Ypsi's third annual TEDx event approaches mobility in unconventional ways

Mobility is a hot topic in southeast Michigan. That's why the Ypsilanti District Library (YDL) and its partners chose mobility as the theme for the 2018 TEDxYDL event from 7-9 p.m. Sept. 27 at Riverside Arts Center (RAC), 76 N. Huron St.


The event is one of thousands of independently-organized programs around the world licensed through TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading" in the form of short talks delivered by leading thinkers in various disciplines.


YDL communications and development coordinator Gillian Ream Gainsley says she and others on the event's organizing committee felt that choosing mobility as a theme allowed for a broad range of talks.


"We are not telling people what to talk about and not predetermining what kind of talks we want to get," Gainsley says, noting that everything from personal stories to academic takes on the topic were welcome. "We wanted to bring all those perspectives together. 'Mobility' is a broad topic with lots of meanings, but it's something really relevant to our region and our society right now."


Organizers of this year's TEDxYDL made several other changes to the program, now in its third year. In previous years it was co-sponsored by YDL and Eastern Michigan University's (EMU) Halle Library in celebration of National Library Week in the spring.


This year, Engage@EMU and RAC came on board as new partners, the venue has changed to RAC, and the date has moved to early fall.


Moving the call for entries to a different time of year resulted in fewer applications than in 2017, Gainsley says, but sifting through about 40 entries to choose 10 talks was still a challenge.


All the speakers have different takes on the concept of mobility. Speaker Jacqueline Williams of the Michigan Prison Doula Initiative works with women who have little chance at mobility, while speaker Jamie Cornelius studies bird migration as an assistant professor at EMU and can tell where birds have been by their calls.


Speaker Dan LaBruna will talk about driverless vehicles, and two different talks will focus on the intersection of disability and mobility.


Kelsey Kleimola will give a talk called "Getting Around When You Can't Get Around." Kleimola is a speaker and disability advocate who served as Miss Wheelchair Michigan in 2014. She will talk about the challenges of getting around and how she navigates them.


Speaker Alison Foreman, executive director of Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, will discuss CAPABLE, a program that helps senior citizens live independently in their homes and communities.


"It's an interesting take on mobility, not just getting around town but mobility around your own house," Gainsley says.


Advance tickets allow attendees to have guaranteed seating, but they must arrive at least 10 minutes before the start time to be guaranteed a seat. The TEDx license and rules only allow 100 people in the audience of every event, but an overflow room has been set up at RAC where attendees can watch a livestream of the event. A reception after the event is open to all.


A full list of speakers and more details about the event is available here.


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.


Photos courtesy of YDL.

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