2015 Best Minds Conference

Charlotte 2025: The Connected City
James L. Knight School of Communication
Queens University of Charlotte
March 20-21, 2015

The annual Best Minds conference is hosted by the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte. The conference is a unique opportunity to listen to, interact with, and learn from some of the best minds in the merging fields of digital media literacy and civic engagement. This year, the Knight School is gathering together the “best minds” across education, business, technology, cultural production, and civic engagement, to host a public conversation about developing a strategic vision for the connected city, and building the infrastructure for digital media literacy. Our gathering is focused on increasing area-wide digital and media literacy, bridging the digital divide, and fostering the application of new technologies to civically-engaged ends. Only by accelerating digital and media literacy can we fully realize the promise of a connected city.

Taking the lead from Google’s “fiberhood” movement, and following the company’s recent announcement to expand into Charlotte, this year’s conference considers what it means to build a vibrant, interconnected, engaged, information ecosystem. Fiber is a conduit, but what is the fabric that holds our families, neighborhoods, communities, businesses, and cities together? What does the connected city look like? How do we make technology relevant to the residents of our cities? Do our goals of universal adoption include practical policies for digital literacy and inclusion? The event will examine how enhanced information flow will impact five key community measures: Family, Education, Cultural Production, Civic Engagement, and Economic and Workforce Development.

On Friday, March 20, the Knight School is hosting a night of networking and a panel discussion, exploring the impact of new information technologies and strategies for digital literacy in each of the five key areas. The evening will spotlight expert voices from each field.

Keynote Speakers: 
Aaron Deacon, Managing Director, KC Digital Drive
E.J. Elgin, Instructional Technology Facilitator, Project L.I.F.T.
John Horrigan, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center
Twyla McDermott, City of Charlotte
Amy Hawn Nelson, Director of Research, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute
Aaron Smith, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center
Erica Swanson, Head of Community Impact Programs, Google Fiber
Keva Walton, SVP Member Engagement, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

Eric Freedman, Dean, Knight School of Communication

Event Schedule:
5:30-6:30 Reception and Networking – Fine Arts Center Lobby
6:30-8:00 Panel Discussion – Ketner Auditorium, Sykes Learning Center

Eventbrite - Best Minds Conference