We’re thrilled to announce the arrival of our inaugural event series, Dinner+Discourse, which will take place in major cities across the U.S. Listen to associate editor Adrian Thompson and brand director Steven Sloan discuss the details of what attendees can expect, including good cocktails and great conversations.
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Read the transcript below:
Adrian Thompson: Welcome to the I Hear Design podcast. I’m Adrian Thompson, associate editor for interiors+sources. Today, I want to talk about an exciting new event series that interiors+sources is going to start hosting in 2020.
It’s going to be called Dinner+Discourse. And our very first event is actually kicking off this January, coming up very soon. So, here to share some more details on these exciting events is our very own brand director Steven Sloan. Steven, thank you so much for joining me for another podcast.
Steven Sloan: Thanks for asking me to be here, Adrian. It’s good to talk with you again.
Adrian: Always. So, I know Dinner+Discourse was kind of your brainchild. And I’m really excited about this because it’s something entirely new for us at interiors+sources. So, just to kind of get us started off, for audience, can you please describe the idea behind these events and why you feel there’s a need for them in the design community today?
Steven: Yes, so Design Connections is the event that we host twice a year, once in February, once in October, and this Dinner+Discourse, the D2 events that we’re calling them, build on Design Connections. The idea is that the audience, we will encourage the past Design Connections alumni to attend the Dinner+Discourse event and bring a plus one. So, it’s another way for us to connect with this group of designers who we’ve grown really close to, but also expand to some other folks that they’d like to invite to the event as well.
Adrian: Absolutely. I know our Design Connections events can get kind of large depending on which time of year we’re hosting it, but these Dinner+Discourse, D2 as you said we nicknamed them, they’ll be a little more intimate of a setting. Not as many people, correct?
Steven: Very much so, yeah. This will be a one-night event, two hours of cocktails and conversation, 20 to 30 designers, some of the folks from the interiors+sources content team, myself, for just an evening of conversation. That was the goal of it, was to further the conversation that comes from Design Connections. We have two full days of dialogue at the event. But still, there’s so many things that we don’t cover, ideas that we want to expand on, and having these spread throughout the year will allow us to do that.
And selfishly, it also provides us with insights into what’s happening in the market. I don’t think we’re so vain to think we have all the answers when it comes to the design world and what we need to be talking about. So, it’s great to get those insights from our readers and designers in the field. Help us guide what we should be talking about in the magazine, and on our podcasts and at future events.
[Keynote from Design Connections: Joyce Bromberg Talks Disruption in the A&D Industry]
Adrian: And it sounds like it’s going to be a great way, like you said, to link our Design Connections events, and what goes on and what kind of conversations we have at these events, so we can kind of carry them on and carry them forward throughout the year. Because you have these long gaps between events, whether it’s a trade show, conference, and it’s just like you talk about so many great ideas, it’s like, well, how can we continue to talk about these in an easier fashion? And this is a great way to do it.
Steven: Yeah. We tend to leave Design Connections with some challenges to the audience. The challenge leaving the February events this year was how do you become a better mentor to younger designers? How do you get young people interested in design? And that was a challenge leaving the conference. But then we don’t talk about it again until the next Design Connection six months later.
So, this way we can continue the conversation throughout the year and keep moving these ideas forward. Because we don’t want to just get together and brainstorm and then let ideas go to die in the day-to-day of all of our lives. We try to keep things moving forward and find solutions to problems and come up with new ideas. Plus, it’s fun. I mean in the title is Dinner+Discourse. So, we feed you well, there’s some cocktails, it’s a good time.
Adrian: Exactly. You got the yummy food involved. But of course, like the name Discourse says, we’re tying into those key conversations, some thought leadership topics—what we’re seeing trending, what is maybe causing a bit of a stir in the field, and it’s really how we’re taking discourse and interpreting it and translating it into this agenda.
So, I don’t want to give away too much information, but what kind of vague themes or topics can you maybe expect to see early on in maybe January or February’s events?
Steven: Yeah, so we’re keeping the topics—we’re not totally committing to any topics for the year partially because we want to hear what’s happening in the market before we set our agenda for each of these events, because they’ll be an overarching theme for each of these nights. But we’re looking at the very first one, building off of our December cover, which just came out with the amazing Susana Covarrubias, the design director at Gensler and the IIDA president for 2020, and really about the lack of women leaders in the design field and how do we fix that.
[Check this out: Design Connections Attendees Use Talents in Night of Giving]
And talking about that in a bigger way and also looking at diversity in general in design. And the question that I pose is, “What diversity in design?” Because there really isn’t. I mean all the statistics show that we are lacking in diversity. So, how do we how do we fix that as an industry?
The first couple evenings will address those issues. And then throughout the rest of the year, we have some ideas of things we want to talk about, like, how do we fix the open office? It is definitely broken, so how do we fix that?
There are some other topics, but those will be formed through the conversations we’re having from the first two months of the year, and what we’re hearing, what we’re seeing and then that will influence the themes for the rest of the year. Because like I said, we don’t have all the answers. We learn so much from our readers and having our feet on the ground. And that’s where we will come up with topics.
Adrian: That’s why we’re excited to also host these events in a variety of locations. That way we can get all these different perspectives from all over the country. I know these events are going to be hosted in different locations. Do you want to give us any insight as to where we can expect some D2 events going on, Steven?
Steven: Yeah. Originally, we were going to do six next year. And then we’ve added one to tie into our cover for December with Susana. So, we’ll kick off with Seattle. And then we have LA, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and Washington DC. So, we’ll have seven total spread around the country.
Adrian: Exciting. And how do people learn more about them? I know you mentioned Design Connections. So, is this strictly being registered for Design Connection attendees? Is it available to the public? If people want to get involved and registered to attend, how can they go about doing that?
Steven: Yes, so the past Design Connections attendees will be our first group of people we go out to, but it’s not limited to just them. Because we do want to bring in more voices to the conversation. And we will be sending personalized invitations to our readers in each of these different cities in the months leading up to the event.
But in the meantime, anyone can feel free to email me directly, and let me know that you live in Chicago and you would love to participate, and I can get you on our list. So, emailing me directly is the best way right now, and then we will be sending out the email invitations as each event gets a little bit closer.
Steven: And my email address, in case you need it—I don’t know how podcasts work—there might be a screen at the very beginning where you can see my email, but it’s Steven.Sloan@interiorsandsources.com.
Adrian: Straight forward.
Steven: Yep. And long.
Adrian: It is. We do have a long title, we do. But we’re covering a lot of topics, you got to fit it all in.
No. We’re excited for our first more exciting that Suzanne is going to be joining us, especially after we just had a great conversation with her on women in the design industry and how we can match up the number of those who are studying to the number of women in leadership positions.
Adrian: So, I think it’ll be an exciting way to start off our first Dinner+Discourse series for 2020. And then of course, you can always find out more coverage on interiorsandsources.com, as we’re definitely going to be talking about these events there. And you should definitely sign up for our newsletter, our digital newsletter, so you can learn about the events through that way as well.
But Steven, thank you so much for sharing details about Dinner+Discourse. I know we’re all excited about it. We hope the audience and those who are interested in attending are just as excited as we are. Cocktails, good conversation, and I think lots of good things coming our way.
Steven: Yeah, perfect. Thank you, Adrian, and we will see you all on the road in 2020.
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