TEDx Asheville sets date, confirms three speakers

The Asheville version of an annual California-based conference known as TED will be held Aug. 30 at The Orange Peel.

Earlier this year, a contingent of TED fans got together and decided to organize a local edition of TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design. With help from the mother organization, TEDx Asheville was born.

At this writing, three speakers have been confirmed, but nominations remain open. The goal of TED is to help spread world-changing ideas in a range of disciplines, from science and business to the arts and entertainment.

The three speakers slated for the Asheville event are writer and social activist bell hooks, who teaches at Berea College in Kentucky and has spoken in Asheville on several occasions; David McConville, co-founder of The Elumenati, an Asheville design and engineering company that creates custom immersive environments such as domes; and Asheville resident Drew Jones, a specialist in systems dynamics and climate-change modeling who is program director for the Vermont-based Sustainability Institute.

Local speakers will be videotaped and will have a chance to be included in the California event. Meanwhile, Jennifer Saylor, executive director of the 2009 TEDx Asheville, is encouraging anyone who's interested to fill out an application to speak or get involved in some other way. The group also needs volunteers and sponsors, she notes.

The free event, says Saylor, will be about a lot more than just lectures: It will also prominently feature performance artists and demonstrations of locally made products. "And some surprises, too," she promises. Another recent Asheville event — this spring's HATCH Asheville festival — also brought together people in creative and entrepreneurial fields to network and talk about big ideas.

Organizers look to make TEDx Asheville an annual event as well, Saylor reports. They're meeting Monday, July 20, at 6 p.m., and anyone who's interested is welcome.

For more information, e-mail Saylor at tedxavl@gmail.com.

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