TEDxJCUCairns 2014

TEDxJCUCairns 2104 marked the 1st ever TedxJCUCairns event with 11 speakers in total. Topics ranged from catching mosquitos, talking s#!% in the tropics, singing about the tropics, to painting their ancestry in the tropics amongst others. Be sure to watch and share the videos.


3 October 2014 >> 9:00am-5:00pm (GMT 10hrs) >>

The Cairns Institute, McGregor Road, Smithfield, QLD 4878 Australia

The Cairns region has a rich cultural heritage, astounding natural beauty and a rich eco- system. Yet, more than 2000 years ago when Aristotle divided the earth into three types of climatic zones, each based on distance from the equator – the Frigid Zone, the Temperate Zone and the Torrid Zone – he hypothesized that human civilization could only flourish in the Temperate Zone. Cairns is 1883 km from the equator, putting us firmly in the Torrid Zone, yet people flourish in this region and have done since well before Aristotle’s time. Around half of the world’s population – some three billion people – and 80 per cent of the planet’s animal and plant species live in the tropics or what Aristotle deemed the Torrid Zone. Researchers at James Cook University (JCU) and the broader community are finding new ways to excel in the Torrid Zone. We are exploring ways to turn the social, economic and environmental challenges of living in the Torrid Zone into opportunities.

What is TEDx?
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, 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 TEDx[name], where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDx[name] 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.

TEDxJCUCairns Team

Jennifer McHugh

Technical Curator
Russell Milledge

Program Manager
Alex Carter

Stage Manager
Jaclyn Davies

Michelle Barker

Presenter Liaison
Maxine Goulston

Food Curator
Nalisa Neuendorf

Presenter Mentor
Lisa Jones

Linden Woodward

Design and Social Media Curator
Hansley Gumbaketi


Click here to view TEDxJCUCairns 2014 talks

Click to download PDF


Stewart Lockie – A brief sociology of time
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Stewart Lockie explores the battles to control time, especially future time, that define our age. Safe passage to the future, he argues, is ultimately about power and who gets to decide what versions of the future are worth aiming for.
Prof Stewart Lockie is a sociologist and the Director of The Cairns Institute at James Cook University. His research addresses questions such as how people understand and respond to environmental change? The effectiveness of environmental policy? Who is affected by resource development? And how to support sustainable livelihoods and food security?

Jodie Rummer – Athletes of the Great Barrier Reef
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. The world is fascinated with athletes, but the reasons that humans pursue ‘fitness’ and the traits we associate with a good athlete may be quite different from the rest of the animal kingdom.
Jodie is a scientist at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (JCU) with a strong background in marine biology (BSc, MSc degrees, USA) and animal physiology (PhD, Canada; post-doctoral, Hong Kong). She has done extensive research on fish buoyancy, exercise, and environmental perturbations (e.g. water quality, habitat degradation) and, although early in her career, has become a leading authority on the evolution of oxygen transport in fish and how they maintain performance during stress. Today, Jodie combines ecology, evolution, and physiology to address conservation issues such as the effects of climate change on coral reef fishes.

Shaneen Fantin – Less walls, more life — design in the tropics
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Shaneen Fantin is an architect who challenges us on some of the assumptions about living in the Tropics and advocates design solutions that use less space, consume less energy, and maximize flexible indoor/outdoor spaces to create places that will bring us joy, cost us less and increase our interaction with the natural environment and community.
Shaneen Fantin is a Designer, Thinker and Writer. She is Director of POD (People Oriented Design) – a multi-disciplinary architecture, design, research and community engagement practice based in Cairns. Shaneen is also the Chair of the FNQ committee for the Australian Institute of Architects and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at James Cook University.
Shaneen has spent much of the last twenty years working in remote and regional areas with multi-cultural clients and she has a penchant for observing how people use space and create home in the places they live.

David Hudson – Have didge will travel
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. David Hudson has travelled the world as an entertainer. His experiences are very different from that of his mothers who had to apply for an exemption card to live away from a mission. David explains how a boy once classified by the Government as fauna, grew up and is now able to spread a positive message about Aboriginal culture, especially through his passion for the didgeridoo.
David Hudson is an internationally renowned musician, singer/songwriter, artist and entertainer. His work comprises a combination of contemporary and traditional Aboriginal influences. David is a consultant for Indigenous and cultural projects. He is the co-founder of internationally renowned Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and has been awarded the Centenary Medal for services to Aboriginal and Islander culture. He has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from James Cook University for services to Aboriginal and Islander culture and the arts.

Scott Ritchie – From foe to friend in the fight against dengue fever
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Professor Scott Ritchie nicknamed Itchy Ritchie leads a team that explores ways of preventing the debilitating and potentially fatal Dengue Fever. Scott explains how a wolbachia bacterium acts as a dengue vaccine for the dengue mosquito. Spread in insect populations it creates a green method of controlling dengue.
Professor Scott Ritchie leads a diverse group of health practitioners and research scientists whose collective goal is to prevent vector-borne disease, especially dengue, in north Queensland. He is the principal investigator in the Eliminate Dengue program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation since its inception in 2005. Scott is also involved in new projects studying the potential impact of global warming on dengue in Australia, new pesticides for the control of Ae. aegypti and the development of novel mosquito traps for the detection of pathogens in mosquitoes and other disease vectors.

Chris Wighton – Legless and all at sea on the Great Barrier Reef
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Chris Wighton became a T12 paraplegic following a mountain bike accident. During his talk Chris’s tells his powerful and personal story of reconnecting with the things and environment he loves and concludes with a performance of one of his beautiful original songs.
Chris Wighton is a youth worker, singer/songwriter, musician and suicide prevention advocate. He became a paraplegic in 2012 following a mountain bike accident. In 2013 Chris won the Queensland Inspirational Medal in the Pride of Australia awards. Chris believes “whether it’s work related or recreational, artistic or creative, a sense of purpose and goal setting is crucial if one is to return to a life that’s content and satisfying.”

David MacLaren – Toilets and taboos in the tropics
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. The South Pacific is paradise for people – but it is also paradise for parasites! Public Health researcher and activist David MacLaren shows how working together with local villagers can inform how toilets are designed – to not only reduce parasite transmission, but also suit local environments and incorporate local taboos.
David MacLaren is a public health researcher with two decades of experience in addressing community health issues in remote areas of the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. His work focuses on understanding the complex interplay
between biomedicine, health service provision and socio-cultural understandings of health. David uses participatory research methods with a range of partners from laboratory scientists, health service professionals and community leaders to address health issues such as tuberculosis, intestinal parasites and HIV.

Natalie Stoeckl – Confessions of a lapsed economist
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Strengthening growth is the stated top priority of the G20 nations. This goal has been unquestioningly adopted by countries, states, regions and towns throughout the world, and is regularly repeated in the media. Many countries may be giving up things such as environmental quality in pursuit of a quick dollar, Natalie questions why when we consider what we truly value how can this be a fair trade?Professor Natalie Stoeckl is best described as a (lapsed) economist with a keen interest in the environmental and social/distributional issues associated with economic growth – with extensive experience in a variety of non-market valuation techniques. What distinguishes her from many other economists, is her track record of collaborative cross-disciplinary research using models that combine economic, environmental and social variables to explore interactions between socio-economic and ecological systems.

Charlie Cooper – How little people can make a big difference
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Charlie Cooper is a nine year old boy who is wiser then his years. Charlie tells the story of how the buddy bench at Trinity Beach State School came to be a tool to address bullying. He explains how you can turn a negative situation into a positive outcome.
Charlie Cooper was born in 2005 making him the grand old age of 9. He lives in Trinity beach with his Mum, Dad and 2 siblings. He attends Trinity beach state school and is currently in grade 3, he loves to play Lego, ride his bike and play on his Dad’s flight simulator.

David Wilson – Turning toxins into tonics
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Venomous creatures have developed complex mixtures of active natural molecules to disable both prey and predators. Spider venoms, from one of the most successful and diverse life forms on the planet, offer a unique library of potential natural drug leads. David explains how spider venoms could hold the key to a new source of anti-cancer therapeutics – the key to turning toxins into tonics.
As a boy David Wilson dreamed of becoming a scientist and working with spiders. He achieved that dream with a PhD that researched the Australian funnel-web spider venom. David currently manages the Advanced Proteomics and NMR Facility at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), James Cook University. His research interests include exploring the potential of venom molecules, particularly spiders, as novel drug leads for the treatment of diseases such as cancer.

Bernard Lee Singleton – 40,000 years of TEDx talks
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Bernard Lee Singleton describes how his ancestors, Australian Aboriginal people, have been sharing ideas and knowledge for thousands of years. He believes it is an important cultural responsibility to maintain and pass on traditional knowledge and demonstrates in this talk how this can be done through art.
Bernard Lee Singleton is an artist and performer. He was born in Cairns and raised in the small Aboriginal community of Coen, Cape York. Bernard’s mother is a Djabuguy woman born in Mona Mona mission and his father is an Umpila (east coast Cape York)/Yirrkandji man from Yarrabah mission. Bernard believes that continuing to develop and explore traditional dance and mediums such as bark paintings, artefacts and crafting is an important cultural responsibility to maintain and pass on traditional techniquesand knowledge.

Max Lenoy – Never too old to learn, never too young to teach
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. When did you last ask a child to teach you something? Have you ever been amazed at how children view the world and each other? Max discusses the importance of taking time to learn from children because they have so much to teach us. The difficulty is learning to listen.
Max Lenoy is fascinated with how people learn and what they can teach. Max as well as being a full time dad guides pre-service teachers to develop an understanding about Indigenous education and educational technology at James Cook University. His ‘mob’ are from Yarrabah and Palm Island and he was born in Cairns and raised in the Burdekin sugar cane fields. Max Lenoy holds an Education Masters from Harvard and a Bachelor of Education, JCU.

TJ Clark – Creative recovery from madness in a climate thought to be for troglodytes
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. TJ Clark shares his personal story of how creativity and the environment have helped him to recover from ‘madness’.
TJ is a writer and consultant for several Australian NGOs as an advocate and representative for people experiencing severe and persistent mental health diagnoses. He has worked as a freelance writer for an international magazine and published numerous journal articles on the benefits of utilizing creativity as a recovery tool. He has previously worked as a taxi driver, truck driver, bartender, disability support worker, timber mill worker and tour guide.

Annalise Jennings
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Annalise spends a great deal of time working with the community of Napranum. A community that had long been considered one of Queensland’s most disadvantaged. By working and engaging with the community, Naparum has experienced a shift which has seen a significantly increase in jobs and infrastructure.
A short holiday in Cape York in 2009 took Annalise from a long and successful career in the corporate world to implementing initiatives with remote indigenous communities in Far North Queensland. The programs she has created and implemented across the Cape uniquely involve ownership and engagement with community elders, and the results have been overwhelmingly successful.

Susan Laurence – Designing a drought
This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Rainforest trees pass through numerous challenges and threats in their lives. Now a new menace has arrived in the form of climate change with drought and rising temperatures threatening the future of these trees. We are undertaking a globally unique experiment at the Daintree where we are assessing the vulnerability of rainforest plants to a large-scale experimental drought.
Dr Susan Laurance is a field biologist whose primary research focus is on understanding the vulnerability of tropical plant and wildlife communities to land-use and climate-change phenomena. Her research has a strong conservation emphasis.