One of the only things I miss is the chance to spend more time in Calgary's grown-up "playgrounds." So when theTEDxCalgary team invited me to come and draw some pictures at their event at theCalgary Zoo a couple of weeks ago, of course I jumped at the chance.
What is TED? I think the first time I heard about it was when I watched Naheed Nenshi's popular TEDxCalgary talk online in 2010 (back before he was Calgary's Mayor). TED describes itself on its website thus: "TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. ...TED conferences bring together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less)."
So what is "TEDx"? The TEDx website says: "The TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis."
So there you have it. Check out the amazing independent planners and coordinators on the TEDxCalgary volunteer team. And now take a look at my notes about what they cooked up for a handful of lucky Calgarians in January 2014!
See? It was really sunny at the Calgary Zoo's Karsten Discovery Centre! (By the way, I have stolen most of the photos in this post from the TEDxCalgary facebook page).
The TEDx team of volunteers had set up some blackboards around the lobby, and participants were invited to write on them, finishing some open-ended statements such as, "Wilderness to me means...."
Anyway, I went around and talked with people about how they'd finish those sentences, and here are some of the things they said:
I can't tell you how pleased I was to run into John (depicted above). He was a childhood friend of my brother's, and a long time ago he helped me to paint a mural on an enormous Calgary wall! You can read a comic strip about our swashbuckling mural-painting adventures here.
Seeing John - whom I don't run into on a regular basis - reinforced for me how TEDx really draws in all sorts of people, from all parts of town, of all ages, of all walks of life!
This participant (above) was actually named Ted!
Glenda MacQueen is the Vice Dean at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine. And Rahim Sajan (above) is TEDxCalgary's Curator!
Well, all of that was before the talks even started! We settled in for a day of engaging, challenging, provoking words and images, all of which was introduced by an impassioned spoken word piece performed by 13-year-old local poet Fatima Bata.
I took notes during the talks just for fun.
Meet the Human Race
But what I also realized was that I'd met Chris before, one year ago, when I did some graphic recording for Calgary Economic Development's "Soul of the City" series. It was really early in the morning and I hadn't had any coffee - I think that must be why I didn't instantly recognize Chris at TEDx (that, and the fact that he was busy taking pictures and I was busy drawing and there wasn't really any time to talk). It turns out Chris is the person who made the sped-up video of me graphically recording the Soul of the City talks. I have pointed so many people to this video, and I never knew who made it! Hooray for TEDx solving this mystery for me. I will have to send Chris a note. But first I have to finish this blog!
WILDERNESS to me means...
Then it was time for lunch, and here are some of the pictures I drew while listening to folks around the table (click on them to enlarge).
Having never been to one of these before, I wondered a bit about how unique this particular TEDx event was, compared to so many worldwide TEDx's. Then I saw this little light was designed by Fred Maynard of the TEDx volunteer team - now how cool (and unique) is that?
Here's Kevin Franco of event sponsor Francomedia (very cool Inglewood-based firm)
Yes, indeed - thanks, TEDx, for doing what you do!