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Poet, playwright, performer and designer, Inua Ellams is one of the most celebrated contemporary creators in the United Kingdom for the wide-ranging nature of his work. He is a Member of the Royal Society of Literature and an ambassador of the Ministry of Stories, an organisation that fosters the potential of 8- to 18-year-olds as writers. After publishing four poetry books and receiving the Fringe First prize at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival for his first play The 14th Tale, Ellams sold out his run at the National Theatre with Barber Shop Chronicles. His most recent play The Half God of Rainfall, a work in verse that mixes Greek, Nigerian and basketball mythology, opened in March 2019 in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre to great critical acclaim. In addition to his intense graphic and literary output, Ellams has founded the Midnight Run, an urban tour from dusk to dawn, and the RAP parties that combine poetry slam with urban music. He talks to Peter Florence about how his work crosses disciplines and themes, such as identity, migration and coexistence.
Architect Jeanne Gang is the founder of Studio Gang, which, in addition to being a renowned architectural firm, acts as a hothouse for testing ideas on varying scales, from cities and environments to building materials and their properties. Jeanne Gang has always been interested in pushing the boundaries of architecture and design to build better communities and better buildings: such as the Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theatre in Illinois that included a retractable roof that opens to the sky; Aqua Tower in in Chicago, an 82-storey tower that broke from the traditional norms of skyscraper design by including balconies that vary in size and shape on each floor; the energy-saving high-rise apartments, Solstice on the Park, in Chicago, or the future US Embassy in Brazil.
She is a MacArthur Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, 2016 Architect of the Year by the Architectural Review, and the only architect present in the 2019 list of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people.
Jeanne will talk about architecture and innovation with Martha Thorne, Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design and Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.