TED coming to Riverside

The Riverside-Avondale area received a nod from thinkers across the globe. TED, a nonprofit and international conference that aims to share “Ideas Worth Spreading,” has branched into Northeast Florida with the upcoming TEDxRiversideAvondale event — a first for the area.
The daylong event will be held at Riverside’s Friday Musicale venue on Oct. 20. The theme is “Collective Genius.”
“Jacksonville has been emerging as a center of innovation and creativity,” said Jeffrey Spear, event spokesperson. “TEDxRiversideAvondale will provide inspiration for our city to think even more ambitiously about our future.”
TED is an acronym that stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — the three subject areas of the group’s first conference in 1984. The nonprofit now stages two annual conferences in Long Beach, CA and Palm Springs, the TEDGlobal conference in Scotland, the TEDTalks video site, projects, conversations and fellows programs, in addition to the TEDx programs. TEDxRiversideAvondale is the first time the group has established a presence locally.
Doug Coleman, an Avondale resident, is organizing the event and has gathered a team of neighborhood specialists to help with the production — a group that includes local artists and photographers, event planners, AV specialists and representatives from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.
The group recently released the speaker lineup — a diverse selection of presenters talking about wide variety of topics. The speakers were chosen from a large “amazing” pool of submissions, organizers said. The speakers include:
• Parvez Ahmed, director of the newly established Center for Sustainable Business Practices at the University of North Florida. Ahmed’s presentation is about the roots of sustainability, “what it means in terms of both education and business best-practices and what we can expect in the future.”
• Jon Cowart, rocket scientist and longstanding NASA space exploration team member. Cowart will share his “unique perspective, anticipating the future of technology and space exploration by looking back at what’s been accomplished and where we’ve been.”
• Bert Herring, M.D. Herring will discuss his medical treatment experiences in the Marine Corps, his cancer treatment work at the National Institute of Health, study of global obesity and his research that sparked a weight loss tool that has helped many people.
• Al Letson, acclaimed poet, performer and National Public Radio host. Letson will share “How I Learned to Fly,” a mix of multi-media, performance and story telling, that highlights his journey from nerdy comic book aficionado to renowned poet and radio host.
• William Miller, a 25-year international expert on values-centered corporate innovation. Miller will be sharing ideas about innovation, raising questions relating the guiding forces behind innovation.
• Roger Nierenberg, national orchestra director. Nirenberg will take the audience inside a symphony orchestra, showing guests where to look, how to listen and reveal much more than music.
• Jonah Reynold, earthship expert. Reynold’s talk will discuss Earthship Biotecture.
• Kevin Songer, urban environment development. Songer will share his vision and advances with sustainable, nature-irrigated green roof systems, explaining their critical importance to the future of our communities.
• Wayne Wood, local historian. Wood will explore the dynamics of historic preservation from both a national and local perspective.
The event includes the nine live presentations, four musical groups and four recorded TED talks. While the gathering is open to the public, attendees must apply to participate in the event in order to meet organizers’ goal of creating a “diverse audience from a broad spectrum of industries, philosophies, arts and sciences.” Admission price is $100 per person. Audience applications are available at www.TEDxRiversideAvondale.com.

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