PROMOTING DYNAMIC CHANGE
Since our founding in 1984, we have continued to promote dynamic change within the Telluride region. From our beginnings as a festival of big global themes we’ve refined and narrowed our sights. Recent Ideas Festivals have dealt with pressing local issues, such as sustainability for the region and the science of compassion–issues that have local application, and global resonance and significance.
Guests at the Ideas Festivals
Guests who have attended the Ideas Festival include Soviet cultural ambassador Alexander Potemkin, writer Edward Abbey, Rep. Newt Gingrich, Reagan strategist Lee Atwater, and Tom Hayden, the co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), along with several United States Senators (e.g.,. Al Gore) and Governors from Colorado and neighboring states.
Our first Ideas Festival, “Reinventing Work,” saw the beginning of Telluride Institute with participants including British politician Shirley Williams, the Julliard String Quartet’s Robert Mann and then-Senator Al Gore.
Our most recent festival, “Housing Our Community“, was the third Ideas Festival to focus on the intractable problems surrounding affordable housing, transportation, energy, and social inequities. Keynotes by Jonathan Rose and Peter Bell were supplemented by panel discussions and break-out sessions by regional planners, civic leaders, and design visionaries.
“Glasnost”, with participants contemplating the future: Leonid Dobrohotov (Soviet Historian), Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), John Naisbitt (Futurist), and Tankred Golampolski. Photograph by Richard Lowenberg.
“Perestroika,” the first event in the United States to be co-sponsored by a NGO and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR (the only political party permitted in the USSR at the time),
“Housing the Community,” which inspired an ongoing effort by the local governments in the Telluride region to provide deed-restricted housing to the local workforce.
“Energy 1891-1991: A Celebration of Electrical History & A Hard Look At Our Energy Future.” Presented with the Rocky Mountain Electrical League and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
“Water: The Upper San Miguel Watershed” gave birth to the San Miguel Watershed Coalition, now an independent nonprofit group whose 2006 Watershed Report Card inspired the Institute to hold a lecture series addressing the issue that summer.
“TeleCommunity” spawned the InfoZone, a project which made Telluride the first small town in the United States not affiliated with a university or corporation have direct dial-in to the Internet through a dedicated Internet POP tied to a pervasive community tele-computing network.
“A Town Without Locals” explored the challenges of building a truly vibrant community without housing and economic opportunities for Telluride’s full time residents.
“Compassion Festival” was the first of a series of compassion-related events that brought together leading neuro-scientists focused on the “science of compassion” with world representatives of wisdom traditions including Native American elders and Tibetan Buddhist Monks.
“Housing Our Community” was the third Ideas Festival to focus on the intractable problems surrounding affordable housing, transportation, energy, and social inequities. Keynotes by Jonathan Rose and Peter Bell were supplemented by panel discussions and break-out sessions by regional planners, civic leaders, and design visionaries.