Global Issues

From the plastic bag dilemma to water ballet: Highlights from TED@Sydney

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

TED 2013 Talent Search: TED@Sydney

This spring, TED headed on the road, visiting 14 cities across six continents on the hunt for untapped talent. The idea behind the sweeping search: to let you, the TED community, weigh in and vote on which speakers you’d like to see ascend the stage at TED2013. After holding one-night salons in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Doha, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Tunis and Vancouver, we couldn’t help but notice that every city’s event had its own unique flavor. And so we’ve asked one audience member from each stop along on the tour to share their memories.

Today, we asked audience member Melanie Giuffre of Sydney, Australia, to tell us about her experience at TED@Sydney, which took place on May 27.

Melanie, what three adjectives would you use to describe the event?

Joyful, fascinating and surprising.

Who were the must-see speakers of the night, who you hope TED fans will watch on the TED Talent Search website?

Leyla Acarolglu. I think Leyla made a good point about the choices we have to make on a daily basis when trying to be environmentally responsible. She used the example of the paper/plastic bag to illustrate the dilemma. I related to this one as I am often wondering which of the choices presented makes the most sense from an environmental point of view.

Richard Gill. I’m a bit biased here. It was fun to watch Richard on the day but I’m really thinking of his TEDxSydney talk from last year on the value of music education. He is very charming, funny and compelling. There’s a little bit of Benjamin Zander meets Ken Robinson about him.

Deanna Hood. Deanna spoke about using simple cheap and already-in-existence technology — the mobile phone —  to support health care workers in the developing world. It was quite beautiful to see that lives are being saved by rethinking medical engineering, from big and expensive to small, cheap and accessible.

Charmaine Tham. As with Deanna’s talk, it was great to hear about the rethinking of an old problem. Communities in developing countries that have had problems with rabies are vaccinating dogs instead of killing them. It was great to hear about the work of Vets Beyond Borders.

Adam Spencer. Adam can make math very entertaining. Plus, it’s always a pleasure listening to someone who has passion for their subject.

Pip Hall

What was the best moment of the night? 

My hands down best moment of the day was Pip Hall throwing off her robe to reveal a gorgeous 40-year-old body in a swimsuit. Which is how she spent her five minutes on stage. Her whole talk was imbued with joy, which is very infectious. So much so that a friend and I have started a Bondi based water ballet group!

Which speaker from the night do you want to be your new best friend? 

Pip Hall. She has a warmth joie de vie that I find appealing.

Stayed tuned for more audience impressions of TED Talent Search events, coming at you over the next month.