The Student
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Edinburgh University hosts third TEDx conference
by Magdalena Liedl, 20/01/15

The University of Edinburgh hosts its third TEDx conference on the 19th February during the University’s Innovative Learning Week.

Organisers are expecting 500 attendees, which would make the 2015 event the largest TEDx conference at the University of Edinburgh so far.

“In last year’s, we were delivering a good TEDx conference, but this year it is a University of Edinburgh conference.

This year, our speakers and ideas all come from the University of Edinburgh community.” said Andie Cockerill, event coordinator.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an annual innovation conference series that has been hold in California and Vancouver since 1990.

TEDx conferences use the format of the original TED conference but are organised on a local level. TED supports local organisers and allows them to use the TED branding.

This branding brings a certain talk format: TED speakers are not only limited to 18 minutes to present their ideas, but are also expected to do so in a personal and relatable way.

“It is not like a lecture, where you give a report on what you have been working on in the past six months. It almost like a performance rather than a talk.” said Cockerill.

This year, the talks will be centred around the theme ‘How to be OK in the future.’

Cockerill explained the concept: “A common criticism of that is: I don’t want to be ok in the future, I want to be phenomenal in the future.

But the idea is: We are fine right now, but there is a serious threat to the status quo. We want to talk about what are the solutions to just get by. What is the very minimum that we can do?”

Talks will range from why we should regard bugs as a useful source of protein and include them in our diets; how robotics can be used in the future; and the relationship between learning and creativity.

Amongst professors and scientists, three students from the University of Edinburgh will give talks.

“We want to bring professors, graduates and undergraduates together. The key thing is that the speakers are an expert in what they are talking about.

You don’t need a PhD to talk at TEDx. It is important that you are authentic and bring in your personal experience.” said Cockerill.

Speakers will include 2nd year student Lily Asch talking about transparency in mental health discussions, 4th year student Jonny Ross-Tatam on a basic income for everybody and 4th year student Holly Maltby on perceptions of age and the elderly.

They have all participated in the Student Speaker Choice Awards in November last year.

The student speakers have received key training and weekly workshops on how to develop their ideas and present them in public, which is unique to the University of Edinburgh conference.