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2019 RSA North America Conference Plenary Speakers

The Call of the New: Unpacking Innovation, its Spatiality, its Benefits and its Costs

Plenary 1

Professor Jennifer Clark, The Ohio State University, USA

Jennifer Clark is Professor and Head of the City and Regional Planning Section at the Knowlton School of Architecture in the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Clark is a Fellow of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and a Fellow of the Regional Studies Association (RSA). She is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Regional Studies and recently served as the Chair of the Economic Geography Specialty Group (EGSG) of the AAG (2017-2019). Dr. Clark earned her Ph.D. from Cornell University, a Master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

Dr. Clark’s most recent book: Uneven Innovation: The Work of Smart Cities (2020) is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. Her other books include: Working Regions: Reconnecting Innovation and Production in the Knowledge Economy (2013), Remaking Regional Economies: Power, Labor, and Firm Strategies in the Knowledge Economy (2007) w/ Susan Christopherson, winner of the Best Book Award from the Regional Studies Association in 2009, and the 3rd edition of Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning (2012) w/ Carl Patton and David Sawicki, a widely adopted text in public policy and urban and regional planning courses. She is also co-editor of the Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy (2015) and Transitions in Regional Economic Development (2018). In addition, she has written numerous articles and book chapters.

Dr. Clark researches and teaches courses on urban and regional economic development theory, analysis, and practice as well as research design and methods.  She has provided expert testimony before the US Congress and policy advice and consulting to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Canadian, UK, and US governments. Before joining the Knowlton School, Dr. Clark taught at Cornell University and the Georgia Institute of Technology where she was also the Director of the Center for Urban Innovation.

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Damien Silès, Quartier de l’innovation, Canada

With a solid educational background in international trade, Damien Silès has held the position of General Manager of Montréal’s Quartier de l’innovation(innovation district) since 2014. Prior to that, he spent six years as Director General of Société de développement social de Ville-Marie (social development corporation of Ville-Marie), the first social broker in North America, which he founded in 2008. His efforts as head of the organization were praised by the media, and he was twice named Personality of the Week by La Presse–Radio-Canada (in February 2011 and June 2013). From 2002 to 2008, Damien was Director of Membership and Sales at the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal, which enabled him to forge strong relationships with the Québec business community.

Mr. Siles has also worked for several years in South America as project director for a Swiss-Ecuadorian foundation. In this role, he developed an innovative social marketing program in collaboration with CIDA and developed national and international markets for local artisans. Appointed director of the Franco-Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he also represented the Andean Pact countries (Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru). Damien Silès is also widely recognized for his socio-cultural commitment. A knowledgeable music lover, he chaired the board of the Appassionata Chamber Orchestra from 2011 to 2013 and actively participated in his fundraising campaigns. In 2013, he was a finalist at the Arts-Affaires Awards, presented by the Montreal Arts Council, in the Personality category, in recognition of his important contribution.

Member of the Board of Directors of the Opéra de Montréal and Goodnesstv, winner of the 2017 Dare to Act Awards – Category: Ecosystem;

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Plenary 2

Dr Tom Kemeny, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

Superstar Cities and Left-behind Places: A Long-run Perspective on Inequality and Uneven Development

Tom Kemeny is a social scientist who studies the determinants of economic well-being in cities. Currently, he is Associate Professor in Economic Development at Queen Mary, University of London. Recent projects have examined topics including immigration, innovation, trade and inequality. For his work on local social networks, Tom was awarded the 2016 Urban Land Institute Prize for the best paper published in the Journal of Economic Geography. In 2015, his book, The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons from San Francisco and Los Angeles, was published by Stanford University Press.  Tom’s work has been discussed in the Atlantic; the Chicago Tribune; the Huffington Post and other media outlets. Tom is currently an Associate Editor at Regional Studies; and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Economic Geography.  Cutting across his academic interests, he is interested in policy efforts to stimulate prosperity, and has advised governments and NGOs including the OECD, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and the World Bank.

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Early Career Plenary Speaker: Dr Adam Whittle, University College Dublin, Ireland

Understanding Regional Diversification using Inventor Collaboration Networks

Adam Whittle is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Spatial Dynamics Lab at University College Dublin. He received his Ph.D. in economic geography from the School of Geography (UCD) in 2018 and since then has been employed on government-funded Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) project examining the relationship between scientific and technological knowledge for regional development.

His research interests are primarily as an evolutionary economic geographer. In particular, his research focuses on evolutionary connotations of technological change, knowledge complexity, network analysis, and regional diversification. Adam’s research has been published or accepted for publication in a number of tier one journals including European Planning Studies, Regional Studies, Regional Science and the Handbook on the Geographies of Regions and Territories. He is involved in several interdisciplinary projects and has been a visiting researcher at both the School of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at Utrecht University (January – May 2017) and the Agglomeration and Social Networks Research Lab in Budapest (January 2019 – present).

For further information regarding ongoing projects, collaborations, and a full list of publications, please refer to my Research Gate profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Adam_Whittle

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Professor Dr Johannes Glückler, University Heidelberg, Germany

The Relation between Innovation and the Periphery: From Liability to Opportunity

Johannes Glückler is Chair Professor of Economic and Social Geography and Research Fellow at the Marsilius Center for Advanced Study at Heidelberg University. He works on network and institutional theories as a way to capture the diversity and dynamics of economic geographies and geographies of knowledge and innovation. As editor of the Springer Series on Knowledge and Space, he has supported interdisciplinary dialogue between geography, its neighboring social sciences and the humanities to understand the role of place and space in the creation and use of knowledge. Johannes Glückler has published in the fields of geography, management and organization, and network studies, including journals such as Organization Studies, Journal of Economic Geography, Progress in Human Geography, Social Networks, Industrial and Corporate Change etc. His latest books include Knowledge and Institutions (2018, Springer), Knowledge and Networks (2017, Springer), and The Relational Economy (2011 OUP). Johannes Glückler is a founding board member of the German Society for Network Research (DGNet). In addition to basic research, he has consulted the OECD, federal, regional and local authorities as well as industry associations, corporations and civil society organizations. He teaches economic geography and research methods, and he has co-founded a Master of Governance of Risks and Resources at the Heidelberg Center for Latin America in Santiago de Chile.

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Plenary 3

Marc-Urbain Prouxl, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada

Marie-José Fortin, Université du Québec, Canada

Since 2017, Marie-José Fortin has been working at the headquarters of the Université du Québec, a network of ten establishments (6 comprehensive universities; 3 specialised schools and 1 research institute) implemented in 60 cities of the province and hosting more than 100 000 students every year. As director of president’s Office, she still embraces the question of economy, regions and development relations while focusing on universities as institutional actor and factor of social change. In this position, she can put into practice the expertise acquired during her ten years at the Université du Québec à Rimouski, as professor and holder of the Canadian Research Chair in Regional and Territorial Development (2007-2017).

Mario Polèse, Institut National De La  Recherche Scientifique, Canada

Mario Polèse is professor emeritus at INRS, a research university, Centre Urbanisation Culture Societé in Montreal. He has written extensively on issues of urban and regional economic development. Books authored or coauthored include The Wealth and Poverty of Cities (Oxford University Press); The Wealth and Poverty of Regions (U. of Chicago Press); Économie urbaine et régionale (Economica, Paris) now in its 4th edition; Connecting Cities with Macroeconomic Concerns (World Bank); The Social Sustainability of Cities (U. of Toronto Press). Mario Polèse has acted as an advisor to municipal, provincial, federal, and international agencies. He has held research and teaching positions in the United States, Latin America, Switzerland, Spain, and France.


 Plenary 4

Professor Jamie Peck, University of British Columbia, Canada

Whatever Happened to Uneven Development?

Jamie Peck is Canada Research Chair in Urban & Regional Political Economy and Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia, Canada, where he is a Distinguished University Scholar.  With long-term research interests in urban restructuring, geographical political economy, labor studies, the politics of policy formation and mobility, and economic geography, his current research is focused on the political economy of neoliberalization and capitalist transformations in South China.  Jamie Peck’s recent books include Doreen Massey: critical dialogues (2018, Agenda, coedited with Marion Werner, Rebecca Lave and Brett Christophers); Offshore: Exploring the worlds of global outsourcing (2017, Oxford University Press); and Fast Policy: Experimental statecraft at the thresholds of neoliberalism (2015, University of Minnesota Press, with Nik Theodore).

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Discussant: Dr Mia Gray, University of Cambridge, UK

Mia Gray is an economic and social geographer at Cambridge University.  Her current research explores the politics and the distributional effects of austerity. She examines the intertwining of the economic, social and political effects on the local decisions around austerity and the shaping of the local state. This project highlights the uneven nature of the budget cuts, the political coalitions surrounding funding change, and the institutional mechanisms which promote change in policy priorities in the UK, the US, and Canada. She is also one of the editors of the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society.

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