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If Minnesota isn't in the Midwest, what's our identity?

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Playing in Wirth Lake
Lucy Arney, 2, left, and Grace Rutledge, 2, play in the waters of Wirth Lake in Minneapolis, Minn. Monday, July 21, 2014.
Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News

What is Minnesota's cultural place in the Midwest and how has it evolved?

On The Daily Circuit, we brainstormed ideas of names for our region to differentiate ourselves from the nebulous Midwest.

The Walker Art Center is hosting a conversation on the topic Nov. 19.

Eric Dayton, co-owner of men's clothing store Askov Finlayson and Bachelor Farmer, is taking part in the Walker discussion and joined The Daily Circuit. He's pushing for renaming our region "The North."

"The Midwest is this big nebulous part of the country and it's kind of what's left over after all the other regions of the country are defined," he said. "Those regions have much stronger identities if you think of the East Coast or maybe New England or the Pacific Northwest or certainly the South. The Midwest is kind of the catchall for what's left."

Why does our identity matter? Tom Fisher, professor and dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, said it's vital to our region's future.

"We're competing globally for talent," he said. "The more identifiable our identity is, the more idiosyncratic, the more differentiated we are from other places, the more effective we'll be in attracting people here. This is actually really important economically for the future of this region."

If not the Midwest, then what? Your ideas:

The North
Upper Midwest
North Coast
Top Coast
Middle West
The Grain Belt
No Coast
North Central
Northland
Northlands
Focus on 'Minnesota' rather than the region
Center North
Deep North
Great Lakes
The Land of the Four Seasons

We also collected photos that showcase Minnesota's identity. Post your photos to Instagram and tag them #mymidwest.

Our Instagram collection:

A portion of today's The Daily Circuit (on air at 11 a.m. CST) will focus on a conversation about Midwest identity. We're using that topic as a source of inspiration and motivation to share a handful of photographs throughout the day. Consider sharing your perspective of the Midwest by tagging photos #mymidwest. Photo by @jeffreythompson_ of #mprnews. #minnesota #vikings #nofilter #life #photo

Is identity shaped by ritual? Perhaps. Here, spring brings new life to a small farm near Pelican Rapids. We're using the topic of Midwest identity as a source of inspiration to share #mprnews photographs today. Consider sharing your perspective of the Midwest by tagging photos #mymidwest. Photo by @annarbormiller of #mprnews. #minnesota #farm #nofilter #life #photo

Is identity shaped by survival? Perhaps. Here, Margie LaMorie chats with a granddaughter about baking. The Minneapolis woman is a colon cancer survivor. We're using the topic of Midwest identity as a source of inspiration to share #mprnews photographs today. Consider sharing your perspective of the Midwest by tagging photos #mymidwest. Photo by @jensimonsonphoto of #mprnews. #minnesota #nofilter #life #photo

Is identity shaped by juxtaposition? Perhaps. Here, John Woods sits below a photograph in his Richfield office. Midwest identity is our source of inspiration to share #mprnews photographs today. Consider sharing your perspective of the Midwest by tagging photos #mymidwest. Photo by @jensimonsonphoto of #mprnews. #minnesota #nofilter #life #photo

A portion of today's The Daily Circuit (on air now) is pegged around a conversation about Midwest identity. We're using that topic as a source of inspiration to share a handful of #mprnews photographs. Festivals, parades and even the weather often provide a reason to bring folks together. Here, spectators find cover from the rain while waiting for an activity to start at Potato Days in Barnesville. Consider sharing your perspective of the Midwest by tagging photos #mymidwest. Photo by @jeffreythompson_ of #mprnews. #minnesota #nofilter #life #photo

Is identity shaped by celebration? Perhaps. Here, Kim Churack is crowned Queen Bean during Bean Hole Days in Pequot Lakes. Midwest identity is our source of inspiration to share #mprnews photographs today. Consider sharing your perspective of the Midwest by tagging photos #mymidwest. Photo by @jeffreythompson_ of #mprnews. #minnesota #nofilter #life #photo

Is identity shaped by our animals? Perhaps. Here, Sandra McNeal cuddles 9-week-old Zeus during a news conference to announce people can adopt pit bulls other power breed dogs from Minneapolis Animal Care and Control. Midwest identity is our source of inspiration to share #mprnews photographs today. Consider sharing your perspective of the Midwest by tagging photos #mymidwest. Photo by @jensimonsonphoto of #mprnews. #minnesota #nofilter #life #photo #dog

Is identity shaped by what we eat? Perhaps. Here, chef Jackie Williams shows off a plate featuring her fried chicken wings, greens with smoked turkey and mac n' cheese. Midwest identity is our source of inspiration to share #mprnews photographs today. Consider sharing your perspective of the Midwest by tagging photos #mymidwest. Photo by @jensimonsonphoto of #mprnews. #minnesota #nofilter #life #photo #food

Is identity shaped by how we treat and greet others? Perhaps. Here, Horizon Middle School principal Lori Lockhart welcomes student Najib Mohamed to school on the first day of classes in Moorhead. We're using the topic of Midwest identity as a source of inspiration to share #mprnews photographs today. Consider sharing your perspective of the Midwest by tagging photos #mymidwest. Photo by @annarbormiller of #mprnews. #minnesota #nofilter #life #photo

How do you describe the identity of Minnesota and the Midwest? What images best represent it? Leave your comments below.