Students come together to organize this year’s TEDx event, led by organizer Dele Ojewole, in hopes of sparking discussions and ideas on diverse topics.
“The entire presentation offers the attendees opportunity to learn new ideas and have a new perspective on issues that might interest them,” Ojewole says. “TED is all about sharing ideas, and that’s what we hope to promote via the TEDxUniversityofWinnipeg platform.”
TEDx is a fully student-organized event that started last year at the University of Winnipeg. The event is run without a theme so as not to restrict the topics speakers could present on.
“Among our speakers for this year’s event is the immediate past Winnipeg police chief Devon Clunis, Michael Champagne – a renowned activist and community leader – and many others,” Ojewole says.
“We ask for recommendations from students via our social media platforms on who they want to see at the event, while we also set some standards on how the proposed speaker’s talk will be relevant and beneficial to the entire university community.”
Ojewole was invited to be the publicity coordinator at last year’s TEDx event by previous organizer Hazim Ismail and says the experience motivated him to organize this year’s event.
“It was the motivation and experience that I gained from being part of the event that made me seek assistance from some of my colleagues who are passionate about TED in organizing this year’s event,” Ojewole says.
“I hope to see a continuous TEDxUwinnipeg … yearly event that will further motivate and promote the TEDx like culture on campus,” Ojewole says. “After the event, solid conversations and discussions will continue as the whole ideas that are shared at the event won’t end with the event.”
Claudyne Chevrier, former TEDx-Uwinnipeg presenter, echoes this sentiment, highlighting TEDx talks are posted online after the event and encouraging others to present regardless of where you are in your research process.
Chevrier is a medical anthropologist, PhD candidate in Community Health Sciences at University of Manitoba and member of the Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers Rights.
“I think that research is exciting and important, and that it becomes even more so when it is shared with a wider audience,” Chevrier says.
“Folks who do research have a social responsibility to make ethical, relevant research, and then to share it as widely as possible.”
Chevrier’s presentation at the last TEDx event focused on sex work, rights and stigma, but her accepting the offer to present didn’t come without hesitation.
“I initially declined to participate, because I felt that we did not need yet another white researcher with no experience in sex work to speak with authority about sex work,” Chevrier says. “When I had conversations with members of the Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers Rights, we decided that this was a wonderful opportunity … and I ended up presenting alone.”
Despite these initial speed bumps, Chevrier says her experience was challenging and rewarding and the event is good practice for presenting research.
“The biggest strength of the presentations was definitely their diversity. The theme lent itself particularly well to having very different topics that shared the fact that they completely challenged the viewer’s perspective.”
TEDxUniversityofWinnipeg will be held on Sept. 29, 2016 at 5 p.m. at the University of Winnipeg in Eckhardt Gramatté Hall.
Visit the website: www.tedxuniversityofwinnipeg.ca for ticket reservation. Limited seats are available.
Published in Volume 71, Number 3 of The Uniter (September 22, 2016)