Turk File

Calling all great ideas

by Christiaan Mader

Got a world-changing idea hidden up your sleeve? TEDxVermilionStreet will give you a chance to reveal it.

What do Lafayette, New York State’s Sing Sing Correctional Facility, and Habana, Cuba, have in common?

By the end of 2015 all three will have hosted their very first TEDx events, entering the world of community-oriented and independently organized spinoffs of the popular presentation series. If you’re not familiar with TED Talks or TEDx, it’s essentially a topic du jour speaker series that strives to present innovative ideas on subjects ranging from the scientific (biodiversity, neuroscience) to the socially novel but effective (how to properly use a paper towel) presented in short talks by luminaries (e.g. Bill Gates, Shia LeBeouf) and the lesser known alike.

The only requirement for entry is an “idea worth sharing” with the world at large, with the notion that simple solutions and ideas can cut through world problems like Occam’s razor. Lafayette’s TedXVermilionStreet, which has just issued an open call for speaker applications, will go down Sept. 12 at the Acadiana Center for the Arts on Vermilion Street.

Taylor Sloey

The event will be locally curated by the staff at TEDxVermilionStreet, with presentations topping out at 30 minutes, and loosely linked by the theme Je Ne Sais Quoi, ideas and conversations about the intangibles of living in Lafayette. The TED-brand license stipulates a small audience, capping attendance at 100 available tickets. TEDxVermilion plans to host live streams in “overflow locations” inside of AcA to expand the event’s reach. Additional overflow locations will be arranged should viewing demand require it.

“Our primary goal is to encourage interaction between the leading thinkers and doers in our community, and help our community inspire [itself], and expose the world to our ideas,” says TEDxVermilionStreet organizer Taylor McCleery Sloey.

TEDx, like its celebrity big brother, is formatted to cram a glut of ideas into a densely packed event, with the principle difference being an inversion of the flow of information, communicating from the world’s provinces inward to global centers instead of the other way around. TEDx gives communities both big and small the opportunity to address issues and ideas within their corporate limits while providing a quick pathway to world-wide dissemination. Speeches from TEDx-branded events like TEDxVermilionStreet have the opportunity to be featured on the principal TED.com site, which reaches millions of visitors each year.

Interested in attending, volunteering, or participating? Check out the website www.tedxvermilionstreet.org for more info on how you can get involved. Speaker applications have a June 30 submission deadline.