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Labs@Light City

The lights may burn in the evening, but during the daytime Light City offers the Labs@LightCity, a series of innovation conferences that bring together national and local thought leaders and engaged, inspired citizens from diverse backgrounds to explore cutting edge concepts for sparking social change. Changemakers from Baltimore and across the nation will explore the question: How do we become a more responsible and equitable society?

UMBC is the supporting sponsor of MakerLab on Friday, April 20.

EduLab — Wednesday, April 18

Christine Mallinson, professor of language, literacy, and culture, and affiliate professor of gender and women studies

Professor Mallinson will take on codeswitching in a talk entitled, “Baltimore: An Incubator of Language Diversity.” Her research investigates English language variation in its social context, addressing some of the most chronic issues that contribute to educational opportunity gaps in the U.S. — such as the acquisition of literacy skills and in student-teacher communication. She is the co-author of Understanding English Language Variation in U.S. Schools (2011) and We Do Language: English Language Variation in the Secondary English Classroom (2014) and the co-editor of Data Collection in Sociolinguistics: Methods and Applications (2013, 2017). She also serves on the editorial board of the journal American Speech.

She is also an expert on Baltimore speech and shares information about linguistic diversity on her website,

MakerLab — Friday, April 20

Foad Hamidi
Foad Hamidi
, postdoctoral researcher in the Interactive Systems Research Center

Foad Hamidi is a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher and designer. He specializes in the participatory design and evaluation of tangible and embedded systems, including digital living media systems, for children and adults with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Hamidi currently works as a postdoctoral research associate in the Information Systems Department. He is working with Dr. Amy Hurst in the prototyping and design lab (aka, “the pad”), and holds a PhD in computer science from the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University in Toronto.

Passionate about interdisciplinary and intercultural collaboration, he has worked on a number of research and design projects in several countries around the world including Bhutan, Mexico, Spain and Kenya, and has collaborated with artists, activists, entrepreneurs, special education teachers and other designers and researchers on a range of innovative projects.


Panel Discussion on The Making of Gun Show, an exhibition of artwork by David Hess, curated by Kathy O’Dell and displayed at UMBC’s Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture in 2017

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president, UMBC

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president of UMBC since 1992, is a consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities, and school systems. He was named by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He also chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads (2011). His 2013 TED talk highlights the “Four Pillars of College Success in Science.” Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME (2012) and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report (2008), he also received TIAA-CREF’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence (2011), the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award (2011), and the Heinz Award (2012) for contributions to improving the “Human Condition.” UMBC has been recognized as a model for inclusive excellence by such publications as U.S. News, which the past eight years has recognized UMBC as a national leader in academic innovation and undergraduate teaching. Dr. Hrabowski’s most recent book, Holding Fast to Dreams: Empowering Youth from the Civil Rights Crusade to STEM Achievement, describes the events and experiences that played a central role in his development as an educator and leader.

Kathy O’Dell, associate professor of visual arts, special assistant to the dean for education and arts partnerships, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Kathy O’Dell is an art critic and historian of modern and contemporary art, with a focus on performance art, women artists, and issues related to global art. Her writings have appeared in Artforum, Art in America, Lusitania, Performance Research, TDR: The Drama Review, Textile: The Journal of Cloth & Culture, and Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. She was a co-founder, editor, and president of Link: A Critical Journal on the Arts, which published ten book-length volumes between 1996 and 2005. She also curated the first retrospective of the little-known artwork of the well-known feminist writer Kate Millett in 1997 at the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture at UMBC. Author of Contract with the Skin: Masochism, Performance Art, and the 1970s (University of Minnesota Press, 1998), O’Dell is currently finishing a major survey book titled World Art Since 1945, co-written with Duke University Professor Kristine Stiles, and working on a sole-authored book titled The Dot: A Big History of a Small Point. O’Dell has lectured at national and international institutions, including the Getty Research Institute (L.A.), Guggenheim Museum of Art (N.Y.), Mt. Allison University (Canada), Royal Danish Academy of Art (Copenhagen), and Manchester University (U.K.).

Richard Chisolm, ’82 interdisciplinary studies

Richard Chisolm is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and cinematographer with thirty years of production experience who is creating a documentary film on Gun Show. Based in Baltimore, Maryland he has shot films and television programs on a wide variety of subjects in the US and abroad. Deeply committed to the value of real stories and the adventures of real people, Chisolm has worked for PBS, National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel, HBO, and many other broadcast entities. He was a camera operator on the HBO series The Wire and the director of photography for both of ABC’s Hopkins prime time medical documentary series (2000 and 2008). He is also the recipient of a Peabody Award, a Columbia DuPont Journalism Award, two Kodak Vision Awards, four CINE Golden Eagles, and is a Distinguished Alumnus of UMBC.

David Hess, artist and creator of Gun Show

David Hess works mostly with found materials. The materials he finds, he refers to as rescued objects; they are loaded with history and cultural narrative. At Dartmouth College, Hess studied with the realist wood sculpture Fumio Yoshimura, whose precision and humor had a profound impact on Hess. Hess’ interests in science, engineering and narrative filmmaking also inform his sculpture. Frequently, he explores a precarious balance of elements pointed on the verge of movement. Hess is represented in Baltimore by Goya Contemporary Gallery. His work can be found in numerous private and public collections include the collections of the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Industry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Sinai Hospital, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Kaiser-Permanente and the Emerson Corporation.