Dissolve 'Unconference' seeks to address inequality

The Dissolve “Un-conference” — which despite the name is hosted in collaboration with the ongoing Solve — will tackle questions of global inequality Thursday.

The conference, which will be held in the Solve Pavilion on North Court, is a way to bring people and ideas “at the margins” into the center, says organizer Ian Condry.

In particular, the conference will look at how MIT can “dissolve the structures of power that produce today’s inequalities.”

“The goal is to identify common themes and to suggest possibilities for driving systemic change,” according to Dissolve’s website. “We will focus on bottom-up approaches.”

Ten-minute discussion sessions led by anthropologists, media theorists, community organizers, and activists will touch on topics like gender inequality, community activism, climate change, and DIY health solutions. The final hour will be devoted to open discussion.

Dissolve will be free and open to the public, unlike the Solve Conference, which is divided into public and “invitation-only” events.

Condry, a professor of anthropology, began organizing the event last year after learning about Solve.

“A few of the faculty were concerned that there wasn’t enough openness for students, and the general public, and for a variety of faculty to get involved,” Condry said.

Questions of inequality “didn’t seem to be getting enough attention at the Solve conference,” Condry said. He and other faculty wanted to create an event that would tackle these questions more directly.

“We need to build a movement. It can’t just be top-down solutions that are driven by the elites at the top.”

Condry said that he was approached by Solve and that the collaboration “was a recent development.”

“[Dissolve is] trying to facilitate conversations at the margins with people at the margins, because it’s at the margins that you’re going to find new ideas that can move to the center,” Condry said. “That’s been the core of my research for 20 years now; that’s how I’ve seen cultural movements go … and that’s where we need to look today for meaningful, lasting, open-ended, and collaborative solutions.”

Mark Reed about 7 years ago

This is awesome! Here's my personal story about overcoming stigma and marginalization to bring unconventional ideas into reality!

Mark Reed, MIT alumnus

ScD '14, SM '11, SB '11, SB '10

Louis Postel about 7 years ago

This project feels urgent.

Can anyone offer examples of cultural movements that have made "meaningful, lasting, open-ended, and collaborative solutions?"