date completed: 23 November 2013
Today, I attended this year’s TEDxRyersonU event. I’m a big fan of a lot of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks, so this was pretty exciting for me! TEDxRU is an independently organized TED event by the a committee of people from the university in Toronto I’m currently attending, Ryerson University.
In case you’re not already familiar with them, the purpose of these TED talks is to share “ideas worth spreading”. This year’s theme for TEDxRU was “361 Degrees: A New Angle”.
To attend as an audience member, I had to fill in an application form that was basically a personal statement as to why I’d be a good delegate. There was also a registration fee of $25. It must be a lot tougher and definitely a lot more expensive to be able to attend TEDx conference of a larger scale, and I’m really glad I was able to go to this one. I was actually pretty impressed with how well promoted and organized it was.
The event was held at The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library. I had embarrassingly never been to this library before, and it is MASSIVE. I can’t believe how much I’ve been missing out on. I’ll definitely be coming back for research work and, because I’m such a huge nerd, just to hang out with books and artifacts and things.
Minus a few technical difficulties with PowerPoint slides, the event went fairly seamlessly. Following registration (where we got a small swag bag~) and coat check, guests were free to mingle and partake in a complimentary breakfast buffet. The day officially kicked off with opening remarks by the team around 10:15am. They also informed us that a few of the scheduled presenters were unable to make the conference because of inclement weather conditions and being out of the continent. The big notable absence for me was Sue Gardner, graduate of Ryerson’s Journalism program and director of the Wikimedia Foundation. :( Anyway, on to the talks and some of the highlights!
01. Dr. Bala Venkatesh
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering;
Founding Academic Director of the Centre of Urban Energy at Ryerson
Humorous speaker who talked about the problems of urbanization and pollution, and the importance of renewable energy and energy storage.
02. Dr. Steven Murphy
Dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management
The newly appointed dean titled his talk, “The Story of Me”, and spoke about sharing our stories and human connection. The main takeaway from this talk was to “listen like a cow”, haha.
A startup creating fashion accessories. They were a really highly comedic duo speaking about their experience and how Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) helped them out a lot, and then they had a breakdance routine that led us into our first break of the day.
04. Michelle Kwan
Recent Graduate with a Bachelor’s in Applied Science (Nutrition and Food) and Fine Arts
She did an interesting talk about interdisciplinarity and the significance of art, in all its controversy, in the health world.
05. Dr. Jennifer Poole
Associate Professor at School of Social Work
Charismatic speaker who brought to light issues of “sanism” in society and the importance of having another perspective.
06. Grahame Lynch
Professor at the Ryerson School of Fashion
As someone of low-vision, he spoke about his own work in inclusive art and inviting observers to participate in art to partake in an experience and truly learn empathy. I really enjoyed all of the talks, but this was probably my favourite.
07. Ayyyna Budaeva
4th Year Business Management Student in Marketing
After our lunch break, this speaker talked about creativity not as talent, but as a skill. She had an interactive component in which we all did a 1-minute drawing activity involving circles.
08. Alexander Ferworn
Professor at the Department of Computer Science
Great character and formerly of the military, this speaker was definitely a dynamic dude. He spoke about his research and work with the police department on dogs and robotics in rescue operations during disasters. He had a corner with all of the robotics equipment and even brought along a dog for demonstration.
During our lunch break, we had gotten the opportunity to visit some of the stations. It’s always interesting to see what kind of work is going on in other departments of the university, especially since, as a grad student, I think I feel particularly wrapped up in my own work and what’s happening solely in my own department.
Congrats to the TEDxRU team! This event was really inspiring and impressively coordinated. It totally exceeded my expectations. We were all incredibly well fed the entire day and the team volunteers (both in person and on social media) were awesome in keeping things flowing pretty well.
Also, listed below are a few of my favourite TED talks in general.
Worth a listen!
Frank Warren – Half a Million Secrets
Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability
Susan Cain – The Power of Introverts
Dan Gilbert – The Surprising Science of Happiness
Elizabeth Gilbert – Your Elusive Creative Genius
What are some of your favourite TED talks? :)