16 July 2011

TEDx Bradford - This is Where We Live

Whenever Imran Ali organizes something it is usually very good. He has brought us Open Coffee, Girl Geek Dinners and more good stuff. His latest initiative is TEDx Bradford.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It started from a conference in 1984 and has now become an international institution.
There are annual conferences in the USA and UK to which leaders in any field with something to say are invited to speak. Last Wednesday afternoon for example, we heard from cyber security expert Mikko Hypponen, lie detector Pamela Meyer, anti-torture campaigner, Helen Tse and some really lovely settings of Burn's verse by Eddi Reader. Each of those presentations is videotaped and can be viewed on the TED website. It is also possible to subscribe to the TED website free of charge and I have done just that.

TEDx is an extension of the TED formula. It enables local movers and shakers around the world such as Imran to organize their own events in the TED format. The event that Imran organized took place in the Cubby Broccoli cinema of the National Media Museum in Bradford. Its title was "This is Where We Live". The event stretched over the whole day. In the morning and afternoon we were connected by video link to TED Global Edinburgh.

From 17:00 we had our own programme with live speakers in the auditorium. They were all good but I particularly liked Mohammed Ali who has melded Western street art with Islamic calligraphy. His presentation went much further than that however. He showed photos from Australia, Germany and other countries of buildings that showed the influence of Islamic architecture long before those countries had significant Muslim communities. But what pulled me up with a jerk was something his father said. "Son, one day people like us may be forced out of the country". One of my other friends had also said something like this. I find it very sad that people who are my friends and neighbours have this threat at the back of their minds. I don't think it will ever happen but a slide of the English Defence League has made me start to worry.

But there were happier topics. Tom Wooley talked about the internet museum that he is planning for the Media museum. Emily Kecic spoke with passion about her pride in Bradford and at her disappointment at Bradfordians who claim to come from Leeds. The one talk I really wish I could have heard was historian and anthropologist Irna Qureshi's as I have also travelled a few kilometres along the Grand Trunk Road. Alas, I had tickets for Hull Truck's production of the "Lady in the Van" at the Alhambra, another great Bradford institution.

It probably takes an outsider to say this but Bradford is a great city. In my humble opinion it's as least as good as Leeds. Though my maternal family comes from Leeds I think I like Bradford even better.


16 July 2011 Jane Wakefield TEDGlobal: Worshipping at the Church of TED BBC website