TEDxYYC provides Calgarians with stories of inspiration

TEDxYYC is the biggest independently organized TED event in Southern Alberta, and on June 26 the theme at the Jack Singer Concert Hall was crafTED, where organizers hoped to motivate individuals and incite innovative ways of thinking as well as potentially get people active within the community.

Event chair Maggie Rigaux says the initial thought behind TEDxYYC was to provide an inspirational event in the city and that the idea of crafTED can speak to people on many levels.

“Handmade things, crafts are very different for everybody…. Everybody is going to take something different away [from this experience],” Rigaux explains.

On the day of the event, the Jack Singer Concert Hall lobby begins to empty quickly, and the creaky yet comfortable seats are filled to capacity. Lights dim and chatter among attendees quiets as the emcee, David Gray, host of Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio, walks on to the stage.

After a brief introduction, speaker Ric Esther Bienstock, an Emmy-Award winning Canadian filmmaker, takes the stage. Listening to the roaring applause, Bienstock can be assured she started the sixth annual TEDxYYC wonderfully.

Before the first intermission, Blake Spence, founder of WiseGuyz, and Kateri Cowley, a horse trainer and former Calgary Stampede princess, as well as entertainment by Yukichi Hattori, a dancer and choreographer for the Alberta Ballet, take the stage to bring forward new concepts and ways of thinking.

Throughout two intermissions and a reception, people are invited to pose in front of The Morning Roast Collective photo wall, re-charge their phones at the Brookfield Residential Charging stations, enjoy an artisan treat by Fiasco Gelato, among other activities. More importantly, guests are encouraged to network. Rigaux says networking and sharing your thoughts during this event can help grow ideas even further.

“Networking and the opportunity to chit-chat about what you’re hearing is really a big part of it,” Rigaux explains. “You can’t listen to these and just go, ‘I’m not going to converse about it.’”

Dr. Christine Gibson talks about her time in Nepal during the earthquake of 2015. She explains how this experience led her to change her approach when working with her patients.
Photo by Melissa Kadey
A short while later, people once again flood into the hall as Hello Moth, an experimental one-man orchestra, captivates the audience with his Casio VL1 synthesizer. At this point, it starts becoming clear why these speakers were chosen for the theme of “crafting” this year. Speakers such as, Steven Keating, a 3D printing pioneer and mechanical engineering doctoral candidate; Joel Klettke, author, blogger, and digital content expert; Rachel L’Orsa, a youth robotics mentor and Wildland firefighter; and Christine Gibson, a doctor, and founder of Global Familymed Foundation, demonstrate how the simple things in life can be changed by adding (or crafting) a new idea.

Nearing the end of the day, Dragon Fli Empire, a local hip-hop duo, warms up the crowd after one last intermission. Lars Krutak, a tattoo anthropologist, Chloé Rutzerveld, a Dutch food and concept designer, and Bobby Mileage, a dancer and inspirational speaker, are the final speakers of the day. Following stories of “magical tattoo adornment,” learning how “selfies can save us,” and that “life is never easy” the audience was able to laugh, gasp, and give standing ovations — sometimes all in one performance.

A pamphlet given to audience members says, “To the people of TEDxYYC, crafting means taking the time to make something amazing… To craft an idea a movement or a design is a labour of love. It means creating from the ground up with the tools available to you. It requires patience, dedication, and purpose.”

And that is exactly what all of these speakers demonstrated by sharing their life stories, inspirations and hopes on stage. Anything is possible.

To check out these amazing speakers and entertainers, and to find out more about TEDxYYC by going to the website: http://tedxyyc.ca/

Mkadey@cjournal.ca