On Monday 20 November, TEDxUniversityofEdinburgh (TEDxUoE) hosted their first event this academic year, the Student Speaker Choice Awards (SSCA). As per tradition, 15 student speakers presented each of their own TED style talks. Both undergraduate and postgraduate students were involved as speakers, who explored a plethora of topics including “self love” and the concept of time.
The Speaker Curator for TEDxUoE, Gabriele, spoke to The Student. Gabriele’s role was to select speakers from a range of student applicants and guide them through the 6-week programme leading up to the final event.
There was a “good balance between those who had extensive public speaking experience and those who [had] never stood on a stage before,” Gabrielle said of the selected speakers.
As TED talks traditionally constitute confident, engaging speakers, the 6-week programme focused on aiding students to develop their ideas further, whilst enhancing public speaking skills.
Gabriele also discussed what TEDx is, and how this ties into the selection criteria speakers faced: “students were mainly selected based on their ideas, because a key component of TEDx talks is the notion of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading,’ which the TEDxUoE wants to foster further.
“At TEDxUoE, we believe that we can make a strong impact on the student community, and beyond, by sharing positive, original, and powerful ideas which have been nurtured at our University”.
Sonja, a second year Politics student, was among the speakers of the night, and focused her TEDx talk on her summer experience in jury service. Titling her talk, “On Trusting Yourself,” she tied in the decision making lessons she learnt when deciding whether a 15 year old boy was guilty of murder, to her own everyday life.
Sonja spoke to The Student, “if I could go as far as to decide what would happen to this child’s life, why wasn’t I able to make choices in my own life?”. The talk expressed the importance of being confident in one’s own beliefs and voice, and taking charge of oneself.
Gabriele and Sonja both spoke on how they felt the final SSCA went. Whilst Sonja commented on the experience of being on stage as a mix of adrenaline with the “comfort in knowing [her] friends were in the audience,” Gabriele focused more on the event as a whole: “I believe the event went well, mostly for the broad range of messages the speakers delivered through their talks. They were able to talk about topics ranging from radio to personal crisis, from funny stories to sadder events, which made the event both entertaining and inspiring”.
Image: Hajira Kamran / Photographer