Herald-Times: TEDxBloomington topics to include new-age barn raising

Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:00 am

By Rick Seltzer 812-331-4243 | rseltzer@heraldt.com

Want to hear about re-imagining barn raising? How about new ways to think about local limestone?

Those are two topics that speakers will address at this year’s TEDxBloomington, which is slated for Saturday. They’re not the only speakers at this year’s event, an independently organized version of the idea-sharing conference TED. There are 20 speakers, as well as music and performance entries in this year’s Bloomington lineup.

The upcoming local TED conference is organized around the theme “What Goes ‘Round: literally or metaphorically round, spherical, global or cyclical ideas.” It’s an open theme that different speakers will be taking in different directions.

Speakers are either from Bloomington or have strong Bloomington ties, according to Luci Englert McKean, TEDxBloomington curator.

“This is the most Bloomington that TEDxBloomington has been in our three years to date,” she said. “This year’s event focuses on Bloomington speakers, primarily, but they’re speakers that don’t always have a voice in the public sphere.”

Take Amy Brier, the founder of the Indiana Limestone Symposium and an assistant professor of fine arts at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington. She’s planning to talk about Indiana limestone and its cultural and geographic importance. She’s also planning to talk about her personal experiences with the stone.

Or take Chris Reinhart, architectural lead for Open Source Ecology. He’s going to discuss re-imagining barn raising for the 21st century with extreme manufacturing and open-source industrial equipment.

The range of speakers at this year’s TEDxBloomington also includes scientists, environmentalists and doctors, among others. They’ll share ideas in talks ranging from four to 18 minutes in length.

TED talks are only part of the experience, McKean said.

“We encourage people to connect with people outside of their usual spheres,” she said. “If you go to TEDxBloomington and you only speak to people you already know, you’re missing the bigger point.”

Saturday’s event is scheduled to take place at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. It will start at 10:30 a.m.

Visit www.tedxbloomington.com, visit the theater box office in person at 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. or call 812-323-3020 for tickets. General admission costs $50 per person, although group discounts are also available.

McKean suggested registering as soon as possible to increase the chances that custom-printed name badges will be available. Those badges, which won’t be able to be printed for last-second registrants, include topics that attendees suggest as subjects they’d like to discuss.

“We list three things on their name badges,” McKean said. “You not only get their first name, but you get conversation starters right there.”


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