This Saturday, the fifth annual TEDxOhioStateUniversity will bring a series of talks and performances centered on this year’s theme, “Reconstructing Reality,” to a sold-out Mershon Auditorium.
The event will feature students, faculty and alumni from diverse backgrounds sharing their ideas in relation to the theme. The event is sold out but can be livestreamed at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“I look at reconstructing reality, and it can essentially mean anything you want it to,” said TEDxOhioStateUniversity communications director Avish Jain, a fourth-year in biology. “Reality is both tangible and nontangible. It’s everything that we see and everything that we ignore.”
Following the format of the popular TED conference, TEDx at OSU will present varying perspectives and ideas that audience members might not have previously considered.
“It’s a day where you’re not just listening to talks or watching a performance, but it’s a day where you are truly inspired to do something more,” Jain said.
After selecting this year’s theme, the organization went through an application process beginning in October to select the most appropriate speakers and performers.
One of those speakers will be Bria Davis, a fourth-year in communication. Davis said she was inspired to get involved after attending her first TEDx event as a freshman.
“I turned to one of my best friends because it was so cool and was like, ‘I want to give one of these before I graduate,’” she said. “I just decided this year that I hadn’t applied and I probably should.”
Davis — who is triple-minoring in creative writing, art and pop culture — incorporated her coursework and personal passions while preparing her talk. Her presentation will focus on superheroes and underrepresentation of certain groups in the media.
“Representation is really important for pretty much everyone that isn’t a white guy,” Davis said. “Everyone deserves to be a hero, not just affluent white dudes like Tony Stark.”
By focusing on a part of the media that most people are familiar with, Davis said she hopes to connect with the majority of audience members.
“I think that TED talks, in general, are really good at presenting interesting ideas that people might not encounter in their everyday life in a really accessible way,” Davis said. “If I were to walk into a biochemistry class in the middle of a lecture, I’d probably zone out and have no idea what was happening, but if that professor were to give a TED talk and make it more of a narrative and simplify things down, I think I would learn.”
John Carlarne, peace studies coordinator at OSU, will adapt his typical lecture format to present his own talk for TEDx at OSU.
“It’s going to be a challenge to get it into 10 minutes,” he said.
Carlarne, raised in Nairobi, Kenya and London, said he will draw from his research in addition to his experiences as a British Army officer, police officer and activist for his talk.
“My reality was deconstructed by working 20 years ago in war-torn societies,” he said. “People seem to adapt to that situation much more easily and readily than one would think.”
Other speakers include Dr. Rustin Moore, dean of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, design assistant professor Rebekah Matheny and Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi, a Syrian-American third-year in biomedical engineering. Performances will include an improv piano and dance composition by Susan Chess and Joshua Manculich, poetry by Cynthia Amoah, and dance by the Kawayan Team of the Pilipino Student Association.
Clarification March 4: References to the event as TEDxOSU have been changed to TEDx at OSU to avoid confusion with TEDx at Oregon State University.