Niki Dun is ashamed to say she saw Renfrew-Collingwood as an uninspiring sea of Vancouver Specials and cement before she knew it better. Now she sees Vancouver’s largest neighbourhood as the city’s most exciting area. “It’s absolutely one of the most vibrant communities that I’ve been involved in,” Dun said, referring to its ethnic diversity and grassroots food sustainability, environmental and artistic projects.
That’s one of the reasons why Dun has organized TEDxRenfrewCollingwood for Oct. 19. She wants neighbours, Vancouverites and the world to connect with the community’s thinkers and doers.
The 15 TEDxRenfrewCollingwood speakers at Windermere secondary will include Michael Fergusson, founder and CEO of Ayogo, a global leader in the application of game psychology to patient self-care, 15-year-old Ann Makosinski, a Google Science Fair finalist for her body-heat powered flashlight, poet Bertha Clark on the power poetry can bring to the incarcerated and Renfrew-
Collingwood resident Bruce McKinlay who will discuss slow technology.
Dun, who designed bicycle ambulances for communities in need in Africa, became a fan of TED’s philosophy of ideas worth spreading when she got involved with TEDxKids@BC.
“TEDx keeps it at a global level but brings it down to grassroots, takes it to a really personal level of relationships,” she said.
The nonprofit TED opened up its brand to independent, licensed TEDx events in 2009.
Experts from other TEDx events, including a museum director in Thessaloniki, Greece, the creative director at Penn State University in the U.S. and a medical resident in Iraq have assisted Dun’s team of volunteers.
Potential TEDxRenfrewCollingwood audience members must apply for one of 250 spots.
“We’re not looking for people who are a particular age, and we’re not looking at people’s jobs and we’re not looking at their education,” Dun said. “We just want people who are open to new ideas and are interested in talking about them and sharing them with an open mind.”
Tickets are $40 and $50 to cover costs of the inaugural volunteer-run event. Dun hopes to lower prices next year. Those who can’t afford it can apply for a subsidized rate.
Also on the agenda for 2014 are universal headsets that will allow speakers to present in their native tongue. Dun recognizes the breadth of knowledge, wisdom and ideas that come to Renfrew-
Collingwood and Vancouver from other countries but don’t travel far because of language barriers. “The possibility of tapping into that really excites me,” Dun said.
For more information on the daylong extravaganza that includes activities such as a walk and talk about Renfrew Ravine, performances and food, see tedxrenfrewcollingwood.com.