TEDx Spokane invites Gonzaga students to speak on their passions

Gonzaga alumna, Kinzie Farmer, spoke at TEDx Spokane in 2018 about finding herself.

TEDx Spokane is accepting applications until April 20 to be a presenter for this year’s conference on Oct. 20. The conference will take place downtown at Bing Crosby Theatre. TEDx is looking for people from various industries, networks and perspectives. 

The online application asks about your “big idea,” why you are passionate about it and the reason you want your idea to be shared with the larger community. There are three main aspects on giving a TED Talk: an idea worth sharing, passion and energy paired with authenticity. 

Charlie Wolff, a TEDx organizer, said in addition to the online application, there is a six-to-seven-minute audition for the invited applicants. Wolff said he hopes to hold some of these auditions on Gonzaga’s campus in March.

Spokane has hosted TEDx conferences since 2012. Past TEDx conferences have featured GU professors such as Suzanne Ostersmith, Brook Swanson, Rhonda Young and alumni such as Kinzie Farmer, who have all presented a TED Talk.

“They are always well-attended, but not everyone thinks of TED Talks as a live experience,” said Ostersmith, assistant professor of theatre & dance and dance director. “So, I think there is real value in that, the bringing together of community around big ideas that way.”

Ostersmith also worked as a coach for TEDx, helping roughly five presenters prepare for their TED Talk. She said each presenter has a personal coach that helps them with memorization, finding the timeline within their story and during the final stages of the talk.

“For some people, memorizing that many words can feel like it’s a hard thing, so with my background in theater, I have some tricks of the trade that can help them with the memorization,” Ostersmith said. “The day of the performance or even the dress rehearsal, once again, I feel like my theater background is helpful with helping their nerves.”

These TEDx conferences are arranged around the importance of conversation and learning more about others’ passions.

“I think the whole model of the TED Talk is fascinating,” Ostersmith said. “It is very much structured in that, you go and listen to, like, four TED Talks, and then, you get a break. You are then supposed to go out in the lobby and engage in the conversation. Then, you go back and hear more.”

Swanson, a biology professor at GU, said many people in Spokane have  ideas and opinions worth sharing, and TEDx is a great outlet for these people.

“This is a way that we can take what is going on in town here, and then, not only communicate that to other people in town and have that be a center for good ideas, but then, to also communicate that to the broader world,” Swanson said. 

Jane Ferguson is a contributor. 

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