UM TEDx Seeks Speakers for 2019 Conference

Jandel Crutchfield, UM assistant professor of social work, speaks at the 2018 TEDxUniversityofMississippi event in February. The group is taking nominations through Nov. 2 for the 2019 event to be held in spring of 2019. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services.

If you or someone you know is sitting on an idea that may revolutionize the world, the University of Mississippi is asking you to speak at TEDxUniversityofMississippi.

Organizers of the event, which is designed to bring community members together to discuss a wide range of topics, are seeking nominations for 2019 speakers.

TEDx is an independently organized community forum designed after the national TED Talk conferences. In spring 2019, the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts will host the University of Mississippi’s fourth edition of the program.

In a change for this year, speakers can nominate themselves by submitting information about their topic and why that topic is relevant to the UM and Oxford communities. Approximately eight speakers will be selected from the pool of nominees.

“We believe a university like (UM) should be a place for learning and hearing new and different and challenging ideas,” said Marvin King Jr., event organizer and associate professor of political science and African American studies. “It’s nice to have an event like this that isn’t part of a formal class – there’s no test, no notes, no quizzes.

“It’s just a chance to hear, in one event, eight very different ideas on eight different subjects where you can learn quite a bit in two hours.”

Nomination submissions are due by Nov. 2, and those will be pared down to approximately 15-20 finalists. The finalists will then submit a short video on their topic of choice and the final speakers will be selected by the TEDx Committee, which consists of UM students. Once speakers are selected, a theme for the 2019 program will be chosen and a final date for the event will be selected, King said.

“The best speakers are those who aren’t lecturing, but those who are having a conversation with the audience,” King said.

Anyone from anywhere is allowed to submit a nomination, but King said he hopes to focus on speakers connected to the “Ole Miss family.”

“We would love to have more alumni – those people who have their own businesses and life experiences,” King said. “That will allow those alumni to connect to the community.”

King said he originally planned for the UM TEDx events to conclude after three years, but with attendance growing, from approximately 100 at the first event in 2015 to more than 500 at the 2018 event, he felt there is a need to keep the program alive.

“We hope to one day sell out the Ford Center,” he said.

Interested speakers can apply for nomination online. Tickets will be available on the Ford Center website once an official date is announced.     


By Justin Whitmore

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