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"Movement" is the Theme for 2017 TEDxUSU, Oct. 27

Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017

TEDx Logo

TEDx a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience, is held Oct. 27 on the USU campus.

Utah State University’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies will host TEDxUSU on the Logan campus, Friday, Oct. 27.

“TEDxUSU is produced in partnership with the Caine College of the Arts, and we want to help recognize this year as USU's Year of the Arts," said Scott Bates, associate vice president and associate dean in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and producer of TEDxUSU. “Movement certainly has artistic connotations; but it has broader societal connections, too.”

The theme is also significant because the event is moving from the Manon Caine Russell Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall to the newly renovated Daines Concert Hall, continued Bates.

The change in venue will quadruple the capacity for the event, which has always sold out in previous years. Attendees can purchase their tickets online, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 11 a.m.

In April 2017, university faculty members auditioned to be a part of TEDxUSU. Of the 40 faculty and staff who auditioned, Stephanie Borrie, Edd Hammill, Camille Litalien, Pam Martin, Curt Radford, Jennifer Sinor, Jason Spelbring and Marissa Vigneault were selected to share the patterns of movement they see in their lives and research. They will be joined by engineering master’s student Britany Chamberlain and Ballet West dancer Joshua Whitehead.

Borrie researches vocal entrainment, the conversational “dance” that occurs when two people speak to each other. The more in sync they are when talking, the stronger the connection they feel to each other. Borrie believes that understanding the patterns of this vocal movement can assist Parkinson’s patients in communicating with others.

Hammill studies the connection between conservation and conflict. Hammill’s initial research confirmed that areas of high biodiversity in Africa correlate with places of most prevalent conflict. Hammill works on models to move resources in order to continue to preserve diversity in these higher risk areas. He believes conservation can be a vehicle for creating peace.

Litalien founded USU’s yoga studies minor and is currently working to start a master’s program in somatic studies. Her talk will highlight the difference between external learning (focused on achieving a defined pose or form) and embodied learning (the goal of understanding how one feels within their body).

Martin,a librarian at USU’s Merrill-Cazier Library, will discuss challenges with the current information landscape. In today’s digital era, Martin believes, its essential to sharpen critical thinking skills in order to lessen the risk of being duped by and sharing fake news.

A lecturer in the Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education Department, Radford, deaf himself, will present his talk in sign language. For him, the world of sound has always manifested as movement. Radford’s talk brings attention to the information embedded in movement that is often masked by sound.

Drawing from her experience growing up in a military family, Sinor’s talk identifies how her “normal” upbringing was, in fact, filled with instances of ordinary trauma. After coming to terms with the trauma, Sinor also remembers a childhood filled with ordinary wonder.

A professor of theater and an actor himself, Spelbring will demonstrate how characters (both real and theatrical) communicate though body language.

The way someone carries weight, holds tension within themselves, or moves in context of another says more about who they are and what they feel than their words do.

Vigneault's study of modern and contemporary art taught her that “movement” defines and contains a single style of a particular group of artists from a particular time period. She has found, though, that artists move from their geographic regions and cultures, and, when they do, they help progress new movements and ideas. At a time of closed borders and travel bans, Vigneault will share how the movement of art can communicate the richness of diverse cultures.

Britany Chamberlain, a master’s student in mechanical and aerospace engineering, will also take the stage to discuss her research on mitigating space debris. Small satellites often lack the ability to move once they are placed in orbit, causing challenges for larger space vehicles and new launches. She is working to provide mobility to cube sats, so they can incinerate themselves in the atmosphere when their jobs are done. Chamberlain was a speaker at Ignite USU, a student-centered speaking event sponsored by Research and Graduate Studies.

Learn more about the 2017 speakers and ticketing process at the TEDxUSU website. Information about the event and profiles of the speakers will also be shared on TEDxUSU’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.

About TEDx

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.

Related link:
USU’s Research and Graduate Studies 

Writers: Katie Feinauer, (801) 703-3602,, Emily James, and Brigitte Hugh,

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