TEDxRideauCanal 2013 - Overview of the talks!
The theme of TEDxRideauCanal 2013 was “CREATive Social Change”. Although the topics of the talks varied from art galleries, climate change and even to architecture, the overarching theme of unleashing creativity was evident throughout the evening. Each speaker emphasized that it was crucial to tap into our creativity in order to create social change.
First off, in her talk entitled “Art and Social Change”, Alexandra Badzak argued that art is part of our everyday living, or at least it should be, rather than a separate to life, society etc. Art, in all its forms, helps generates social change as it often brings to light and gives a platform to problems in society that tend to go unnoticed. Therefore, the space art occupies in public space matters, and with art galleries being hidden away or out of the public eye, we are losing a crucial piece of the puzzle.
Thereafter, Bruce Linton, in his talk entitled “more than great potlucks!” spoke about the importance of utilizing our multiculturalism in Canada in order to succeed in economic markets. Linton argued that the solutions to our global problems, in this case economic issues, could be tackled using creativity and resources already at hand.
Afterwards, David Rhynas spoke about how to tackle climate change in his talk features “Climate Change at a crossroads”. He argued that although there seems to be a debate on this issue, most scientists agree that climate change is occurring and it is caused and intensified by human activity. The consequences to climate change vary from floods and forest fires to tropical storms to extensions of entire species (possibly humans!). He argues that we have to tackle the problems first hand, and ignoring our part of climate change is a moral issue as we are taking resources away from other species and generations. In order change this destructive pattern, Rhynas proposes re-centering the role of environment in our diagram of society, much like how Mrs Badzak proposed re-centering art. In doing so, we can understand our impact on the environment and its impact on us. The secret to tackling climate change is little changes applied in different areas (converting to renewable energy for example), rather than a one-stop-shop, one size-fits all solution. Once again, Rhynas stresses the importance of tackling global problems with the resources we have using our creativity.
Next, Jessica Smith spoke about her approach to international development in her talk entitled “Creative Storytelling”. She discussed how international aid and development problems should be approached using a bottom-up approach by means of the context on-site rather than adopting a western-approach to their issues and prescribing them solutions. She emphasized that this will result in lasting social change because this approach takes into account what matters to people rather than what “should” matter.
Lastly, we finished the evening with a talk entitled “Unlocking Creativity” by Jeff Mosher. He spoke about his experience as an architect involved in international development projects. Similarly to Smith’s talk, he spoke about how our creativity is often stunted by pre-conceived notion in our tendency to replicated “what works” or simply what we know. He describes creativity as being this boundless ideal that is within all of us and that lets us take in different experiences and contexts without pre-conceived ideas of what things are supposed to be.
In the end, all the speakers at TEDxRideauCanal had connecting themes within their talks about creativity and how this amazing skill within all of us can help us tackle our society’s most complex problems by thinking outside the box and using already existing resources.
- Prepared by: Nicole Beauchemin