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home : arts : arts Thursday, October 19, 2017

10/3/2017 2:36:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
May Lee-Yang Speaks At TEDxMinneapolis

By Amy Doeun

May Lee-Yang
Minneapolis has a devoted following including a group of citizens so passionate about the city that they made their own conference - TEDxMinneapolis. TED is an online media company devoted to spreading ideas. The TEDxMinneapolis website describes their conference, "The TEDx talks: We love Minneapolis. TEDx is devoted to telling the grand Minneapolis story via the TEDx "Ideas Worth Spreading" platform. We host an event or two a year, and pull together all local yet global ideators, delicious local grub, fantastic craft and mini-still beverage, and impactful collaborators. All of these elements come together for a truly immersive, engaging, inspiring, and entertaining event."

They go on to say, "TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxMinneapolis, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxMinneapolis event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized."

May Lee-Yang was a featured speaker at this year's event, which was sold out. She said of the event, "My talk was focused on how artists from underrepresented communities often do not have the luxury to just be artists. Rather, we are burdened with creating art while being policed by organizations, funders, audience members, and even people from within our own communities. I spoke about ways in which we - as consumers, audience members, funders, and people in general - can create space so that artists can tell their own stories, on their own terms."

Lee-Yang said, "The organizers of TEDx were pretty good about setting check points for all their speakers so that we could share our ideas, outlines, and practice our speeches while trying to keep them engaging to audience members. Since I'm a performance artist, I approached this process like writing a mini-play and performing."

But this wasn't her typical audience; "One of the things that surprised me about the audience was that tickets for the event were sold out within a few days showing that people are hungry for the ideas curated through the TEDx platform. At the actual talk, I received really good audience feedback on and off. It's always a good thing when you're talking to 500 people in a room and they clap, snap, and make sounds of agreement."

The feedback from the event continued even afterwards, "One day after the talk, I did receive an email from a youth who was present at the talk asking me for some advice, so it was great to immediately hear someone connected to my talk and wanted more information about how to use my experiences to help them."

She shared the stage with former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and a Somali athletic wear designer, Fatimah Hussein. The other speakers also represented areas including biomedical engineering and computer science.

She said of the overall experience, "One of the things I appreciate about the TEDx experience was not only speaking my truths (and having people listen to them), but also learning from other speakers and artists."




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