On Friday 29th, 2016, Leeds University played host to one of the most iconic, inspirational and innovative lecture series known to our generation – TED (Technology Entertainment Design). Many of you will be familiar with TED lectures, where global experts, researchers and ‘do-ers’ with a wide range of expertise give the talk of their lives during an 18-minute window.
These videos are played on an almost weekly basis in one of my lectures and they are truly unbelievable. The TEDx scheme enables smaller, independently organised, local events to take place, showcasing the talent available right on our doorstep. Indeed, the seven speakers present on Friday evening were true assets to our university. All from different backgrounds and professions, they were united under the themes of subjectivity and perception. The evening not only displayed the real-life, groundbreaking issues being tackled within the walls of this very university, but also a spectacular array of knowledge and deep-rooted passions.
The lovely Grace Baylis bounced on stage to introduce each speaker and keep everything light-hearted as we delved into our thoughts after every talk. Interspersed amidst the live speakers, we were treated with videos from TED talks from years gone by, all three of which were perfectly suited to themes of the evening. From cognitive psychology, to Wikipedia, to self-driving cars, and Parkinson’s disease, amazing ideas and messages were shared in the intimate Stage@Leeds.
The stand out performance came from Chris Cook, a Broadcast Journalism graduate who is now magician. Not only did he beguile us with his tricks, he shared some valuable messages in the slickest speech of the night. The childish wonderment may be gone from our lives, but Cook’s talent helped us stop taking life so seriously, if only for a moment.
The key thing about the TED lecture series is that they give us options for the future, rather than dwelling on the doom, gloom and damage of the past. It is too late to be a pessimist in this world and the wonderful team that curated the event on Friday selected some amazing speakers to reiterate this. University is a fundamental platform for getting voices heard and sparking debates, so combining this with the quality and reputation of the TED series ensured the audience was blown away. The team behind this event is now looking for new recruits as part of the society, a prime opportunity to see how we can help develop the world from within this city.
Image credit: TEDx Picture