TEDx Event Centers on Innovation and the Humanities

Author: Joanna Basile

TEDxND logo

Discovering, collaborating on, and promoting new ideas in the humanities is the focus of the first-ever TEDx conference at Notre Dame, set for Friday, April 15, 2011.

“This is going to create an exciting, dynamic community of people on campus interested in finding creative ways to solve problems and share information,” says primary organizer Sean O’Brien, assistant director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies.

Founded in 1984, TED began as an annual conference for professionals in the technology, entertainment, and design fields to share “ideas worth spreading” through engaging speeches, all of 18 minutes or less. Official TED conferences are still held annually in California and the United Kingdom, but smaller “TEDx” events, like the one at Notre Dame, are now taking place all around the globe.

“TEDxND is a local, self-organized event that brings members of the Notre Dame community together to share and celebrate the spirit of innovation native to the ways we teach and research the humanities here,” O’Brien says.

Titled “Innovation and the Humanities,” TEDxND involves a large group of faculty, students, and staff contributing at every level—and the presentations are designed to spark connections among attendees and inspire deeper and ongoing discussions on a wide range of topics.

This event will focus specifically on the humanities, O’Brien says, but “the TEDx format offers a great way to showcase all kinds of new ideas, from science and engineering to arts and entertainment.”

In addition to O’Brien, the event speakers include:

  • Paul Baranay—undergraduate student, College of Science; co-editor of The Hub
  • Christine Burgess—Robinson Community Learning Center volunteer and performing arts coordinator
  • Matt Cashore—University photographer, AgencyND
  • Nitesh Chawla—assistant professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
  • Chris Clark—assistant director, Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Kyle Collins—undergraduate student, College of Engineering
  • Ann-Marie Conrado—associate professional specialist; Department of Art, Art History, and Design
  • Dan Jacobs—undergraduate student, Department of Art, Art History, and Design
  • P.J. Mathews— lecturer, University College Dublin School of English, Drama, and Film,
  • Patrick McCabe—Keough visiting professor, Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies
  • Nicole McLaughlin—University Writing Program
  • Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill—visiting Naughton fellow, Department of Irish Language and Literature
  • Brian Ó Conchubhair—associate professor, Department of Irish Language and Literature
  • Ziad Abdel Tawab—Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  • Leah Wescott—founder, The Cronk of Higher Education

TEDxND will take place on April 15, 2011, in the Andrews Auditorium in Geddes Hall. Tickets are free, but registration is required. The conference is sponsored by the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Center for Research Computing, Center for Social Concerns, Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, and OIT Academic Technologies.

“I hope the event will be the first of many,” says O’Brien, “and that TEDxND will expand beyond the humanities to incorporate the innovations going on all around us in the Notre Dame community.”

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