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TEDxBloomington celebrates 3rd year


By Amanda Marino

TEDxBloomington, an independently organized TED event, celebrated its third Bloomington appearance Saturday with the theme “What Goes ’Round.”

“It’s very much a Bloomington project,” said Luci McKean, official curator for TEDxBloomington.

She opened the show with emcee Sarah Smith-Robbins, a professor in the Kelley School of Business.

McKean encouraged the audience to take out their cell phones and live tweet throughout the show. The event was streamed live worldwide.

Following the introduction, Jeffery Kline, an emergency physician and researcher at IU’s School of Medicine, took the stage.

After speaking at TEDxIndianapolis, Kline was invited to speak in Bloomington.

“My job is to go into a room and build immediate trust with a stranger,” Kline said as he described an average day at work.

He focused on electronic health care records, discussing how impersonal they are and how computer screens separate the patient from doctors.

Kline suggested the face could be turned into a diagnostic tool, discussing times when simply by looking at a person’s face, he knew generally what kind of help they needed.

“It’s the concept of an old idea,” he said.

The face is connected to the brain, which is connected to the body, he said. This is why looking at a person’s face is vital to diagnosis.

“When I see your face, I see you,” Kline said.

Videos of other TED talks were interspersed between live speakers, all of which were selected and organized by McKean and her team.

Jeanna Leimkuhler, founder of the Trashion Refashion Show in Bloomington, took to the stage to discuss new uses for discarded items.

Liemkuhler also co-founded Discardia, a nonprofit group that teaches the public how to make items from recycled materials.

“There is a real thirst for these skills,” she said.

Liemkuhler was followed by Amy Brier, founder and director of the Indiana Limestone Sculpture Symposium.

“The limestone keeps me here and calls me back when I leave,” she said.

Brier sculpted the limestone brain in front of the psychology building. She said it is the world’s largest anatomically correct limestone brain.

She also creates roliqueries, limestone spheres meant to roll in sand and create abstract patterns.

“Nothing can replace a sculptor’s hands, eyes and heart,” she said.

Christy Hull Hegarty discussed raising three children, including one daughter who was born  biologically male.

She recounted anecdotes such as her child asking for a princess party when he turned four and wanting to shop in the girl’s section of Gap. She said she realized that things were going to change.

“This is when our son started to become our daughter,” she said.

By the end of second grade, Hegarty said her second child was a she.

“All we can do is keep learning and preparing and loving her unconditionally,” she said.

Jennifer Borland, the executive director of TEDxBloomington, said after a group of IU alumni attended a TEDx event, they decided to bring TEDx back to Bloomington.

Borland said they reach out to try and bring in community speakers to keep this a local event despite the wide audience.

“It’s a very diverse set of topics,” Borland said.

She said there has been a very good student response to TEDxBloomington so far.

“A lot of IU students have been involved,” she said, estimating about half the volunteers are IU students and faculty.

The rest of the volunteers come from the Bloomington community, she said.

McKean said TEDxBloomington has had major success since its start. In the first year, two speakers went from being nonprofit TEDx speakers to having their TED talks on the official website.

Since there are about 27 TEDx events every day around the world, McKean said this is a huge accomplishment.

The rest of the talks are posted to TEDx’s YouTube account under TEDxBloomington.

Senior Taylor Robinson has worked as an organizer with TEDxBloomington since August and said he feels his efforts have been worthwhile.\

“The stage looks amazing,” he said.

Robinson said the speakers have been great and the audience has been engaged. He said the future looks bright for TEDxBloomington.

“I think next year’s gonna be even better,” he said.

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