It’s all about community. TEDxMelbourne on Saturday brought together speakers and performers whose work centres on community and youth. I blogged about the details of the conference last week as the anticipation steadily grew. I’m pleased to report that the day emerged as a great success in meeting the goal of spreading ideas worthy of our attention.
As the roving host for the day my focus was on the interactions between the speakers, attendees and those connecting in through the numerous social media platforms. I video blogged interviews with people and uploaded them throughout the day to the TEDxMelbourne YouTube Channel.
I was able to chat to attendees about their TEDx experience and thought it was interesting to find such variation in how they found out about the conference. Some people were there to see specific speakers, others because their company had sent them and many came purely because it was a TED event. The common element that I found everyone shared, however, was enjoying knowledge for the sake of knowledge. The conference wasn’t about utility as much as it was about sharing valuable information. Diversity of ideas cultivates astute minds and this experience certainly created positive brain building. My grey matter is totally buff now.
Andrew MacLeod, CEO of the Committee for Melbourne, articulated the argument for diversity of ideas quite well in my brief chat with him:
As mentioned, one of the themes for TEDxMelbourne was youth. A great point someone said to me on the day was that the youth groups that performed did so in their own format; music, dancing and poetry all featured throughout the conference. It’s a testament to the organisers that they understood that a vital part of showing interest in youth is allowing young people to use the conference platform in their own way, not just expecting them to adopt the common conference style approach. I felt this was an apposite (dictionary.com word of the day, deal with it) demonstration of how a collaborative community should function. It also makes me wonder if I should incorporate more of my rad Melbourne City slang into these blogs to reflect my own youth. Totes should.
Below is a video blog of me being a ‘youth’ with the youth from the Dig Deep Drop-in Centre. I get my freestyle rap on with them:
Other ideas that stood out to me on the day came not only from the content of the talks but also from how they were presented. I’ll describe just a few of the many that resonated with me.
Lucinda Hartley, a landscape architect and founder of Community Oriented Design, utilised her skill sets as a designer to communicate her ideas and stories of her projects in a laconic way. Her talk was visual, clear and well constructed to demonstrate the value of her work and future initiatives. She essentially used her skills to talk about her skills: brilliant.
Mike Penrose, Director of Emergency Programmes for Save the Children, was very confronting. His gravitas during the presentation clearly matched the seriousness and significance of his work. By accosting the audience with the idea that inaction is failure, Mike provoked more than just thought, he left me with a reoccurring gut feeling that I need to be more conscious of humanitarian issues before crises occur. This is a perfect example of how the talks can continue to affect you even once you have left the lecture theatre.
Anti-violence legend man, Adam Jaffrey, got personal. He described the story of how his cousin was rendered forever incapacitated after receiving a single punch on a night out in the city. Humour, sadness and steadfast determination marked Adam’s talk. What moved me the most was his bravery in standing in front of a wide audience and being unapologetically human. I’ll be sharing the video of his talk a lot once it comes out.
Ultimately the conference was more than the sum of its parts. The interactions that took place on the ground and online created an active engagement with ideas, as opposed to a one-way presentation of them. The day was filled with discussions that will continue long into the future thanks to the online mediums. Therefore the final sentiment I want to leave you with is that TEDx is most definitely not something you watch, it is something you take part in.