To all the brave ones that dared to join our event last week
Yes, it’s been a week already since TEDxSaxionUniversity Brave New World. And what a day it was. 11 speakers, 1 dancer, 1 singer-songwriter, 1 poet, 1 host, 1 TEDx team and 650 of you!
This is after blog number four and I can’t believe how fast time flies. Remember my first after blog? I wasn’t even a volunteer at TEDxSaxion yet and here we are, I’m part of a wonderful team writing another blog for the second big event! We’ve come so far and it’s safe to say that we all feel so proud.
If for any reason you couldn’t make it to TEDxSaxionUniversity Brave New World, don’t worry; I’ll take you on a quick tour through the day.
This year’s event took place at the Deventer Schouwburg in (surprise surprise) Deventer. We started the day in the lobby with drinks and macaroons while everyone could collect their personal badge and socialize while waiting for the theatre to open her doors. Being part of the communication team, my job for that day was to take-over the TEDxSaxion Instagram page with my dear friend Fatma. Together we provided live videos and pictures from the whole event. We also approached some of the audience while waiting. We filmed some short interviews for the Instagram stories and we were delighted to hear and see that the audience was a mix of young and old, students and non-students, family and friends, entrepreneurs and teachers and of course some of the speakers and the host of last year’s event. All these people had either heard of TEDxSaxion, went to an event before or were about to experience the TEDxSaxion magic for the very first time.
This event was divided into three sessions. After the first session we had a short break and after the second session it was time to have dinner, but we will talk about food later ;)
Our host for the day was Dorothée Loorbach. Some might have seen her before at the Open Mic earlier this year. She is full of excitement and showed that right on stage. Her energy and good vibes are so contagious! We started the event with a great video made by Studio MAD. The zeppelin we saw in the video made an appearance in the theatre. Brave New World started with the zeppelin flying through the air to the huge X on stage. Thanks to our very talented stage designer Joris Bökkerink we had a stage that matched the theme.
Our first speaker of the day was Pamela Nicoletatos. Her talk was about a future beyond earth. Her ambition is: ‘’to be one of the first people to step foot on and colonize Mars!’’ As a home schooling mother who studies Astronomy in her spare time, she takes every opportunity to engage in Mars analog projects. Whenever people ask her why she wants to go to Mars, her response is as rebellious as she is: ‘’why not?’’
Abeje Yenehun Mersha took the stage as our second speaker. His talk was about our future involving areal robots. He is an areal robot expert at Saxion University and one of the specialists involved in the recently launched Space53. This is a test location for drones, which is the first of its kind in the world. Abeje definitely thinks that in the future every single one of us will have a personal areal robot. According to Abeje ‘’your future depends on robots..’’ How does this make you feel?
After two speakers we had a mind-blowing performance by a masked dancer on a hoverboard. If that didn’t catch your attention, then how about this: he was covered in body paint. I know, the dance was as mesmerising as it sounds. Bart Hilhorst had us all wrapped around his finger. During the first break I got to talk to him and he told me about his dance and the paint. His friend did this design for him and it actually took him a couple hours before he was done. I asked him if his dance had a certain name, but it didn’t. If he really had to come up with a name, he would call it the Brave New Dance.
Rob Tuitert took the stage afterwards. He was one of the Open Mic winners and told the audience about his passion: ‘’my passion is designing a new generation of play equipment, making use of the possibilities of technology, but in a way that feels natural and above all: is fun!’’ Rob surely loves to play and the audience could feel his passion and devotion. His idea is that, instead of saying that digital gaming is bad for kids, we should embrace the technology and look at what makes it so appealing for the kids. Doing so, he designed interactive playground equipment to stimulate the youth to go and play outside.
Maria Sarkis Azkanaz is what I would like to call a power chick. Oh my, I can only tell you what I felt during her talk and that was so much admiration! I think the whole audience would agree if I said that her story touched us and inspired us in so many ways. Five years ago Maria arrived as a refugee in the Netherlands. Soon enough she realised that the only way to move forward was to accept and be part of the new environment she was in. In just five years Maria learned Dutch, finished her bachelor study at Saxion University in just three years and is now a pre-master student Biomedical Sciences at the University of Groningen. ‘’Building a new life in a new country is difficult but not impossible if you try hard enough, because hard work always pays off.’’
After the first break we kicked off the second session with no one less than firefighter Ymko Attema. He works at Fire Department Twente, that won many prizes for being innovative and using new technology on the job. Being a firefighter isn’t just about putting out fires. Firefighters are there for the safety of the community. ‘’Firefighters go to the place where normal people run away from.’’ Ymko believes that only by being open to new ideas and technology, instead of being afraid or defensive, we can make progress in security management. He definitely showed us bravery on stage.
Fransje Immink: a mother a teacher and a human being. Her goal: ‘’to build a new community of pioneers who stand for: I am you because we are!’’ Fransje is an art teacher at Saxion University for the study Social Work. She tries to think outside the box within the borders of education. They’ve set up projects to raise money and awareness for refugees. After visiting Lesbos with five students to do volunteer work, they decided to set up a foundation. Her talk was filled with power and excitement. Her energy and positivity spread through the whole audience. She definitely got us hooked!
Being able to organise and set up events under the license of TED, its mandatory to show the audience two talks from the TED website. We selected two talks and the first one we showed had the whole audience in tears. And no, don’t worry we weren’t emotional. We were just laughing way too hard. Tell me, how do you react when you see a spam email that slipped into your inbox? A normal reaction is to delete it, but what if you replied? Now that’s being brave. James Veitch talked at TEDxGeneva about how his life changed after replying to a spam email with an offer that he couldn’t resist. You can watch the talk by clicking on this link. Trust me: it’s worth it!
Big Data is a big topic that usually leaves people with a big question mark. According to Wouter Kroese and Willem Herter the future of our healthcare is in using big data. ‘’We want to provide every doctor with the right evidence at the right time, so that every patient only receives a treatment that has proven to work in practice for similar patients.’’ In order to achieve their goal they founded a company that builds clinical decision support systems based on the analysis of enormous amounts of health data from practice. Now that’s the big data they are talking about. With this company they provide doctors with all the information they need to choose the treatment that is most likely to improve the lives of their patients. What I loved about this talk is that they were so in synch with each other! It’s amazing how far humans have come when it comes to technology.
‘’Let’s change the world, one poem at a time.’’ Dorothy Oger is what I would like to call a pure soul. She’s a poet-coach from Belgium. In the terrorist attacks on Brussels she lost a friend and wrote a poem about it. It was spontaneously translated in more than 40 languages. The poem ‘’I shall stand for love’’ spreads hope, love and invites us to change the world through more openness and compassion. Not only did Dorothy tell us the poem, she invited several students who each told a part of the poem in their native language. One poem + several languages = an audience in awe.
My favourite part of any event: food! Dinner was organised by a catering company and was simply delicious. I was dared to taste the coconut soup, but my taste buds weren’t too happy with me when I did it. Fortunately there was enough choice and we had a great dinner!
The third and last session started afterwards. Patrick Stoffer came on stage with some company. Patrick is a student who lives in a Humanitas nursing home. He lives in an elderly home and pays for his stay by keeping the elderly company. He took two of his friends with him on stage. I wouldn’t be surprised if more students started living like Patrick. Now that his container of ideas got filled, he plans to set up an urban farm at the center of his community!
We cooked up solutions with chef Harry Webers. His dream: ‘’I want to inspire people and stimulate the circular economy and innovation to create new jobs in the region.’’ His passion is cooking with some very unusual ingredients: people, planet and profit. He creates an old but at the same time new way of looking at the circular economy and cooperation between cities. It was an interesting talk, that took a successful recipe from the past to create a new future.
‘’At every age people underestimate how much their values will change in the next decade.’’ The next talk we showed from the TED website was from psychologist Dan Gilbert. A look inside his talk: ‘’At every stage of our lives we make decisions that will profoundly influence the lives of the people we’re going to become, and then when we become those people, we’re not always thrilled with the decisions we made. So young people pay good money to get tattoos removed that teenagers paid good money to get. Middle-aged people rushed to divorce people who young adults rushed to marry. Older adults work hard to lose what middle-aged adults worked hard to gain. On and on and on. The question is, as a psychologist, that fascinates me is, why do we make decisions that our future selves so often regret?’’ Watch the full talk by clicking on this link.
We had a phenomenal musical performance by Robin Yerah. He’s a one man band and proved his talent on stage. We sang along, clapped along and most importantly: related to his songs. One of his songs was called ‘’uhh’’ like when you don’t know anymore. Its brilliant!
Jutta Reinke: the girl who said food and got the whole audience going crazy (because who wouldn’t). According to Jutta we don’t know what and why we eat anymore. Her message is simple: ‘’breed algues, not cows.’’ Jutta told us about how Chlorella can change the future of food. It’s a simple plant that has an undiscovered potential for a healthy and sustainable life. Her ambition is to provide people with information and possibilities to get access to this special plant.
Lee Vu (Vu Hoang Giang) was our last speaker of the day. He’s a former Saxion student who was in the news because he was accused by the US government of ‘phishing’, a form of internet fraud in which one makes money using e-mail. In his talk, Lee talked about how he dealt with what he had experienced, what he learned and how he picked up his life after getting out of prison. ‘’The way you see and act in any situation decides who you are and how you feel, be smart and have a positive mind-set in any case!’’
Dorothée then announced us, the volunteers! Behind every event there’s a team of volunteers that help with all the preparation. I can say that it was definitely amazing to stand on stage with my team. We worked hard to make sure everything was perfect. It was nice to have a little moment in the spotlight (said the girl who was shaking on her legs the first time she stood on stage ;) it’s all about being brave!
We kicked off the after party right on stage with DJ Niek Ketel. In merely seconds the stage turned into a real party place with a bar, lights and great music. We mingled and danced and celebrated our second major event! I would love to see more new faces at our next event!
Brave is everyone who dares to show it
Photos by Patty Peppe and Bart van den Boogaard.