X hits the spot
With a global audience at their fingertips last Thursday at the Cork School of Music, Peter Horgan went along to see if 'ideas worth spreading' can make a difference to Cork
The sun was shining in Cork last Thursday, something that organisers of TEDxCIT feared could work against them as they hosted Cork’s first TED event. TED, for the uninitiated, is a global conference held at different locations in Europe and America, but is fast expanding to other countries like Ireland through the independently run TEDx talks - one of these also took place in Dublin at the weekend. Speakers at TED conferences in the past number of years have included Bill Gates, Richard Dawkins, Al Gore and Bill Clinton.
While Cork didn’t have any former world leaders, local girl Joanne O’Riordan spoke about facing down her own obstacles, in what was clearly one of the big hits of the conference.
“It’s something new that hasn’t happened before in Cork,” said Sean Carroll, a CIT business student who was a volunteer on the day.
Speakers on the day ranged from experts in the marine to comic book designers to the founders of Coder Dojo and education researchers. The wide range of fields on offer certainly showed off the best that Cork Institute of Technology and the rest of the city and county has to offer.
Overall, the theme was ‘creating our future together,’ and high on the agenda, not only from the speakers, was inspiration.
But what of this word – inspiration? Is it being used too liberally these days? Are we not all perpetually inspired these days through networking events and true life stories on television? What marks TEDxCIT as anything different?
“Inspiration is essential for the general outlook for the country,” said Valerie Cummins, Director of the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster, who recently returned from the United States after completing an Eisenhower fellowship.
“We need every bit we can get, but it has to be backed up by leadership so that we deliver. People that are inspired or have vision need to be supported and inspired by sound policy and good leadership so we can deliver the kind of vision and inspired ideas that people come up with at conferences like this.
Despite the sunny weather, the conference took place just after the European Central Bank express their concerns over the markets' unhappiness, something that the President of CIT, Dr Brendan Murphy, was keen to play down.
“Inspiration will get Ireland and Cork out of where we are,” said Dr Murphy.
“It is people’s beliefs, enthusiasm and determination to build the future where we can actually pull ourselves out of where we are. It is people that build a future, not markets and if people don’t have the belief or the inspiration to do that, then it’s not going to happen. Today CIT is just a vehicle. The important thing is that there is a TED talk here in Cork. It’s very important to think outside the box and to think of the bigger picture.”
To find out more about what happened at TEDxCIT and to see the videos of speakers on the day, visit tedxcit.com