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TEDxYouth@KL: A Platform of Inspiration & Artistry

A platform for bright and forward-looking ideas which showcases visionary thinking and endless possibilities, TEDxYouth@KL  is back this year with an assembly of brilliance to offer.

Coming up on the 25th February under the theme WHAT NOW?, this year’s installment is focused on figuring out the next step that younger generations can take to solve problems in the future– going beyond just empty, abstract ideas.

“WHAT NOW? was a question I asked myself when I was in university as I wasn’t sure what was next for me. Therefore, with this year’s TEDxYouth@KL 2017: WHAT NOW?, we’re hoping to be the bridge that helps youths see a clearer path towards their ambition,” said Denielle Leong, one of the two curators of TEDxYouth@KL 2017.

Continuing its tradition of providing a line-up from a diverse range, TEDx is a program created by TED. The events themselves are self-organized to bring people together so that everyone can get a taste of a TED-like experience. If you don’t know what TED or TEDTalks are, check out the video below (spoiler: it has got nothing do with the Mark Wahlberg comedy):

TEDxYouth@KL – where x = independently organized TED event – combines TEDTalks video and live speakers to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group, but with a localized twist. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

Co-curator Tam Xueh Wei, also believes that TEDxYouth@KL is a platform to help local youth see the world from a different lense altogether. “Youths nowadays are heavily reliant on news and information from social media. Most of them are still lacking the ability to see ahead because they do not have many outlets where they can find inspiration from, and social media isn’t exactly always a good place for positive morale boost,” said Xueh Wei, who believes that youths should step out of their comfort zones and dream a little bigger.

This year’s presenter lineup consists of individuals from different backgrounds who have taken on the challenge to be a game changer in their respective fields. They will be sharing how they have pushed the boundaries and cultural norms to impact the community around them.

The presenters include people like Ian Yee – the editor and executive producer of R.AGE, an award-winning documentary and investigative journalism platform under The Star. There are also several presenters from scientific backgrounds such as Aaron Shunk – a climate change researcher – and John Payne – a Sumatran Rhino conservationist. There isn’t a shortage of figures from the arts neither, with aficionados and talents such as experimental musician, Takahara Suiko of The Venopian Solitude, visual artist Ernest Zacharevic (if you’re familiar with the graffiti art trail in Penang, you know Ernest), and ethical fashion activist Sasibai Kimis.

TEDxYouth@KL 2017 - Takahara Suiko
Takahara Suiko

There are also other inspirational figures such as Rozella Marie, a musician who is also an advocate for positive body image and Leonard Chua, a motivational model for all.

TEDxYouth@KL 2017 - Leonard Chua
Leonard Chua

You can find out more about each and every presenter by heading on over to the website

What is usually understated is the importance of events like TEDxYouth@KL for the arts.

Since the very raison d’etre of organisations like TEDxYouth@KL is to search for the bold and the new, to expound upon innovation and creativity, artistes who normally get featured – whether as presenters or performers – are often genre-bending and norm-surpassing. From avant-garde experimenters like Takahara Suiko, to fusion virtuosos of tradition and modernity like Bernard Goh and Hands Percussion. At times, they function as better spotlights than the mainstream market or the uncertainty of social media spheres, especially when it comes to targeting the youth.

Even when the topic discussed is not their artistic careers, their presence is sufficient to incite inquisitive minds. This is especially true when it involves a particular aspect of social messaging that is otherwise lost through the intricacies of art. With visual artists like Ernest Zacharevic famous for his street art, the motives for his visual work is made more apparent – may it be a critique on society or the political establishment. Or one better understands the background of an artist, like Rozella Marie, and how her advocacy for body image positivity might affect her musicality.

TEDxYouth@KL 2017 - Ernest Zacharevic
Ernest Zacharevic
TEDxYouth@KL 2017 - Rozella
Rozella Marie

The presence of art in TEDxYouth@KL goes beyond the presenters and the performers. Since these conferences double as exhibitions, there are interactive pieces audiences can utilize, such as blackboard walls with scribbles of wishes and resolutions, or ball pits that let people socialize in an unorthodox setting, or even beautiful modern, moving installations that decorate the corners of hall and become subjects of introspection.

All of that being said, there is plenty for everyone at TEDxYouth@KL. For those looking to experience a scientific breakthrough first-hand,  to be inspired beyond the tiny two-dimensional images of their Tumblr or Twitter feed or to simply bask in the amazing talent of others. All of which while meeting new people, and feeling like a slightly better person at the end of the day, should experience TEDxYouth@KL.

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If you want to put these claims to the test, come on over to EX8 Auditorium on the 25th of February and check out tedxyouthkl.com to purchase tickets or to find out more.

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