TEDx Hamline: A Review

Twelve different talks, with topics spanning from memes to sexual violence, took stage on the Sundin Music Hall stage for the first ever TEDx Hamline University event. For a hundred lucky students, they got to sit in the auditorium and watch it live, but others like me were able to sit and watch it at the comfort of their own coach.

The live stream started April 5 at 2 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m. Surrounding myself with snacks, plenty of water and some homework I hunkered in for the long run.  

Senior Conner Suddick and junior Raie Gessesse were the Masters of Ceremony (MC) for the event. This student run event was beautifully organized, weaving Hamline speakers who were a range of professors, students, and alumni. The talks were split into four sections with breaks in between.

The speakers were diverse. Some speakers called me to action, like Dr. Basford and Senior Seila Ceri’s talk Whose Crisis Is It? about the refugee and migrant “human crisis,” or Dr. Kelly Pylkas-Bock’s talk about Teachers as Civil Disobedients, about being a creative and “disobedient teacher.”

Other talks made me laugh like, Alumni Jasmine Lee’s The Meme-ing of Life, others made me cry like Alumni Shelby St. Pierre’s Relationships After Rape.

The only critique I have about the stream itself was the camera. Stagnant, the camera had a wide shot of the stage, leaving the podium where the MCs would stand, and the red spot where the speakers would stand were on the edge of the shot, making it hard for them to be seen. If the camera was actively moved to accommodate who was speaking it would have allowed the screen and the speakers easily seen.

The stagnant camera also made the viewer feel farther away from the stage than normal TED talks are. The lighting of the auditorium mixed with the camera angle caused a lot of the PowerPoints to be unreadable. It took away from some of the talks that were more visual heavy such as the The Meme-ing of Life and Dr. James Densley’s talk on How Social Media Changed Our Relationship with Violence.

Even with some of these minor visual and audio problems (where my lazy self had to actually grab the remote and raise the volume), all the talks and speakers were engaging and fascinating in their own unique ways.

I hope Hamline hosts a TEDx event again next year, bringing more unique voices of the community to light.

If you wish to learn more about TEDx Hamline and the live stream you can go to their website. They will be posting the full show online in a few weeks. Each speaker talks for 18 minutes or less, allowing for an engaging lesson for those like me who have a short attention span.