[Written by: Morgan Laing]
[Photographer: Kati Brunk]
Thursday 8 February. Qudos, QMU.
On Thursday night, the TEDxUniversityofGlasgow Launch Party excels in the following arenas: it gets me drinking (your gal has NEVER turned down a free beverage), and it gets me thinking. It gets me thinking carefully and thoroughly, about a plethora of different topics. It gets me thinking quietly and out loud. I imagine everyone else in attendance is doing something similar.
Offering up live music, a virtual reality experience and much more, the Launch Party seeks to celebrate a big, important event that’s just around the corner: the TEDxUniversityofGlasgow Main Conference, Press Pause to Begin (more on this later, I promise).
Maybe I just haven’t been to a lot of parties, but this event is unlike any party I have ever accepted an invite to. Upon entering Qudos, attendees are met with a row of interactive booths: Greenpeace volunteers, accompanied by a large penguin mask, talk about the Antarctic; the Uni Boob Team raise awareness about breast cancer symptoms and give you the chance to decorate your own biscuits; Handprints discuss the incredible work they do using 3D printers to fabricate prosthetic hands. The point is, this night is brimming with ideas – about how to help people, and how to better the world, and how to facilitate progress. Hell, there are even postcards on which guests are invited to write their ideas. “Any idea you can think of”, I’m told. I think and think.
What follows is a night of brilliant entertainment and thought-provoking speeches. Glasgow-based band Northern Central deliver their oft-jaunty branch of acoustic folk, before guests are seated and given a sneak peek of what to expect from the Main Conference. If the almost cinematic trailer is anything to go by, Press Pause to Begin is set to be one thrilling experience.
After this short premiere, Ramandeep Mungur takes the stage to discuss – and provide a musical metaphor for – the complexity of identity. He dismisses the notion that identity, as a whole, must remain constant. He talks about the need to approach culture with an open mind. He touches upon the idea of belonging, and explores music’s capacity to bring people together. It’s an uplifting talk encouraging us to embrace culture and be proud of our identities.
Next up is singer-songwriter Age-otori (“it means a haircut that makes you look worse!”) who welds clever lyricism with dexterous, passionate keyboard playing to create an immersive performance.
An interval ensues, after which there is an informative talk about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), the need for funding in science, and what needs to be done to secure a sustainable future.
Finally, Daria Altenburg, through her stunning pole dance performance, demonstrates an almost unimaginable level of strength, flexibility and coordination (her strength and flexibility seems all the more unbelievable if you, like me, barely have the upper body strength to open a marginally heavy door and almost cry when your yoga teacher asks you to touch your toes).
The TEDxUniversityofGlasgow Launch Party is an action-packed night giving attendees the chance to find out what the TEDx ethos is. The evening is full of innovation and entertainment. Importantly, the Launch is a taster of what is to come when March rolls around and the Main Conference takes place. Ticket applications to the Main Conference are open from now until Friday 16 February. You can apply here:
Interested in becoming the next Project Manager for TEDxUniversityofGlasgow? You can apply here: