TEDxGALWAY, a local gathering where live TED-like talks, returns to the Town Hall Theatre next week. The event’s aim is to be a shining light for all that is noteworthy, challenging, and thought-provoking in Galway.
Planned and co-ordinated by a volunteer committee, they are committed to delivering the TEDx agenda of making great ideas accessible and sparking conversation. This year’s event will include an exciting line up of engaging and inspiring ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’ and will explore topics such as: the necessity for greener cities; using culture to make better art; the practical application of emotional intelligence; universities entering the twilight zone; improving renewable energy in our communities; using spider venom to make therapeutic drugs; why people are becoming less intelligent; as well as a fun interactive TEDx talk that will demonstrate that everyone can sing!
Event producer, Cormac Staunton is excited for this year’s event. “We have put together a great team to deliver this year’s TEDxGalway," he says. "We have been working hard all summer to ensure that our stellar line-up of speakers continues our tradition of thought-provoking and inspiring talks. With the show on the equinox, we felt this was an auspicious date to plant some new ideas that may perhaps germinate in people’s minds over the winter. Last year’s event was an incredible success and I have no doubt that this year’s event will be the same. Tickets are selling quickly and we expect a full house again this year.”
TED Talks began in 1984 as a conference for Silicon Valley types but has since mushroomed to achieve a global reach. “I think the reason it has mushroomed so much is due to YouTube,” Staunton observes. “It started off as a three day conference costing €1,500 a ticket which was great for people from California but it wasn’t until they were able to distribute their talks that it became the force it now is and Youtube was the medium that allowed that to happen.”
Staunton reveals how he came to produce this year’s Galway event; “I worked with Conor Stitt on doing it in the Town Hall last year. Then he got a job in the Dáil and I had such a good experience from working on it last year I decided it was too good to let die and I’d step up. Dara O’Connor is curating it with me. There were a few people we knew we wanted straightaway. I work a lot in NUIG and would see 200 speakers a year and there were always a couple who stood out as ones who would be great for a Ted talk. We have eight speakers on different topics.”
He picks out some of the speakers and subjects; “The first person who contacted us was JS from Madrid. He told me how he really wanted to do a talk on the dumbing down of society. He had done a Ted Talk in Spain in Spanish and wanted to do it in English. He is a comedian and musician so we knew he would have stage presence and, as luck would have it, Dara was working in Madrid last year and met him and felt he was just the sort of speaker we wanted.
"Paula Clark speaks about emotional intelligence. Professor Pat Dolan I have known for years and always found him to be a powerful speaker. He’s not afraid to say controversial things and in his talk he looks at the universities and has lots to say about how that system is failing us and what can we do about it.”
TEDX takes place on Thursday September 21 at 7.30pm. Tickets are from the Town Hall (091 - 569777, www.tht.ie ). Early booking is advised. For more information and to join the #IdeasWorthSpreading conversation, follow @TEDxGalway on Twitter or @TEDxGalway on Facebook.