TEDxCanberra 2020 inspires you to think big

Neha Attre 27 December 2020
Penny Sackett

Professor Penny Sackett, physicist, astronomer and former chief scientist of Australia, shared her idea at the TEDxCanberra stage. Photos: Thomas Lucraft.

From discussing ideas about space junk management to designing an anti-fragile system to building tolerant communities, the two main TEDxCanberra events – TEDxCanberra 2020: Imagine and TEDxCanberraWomen 2020: Fearless – had a brilliant line of inspiring speakers who helped the audience think about and reimagine the future.

Chun-Yin San, who is the local licence holder for TEDx and volunteers to run TEDxCanberra along with lead curator Kristin Boag, said that it was fantastic to see everyone engaged and giving an enthusiastic ovation to the speakers.

“We were glad that we were able to get that level of energy, enthusiasm and vibe from our audience. In 2019, the word ‘Imagine’ had a different meaning to it. However, this year, it has a therapeutic vibe after the year we have all had. Hopefully, after the TEDx event, the audience will enter 2021 imagining a bright future that is beyond COVID-19,” Chun-Yin San said.

Another major event – TEDxCanberraWomen 2020: Fearless – was also held at the Australian National University’s Kambri precinct, bringing live talks and female change-makers from Canberra out to change the world one idea and one conversation at a time.

In conversation with Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, former Finance Minister of Nigeria, former prime minister Julia Gillard was featured from the global TEDWomen 2020 stage.


READ ALSO: TEDxCanberra speaker Dr Marrwah Ahmadzai believes in the power of dialogue


“We had a great lineup of women speakers for the event where five brilliant women change-makers shared ideas including how we could overcome racial intolerance and reconnect with our passion after the year we had,” Chun-Yin said.

“I think the TEDx talk by Penny Sackett, physicist, astronomer and former chief scientist of Australia on her idea for connecting different schools of activism while maintaining energy in trying times gave a very important message. With so much happening this year, we may not have found the time to connect with things we loved or had an opportunity to do them.

“It was great to be able to move the conversation beyond COVID-19 and refocus people’s minds on what I call our ‘long futures’ which is looking at broader, bigger opportunities and challenges like climate change etc and imagining new ways of solving the problem.”

Now in its 10th year, the preparations for the event started before pandemic struck. “It’s been extra special and extremely rewarding to be able to hold one of the first community events in the ACT after restrictions were eased,” Chun-Yin San said.

“We tried something different this year and made it more interactive by providing lots of opportunities for our audience to feel they are a part of the event and are change-makers themselves. It was a very successful experiment.”

TEDx is a volunteer-driven community-focused event where the volunteers organise everything.

“It has been a busy year for the volunteers who have juggled their role alongside their work and personal responsibilities for the community. This is our 10th year of the event, and we will hopefully keep going for another 10 years because of the wonderful support that we have been receiving from our community over the past decade,” he added.

TED stands for technology, entertainment and design, and TED talks are centred around thought leadership, leading-edge technology and cutting-edge design. To learn more, visit TedXCanberra.


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