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First American Learning Cities Networking Conference

We'll explore what a “Learning City” is and how cities, neighborhoods and citizens can gain cultural, social and economic benefits from becoming a recognized as a Learning City.

November 14-15, 2019 Lowell, Mass.

Graphic illustration (that is supposed to look like paint) for "Lowell City of Learning". Lowell is a city of learning and the idea of Lowell as an educational hub is built into its DNA going back to Patrick Mogan’s vision in the late 1970s of Lowell as “an educative city.” The urban National Historical Park was part of that vision and has made Lowell a destination city. Lowell has the educational institutions, the museums and art galleries, the community of artists of all kinds, and hundreds of community groups that offer educational programming that stretches from vegetable gardening to glass blowing to citizenship training. As is often said, you can go from kindergarten to a Ph.D. and never leave the city.
  • Thursday, November 14 at 8:30 a.m.: Workshops and Presentations at Alumni Hall Lounge, UMass Lowell North Campus
  • Friday, November 15 at 9 a.m.: Lowell as a Learning City: Site Visits and Exploration beginning at the Boott Cotton Mill Museum

This conference is an opportunity to share experiences with cities who have been Learning Cities for many years, those who have just started the process, and those who are considering becoming a Learning City as a strategy for economic, social, cultural sustainable revitalization. It is also an opportunity to explore the potential value of creating an ongoing network of North American cities interested in becoming designated Learning Cities.


Conference Schedule

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Workshops and Presentations at Alumni Hall, UMass Lowell North Campus

  • 8:30 a.m.: Registration and Coffee
  • 9 a.m.: Official Welcome and Introductions: Mayor William Samaras, Provost Joe Hartmann, UMass Lowell
  • 9:15 a.m.: Cecelia IdkikaKalu: The Value of a City of Learning
  • 9:30 a.m. – Noon: Learning Cities Experiences and Reports: round table discussion
    • Dennis Barrett – Learning City, Cork
    • Skype or Video:
      • Thomas Jarvis, Bristol Learning City
      • Natalie Lewis, Learning Regions Coordinator, University of Wolverhampton
  • Noon – 1 p.m.: Lunch at Alumni Hall
  • 1-4 p.m.: Creating a Learning City: North American Initiatives
    • Annalisa Raymer – The University and Learning Cities, Cornell, Ithaca, NY
    • Maria Liu Wong – City Seminary, New York
    • Lex Dennis, Drucker Institute, South Bend (Skype)
  • Discussion and Ideas
    • Festivals of Learning
    • Examples from partners in Lowell:
  • Students, Universities and Learning Cities – John Saltmarsh, UMass Boston
  • UNESCO and Learning Cities: Challenges and Strategies
  • 5 p.m.: Formal Signing of Lowell / Cork MOU – Mayor, City Hall
  • 6:30 p.m.: Dinner in Lowell

Friday, November 15, 2019

UMass Lowell Campus Recreation Center

  • 9 a.m. – Noon: Lowell as a Learning City: Site Visits and Exploration
    • Lowell National Historical Park Boott Cotton Mills Museum and Welcome by Superintendent Celeste Bernado
    • Ride on Trolley to UMass Lowell/Mill City Grows Greenhouse and Education Center
    • Welcome Ruairi O’Mahony (UMass Lowell) and Francey Slater (MCG)
  • Noon - 1 p.m.: Lunch at UMass Lowell Rec Center
  • 1-3 p.m.: Next Steps and Thoughts at UMass Lowell Rec Center
  • 6 – 7:30 p.m.: Presentation: Prof. Mary Murphy, University College, Cork: “Boris, Borders and the Backstop: Ireland’s Brexit Battle.” Held at the Richard and Nancy Donahue Academic Arts Center, Recital Hall. 240 Central Street, Lowell, MA

More Information

For more information please email: