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Skidmore College

First TEDx Conference at Skidmore Focuses on 'Crossing Boundaries'

November 12, 2013
Jake Mitchell and Sarah Green
Jake Mitchell '14 and Sarah Green '16 

“Crossing Boundaries: Why Creative Thought Matters” is the theme of the College’s first TEDxSkidmoreCollege event, taking place Monday, November 18 at 7 p.m. in the Ladd Concert Hall at the Arthur Zankel Music Center.

Three Skidmore faculty members who are especially noted for their interdisciplinary approaches will describe the interests and passions that have driven them to cross boundaries and reflect on the challenges and rewards of doing so.

They are:

  • Flip Phillips, professor of psychology and director of the College’s neuroscience program. A specialist in the modeling of brain function and three-dimensional shape perception, he has been at various times in his life a professional musician, a marching band instructor, a computer programmer, a medical imaging researcher, and an animation scientist at Pixar Animation Studios.
  • Heather Hurst, assistant professor of anthropology. A 1997 Skidmore graduate who earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from Yale, she combines her training in art and archaeology in producing vivid reconstructions of Maya murals. In 2004, the MacArthur Foundation named her a MacArthur Fellow.

  • Anthony Holland, associate professor of music, director of the College’s electronic music facilities, and conductor of the Skidmore orchestra. Long been interested in physics and acoustics as well as in music, he is exploring the use of a new type of technology -- Plasma Emission Field Treatment (PEFT) -- as a possible nontoxic, noninvasive and inexpensive means of treating cancer cells.

“These faculty members have forged careers that epitomize what we mean when we say ‘creative thought matters’,” says Jake Mitchell ’14, who is organizing the event with Sarah Green ’16. “They’re an inspiration to all of us and we have much to learn from them.”

“Through this and future TEDx events, we hope to strengthen a sense that, as Skidmore students, we’re all empowered to find and pursue our real passions,” Green added.

SkidTV will film the presentations and post them to the TED website. Mitchell and Green also have enlisted students to “live-tweet” and “live-Instagram” the program. Pianist Danny Pravder ’16 will perform in the interludes between presentations.

An opportunity for discussion will follow. Refreshments will be served in the lobby.

The event is free, but those wishing to attend should obtain tickets in advance by visiting the Zankel box office Tuesday through Friday between 1 and 5 p.m. or clicking here

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events designed to spark discussion and give attendees a TED-like sense of connection. (The “x” indicates that it’s locally sponsored.) At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion. In addition to the faculty presentations, Mitchell and Green will show a TED video, “How Schools Kill Creativity” by Sir Ken Robinson.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes on a diverse mix of topics. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The TED2014 Conference will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast in neighboring Whistler. TEDGlobal 2014 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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