The entirely digital TEDxUniversityofSalford is set to take place on March 6th 2021 with its theme of ‘new world normal’ discussing the role of technology in our lives in a post-pandemic environment.

The event is the first TED event to take place at the University and will not feature a live audience, a staple of almost all TED talks. The event will see a diverse range of speakers, from university professors to human rights lawyers and journalists, gather to discuss how we will view the world after the end of the Coronavirus pandemic.

However, despite the optimistic nature of the ‘new world normal’ theme, the UK still faces a major issue in digital poverty; according to a report from BBC, Ofcom found in 2020 that 6% of UK families have struggled to pay broadband bills over the pandemic.

Salford Council’s digital devices appeal says that “Over 3,000 children and young people” in Salford alone struggle for home schooling due to not having access to “suitable digital devices or connectivity at home”.

Lead of communications/marketing for the event, Oreoluwa Sulaiman, weighed in on the issue of tech poverty in the UK and how it relates to TEDxUniversityofSalford:

“This speaks to the level of inequality and inequity that goes on in the UK right now,

“I think what this pandemic did was also shed more light on that, so we see how bad things are,

“I think what this new world can do is find a way to bridge this gap, y’know: “what can we do to bridge this gap?”, “What can we do to make things better for people?”

The team have also elaborated on the current vaccine situation too; Finance director Andrea Stein asserted the importance of being prepared for similar events in the future:

“You always have to be dynamic and plastic,

“You can’t just say “here’s a vaccine and this is safe”, you can have an outbreak of another virus or another event, but even beyond that the pandemic has taught us skills that we never thought were possible.

“We thought face to face was the only platform really; we did use the digital and technology of the 21st century but it was never at this level.

“In the past you would have to be at the place physically to take a tour of the museum or see anything, but now everything is virtual, everything is new, everything is different.”

The TEDxUniversityofSalford team are hopeful that if the event is a success, it will spur further interest in future, annual TED events at the University of Salford.

If you are interested in learning more about TEDxUniversityofSalford or are interested in attending, further information, as well as a link for the free ticket registration can be found here.

The event will also feature a “very practical” intermission in which viewers will be encouraged to participate in a yoga session, so participants who have access to yoga mats are advised to bring them along.

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