Pictured Left to Right: Ryan Guinee, Design Chair; Salil Joshi, Founder and Organizer; Lukas Deem, Production Chair. Not Pictured: Mike Steely, Sponsorship Chair
Arkansas transplant Salil Joshi is launching TEDxMarkhamSt, a full-day event taking place on July 24 at the Ron Robinson Theater. According to TED’s website, “TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.” TEDx events are local and self-organized events (‘x’ stands for an independently organized TED event). AMP talked with Joshi about what we can expect from Little Rock’s first TEDx event.
KL: Tell us about yourself. Why are you starting TEDxMarkhamSt?
My name is Salil Joshi and I am originally from Shreveport, Louisiana. I completed my undergraduate degree at Emory University in Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology and Economics in 2011. In 2014, I completed a Masters degree in Medical Sciences at Mississippi College. I will begin my pursuit of a concurrent Master’s degree at the Clinton School of Public Service and Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, concentrating in Health Policy and Management.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, I began working with the TED organization in 2010 and co-founded one of the largest annual collegiate TEDx events in the country, TEDxEmory. With over 1,000 annual attendees, TEDxEmory has acted as an educational and networking platform that catalyzes unprecedented community-driven agendas in and around the university. It is my hope that bringing a TEDx conference to Little Rock will accomplish similar feats for the city, and for the state of Arkansas.
KL: What is your favorite part about TEDx events?
SJ: Watch any TED video and you are met with an intellectual adrenalin rush, like the feeling that rips through you after a significant accomplishment. Except this time, the thrill is triggered by your imagination rather than a physical accomplishment. TED and TEDx events are powerful because the organizers, like myself, and the staff do not do it for the money or the fame—for which there is neither. We do it to make a difference. We have a passion for the TED mission: “Ideas Worth Spreading.”
TED, a nonprofit organization, has reinvigorated its audience’s appetite for knowledge by devoting itself to spreading ideas. This unique platform gives the audience an opportunity to throw away stereotypes or preconceived notions and appreciate the bigger picture.
KL: What can we expect from the event?
SJ: Stimulating and thought provoking ideas. You may think you know your area of interested thoroughly, but you will surely find something to add to your knowledge pool in these talks. Be a part of the change. The world is being transformed by some radical ideas and TEDx events such as TEDxMarkhamSt provide you a chance to be part of the change. By participating in this conference, you are essentially being part of a renovation, akin to the development of downtown Little Rock! Local speakers and local audiences. TEDxMarkhamST provides you a platform to connect with local achievers of your own community and be inspired by them. This is highly beneficial as you can relate to them easily and be more open and vocal in the discussion.
KL: How will TEDxMarkhamSt benefit the community?
SJ: Injecting new ideas and honest, open dialogue into large communities is catching on worldwide. For example, if you are working or in school, finding inspiration is key to staying creative and generating ideas. As a society, we can not complete tasks without such ideas, small or big, or without contributing to another person’s idea. In short, without ideas there would be nothing to work with or on. TED talks benefit the community by serving as a genuine vehicle for learning and engagement in 5 key ways:
- They gratify our preference for visual learning.
- They engage the power of social learning.
- They put practitioners in the role of teachers.
- They enable self-directed, “just-in-time” learning.
- They encourage viewers to build on what they already know.
KL: Why should I attend TEDxMarkhamSt?
SJ: TEDx events or conferences can be the some of the most stimulating experiences. In keeping with the theme “ideas worth spreading,” these events can prove to be a source of great learning and can help broaden one’s perspective. The TEDx speakers are dignitaries in their industries. One can benefit a great deal from the ideas shared. The live talks and the TEDx talk videos are interactive and encourage participation.
KL: Tell me about the TEDxMarkhamSt Artist, Design and Photography exhibit.
SJ: TEDxMarkhamSt is giving local and regional artists the opportunity and platform to showcase their talents! This one-of-a-kind opportunity is for artists of all backgrounds and ages! Certain pieces will be showcased at the Ron Robinson Theater on the day of the event while the remainder will be printed in the program. Artwork will also be available for viewing on the TEDxMarkhamSt website after the conference. All artwork submitted will be sold through the TEDxMarkhamSt organization. We will not take a “finders fee” or percentage of the sale. The TEDxMarkhamSt design theme is “Little Rocks Create Avalanches.” The submission deadline is July 15, 2015.
KL: How can an interested artist submit their work?
SJ: Please contact me at TEDxLRAR@gmail.com prior to submitting your work.
KL: How can I get involved with TEDxMarkhamSt?
SJ: We are always looking for new faces and ideas. If you are interested in participating in this year’s event please fill out our volunteer form on our website. All volunteers receive a free custom TEDxMarkhamSt Volunteer t-shirt and access to the event.
The 2016 TEDxMarkhamSt Team Application will become available upon completion of the 2015 conference. Individuals interested in being part of TEDxMarkhamSt 2016 can apply on our website after the conference.
KL: How much are tickets/merchandise?
SJ: Tickets go on sale June 15. The prices are below:
- Students: $20 (w/ student ID)
- General Admission: $25
- General at Door: $30 (cash only)
- Ticket + Dinner: $70
- T-shirt (online reservation): $15 (cash only)
- T-Shirt at Event: $20 (cash only)
KL: How many people are you expecting to attend?
SJ: We expect a total of 750-1,000 attendees throughout the day!
KL: Who are the speakers?
SJ: The TEDxMarkhamSt speakers and performers include:
- Karama Neal
- Celia Anderson
- Minnijean Brown-Trickey
- Curtis Lowery, MD
- Stephen Canon, M.D.
- First Lieutenant Omon Fitzgerald “Fitz” Hill, USATC
- James L. “Skip” Rutherford III, Dean
- P. Allen Smith
- Charles Morgan
- Anthony C. Johnson
- Cotton Rohrscheib
- I. Barry Goldberg
- Lynnette Watts
- Epiphany Morrow
- Reese Rowland
- Chris James
KL: Can I follow TEDxMarkhamSt remotely? (Social media or Periscope?)
SJ: Yes. Information on TEDxMarkhamSt will be available via Twitter (@TEDxLR), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TEDxMarkhamSt), Periscope, Instagram and Tumblr. We are always looking for new ways to connect to our audience, and will continue to expand our social media presence at every opportunity. There will also be a live webcast on our website.
KL: What do you foresee for the future of TEDxMarkhamSt?
SJ: Student speaker competitions, artistic performances (music, dance, drama, etc.), live art shows and continued growth of the brand and experience. TEDxMarkhamSt will serve as a safe haven of personal expression, and a melting pot for new ideas in central Arkansas.
KL: When might the next TEDxMarkhamSt event take place?
SJ: Currently, I am looking at April 2016.