The cultural shifts and shocks of COVID-19 are forcing us all to reimagine how we gather to learn, work, and celebrate. Join the Aspen Challenge community in a virtual conversation with Theo Edmonds, a professor at the University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences and co-founder of public health startup, UPOP (Underestimated People Of Purpose), as he explores how the science of hope, trust, and belonging can guide us in creating a path forward. In this hour-long discussion—which will include an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and a special performance by poet Hannah Drake— Theo will demonstrate why one of the worthiest innovation challenges in the months and years ahead will be in creating new forms of Cultural Wellbeing in our places and spaces. Cultural Wellbeing is not about changing what came before, it’s about creating what comes next, together.
- Theo Edmonds, co-founder, Underestimated People of Purpose (UPOP).
- Poetry and Spoken Word by Hannah Drake, poet and activist.
Underestimated People of Purpose (UPOP)
Born and raised in the Appalachian mountain town of Jackson, Kentucky—the same community that is the focus of the NY Times bestseller, Hillbilly Elegy—Theo Edmonds is a wellbeing innovator, artist, and cultural strategist who was named one of “50 People Changing the Face of the South” by Southern Living Magazine. He is a faculty member of the University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Science, where he leads the Center for Creative Placehealing, a 21st Century culture, innovation, and entrepreneurship program at the intersection of public health and the creative industries. He serves as Principal Investigator on several projects with the Center for Health Organization Transformation, a National Science Foundation-sponsored program. His research is focused on using arts, humanities, and cultural analytics to measure and predict innovation capacity while introducing an entrepreneurial model that moves systems beyond diversity toward full inclusion. Theo guides the next-gen entrepreneurship program for the Derby Diversity & Business Summit, served as founding Vice-Chair of Civitas (the Ohio River Valley LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce), and was founding co-chair of the Louisville Health Advisory Board’s Cultural/Social Impact Committee. He is the co-founder of IDEAS xLab, an arts-based nonprofit, and was co-leader for Louisville’s successful 2016 bid to be named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize winner.
Hannah L. Drake
Poet and Activist
Hannah L Drake is a blogger, activist, public speaker, poet, and author of 11 books. She writes commentary on politics, feminism, and race. Hannah’s message is thought-provoking and at times challenging, but Hannah believes that it is in the uncomfortable spaces that change can take place. “My sole purpose in writing and speaking is not that I entertain you. I am trying to shake a nation.”