Most know Christine Knapp as a sustainability ambassador via her outreach roles with Penn Future
, the Next Great City Intiative
, the Passyunk Square Civic Association
and, most recently, the Philadelphia Water Department
. But during Ignite Philly 11
(held last Thursday at Johnny Brenda's
), Knapp gained a new title: karaoke master.
After sharing best practices from her 15 years of experience, Knapp inspired Indy Hall
's Alex Hillman and Flying Kite
’s Michelle Freeman to join her onstage for a rendition of Journey's "Don’t Stop Believing."
Such is the spirit of Ignite Philly, where local leaders put their titles aside to share their passions. Spoken word artist Erica Hawthorne gave a lively pitch for Small But Mighty Arts Grant
, her mission to recover the 72 percent of art in Philly that’s gone "missing" due to lack of funding. Brett Hart of the Wooden Boat Factory
explained how wood and the Delaware River are transforming the youth of his native Frankford ("This wood is like my life -- it's hard, but I’m trying to shape it into something," a student once told him). Hive76
’s Jordan Miller, a Penn scientist, demonstrated how he generates living vascular structures via 3-D printing -- in sugar.
Ignite 11 also reflected Philly’s burgeoning love for open data
. Mark Headd, the city's chief data officer, opened the evening by making a compelling analogy between Athenian Democracy and urban open data usage, warning that many Philadelphians still can't participate due to the digital divide (a problem he’s addressing with GetYourToga.org
). Dave Zega and Jake Wells of ElectNext
revealed their method for using data to verify the claims of politicians. Ben Garvey showed Ignite how data can be made visual -- and more digestible. And Stephanie Alarcon, Amy Gutherie and Georgia Gutherie of the Hacktory
shared "Hacking the Gender Gap," a database that tracks causal experiences leading to the gender disparity in tech.
Other notable speakers included Amanda Feifer-O'Brien, the force behind a local movement to save beneficial micro-organisms via fermentation; Drew Beecher, president of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
and leader of a national tree-planting campaign; and Ashvika Dhir, the Pennsbury High School Senior behind CauseHub.com
, a meta-blog for teenage change-makers.
Ignite 11 was hosted by P'unk Ave
's Geoff DiMasi, Indy Hall's Adam Teterus and Breadboard
's David Clayton. They also awarded Girl Develop It Philly
-- presenters at Ignite 10 -- $1000 to provide tech class scholarships for 50 local women.
Ignite Philly 11