September 15 – October 29, 2020

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Presented as a series of live-streamed, online conversations the 2020 Exhibit Columbus Symposium New Middles gathers thinkers, designers, architects, artists, and landscape architects to discuss “What Is The Future of The Middle City?” This question, posed from Columbus, Indiana—in the middle of the U.S. heartland and rooted in the Mississippi River watershed—is one important to many urban centers locally and globally.

The 2020 Symposium takes up four topic areas:

Futures and Technologies
Resiliency and Climate Adaptation
Arts and Community
Indigenous Futures and Radical Thinking.

Each bi-weekly topic is structured as a call-and-response between Tuesday “Thematic Conversations”, presented in partnership with Dezeen, featuring national and international thought leaders, and Thursday “Columbus Conversations” that bring J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize recipients into discussion with local experts and community stakeholders around future forward initiatives being done in Columbus during its bicentennial year.

These dialogues serve as foundational research for all New Middles participants—as a kind of Exhibition Design Brief and “Community Design Brief” that identifies topics, themes, and writings for community partners while growing exhibition participants’ understanding of Columbus’ culture and context as they conceptualize their commissioned installations for the fall 2021 exhibition.


About New Middles

The New Middles 2020 Symposium asks us to consider the role of design and architecture as civic catalysts, especially when faced with the most pressing issues of our time: from community health to climate change impact, from equity and social justice to emergent technology.

This program was made possible with support from Indiana Humanities.

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