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University walks the talk at TEDxSydney


12 March 2013

The University of Sydney is a principal partner of TEDxSydney 2013. [Image: First Light Photography]
The University of Sydney is a principal partner of TEDxSydney 2013. [Image: First Light Photography]

Talks on our right to read informed by the experience of blindness, world hunger drawing on insights from India, and an investigation into the limits of the law's relevance, are just some of the contributions University of Sydney speakers will make to the TEDxSydney 2013 program.

The celebration of influential ideas for which TED has become famous takes place 4 May at Sydney Opera House with speakers sharing insights on a range of themes in their 15-minute talks.

TEDxSydney is an offshoot of US-based TED talks, founded in 1984, which presents the world's leading thinkers and doers sharing their most important ideas.

The University of Sydney is a principal partner of TEDxSydney which this year has a special emphasis on locally grown, sustainable food with a 'crowd-sourced' lunchtime feast for everyone attending the event.

The event will also include two University alumni in conversation when Julian Morrow, of Chaser fame, chats to Marc Newson, one of the world's most influential industrial designers.

Janne Ryan, executive producer of TEDxSydney, describes the event as "a celebration of Australian ideas and innovators. Whether they are prominent or undiscovered identities, all our speakers are brilliant change agents within their fields of endeavour, and are making a difference to some of our most important challenges both locally and internationally."

Featured speakers associated with the University of Sydney include:

Professor Ron McCallum, Emeritus Professor Sydney Law School and Dean of Law from 2002 to 2007. The first blind person to be appointed to a full professorship at an Australian university he is also a former Senior Australian of the Year.

"From when I was a toddler I always wanted to read printed books. The extension of information technology in the 80s and 90s made my dream a reality. My academic and reading life were totally transformed." Professor McCallum's talk will reflect on this experience and the many dimensions of the right to read.

Associate Professor Bill Pritchard, School of Geosciences, is a human geographer with a major interest in how food systems are organised, the implications for rural communities and environments and the trade and investment arrangements underpinning agri-food globalisation.

"World hunger, despite a world full of food, still exists, with an estimated 870 million people going hungry. To have any chance of solving it we need to reframe the issue. We should listen and learn from those currently on the frontline of hunger."

Professor Simon Jackman, a Visiting Professor at the US Studies Centre and Professor at Stanford University, will draw on his expertise as a key political analyst of the US election system for an insight into the transformation taking place in how electoral information is collected and used.

Jennifer Robinson, an Adjunct Lecturer at Sydney Law School and Director of Legal Advocacy, Bertha Philanthropy Services, is one the world's most prominent human rights lawyers with a role in some of the most challenging contemporary legal dramas, from Wikileaks to West Papua. Robinson will cross-examine her profession and ask 'As the world changes ever more quickly - what role for the law?'

Marc Newson, a Sydney College of Arts graduate (1984) and Honorary Doctor of Visual Arts, will discuss his design philosophy and his global business model with Julian Morrow (BA '95, LLB '98).

Other alumni who will feature in the TEDxSydney program are Paul Pholeros, architect and co-founder of Healthhabitat, Dr Lisa Murray, City Historian, City of Sydney and Dr Rebecca Huntley, Director, Ipsos Mackay, who will unveil original research on why we are not consumers, undertaken especially for the TEDxSydney event.

All TEDxSydney speakers are selected by an independent curatorial committee.


Anyone can participate in TEDxSydney. Applications to be part of the live audience close on 31 March. 


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Media enquiries: Verity Leatherdale, 02 9351 4312, 0403 067 342, verity.leatherdale@sydney.edu.au