TEDx is well known as the grassroots initiative, that was created in the spirit to spread the spirit of TED’s overall mission to research and discover ideas worth spreading.
Andreas Graf, who is the lead organiser and initiator of TEDxOsloMet, the local and independently organized event, created the initiative in the spirit of bridging academic communities.
More often than not, academic disciplines tend to work and study in isolated communities and there lies massive untapped potential in bridging these communities and in learning from each other.
A collective effort to change the future for the better
This years’ TEDx event featured “A Sense of Hope” as the main theme - primarily to address the fact, that despite massive challenges in the world, there are great efforts.
Graf, who also acted as the Master of Ceremonies during the event, said that to him these speakers “represent a collective effort to change the future for the better”.
Among the ten speakers were a variety of members of the academic community, but also from the large pool of the universities’ partners in the startup world and corporate community.
During the event, several topics were addressed, ranging from equality to fungi research, from building sustainable cities to ableism, and among many others, how state-of the art sensor technology is used in an attempt to save the bees.
An inspiring evening
“It is fantastic to be able to share your life’s work and efforts to a wider community and discuss over ideas on how to make the world a better place”, says Siri Østvold, a Norwegian freediving champion, how shared how her life is driven by her connection to the Ocean.
Both Gagan Chhabra and Samina Ansari addressed the issues of inclusion and equality. The former just completed his PhD project at OsloMet and shared several stories of how he is dealing with prejudice as a blind person and how that has shaped his perspective of working with ableism.
Ansari, who works for a tech-startup in Oslo, shared several short stories from women around the world that do not have equal economic opportunities compared to men. She believes in storytelling as an effective means to raise more awareness on the issue of inequality.
Later in the evening, both Christophe Brod and David Andrew Quist, presented their innovative solutions on sustainability topics.
Brod, who committed his work life to save the bees, gave a colourful and very engaging talk on how his state-of-the-art sensor technology for beehives, helps to save the worlds food resources.
Quist on the other end, has worked with fungi, both as a researcher and restaurateur, and highlighted how the world of microorganisms can contribute to a more sustainable future for everyone. A field, that has yet to be explored in its full potential.
Also, Associate Professor at the Institute of Art, Design and Drama, Gunhild Vatn, and Associate Professor in Product Design, Johannes Daae, represented OsloMet on the stage.
On the one hand, Vatn presented her artwork and discoveries of using porcelain.
On the other hand, Daae enlightened us on how we all can contribute to improving the recycling of plastic packaging. Daae currently also serves as the Head of Development at Grønt Punkt Norge.
While this only mentions a few great findings of an inspiring evening, all the ten talks of TEDxOsloMet 2022 will be available on the official TEDx YouTube channel shortly.
An attempt to spread hope
Particularly in a time, where there is a war raging in Ukraine, Graf and his team of organizers and speakers also stand with the rest of the academic community in an attempt to spread hope among people.
“While this new era is settling on people’s minds, to me there is ever more reason this is also a reason to lift each other up and be hopeful – we cannot let the wrongly intentioned actions of others guide our lives and especially not our minds in the wrong direction."
"Hence, today’s event is also a call to remind ourselves to think forward and focus on the fact, that there are indeed good things happening in the world”, is how Graf concluded at the event.
TEDxOsloMet 2022 was organized by a team of more than a dozen volunteers, consisting of both students and staff members of the university. For the future, this event series is planned to be held annually.