CHARLESTON, South Carolina – Clemson University will host the 2018 Community Built Association’s national conference March 22-25 at the Clemson Design Center in Charleston. The conference is open to all and includes a series of keynotes along with a diverse range of professional and social opportunities focused on the community-built approach, the collaboration between professionals and community volunteers to design, organize and create community projects that reshape public spaces.

This is the first time the university’s School of Architecture will host a national event of this size at the Charleston campus.

The conference keynote speakers are:

  • CBA Conference flyer "Future Visions"Dave Lowenstein, a muralist, printmaker and arts organizer whose work is displayed internationally. He is the subject of “Called to Walls,” a feature-length documentary that explores the role of public art in communities. He will be in attendance for a special film screening and Q&A on Friday, March 23, along with filmmakers Nicholas Ward and Amber Henson. He will also speak on the critical role communities should have in the development process.
  • Cedric Liquer, a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and community activist from Summerton, South Carolina. He will perform a unique one-man show inspired by Dante and speak on his work as a community organizer, activist and supporter of the performing arts.
  • Adam Schrimmer, a mural artist from Greenville, South Carolina, who owns and operates the Blank Canvas Mural Company. He directs community centric off-shoots associated to Blank Canvas and will discuss the role these initiatives have on building community capital and equity.
  • B.D. Wortham-Galvin, associate professor and director of Clemson’s Master of Resilient Urban Design graduate program. She works with local and national communities on issues of equity and resilience in managing change in rural, suburban and urban places and will discuss cultural sustainability and designing cities of the future through an inclusionary process.

Attendees will also be able to participate in a number of presentation sessions and workshops addressing questions of design and construction quality, sustainability and long-term maintenance, the role education and entrepreneurism, collaboration and policy.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming community-built enthusiasts from across the country to the Design Center in Charleston to learn more about the campus, our programs and the community-built process, which is an approach that involves local communities in the design, organization and creation of projects,” said Dan Harding, associate professor and director of Clemson’s graduate architecture programs and the Community Research and Design Center.

Harding is a member of the Community Built Association and is spearheading this year’s conference. Past conferences have been held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Davis, California.

“This is the first time a university is hosting the CBA conference,” said Harding. “It’s a great opportunity for our students and faculty to get involved and showcase the built work they’re engaged in while providing workshops and tools to teach others to implement similar practices in their local communities.”

Community Built Association logoIn addition to the conference, a Design+Built Bootcamp will be held prior to the conference March 17-22 for emerging community-built professionals, community stakeholders, educators and students. The interactive workshop will provide accepted participants with a unique experience focused on project conceptualization, logistics, stakeholder involvement, project delivery and entrepreneurial and marketing strategies.

Registration for the conference is now open but space is limited. AIA Charleston will also offer continuing education credits to those who attend.

Those interested in attending the Bootcamp need to apply by sending a cover letter, resume and two letters of recommendation to Dan Harding at


Community Built Association
The CBA is a not-for-profit association of professionals who are involved in all aspects of the community-built field. The organization was formed in 1989 to support the professionals who engage the community to transform public spaces. Members have developed the special expertise necessary to lead community volunteers to professional results in a variety of contexts. The many years of experience members have in building successful community built projects is a testimony to the effectiveness of this approach.