TEDxVermilionStreet team seeks speakers, community
TEDxVermilionStreet is holding an open call for speakers for its inaugural series of talks; the event, which is scheduled for September 12 at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, will feature ideas that capture what makes the Acadiana community special.
Prospective speakers can apply through the TEDxVermilionStreet website until June 30. According to lead organizer and graduate biology student Taylor Sloey, the deadline gives the organizing team time to work with speakers to maximize presentations and the number of presentations.
“We’re getting a good chunk of speakers,” Sloey said. “I’d like to see more come in, especially considering with the half-day event that we’re doing. We can probably fit between 10 and 15 speakers.”
Organized by University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate students, the independently organized TEDx event follows the theme of “Je ne sais quoi.” The organization’s website describes the theme as ideas that capture the “intangible qualities” that “cultivate, engage and enrich” the community.
“It’s very diverse, and we … encourage people from all sorts of backgrounds to apply,” Sloey said. “You don’t need to be a professor in something to give an amazing TEDx talk. Anyone at any age is welcome to apply.”
According to TEDx guidelines, talks must be under 18 minutes and relate to the theme; however, the talks can be as short as five minutes. According to Sloey, speakers should also look for ways to form connections with the global community, as the presentations will be available online.
“Any sort of (presentation) is encouraged, and can really change the world if you just get it out to the audience,” she said.
According to Sloey, a team of curators will review speakers’ applications. The process will take approximately one month, and the team will finalize the list by the end of July.
In addition to suggesting speakers for the event, people can also submit pictures of things around Acadiana to the TEDxVermilionStreet team through social media for use in the program.
“We’re hoping that we can gather pictures that we (can incorporate) into the stage design or into a piece of curated art that’s going to be on display (at the ACA),” said co-production manager Erik Yando.
“You can be an expert photographer or very amateur,” he continued. “You can take it from your iPhone and submit it, and we’d love that.”
In addition to speakers and community involvement, the organizational team is also looking for monetary sponsors. Current sponsorship includes monetary sponsor Potenza and in-kind sponsors, The Independent and Innov8 Acadiana, which supply services such as marketing or event amenities.
Tickets will go on sale after the list of speakers is finalized. While there are only 100 tickets at $20 each, Sloey said the presentations will be streaming in an overflow location at the ACA.
With headquarters in New York, TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, has spread ideas around the world, whether through word-of-mouth or through social media. TEDx talks, which are licensed by TED but run by independent organizers, can begin anywhere, with six series of TEDx talks in Louisiana planned for 2015 (including TedxVermilionStreet.)
“(TEDx) is something that is long past due coming to Acadiana, so it was just real natural to get behind someone else who’s doing it … The whole group from UL, they have super energy and are just real progressive thinkers,” said Innov8 Acadiana Director Pete Prados.
Innov8 Acadiana is an organization composed of volunteers who, according to the Innov8 website, “inspire, connect and showcase” leaders and innovators across local industries.
“These are our future leaders, and we want to help promote anything that young people that are being progressive do,” he said.
The event marks the first TEDx series in Lafayette as well as a gateway for other TEDx events in the parish. According to Sloey, many sponsors showed interest in initiating their own talks.
“It’s ironic (because) we were going to put on a TEDx, and we’d gotten all of the documentation to do it, and we decided to do it next year,” said Prados. “When (Sloey) came to us and said that they were doing it, that’s when we said ‘oh, this is great, we’ll get behind it.’”
“Clearly there was a need to bring this to Lafayette, and it’s great to have all these agencies helping each other and working together to bring these things to Lafayette,” said Sloey.