Speaking at TEDxNewcastleUniversity in April 2021 Reverend Keith Magee, who is the Professor of Social Justice at the University, shared his vision for a better world. Hosted by Ashleigh King and a team of students, the virtual event, attracted 300 online delegates from 20 nations and was themed, ‘Imagine a World’.
“I imagine a world where we take global issues to a global citizen’s assembly,” the American social justice scholar said. “We are all in it together. Being a citizen means we need to be engaged in every level of society. That is how we find common ground.”
Prof Magee was part of a panel discussion along with his colleague Professor Richard Clay who heads up the Digital Humanities Department at Newcastle University. During the discussion, Prof Magee also spoke against greed which he says marginalises equality and how the opposite of poverty is justice. “In my faith tradition, I am my brother’s keeper. When we all see ourselves as the other, we bring about powerful and meaningful change.”
TEDxNewcastleUniversity Imagine A World conference was an independently organised event hosted by Ashleigh King and Gabrielé Liaugodaite who received a TEDx License after attending a TEDWomen event in California in 2019. It featured speakers on stage and in workshops talking about everything from personal development to overcoming neurodiversity, stimulating creativity in learning, to advances in science and why algae could be a significant part of our future.
Imagine a World…
The conference took place on Sunday 11 April via the virtual event platform, Hopin. Many of the speakers reflected on diverse areas of self-acceptance, embracing individuality and the ongoing journey to become a resourceful global citizen. Professor Clay spoke about the power of technology to help people find common ground. “We are living in the days of the World Wide Web, the biggest revolution in human history, with enormous potential to empower the population,” he said.
For many using Hopin for the first time, it was a truly empowering experience, with delegates able to watch the main stage events as well as choose from various workshops; contribute to the ongoing chat; network via random 2.5-minute video conversations or visit the virtual expo. Over 2000 messages were posted during the conference including overwhelmingly positive feedback for what the students had achieved:
- “This has been such a great journey, in response to the ideas of student volunteers from all around the world,” said Gabrielé Liaugodaite.
- “Strongly agree with Prof Keith Magee about the importance of civics as a critical component of what we should learn and teach to our young,” said Alison Shaw.
- Ann English commented: “Thank you to the whole TEDxNewcastleUniversity team, you have been outstanding and created a wonderful virtual conference. Special shout out to curators Anna and Ziyu and to executive producers Ashleigh and Gabi.”
- “My brain is reaching critical capacity! I need to spend time processing such a wealth of information and knowledge!” said Edward Harrison.
- “What an incredible and inspiring event!” wrote Polly Brennan.
- “It’s great to see some positive messages about neurodiversity,” said Derek Groves.
- “This event has certainly inspired me in my vision,” said Mayira Thomas.
The conference included a live performance from Kenyan singer-songwriter, Rapasa, playing an eight-string lyre known as the Nyatiti which proved popular. Some of the presentations including the discussion with the two professors, will be put up on the TEDx Newcastle University YouTube Channel. The TEDx speakers will be featured on the official TEDx channel.