The organizers of the first TEDxUTChattanooga are proud to announce the slate of speakers for this year’s event. TEDxUTChattanooga will be held Saturday, October 25, 2014, at the Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Earlier this year, TEDxUTChattanooga invited nominations for speakers to offer short talks by a select, diverse group of professors, students, and community members, all of whom will speak from their unique vantage points. In the spirit of progress, innovation, and the city that thought it could and did, TEDxUTChattanooga 2014 asked all the nominees to answer the event’s theme question, “Now what?” Over 60 speakers were nominated and over 40 submitted applications for consideration.
The TEDxUTChattanooga Student Club was the initiating group for this year’s event and a selection committee composed entirely of students selected the final 10 speakers. The TEDxUTChattanooga Student Club is also hosting a competition to select at least one current UTC student to speak at this year’s event as well.
The campus and community will be involved in the independently organized and officially licensed public event based on TED: Technology, Entertainment, Design conferences. Please visit http://tedxutchattanooga.com/ for more information or follow on Twitter @TEDxUTChatt.
Selected to speak at TEDxUTChattanooga 2014 are:
Nathan Adams, Poet and Cultural Reformer, Evensville, Tennessee
Mastered to Master: Restoring the Power of Words—A dyslexic, Adams wants to challenge listeners to think differently about words. How is language, something that is so core to the human being experience, so carelessly tossed around, or even worse, distorted beyond recognition? The power of words and the importance of thinking well need to be reconsidered and reclaimed.
Kevin Bate, Muralist and Curator, The McCallie Walls Project, Chattanooga, Tennessee
McCallie Walls Mural Project: The World’s First Drive Through Gallery—When was the last time you saw something beautiful on your drive to work? One day, driving on McCallie, Bate found himself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be better if this weren’t ugly?” A Chattanooga-based muralist, Bates knows the power of public art and that an ugly area is no place to live.
Victoria M. Bryan, Instructor, Cleveland State Community College, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Higher Education in Prison: What’s Next for Chattanooga’s Incarcerated Population—The Nashville-based Tennessee Higher Education Initiative aims to bring for-credit college education to incarcerated individuals and hopes to expand into Chattanooga and the surrounding areas. Bryan argues that if we are truly to be progressive and innovative, we need to educate all our residents—free or otherwise.
James Chapman, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Causeway, and Founder, Change-N-Go, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Create a Culture of Selflessness—Chapman proposes that the only way to maximize our overall talent is to be completely selfless. We must think of ourselves as one neighborhood, one community. We are only as strong as our weakest link. We cannot be so concerned with being the best individuals that we forget to assist those who live, work, and play with us.
Hill Craddock, Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Director, Chattanooga Chestnut Tree Project, Chattanooga, Tennessee
The Return of the Chestnut: A Tree Crop Archetype—In 1904, a pandemic struck the American chestnut; one of the worst ecological disasters of the 20th century. Much scientific effort has been focused on breeding a tree that combines disease resistance with timber form and other important adaptive characteristics. The return of the chestnut tree to the forest will depend on the concerted efforts of citizens and scientists working together.
Marcus Ellsworth, President, Tennessee Valley Pride, Host, Wide Open Floor at Barking Legs Theater, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Art as Activism—How can art become a road map for progress? Citing examples from world history as well as Chattanooga today, Ellsworth will pose the idea that one of the best ways to answer that question is by looking at the creative output of Chattanooga’s citizens. The answers can be found in the music, writing, and even the graffiti of our most under-served populations. We can use art to engage in meaningful discussions and purposeful action to make Chattanooga better for everyone.
Robert Fisher, UTC Student Government Association President, Clarksville, Tennessee
Equity or Optics for Chattanooga?—Why rest on the notion of the being the Scenic City? Leading with scenic merely suggests a commitment to optics—a vision of Chattanooga that invites ohs and ahs. But what if we committed ourselves to being the City of Equity? What if we found value in the many people, places, and ideas that make us Chattanooga, as opposed to arbitrarily picking which culture received our time and attention? At this critical juncture in our journey towards being a regional powerhouse, the model for mid-sized cities across America, we have to choose between meaningful progress towards socio-economic equality or settling for appearances. Simply put, as Chattanoogans we have to choose: Equity or Optics.
Jason Michaels, “The CardShark,” Nashville, Tennessee
You Can Do the Impossible, Too—What would the world look like if you could do the impossible? Michaels shares his own deeply personal story of doing the impossible: overcoming the debilitating neurological disorder Tourette’s Syndrome to become an international award-winning entertainer. He also shares mind-boggling “Impossibilities” from his repertoire of magic and illusion to inspire his audience to overcome challenges in their own lives.
Lyn Miles, Professor of Anthropology, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Director, Project Chantek, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chantek, the First Orangutan Person—Chantek is special. He communicates with signs, makes up his own words, and even tells lies! He creates tools and beautiful jewelry and paintings, and asks for car rides. He is sentient, autonomous, self-aware, emotionally complex, and incredibly intelligent—the only problem is that he is an orangutan. Chantek and other “enculturated” apes make up a new category of “persons of the nonhuman kind,” needing special protection and culture-based sanctuaries.
Lesley Scearce, President and CEO, On Point-Direction For Life, Chattanooga, Tennessee
A Failure of Imagination? Changing the Conversation about Chattanooga’s Youth—We live in the richest nation in the world, yet many of our youth can’t imagine a hopeful future. Lawmakers and influencers make decisions that impact youth, but rarely do we ask for or listen to the voices of those we hope to affect. Let’s shift our focus from “What’s wrong with youth?” to “What’s right with youth?” Imagine a city that SPARKS passion in youth, empowers their VOICES for change, and fosters positive RELATIONSHIPS.
Jackson Stone, Computer Science student and app innovator, Cleveland Tennessee
Captivating Software Design—Software is now ubiquitous in the modern work place, and over the years, the power of these programs has increased drastically in terms of what they can do. However, an aspect of design that has not been developed with the same positive trend is the actual experience of using these programs. Our workplace software can do great things, but using most of them is a dull, draining, and frequently frustrating experience. Can this be fixed, and is it worth the effort? This talk will argue “yes,” and give start points for achieving more captivating software design.
Kim White, President and CEO, River City Company, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Now What…in the Life of Our City?—Cities just like people are always evolving. Chattanooga has a 30-year history of re-invention and looking ahead but what do we see on the horizon? In the 1980s, we asked these questions out of crises. Today we do so in anticipation of the next big thing. Who are we poised to become as a city? Citizen engagement has played a major role in Chattanooga’s renaissance and why we are unique today.
About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes on a diverse mix of topics. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The TED2014 Conference takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast in neighboring Whistler. TEDGlobal 2014 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; and TEDBooks, short e-books on powerful ideas. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.
For information about TED’s upcoming conferences, visit http://www.ted.com/registration