The Night of Ideas | Seattle 2024

Villa Albertine’s signature Night of Ideas  will take place from February 24 to March 3 across 20 US cities. The event invites thought leaders, activists, performers, authors, and academics to engage the public in late-night discussions addressing major global issues. This year’s unifying theme, “Outside the Lines,” centers urban life and development, raising questions about the impact of climate change, new technologies, gentrification, and social activism, by way of diversity and inclusion, access to education and nature, the future of cultural institutions, and the shapes of artistic communities in built environments.  

NIGHT of IDEAS Seattle 2024 
 "Disruptive Innovation: A.I., Language, Arts, and Education" 
March 2nd 5pm - 9pm
Town Hall Seattle

Event held in English.

This is a free event taking place at Town Hall Seattle. Donations are accepted (see RSVP below). RSVP highly recommended.

"Disruptive Innovation: A.I., Language, Arts, and Education" celebrates art, storytelling, and language inclusivity, as well as the new possibilities and challenges arising from the integration of artificial intelligence in these domains.  

Visionaries, artists, thought leaders and experts will interact with the public to unravel the complexities of human expression, highlighting the transformative impact of multimedia, transdisciplinarity, and cutting-edge technologies on our intellectual landscape. 

With a constructive focus, this event serves as a catalyst for fostering collaboration, inspiring new ideas, and envisioning a future where A.I. seamlessly integrates with language, arts, and education, unlocking unprecedented possibilities, while at the same time reinforcing the crucial role of human agency in articulating clear principles for ethical user conduct and inclusivity at the global level. 

Join us on this transformative journey where disruptive innovation converges with human creativity! 


4PM: Doors Open


  • Ken Workman, President, Duwamish Tribal Services & Council Member, Duwamish Tribe: "DNA in Trees"
  • Anida Yoeu Ali, Performance Artist, Poet and Global Agitator: Performance: "Close Encounters of the Human Kind"
  • Melanie Walsh, PhD. & Anna Preus, Ph.D., Assistant Professors at University of Washington: "What does ChatGPT know about poetic form?"

6:15PM - 6:30PM: Break


  • Stefania Druga, Ph.D., Research Scientist at Google Bard AI Team
  • Thibaut LaBarre, Engineering Lead at AngelList
  • Geoffrey Turnovsky, Ph.D., Associate Professor of French at UW
  • Moderator: Richard Watts, Ph.D., Associate Professor of French at UW

8:30PM: End of event


Ken Workman Director, Duwamish Tribal Services
Council Member, Duwamish Tribe

Ken Workman is an enrolled member of the Duwamish Tribe, 5th generation Great-Grandson of Chief Seattle. His leadership with the Duwamish Tribe and community work includes serving as a Tribal Council member for the Duwamish Tribe’s governmental entity (now ex-officio Tribal Council member); former president of the Duwamish Tribal Services, the nonprofit arm of the tribe; and board service with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition and Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Ken is now retired from having had a long career at The Boeing Company’s Flight Operations Engineering Group, where he worked as a Systems and Data Analyst. He now enjoys retirement during which he takes long walks in the mountains east of Seattle where he lives on a river.

Anida Yoeu Ali Performance Artist, Poet and Global Agitator
Anida Yoeu Ali is an artist, educator and global agitator born in Cambodia and raised in Chicago. Ali’s multi-disciplinary practices include performance, installation, videos, images, public encounters, and political agitation. Ali’s works have been exhibited widely at the Haus der Kunst, Palais de Tokyo, Musée d'art Contemporain Lyon, Shangri-La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design and the Queensland Art Gallery. Named “one of the most anticipated shows of 2024”, her solo exhibition “Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence” is on view now until July 7, 2024 at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. She is a recipient of the 2020 Art Matters Fellowship and the 2015 Sovereign Asian Art Prize. She received her B.F.A. from University of Illinois and an M.F.A. in from School of the Art Institute Chicago. Currently based in Tacoma, Ali is also the co-founder of Studio Revolt, an award-winning independent artist-run media lab. Ali also serves as a Senior Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington Bothell and travels between the Asia-Pacific region and the U.S. 
Melanie Walsh, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Melanie Walsh is an Assistant Professor in the Information School at the University of Washington. Her research interests include data science, digital humanities, cultural analytics, contemporary literature, and library and information science. She investigates how data and computational methods shape contemporary culture — such as the publishing industry and public libraries — and how they can be used to understand culture in turn. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Associate in Information Science at Cornell University. She received her PhD in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, where she specialized in computational approaches to text and social media data and served as a Fellow in the Humanities Digital Workshop.
Anna Preus, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Anna Preus is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Washington, where she studies and teaches early 20th-century literature in English and data science in the humanities. She is especially interested in how historical print cultures are being transferred online through large-scale text digitization efforts and in how digital resources can help us tell new kinds of stories about literary history. At UW, she leads the Humanities Data Lab, serves as core faculty in the Textual Studies program, and is a Data Science Fellow with the eScience Institute. 


Stefania Druga, Ph.D. Research Scientist at Google Bard AI Team

Stefania Druga graduated with a Ph.D. in Creative AI Literacies at the University of Washington Information School. Most recently, she completed a research internship at Microsoft’s Human-AI eXperience Team focused on Large Language Models applications. Her research focuses on Large Language Models and the design of Creative AI tools and resources. She also enjoys designing and building future smart toys and games. She is a former an AI Resident at X Moonshot Factory, product engineer at, a Weizenbaum Research Fellow. An awardee of the NSF Formal Verification in the Field Grant and the Jacobs Foundation Grant, she was previously a LEGO Papert Fellow during her time as a master student at MIT researching with Prof. Mitch Resnick and the Scratch team.

Thibaut LaBarre Engineering Lead at AngelList

Thibaut Labarre is an Engineering Lead at AngelList, where he applies his expertise in Natural Language Processing (NLP) to develop innovative solutions. Thibaut has been instrumental in leveraging Large Language Model (LLM) technology at AngelList, enabling the organization to streamline operations and empower team members to become prompt engineers. His work includes unlocking value from customer feedback at scale and automating legal document parsing with GPT-4. After graduating from UW with a degree in Computational Linguistics, Thibaut's journey in the tech industry began with an internship at Amazon where he created Heartbeat, an NLP tool used internally by over 40,000 users to analyze customer feedback.

Geoffrey Turnovsky, Ph.D. Associate Professor of French at UW
Prof. Turnovsky specializes in the literary and cultural history of early modern France and Europe, with an emphasis on print culture, early modern media, the profession of authorship, and on readers and publics in the early modern era. His book, Reading Typographically. Immersed in Print in Early Modern France will appear in June 2024. His book, The Literary Market: Authorship and Modernity in the Old Regime, appeared in 2010. His articles -- on writers  and the commercial literary market; and on readers -- have appeared in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century (SVEC)Studies in Eighteenth‑Century CultureRevue de synthèseModern Language Quarterly; Romanic Review; Les dossiers du Grihl; and French Historical Studies.  At the University of Washington, Turnovsky co-directs the UW Textual Studies Program. With colleagues in the program, he developed a new minor in Textual Studies and Digital Humanities, which focuses on the historical impacts of technologies, from ancient scrolls to AI, on the reading, writing, publishing, archiving, accessing and preservation of cultural, historical and literary texts.


Richard Watts, Ph.D. Associate Professor of French at UW

Richard Watts is associate professor in the Department of French and Italian Studies and founding co-director of the Translation Studies Hub at the University of Washington. He is a translator and conducts research and teaches courses in translation studies, the environmental humanities, and the literature and cinema the francophone world. In 2022, he developed a new course that explores the history of machine translation's development and how it is changing the way everyone—immigrant communities, tourists abroad, content creators, product managers, medical interpreters, even translators of poetry—approach translation today. In fall 2024, he will co-teach a new course on AI and creativity in historical perspective. 



Olivier P. Martinez, Wealth Management Advisor
& Sarah Garner, Small Business Banker

This program is supported by a smART Ventures Grant from Seattle's 
Office of Arts & Culture

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