Leveraging the power of arts, culture, and the creative industries to frame, seed, and scale innovation in health and wellbeing.




Imagine the impact on our nation's health if we had a national network of "Social Determinants of Health Centers!"

That is what we are working toward with HOPEBOX HEALTH - a cultural innovation accelerator for population health improvement.

The HOPEBOX HEALTH Invitational Roundtable will re-imagine America's "community centers" as a digitally connected network of cultural spaces, with sustainable designs and business models, where working poor, underserved and struggling middle class communities (urban and rural) can fight poverty and improve health.



 Roundtable Logistics + Full Agenda

Empirical studies have demonstrated that HOPE is one of the top predictors of wellbeing for both children and adults. This invitational roundtable will bring together different sectors to discuss how HOPEBOX HEALTH's cultural innovation model can create NEW VALUE by unleashing the creative potential of people and ideas at the grass roots level, and, operationalizing HOPE as the driver of innovation (practice, measurement, tools, curriculum, research and funding).


Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Noon-4p | Roundtable

4p-5p | Breakout Meetings as Needed

5:30p-7:30p | Cocktail Reception at Home of Dean Craig Blakely (UL School of Public Health & Information Sciences) + Karan Chavis (Chief of Staff, University of Louisville School of Medicine)

Location:  University of Louisville Health Science Campus
Clinical Translational Research Building (CTR) (Adjacent to Smoketown)
505 South Hancock Street
Louisville, KY 40202  (Map)

Presenting Organization: IDEAS xLab  |  #CultureShapesHealth

Key Participants: Health Professionals. Scientists. Government Leaders. Community Developers. Artists. Philanthropists.

Co-Hosted by:

  • Metro Louisville Government
  • University of Louisville
    • School of Public Health and Information Sciences
    • Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky
    • Center for Health Organization Transformation
    • Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion
    • School of Medicine


Lunch service begins at Noon.  Please arrive, grab your lunch and settle in for a 12:15p start time.  

Prelude to Conversation

The team at IDEAS xLab has curated the HOPEBOX HEALTH Roundtable as a series of presentations, short performances and conversations that build on one another. In addition to the agenda below, you will also find Pre-session Think Prompts.  We recommend that you view the videos in advance of the Roundtable.  We are grateful that you have chosen to give us an afternoon of your life. Your insights, guidance and knowledge are valuable to us.  We look forward to collaborating with you as we pioneer into the wilderness of unopened life to build a just, creative and healthy America.

"Artists in some societies are given a “grace note” — a kind of compass — that inspires them to suggest, imagine and suppose. The successful ones conjure up a desired or fictional reality before that reality exists. People like to believe in possibility. That must be one of our primal drives. If the artist’s narrative is intoxicating enough, it will cause audiences to engage in actions that change the world." 
- Excerpt from Anna Deavere Smith Works, an Aspen Institute policy program dedicated to convening and supporting artists whose work addresses the world’s most pressing challenges.  Read full article.



12:15-1p | Artists Shape Culture

Facilitator:  Hannah Drake, IDEAS xLab


  • Artist as Storyteller/Artist as Visionary
  • How Artists Create Culture Shifts
  • How Artists Identify + Decode Culture Shifts


“The Artist is no other than he who unlearns what he has learned, in order to know himself,” - E.E. Cummings

No artist — whatever the case — has captured both the agony and the rewards of that unlearning more beautifully than James Baldwin

"I really don’t like words like “artist” or “integrity” or “courage” or “nobility.” I have a kind of distrust of all those words because I don’t really know what they mean, any more than I really know what such words as “democracy” or “peace” or “peace-loving” or “warlike” or “integration” mean. And yet one is compelled to recognize that all these imprecise words are attempts made by us all to get to something which is real and which lives behind the words. Whether I like it or not, for example, and no matter what I call myself, I suppose the only word for me, when the chips are down, is that I am an artist. There is such a thing. There is such a thing as integrity. Some people are noble. There is such a thing as courage. The terrible thing is that the reality behind these words depends ultimately on what the human being (meaning every single one of us) believes to be real. The terrible thing is that the reality behind all these words depends on choices one has got to make, for ever and ever and ever, every day."



1p - 1:45p | Culture Shapes Health

Facilitator: Theo Edmonds, IDEAS xLab

  1. Measure HOPE.
  2. Activate HOPE Through the Project HEAL Community Design Process.
  3. HOPEBOX: Re-imagining Community Centers/Spaces as Engines of Transformation.
  4. HOPEBOX HEALTH : Connect the Network of Cultural Innovators and HOPEBOX Sites to create an integrated model that brings together funding, practice, tools, research and curriculum under a common agenda for deploying cultural innovation to accelerate the pace and scale of population health improvement


Interviewed by the legendary Warhol superstar, Penny Arcade,  Gentrification of the Mind  is a gripping memoir of the AIDS years (1981–1996), by Sarah Schulman. Deftly weaving the narrative of place, policy, health, culture and community development, Schulman's book is a compelling lens for understanding the past, the dynamics of death and replacement, gentrification of disease, the personal as political.  



1:45-3p | Communities Shape Change

Facilitator: IDEAS xLab Team

To understand how the 4-Step HOPEBOX HEALTH model can accelerate goals of each sector,  we will break into workgroups.  (1) Health (2) Community Development.

For each sector we will explore:

  • What are the "headline" stories being told in the sector - both positive and negative?
  • Who is telling the story? Who benefits from the story being told this way?
  • What is the "deep story"?
  • What possibilities exist outside the dominant narrative?
  • How might we do funding, practice, research and curriculum development differently if we re-centered our strategies around HOPE?


"Nobody needs people." - Civil Rights Leader Andrew Young (later the United States Ambassador to the United Nations), as he speaks in the video to a rural Appalachian community to help them organize.

The Appalachian region, was the nation's first designated poverty area. This television program shows how the national media framed the region in 1968.  Nearly 50 years later, we are having the same conversation.  This video also helps to clearly outline the potential if poor people (Black and white) work together to organize and envision a different future.



3p-4p | Exploring IDEAS xLab's Massive Transformative Purpose

Facilitator: IDEAS xLab's National Advisors

Developing a strategy for communities to fight poverty, improve health, overcome culturally-based and structural bias -- all while unlocking a period of inclusive, innovation in our private sector, will benefit us ALL.  Some may say this is impossible.

Standing on the shoulders of cultural icons like Louisville's own Muhammad Ali, IDEAS xLab has developed a taste for making the impossible, possible!

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
― Muhammad Ali

Though we face a daunting list of challenges, we’ve learned that the convergence of culture, community, science and technology can uncover big solutions. But mind-blowing breakthroughs don’t just happen. They take teams of bright, dedicated people chipping away at the problem day and night. They take a huge amount of motivation and work. They also require resources and financial support to move the ideas into the world.

With additional support and resources, IDEAS xLab is ready to undertake the big tasks ahead. What drives us to take on such a difficult, uncertain process and stick with it?  It’s the massive transformative purpose that we believe in...

A just, creative and healthy America.

This final session will be focused on taking the next steps, TOGETHER.

  1. Where do you see opportunities and challenges for HOPEBOX HEALTH©?
  2. How could HOPEBOX HEALTH© assist you in achieving culturally-responsive outcomes + creating new value?
  3. What is the opportunity outline for developing a practitioner-guided innovation fund to support HOPEBOX HEALTH©? 
  4. Are you interested in being involved in the development and launch of HOPEBOX HEALTH©? If so, how?