We did it!


Compare this photo from the event to the model below.

I suppose it’s the artist and designer in me that looks for the flaws. What could we have done better? Does that look like what we envisioned? Our team of students from Salem College and Forsyth Tech Architecture built a great stage set for TEDxWakeForestU 2016, but I found myself still critiquing our work during the show.

I have to admit, during the show I did see things that could have been better, but I didn’t let that get in the way of the pride I felt in being part of such a great team. As I spoke to people during the intermissions of the day I discovered that our original design intentions were translated effectively through the implementation of the design. Some people asked me how we got those images to float on stage, and commented on the depth of the imagery. I know the kind of people that show up at a TEDx conference are typically friendly and courteous, but I also believe that all of the positive comments were genuine.

Preview of 2016 set

Concept Model December 2015

For me the best part of the opportunity to put together a team of talented design students for this project is experiencing the creative process. By the time we have the set built I have lost interest and am looking for the next project. I love being a part of a design team, and witnessing the magic that happens when we work together and ideate together; to create something that would not exist without the collaborative thought process.

I want to take a moment to say thank you to all my fellow TEDx designers.

Molly Blanchard – Your artistic talent shows through in your work. You have a great eye for color and design, and a steady hand. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be a part of this team.

Amy Norman – You are a natural leader and someone I know I can count on in a pinch. Thank you for taking over creating the fabric panels and selecting all of the images for the set.

Denton Hinshaw – Your can-do attitude when we were building the set made it so much easier for all of us. Thank you for all your efforts in sourcing materials, and being a major contributor to the project.

Kameron Dozier – You and I disagreed at one point during the day when we were putting the set together. I appreciate the way you stood your ground and made a valid argument for your point of view (you know what I’m talking about). You were right, and the set turned out great using what we had to work with. Thank you for your patience and persistence in printing all those images.

Jake Denton – You put in a lot of hours, and a lot of heart. I know I can count on you to come through when we need someone to step up. Thank you for using your construction expertise to help make the set come together so easy.

To all my teammates – I hope you had fun on this project. I enjoyed developing the concept with all of you, and I like the fact that we all had a role in developing the final concept. It’s difficult for me to remember all of the events during the process, but it’s easy for me to remember how great it is to work with all of you. I hope you had fun, learned something, and will take what you learned from this experience and do more even greater things in the future. I don’t know how many of you heard Andy Chan, Vice President for Personal and Career Development for WFU, mention Wake Forest “breaking the bubble” that surrounds their campus, but he made it a point to refer to the newspaper article about our team when he spoke of breaking that bubble. Your efforts to be a part of this event go much farther than you may realize.

Each year there is a new TEDx executive committee, and typically the leaders were a part of last year’s team. I hope that the next TEDxWakeForestU team sees the value in partnering with other schools to put on a great show and put up a great set. Maybe one of you will lead next year’s design team.

Several schools collaborating on TEDx event at Wake Forest University

Several schools collaborating on TEDx event at Wake Forest University was the headline in today’s Winston-Salem Journal. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the article. I was expecting a tiny paragraph in the Local Happenings or possibly the Milestones portion of the paper. It feels really good to have a platform like the W-SJ to voice my opinion.

That opinion being that this TEDxWFU is a community collaboration, and that it takes work to build Social Capital. I learned about Social Capital from the relationships I developed as a part of StoryLine. It turns out Social Capital is a concept that is not embraced by everyone. But I feel like it is a concept that is embraced by people when they realize how fragile their life is and they need connection. I learned that of all the work we did at StoryLine in an attempt to build Social Capital, the ones realizing the most rewards were those of us doing the work of StoryLine. I hope to inspire others to care about building Social Capital, and to not wait until they are down to care, or expect someone else to solve their problems. I feel like the article states those messages in a way that people can connect with.


L-R: Denton, Jake, Molly, Amy, Kameron (back to camera) in a studio at FTCC in December design session.

I am very proud of the work our design team has done so far. We have all of the parts and pieces built and ready to go to the set build next Friday. So far everything appears to be looking the way we intended. It’s time to start getting excited. When the lighting crew at WFU throws the lights on the set, the truth will be told. Fingers crossed.