Tuesday, May 28, 2024

TEDx talks in Maldon

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Last Saturday saw the third TEDx event in Maldon – this time at the Maldon Vintage Machinery and Museum, organised by Paul Kooperman and hosted by Simon Dow with a backdrop constructed by the Maldon Men’s Shed. Your TT [Tarrangower Times] correspondent attended the first of two two-hour sessions and witnessed eight stimulating 10-minute talks by a variety of speakers.

(L-R top) Brad, Brian, Christine, Isis, (L-R bottom) Jane, Kaitlin, Maja, Tamika.
Photos: Tarrangower Times

Tamika Sewell comes from a regional Victoria background. She spoke from personal experience about finding the confidence to follow our dreams. This young woman always had a passion for fashion, but initially opted for the ‘safe’ world of finance. Bored rigid in a very short time, she left accounting to study fashion design and soon became the founder and Creative Director behind AUREI LÚA, a luxury womenswear brand that has gained international acclaim. 

Brad Hooper, Maldon native, launched into an angry (and entertaining) tirade targeting our current housing and homelessness crisis, pointing out that in a wealthy country with more than enough resources and space to provide shelter for all, it’s just “not good enough!” With a brief history lesson he urged us to seek creative solutions such as ‘re-villaging’ and to lobby-lobby-lobby governments to get off their backsides and do much more. 

Isis Jordan moved to Castlemaine from Queensland in 2016. Her thoughtful presentation focused on being prepared to take risks and “show yourself to the world” – using as an example a friend who had invited friends to visit and share his raw grief after his father’s death. It was uncomfortable and uncertain, but also a beautiful experience and healing for all involved. Having only tried things she was sure to succeed at, Isis found her first ‘failure’ a relief. Failure is part of the journey, she argued, and anyway, you’re not failing if you are trying. 

Jane Caro opened up about her previous anxiety-filled life, constantly dogged by fears of getting out of control. While outwardly a high-achieving award-winning columnist, author, novelist, broadcaster, documentary maker, feminist and social commentator, inwardly she was fearful and saw herself as deeply flawed. The turning point was Jane’s pregnancy and birth, and almost losing her baby shortly after birth. That experience and wise advice led her to accept that there are things out of our control, and “my thoughts were just thoughts.” 

Kaitlin Woolford is Youth Governor of Victoria and an eloquent spokesperson for young people and their right to be heard. She noted that Mozart, Picasso, Braille and Ann Frank all had a major impact on their worlds before the age of 16, as have many contemporaries. Yet they are often ignored and/or maligned. She queried the justice of 16-year-olds being judged ready for sexual activity, to drive and to work – but not to have a say in choosing their political representatives. And she introduced us to the very constructive outcomes brought by Victoria’s Youth Parliament. 

Maja Havrilova spoke on ‘the art of mastering your relationship’. Our view of relationships is romanticised to the point of seeing ‘working on your relationship’ as a weakness. She urged us to: question what we want from our relationships; acknowledge that a partner cannot be everything to us; not see our partner as an extension of ourselves; accept that it is not wrong to be different from each other and to focus on what we value in our partner – and make it a habit to tell them what that is. 

Christine Jordan is the Programming and Engagement manager for Readings Bookshops and her theme was, ‘Why bookshops change everything’ – illustrated by her account of moving to a small village in the UK. She had wandered the place, noting its facilities, then found not only a bookshop but the Australian literature section and a friendly proprietor. She proposed that bookshops and book-based activities are a vital place to exchange ideas and to listen and learn from each other.

Brian Nankervis said, “the answer is Yes” (to nearly everything). Illustrated by his journey from conservative suburban upbringing to a short career in teaching, then travel and working at The Last Laugh theatre restaurant – where he transitioned from waiter to performer. That led to working on Hey Hey It’s Saturday, hosting Rockwiz and currently ABC radio’s Friday Review. He is a true showman and ended this session on a light-hearted note full of laughter. 

Tarrangower Times 10 May 2024

This article appeared in the Tarrangower Times, 10 May 2024.

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