On Tuesday, TEDx University of Edinburgh hosted its first night of the year, a Salon Event entitled What’s Next?
The first half of the evening was used to showcase the four guest speakers, with a short Q&A afterwards, while the second section was open mic and provided a chance for members of the audience to make five-minute talks on the What’s Next? theme.
The first speaker was Denny Shenk, an engineer and the co-founder of Retromixer, a cleantech start-up. He presented his product, a device which mixes together the hot and cold streams of British double taps. He also explained the entrepreneurial process he and his co-founder had gone through, saying that they had found the technology particularly popular with international students.
The next guest was Isabelle Thompson, an alumnus of the University of Edinburgh, who has been working in social development in India. The aim of the project she aided was to teach women paper-quilling for use on greetings cards, which provides them with a flexible and sustainable source of income. She explained how she first got involved in the sector and described her in-country experience.
After a short break, the audience heard from Sean Brocklebank, an Economics lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, who spoke on the topic of what might be next for cities in the future.
Focusing on the impact of driver-less cars, but also discussing city planning in majority-world countries and the increased use of drones, he attempted to predict the way in which urban development might change.
The last formal speaker was a representative of Project Elpis, a University of Edinburgh student start-up which provides solar energy for refugees in Greek camps to charge their phones. She spoke about the way in which their idea developed, their recent successes, and how the project might grow in the future.
After a short interval, it was time for the open mic session. One of the Event Coordinators, Marianne Lim, told The Student that this format is not common at TEDx UoE evenings, due to the strict guidelines that must be followed for each type of event.
In total, there were six audience speakers, who gave five-minute talks on the What’s Next? theme.
The first, Mateusz, questioned how far we can really predict What’s Next, and gave examples of the way in which nature and animals have changed the course of history in unforeseen ways.
The second focused on what people are, how they are perceived and what binds human beings together.
Next, the audience heard from a third student who, following on from the second open mic talk, discussed who he might be in the future and how he could go about changing and influencing that.
The fourth participant was a Conservation PhD student, who has co-created a peer-to-peer ‘decentralised conservation’ app. He spoke about his work with elephants in Tanzania and those who will suffer most from the consequences of poor conservation.
Following him, the next speaker, Patrick, introduced himself as a competitor in the University of Edinburgh Student Speaker Awards. He talked about populism, briefly discussing Trump’s rise in the USA, along with the motivators for Brexit in the UK.
Lastly, Gabriel, an Ecological Sciences student, gave a short talk. He told the audience why he has a passion for his subject, discussed the impact human beings have on the natural world and outlined the methods through which this could be mitigated.
At this, the compère wrapped the evening up, telling the audience What’s Next for TEDx University of Edinburgh and the events they have coming up.
Event Coordinator, Marianne Lim, told The Student that they had a full house and they were happy with the success of the evening.
Image: Marie Bobin