At the end of June, I am headed to TED Global in Edinburgh, Scotland, a likely personal highlight for 2012. My involvement with TED, though, began at the local level in New York City. This time last year I was looking forward to attending my third TEDxEast event, "Tinker, Noodle, and Obsess." I had the pleasure of speaking with Julianne Wurm, founder and curator of TEDxEast, about the event and how the TEDxEast community came to be.
As always, the experience did not disappoint, and I find myself in excited anticipation of their upcoming program on May 11, 2012, "The View From in Here." Julie and I recently reconnected to discuss the next event, the difference a year has made, and what's to come for TEDxEast.
Laura Cococcia: Tell us a bit about how TEDxEast has evolved since we last talked.
Julianne Wurm: TEDxEast has grown! We have built out the experience to include more content, more opportunities for engagement on many levels; with the content, with our partners and with each other to really give life to our theme "The View From in Here." This year we have had a number of salons with guest curators like Dan Ariely and our community has grown as well.
LC: I know you've been working on some specific projects - can you share more about those?
JW: I finished my doctorate in May 2011 and since then I have taken the year to do research on how ideas spread. This has taken me to 23 countries to attend TEDx events and interview TEDx organizers around the world. It has really enhanced the quality of our program and has personally taught me a great deal about the power of ideas and the way platforms contribute to their spread. In addition to the travel I conducted a survey with responses from over 50 countries to measure both thought and feeling as linked to ideas and ultimately action- which is what makes ideas spread.
LC: You have your next event on May 11th -- can you give us a preview of some of the highlights?
JW: We have The Roots, as well as some incredible thinkers who explored many facets of things like education and how it can best happen. Why do we eat the way we do? When we look at photography -- what viewpoint is being presented and how do we identify with it? Is it possible to create a vaccine for addiction? Is there life on other planets and what makes us keep looking for it? How do we use the artifacts we are creating through digital and social media to better tell stories? What is Islamophobia and how is it influencing our lives? How can you be your own hero? How do we define beauty and how does it influence women? What is the value of the things you buy? As well, we will explore love, connection, anonymity, service, and online security, all punctuated by dance, comedy, and musical performances.
LC: As the TEDxEast community continues to grow, how can people get involved?
JW: Right now we are all set for the next event but the best thing is for people to join us. We are always looking for partners and reliable volunteers to jump on board.