TEDxUCR Salon Considers “Invisible Influences”

New salon format at UC Riverside will feature speakers talking about sleep research, science fiction, dance and magic

TEDxUCR organizers stand in front of UCR sign

TEDxUCR organizers, from left, Brandon Chechile, Zoe Thompson, Russell Cohen Hoffing, Sarah Santiago, and Philip Vieira.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)TEDxUCR is using a simple but engaging formula for its first salon event April 27: bring 100 people together with food and drink, four speakers and conversation breaks to discuss their ideas.

The topic, “Invisible Influences: What are the hidden forces that shape our lives, our community and our world?” is deliberately broad, to make room for a diverse set of speakers, said organizer Elliott Kruse, co-president of TEDxUCR and a graduate student in the University of California, Riverside’s psychology department.

“The mission of TED is to create connections between people and ideas, and with this salon event, we took that literally,” Kruse said. “We wanted to explore all the things going on in the world that you don’t see, but are affecting you and changing you.”

Sara Mednick headshot

Sara Mednick

For example, one speaker is Sara Mednick, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Riverside who studies sleep and cognition. Her book, “Take A Nap!” asserts that midday rests can help make people smarter, healthier and more productive.

Sleep is an invisible influence, because it’s something we all do on a regular basis, “but we’re not really conscious of it,” Kruse said. “Yet effective sleep is very important and if we don’t get enough of it, bad things can happen.”

The other three speakers at the independently organized event licensed by TED also have connections with UC Riverside.

  • Sherryl Vint, a professor of English at UC Riverside, is researching how science fiction influences popular culture. She is the editor of two journals, Science Fiction Studies, Science Fiction Film and Television and Humanimalia, and with Nalo Hopkinson, is developing graduate and undergraduate programs in Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies at UC Riverside.
  • April MacLean, co-owner of Room to Dance studio in Riverside, won three chancellors awards for excellence in performance while attending UC Riverside. She has been dancing, teaching and choreographing in the Inland Empire for the past 10 years.
  • Oscar Gonzales, a stage magician and Ph.D. student in neuroscience at UCR, is a member of the Academy of Magical Arts in Los Angeles, one of the world’s premiere organizations for professional magicians.

TEDxUCR is supported by grants from UCR’s Associated Students Programs Board, the Department of Psychology and the Office of Research and Economic Development. The Salon event will be at The Barn from 5:45 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Seating is limited to 100 people.

The last TEDxUCR event sold out, so Kruse recommends buying tickets in advance at http://tedxucrsalon2013.eventbrite.com/#. Refreshments are included with the tickets, which cost $22.09 for the general public and $11.54 for students and UCR faculty/staff with ID.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Two major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Long Beach, California (along with a parallel conference, TEDActive, in Palm Springs), and TEDGlobal is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily; the new TED Conversations, enabling broad conversations among TED fans; and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide.

TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

For information about TED’s upcoming conferences, visit http://www.ted.com/registration

Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

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