The Mancunion

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TEDx: a round up

The university of Manchester student organised Ted Talks stepped into “uncharted territories” last weekend…

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Manchester Science Park held host to the University of Manchester’s student organised TEDx conference: “Uncharted Territories” in March 2018.

The open plan, modern interior of the Bright Building gave off a “young, urban professional” vibe, with google office-esque bean bag corners and a wide set of stairs that acted as the stage for the speakers.

These “Uncharted Territories” explored by each speaker in their own unique way, took us through technology and industry, through personal journeys of self-discovery, battling mental illness as well as VICE writer Oobah Butler’s own quest to get a fake restaurant as the number one rated London eatery on TripAdvisor.

Photo: Photo: TEDxUniversityOfManchester

Photo: Photo: TEDxUniversityOfManchester

The day started off with producer Nicholas Gale — better known as Digital Farm Animals — and a discussion about how the music industry has evolved, and will keep on evolving through the developments of new technologies. “The role of the producer has changed”, Nicolas stated. Once a backseat role which didn’t take much musicality, according to Gale, now the producer is at the front of the game. The Digital Farm Animals persona has taken Nicholas all around the world, throwing him into uncharted territories like never before.

One of the speakers was University of Manchester’s very own Camillo Cosentino. The bright young student, who has been named one of the top 30 most influential students in the world (by The Tab), gave a compelling speech about the need to teach and foster imagination and creativity, in all aspects of life. For creativity, Camillo believes, is one of the only things that “cannot be automated”, and in a world where the automation and AI industries are rapidly adapting, this is important to remember. I breathed a little sigh of relief when I heard that; good, robots won’t be stealing my writing gigs any time soon then.

Creativity was a theme that ran through a few of the talks of the day. Like Camillo, psychologist Dr Mark Batey also made a point of how important creativity is, but believes the word is misunderstood and misused. We are all creative, in a way. We all have the ability to think quickly, come up with solutions and solve issues, be that at work, or amongst friends and family. What we need to do, Mark stated, was to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, and to search for the answers that aren’t immediately the ones we first jump to. We can’t always rely on our strengths, as they can easily become our weaknesses, when used arrogantly, or in the wrong context.

Life coach Bruna De Palo added to the discussion by exploring the uncharted territories of one’s own capacity. After working a dead end job in an office for seventeen years, Bruna didn’t believe she had any skills to venture out into the world and find a career she could love. “You are not just your skills” she tells the TEDx crowd. “I never knew!” She exclaimed. You can find a job that suits your personality and your passion, if only you take the initial steps into the unknown, and prove to yourself, and future employers, that you deserve the job you want.

But sometimes fighting for what you want isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you don’t even know what it is you want. However, Radio 1Xtra presenter Yasmin Evans, through the telling of her own career, believes that the important part is starting the journey, even if you don’t know where it will take you. Once you start, you can work out your strengths, even if you have to go through a few other careers first to make sure. Yasmin worked in a tanning salon and as a florist before she found that entertainment was really where she blossomed.

Congratulations to the TEDx committee, who pulled off a successful day that ran smoothly and was received well. The variation of speakers, experience and advice truly encapsulated what “uncharted territories” is all about: venturing into the unknown, learning from yourself and others, and seeking out new and creative ways to work the world. Even if other people don’t quite “get it” yet.