Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bigger on the Inside: ProjectX, TEDx Fort McMurray, and a Retrospective of TEDx 2012

TEDx Fort McMurray may have been a couple of weeks ago now but memories of that day are still fresh in my mind. Triggering those memories too are the videos filtering onto YouTube, ones that remind me of that day and the people who shared it.

One of the videos is actually one that was shown on that day. A special project from my friends at YMMPodcast it is a retrospective of TEDx Fort McMurray 2012. It is a great little video, depicting those who presented, attended, and organized the event last year, and it was shown just prior to my presentation this year. I watched this video from the wings on the day of TEDx while trying to calm the nervous butterflies fluttering about my stomach. While I didn't catch all of it then, too preoccupied with my own thoughts, I have watched it a couple of times since. I think it captures the excitement of TEDx 2012, and it was a perfect way to start Act Four for TEDx 2013.

And then there is this video, recently released, of Speaker's Corner. I knew that my friend Ashley had been working hard on Project X, a special addition to TEDx Fort McMurray this year. She had posted occasional teasing photos on Instagram, photos of cardboard and plastic pop bottles. I did not know what it would become, but it became a rather large cardboard box room with a Welcome sign hanging on the door knob. Fans of the British TV series "Doctor Who" will know what I mean when I say that this box was bigger on the inside, because inside that humble little cardboard building was a garden, and lights, and decor, and a chair, and a camera to record video - and an abundance of ideas and words, ones that spilled out of the TEDx attendees and onto video. These short video clips preserved forever the thoughts from that day, fresh and new. A new video has now appeared, one that weaves together those video clips,  and their thoughts about that day.

Those who went inside Speaker's Corner took a seat, pushed a button on the camera - and in solitude recorded their own shifts in thought. I love that on the videos you can hear the background buzz of dozens of voices, voices sharing ideas and thoughts and laughter. To me this was TEDx - ideas and shifts in thought that occurred against a backdrop of that larger buzz, the collective shifting of thought. It was a moment in which attendees experienced their own quiet shifts in thought played out amid the buzz around them.

Speaker's Corner was a unique experience. It was an opportunity to record what you wanted to say about the day, or about the presentations. It was the chance for everyone - presenters, organizers, volunteers, and attendees - to share what that day meant to them. It was both empowering and humbling to face that camera and record your voice, to add to the collective experience of the day.

When I went into that cardboard box I marveled first at all the work Ashley and Steve had done to create it - and then I pressed the button and recorded my thoughts. It seems some of the videos from that day did not record well, but in some sense I don't find that disappointing. I think for those who entered Speaker's Corner it was a chance to collect our own thoughts for a moment. It was a chance to reflect. It was a chance to focus on a day when it was very easy to be scattered, bombarded by so very many thoughts and ideas.

When these video clips appeared I was delighted. They are thoughts and ideas being shared in a "safe place", a lovely little cardboard box that was far more than a cardboard box, and bigger on the inside, just like Doctor Who's time and space traveling Tardis. It was brimming full with all the thoughts and ideas of the day.

I am eagerly waiting for the next videos, perhaps more from Speaker's Corner and, of course, those from the presenters that day. I am anxious to share those with you, whether you were there that day or not. And I suppose I must admit I am anxious to see my own video, as I recall so very little of the event, recalling just snippets of my time on the stage on that round red carpet.

TEDx Fort McMurray was a day I will never forget, and I suspect some attendees never will, either. I think there is something for everyone in the videos coming from that day, and I think they are worth watching. They are all, in the end, ideas worth spreading. They are shifts in thought, of every kind.  They are what TEDx Fort McMurray, Shift in Thought, was all about.

TEDx Fort McMurray
Speaker's Corner video clips



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