Power of Ideas
Popular TEDx lecture series coming to LSU
By KF KirschnerPosted Feb 13, 2013
It would be impossible to imagine our world today without the influence of technology, entertainment, and design on our culture. From the more obvious advances in areas like personal computing and communication to the more subtle, behind-the-scenes developments that aid in things like city planning, these three components are key to the changes we have come to expect and welcome eagerly into our lives. If we trace these evolutions back to their beginnings, we will undoubtedly find one commonality: an idea.
The power of ideas is at the core of the TED mission. Founded in California nearly three decades ago, TED started out as a four-day conference, inviting members from the fields of technology, entertainment, and design to share ideas, spark conversations, and prompt collaboration. Since then, TED has grown into an internationally recognized platform for innovative thinkers and activists across myriad disciplines to grapple with some of the most difficult human concerns in 18-minute talks.
These talks, which have been given over the years by mavericks ranging from Bill Gates to Jane Goodall, are now presented at two yearly conferences and are also posted online. Readily available to inspire virtual audiences, TED’s eclectic catalogue includes talks from some of the most influential musicians, actors, academics, and political figures in our culture.
On March 9, LSU’s College of Music & Dramatic Arts will present an independently organized version of the innovative TED model, TEDxLSU: Evolve. While not directly affiliated with TED, TEDxLSU will offer a TED-like experience at the local level through the sponsorship of The Janice H. Pellar Creative Arts Entrepreneurship Project and the efforts of a motivated team of students.
The roster of speakers boasts some of the most unique thinkers, motivators, innovators, and entrepreneurs from diverse fields within the university and regional community. Focusing on local concerns, these carefully selected individuals will demonstrate the transformative power of shared ideas during the daylong event. When selecting the presenters for TEDxLSU, event organizer Joey Watson said he and his team “dreamed big [and] developed a list of close to 200 speakers.” With difficulty, they narrowed it down to 22. Among those chosen are community activist Tucker Barry, professor of performance studies Tracy Shaffer, filmmaker Zack Godshall, urban planner/environmentalist Camille M. Broome, and cycling enthusiast Mark Martin.
“The most difficult part was having to make choices and let people go for now and wait for them at future events,” Watson said.
In addition to the schedule of invited speakers, two LSU students won the prestigious opportunity to give their own TED talks based on the merit of submitted proposals. Watson said the event is “a celebration of our city and its innovation and ideas.”
It is fitting that the inaugural TEDxLSU event carry the theme of evolution, as it is Watson’s hope that this event will impact ongoing change through the “creation of ventures that will help shape the future of our region and state in a positive manner.”
Audiences at the event will be anything but passive. TED talks are meant to foster dialogue among members of the community who want to make connections, share ideas, and create change.
“The excitement and passion that is generated from TED events is contagious,” Watson said. “LSU needs TED. Baton Rouge needs TED.”
Tickets for TEDxLSU are on sale now online at www.TedXLSU.com and will not be available at the door. The $100 admission buys audience members one of the limited seats in the Reilly Theatre. Broken into three sessions of talks, TEDxLSU will take place from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., with registration starting at noon.
There will be a food truck roundup in front of the Reilly Theatre during the event to provide food during breaks. For students and members of the public who would like to witness the TED talks without being ticketed audience members, a live-stream viewing will be held free of charge at the Shaver Theatre in the College of Music & Dramatic Arts.
Whether in the audience or watching the feed, Watson says audiences should expect “to be inspired, to be emotionally and intellectually filled, to be challenged, to dream, to become engaged.”