By Allie Colbert
TEDxSMU is in the midst of live auditions for their fall 2016 conference, with the second audition taking place at the Granada Theater March 30 at 7 p.m. The purpose of TEDxSMU live auditions, according to TEDxSMU program coordinator Christie Pearson, is to find ideas in Dallas that people have not heard yet and give them a platform to be spread.
As a way to keep TEDxSMU rooted in the Dallas community, a winner is selected at each live audition by the audience and judging panel and invited to speak at the fall TEDxSMU conference alongside many other speakers from around the world.
TEDxSMU’s fall conference, with more than 550 attendees, provides diverse talks on topics including personal journeys, advocacy and changes in technology.
What makes the live audition process different from the fall conference is the exposure to unknown Dallas speakers during the speaker curation phase. Anyone with an idea to share can get on stage and use the live audition as a platform, as opposed to the fall conference, where most speakers are invited to speak.
“It’s a great opportunity for TEDxSMU to see people in Dallas get up there and give it a try and hear some ideas and see some people we wouldn’t normally be exposed to with our normal process” TEDxSMU Director Heather Hankamer said.
To speak at a TEDxSMU live audition, those interested must complete an online form with a panel reviewing the applications and selecting the finalists. The finalists then receive coaching by the TEDxSMU team and present their idea in six minutes on stage at the Granada Theater.
After all of the speakers have presented, the judges and audience vote for their favorite, and the winner is announced at the end of the night. Students are invited to attend and get a preview of what the topics may be at the fall conference.
“It’s just great to be a part of the process of deciding the ideas that will reach so many people in the fall conference,” TEDxSMU Young Fellow Tania Doblado said.
The second live audition March 30 will feature eight speakers. John Ansbach, general council at General Datatech, will speak on how “The Internet of Things Will Save (or kill) Us All.” The topic of the “American Eclipse of 2017: Science, Spirit, and Beauty” will be given by Leticia Ferrer. Pamela Garcy will speak of the power of the listening parent, while Paul Westbrook will speak about redefining the smart home. Dave Wagner will voice his opinion on the encryption debate and why backdoors are not the answer. Michael Weiseberg, a practicing gastroenterologist, will offer a talk on how the art of medicine became a business in the 21st century. SMU student Moez Janmohammad will speak over “Building a Parallel Computing Cluster using Raspberry Pi,” and Lawrence Vo will give a talk titled “Technology Killed the Real Estate Star.”
While TEDxSMU has held a live audition process since 2011, for the first time ever this year the live auditions have been categorized into three separate live events with different themes.
The first live audition Feb. 29 focused on global issues, humanities and education while the second live audition will focus on science, technology and health. The third and final live audition for the season will occur May 24 and will focus on arts, entertainment and design. Separating the auditions by theme gives potential speakers more guidelines as to what TEDxSMU is looking for in their TEDx talks.