executive Editor of the New England News Collaborative, an eight-station consortium of public media newsrooms. He is also the host of NEXT, a weekly program about New England, and appears weekly on The Wheelhouse, WNPR's news roundtable program.

Elihu Rubin

Elihu Rubin is an architectural historian, city planner, and documentary filmmaker.  He is Associate Professor of Urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture. He received a PhD in the History of Architecture and Urbanism and a Master of City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA from Yale.  His documentary films include “On Broadway: A New Haven Streetscape,” “Convergence and Other Rituals of the New Haven Green,” and “Next Question: The May Day 1970 Oral History Project” (the last two both collaborations with the International Festival of Arts and Ideas).  Rubin is the author of Insuring the City:  The Prudential Center and the Postwar Urban Landscape (Yale University Press, 2012) which received Best Book awards from the Urban History Association and the Society of American City & Regional Planning History.  As a professor at Yale, he has worked with his students to execute a range of community-based public art projects around architecture, preservation, and memory including a current exhibit called “New Haven Industrial Heritage Trails.”

Cathy Stanton

Cathy Stanton is a cultural anthropologist and public humanist who teaches at Tufts University. She is the author of “The Lowell Experiment: Public History in a Postindustrial City” (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006), which explored the role of Lowell National Historical Park in reshaping perceptions of a deindustrialized textile city. The book won the National Council on Public History Book Award in 2007. She has served as a consultant to the National Park Service for many years and has produced studies of park-affiliated communities including historical reenactors, industrial workers, farmers, and summer cottagers. Her recent work focuses on the uses of food and farm histories within contemporary efforts to rescale food systems in the American northeast. Through classes and public projects, she has worked with rural and suburban historic sites, a regional land trust, and an urban public market to broaden public understandings of the pasts, present, and possible futures for small-scale food production and marketing in the region.

Nico Wheadon

Nico Wheadon is executive director of NXTHVN, a multidisciplinary arts incubator in New Haven, Connecticut. She is an adjunct assistant professor of Art History and Africana Studies at Barnard College, and Professional Practices at Hartford Art School within the interdisciplinary MFA program. Wheadon is an independent writer and regular contributor to The Brooklyn Rail, with her first manuscript slated for publication by Rowman & Littlefield in 2020. She is the former director of public programs and community engagement at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she was celebrated for the pioneering artist projects, community engagement initiatives, and strategic partnerships she delivered during her five-year tenure. She has lectured internationally at universities, conferences and symposia, and currently serves on the advisory boards for More Art, and the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. Through her highly collaborative and experimental practice, Wheadon mines the rich intersections of contemporary art, dialogic pedagogy and social practice. She holds an MA in Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship from Goldsmith's College, University of London, and a BA in Art-Semiotics from Brown University.

John Thomas

As Coordinator for Community Engagement, John engages residents, community organizations and leadership of Hartford's North Neighborhood through Community Solutions' North Hartford Partnership. Through community meeting attendance and networking, John establishes strong community relationships and organizes efforts to implement a Sustainability Plan for Hartford's North neighborhood via the Health Impact Assessment process. John engages North Hartford personally and through writing and disseminating information about the Swift Factory Development while gathering input about community expectations for the factory's use. 
Prior to joining the Community Solutions team, John served as an organizer for various political campaigns in Hartford's north end. He also served for eight years as a staff writer and photographer for Hartford's African-American newspaper, The Hartford Inquirer.

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