- Salon Attendee
When the focus is on identity you can guarantee every individual will have an opinion or an experience to contribute. How do you view yourself? How do you view others? Where do you situate yourself within constantly evolving cultures? With so many points of view, there are a multitude of directions a conversation on ‘the self’ can take. So when the panel discussion at the TEDxWarwickSalon (Identity) took place, the contributions made by panellists and attendees alike created quite the dynamic dialogue.
Areas such as transgenderism, digital identities and the relationship with our bodies were explored by the speakers Rikki Arundel, David Stillwell and Roanna Mitchell respectively. Launching straight into the problems that arise when trying to reconcile differing identities, host Zena Agha prompted the speakers to question the definition of identity and the difficulties that arise from trying to change your individuality. Almost instantly the debate between real and virtual identities became the basis of the problems we face today over how we convey ourselves in public.
The shift towards a consideration of online identities brought increasing involvement from the audience in the panel discussion. With the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram providing platforms to display our personality and showcase our daily activities, we risk becoming selective over how we portray ourselves, reducing the realistic nature of our perceived identity. And yet, our CVs and LinkedIn profiles create an altogether different problem – how do we as students retain our distinctiveness whilst also conforming to the idea of a ‘well-rounded individual’ that employers look for?
Speaking to attendees after the event, it was clear that whilst many were given much to think about concerning their own sense of self, some were leaving the Salon with unresolved ideas of what identity is and how significant a role it plays within our lives. But it is this ambiguity which makes the topic such an intriguing choice of conversation, and the more we debate about our identities, the more hope we have for progression in overcoming the issues that arise from them.
Identity. A multi-faceted term that can be applied both individually and collectively. As the speakers at TEDxWarwick’s first Salon of the year describe and explain their unique experiences of identity, the TEDxWarwick team have worked on creating a group identity that will facilitate the delivery of events with ideas worth spreading.
Our first team meeting epitomises the varied nature of identity. Every member was given the chance to introduce themselves and describe what was unique about them, yet our key focus of the meeting was to jointly decide on a theme for this year’s main event. By determining our theme we were developing the character of our team too. Making suggestions and sharing views allowed us all to become aware of each other’s thought processes and perspectives, enabling us to proceed to the final decision over our event’s theme. And what a theme it is.
The start of the new academic year brought about the first opportunities to showcase our newly-formed team and its personality. The Orientation Week and the Societies Fair offered us the chance to work together in promoting our events and the TED ethos, as well as illustrating the type of TEDxWarwick this year will see. Our first social, an evening meal, gave us time to get to know each other on a more informal basis, cementing our nature as hard-working individuals who can also work together successfully as a team.
So what is our identity? It’s certainly no one thing: we’re ready for the challenge set by the precedents of previous years. We have new roles and fresh ideas that will take our events to greater heights. And we aim to get as many of you involved with TED as possible, for we know you all have ideas worth spreading.