An embroidery artist, computational biologist and ex-convict will tell their stories at the annual TEDxTaipei conference in a bid to inspire reform.
The Taipei conference is a nonprofit, independently organized event licensed by TED, which packages “ideas worth spreading” in talks up to 18 minutes long.
This year the theme is “Flip,” which is what 45 speakers will try to do to Taiwan’s fortunes by sharing ideas, according to TEDxTaipei curator Big Question.
“Taiwan has had a lot of bad news lately and people are getting frustrated with the way things are going. I don’t even need to go into what’s happened this morning with President Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平)],” said Michelle Lo (駱意欣), a project manager at Big Question, to the Taipei Times on Wednesday.
“We’re getting together talks that all fall under six main topics that Taiwan could use a change in, like education and our relationship with Mother Nature,” she said.
The two-day TED-style conference will comprise 45 talks in Chinese or English, each with simultaneous interpretation.
Talks on day one are about using technology to enhance experiences, coexisting with the natural environment and reforming the education system.
Speakers include Taipei City Cultural Affairs Commissioner Liou Wei-gong (劉維公); Houston-based lip performer U-Learn Lee (李育倫); and Jimmy Lin (林政和), founder of the Rare Genomics Institute, an international nonprofit that helps people with rare diseases access cutting-edge biotechnology.
“Some of them are interesting speakers flown in from around the world, but there are also lesser-known speakers that we found through an open mic contest,” Lo said.
The day-two program addresses challenges for Taiwanese youth, the revitalization of traditional craft industries and innovation in other cultural sectors.
Unlike day one, which has an all-male lineup, day two features three women speakers including Xu Chen-chun (許陳春) from Changhua County. Xu, who hails from a family of artists, has made her name with detailed 3D embroidery modeled after tin art.
Other day-two speakers include Anting Liu (劉安婷), a Taipei-born Princeton graduate who founded Teach for Taiwan, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre’s Lin Hwai-min (林懷民); and Wang Dan (王丹), leader of the Chinese democracy movement and the first political prisoner of the Tiananmen Square protests.
New to this year’s conference are Idea Spaces, where participants can develop their own solutions to problems. Audience members can meet speakers and ask questions at the Second Stage; at another hub, speakers facilitate roundtable discussions about design problems raised during the talks.
“The main point of our program is to have more people get involved and speak out,” Lo said.