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Black background with the word, "Horizons" written in bold, capital letters. The letters features a blue to yellow gradient that looks like light and water at the horizon. The only exception is the first "O" which is orange and red and mimics the sun. The second "O" has the outline of birds flying away from it. Cultivate and imagine is written below in lowercase blue letters.

In March, Director of the Center for the Arts and Curator of Gallery 360 Amy Halliday spoke at TEDxNortheasternU’s flagship event. The virtual conference took place from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and featured seven interdisciplinary speakers from across the Northeastern community. In addition to thought-provoking presentations, was a performance by Pitch, Please! — an all-female identifying a cappella group at Northeastern University.

The theme for 2021, Horizons, invited audiences to refresh their mindsets, revolutionize their ideas and generate innovative visions for the future, particularly in the context of COVID-19 restrictions.

Pushing Beyond the Familiar Horizons

In her talk, “What Does Art Ask of You?”, Halliday shares a transformative encounter with contemporary art as a teenager growing up in newly post-apartheid South Africa that changed the way she saw the world. She explained how her work as a curator and educator continues to be informed by art that “asks enduring questions.” Through her experience, Halliday encouraged the TEDx audience to engage actively with what and “how” they see, pushing beyond familiar horizons of perception.

Caucasian blonde woman in a dark blue dress stands smiling in front of a earth-toned abstract painting

Reflecting on the experience Halliday says, “Being invited by students to give a TEDx talk was a really powerful prompt for self-reflection: to consider what’s important to me and what I’d most like to share with others. The ‘there are no borders, just horizons’ theme really resonated with my experience of art’s ability to variously trouble and transcend the geopolitical, interpersonal and other boundaries we so often build between us.”

Although presentations were recorded in a studio, rather than in front of a live audience, attendees could tune in to watch the talks and stay afterward for “fireside chats” with the speakers. Halliday also used virtual 3D tours of Gallery 360 exhibitions (including Dream Boston and Tracing Absence) to give people a glimpse into her curatorial process and answer audience questions.

About TED

TEDxNortheasternU is a student-led organization that strives to connect the Northeastern community through facilitating conversation and fostering the “Ideas Worth Spreading” spirit set forth by the TED organization. TEDx Talks, like the Horizons event, use the TED conference format but are independently organized.