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TEDx @ Riseholme

The TEDx Brayford Pool Salon series returned to Riseholme Campus on Saturday 16th July with Cohort 1 CDT student, Roopika Ravikanna, joining as part of the TEDx Brayford Pool team along with the Lincoln Institute of Agri-food and Technology for the final TEDx Brayford Pool Salon of the year.

This TEDx event explored the theme The Way We Eat  through screenings and discussion and was followed by the first TEDxAdventure of the year. With Lincolnshire one of the largest agricultural counties in the UK, few people really understand where our food comes from, what food sovereignty means and what we as investigators and researchers are doing to ensure we can keep food on the table for generations to come. This years TEDx BrayfordPool aims to help bridge that gap.

Roopika Ravikanna shares her thoughts on the TEDx event, on taking part, and what it means to be able to showcase these technologies to a broader audience.

What was the TEDx event about?

The TEDx event theme focused around The Way We Eat. It was full of talks about the future of the food ecosystem, foraging, farming and climate change as well as invites for the audience to engage and share their thoughts and ideas in a World Cafe style discussion led by one of eight amazing discussion leaders.

TEDx Discussion Leaders
(Top L-R) Richard Askam – Food & beverage industry marketing consultant, Zoe Burnett – Eating Disorder Specialist Support Officer at First Steps ED, Iain Gould – Senior Lecturer in Soil Science at Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology, Marc Hanheide – Professor of Intelligent Robotics & Interactive Systems at Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology. (Bottom L-R) Louise Manning – Professor of Sustainable Agri-food Systems at Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology, David May – Deputy Director of Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology, Justine Taylor – Environmental Defender & Human Rights Researcher for Not1More, Gemma Whitelock – Food Educator and Founder of Veg Out

Did the audience get to explore the campus?

There was  fantastic picnic lunch from Veg Out on the Riseholme Park grounds and everyone was invited to bring a blanket or a folding chair and take a few moments to reflect on what they had heard through the day so far.

Veg Out
Picnic Lunch provided by Veg Out taken at the Riseholme Campus park

After lunch, participants could to take a tour of the LIAT Campus which included the agri-robotics facilities and walled garden or to the join storyteller and foodie Tanya Akrofi for a one-of-a-kind activity exploring family recipes, food and memory.

Roopika Ravikanna presenting the “Which Agri-Food robot is your twin soul?” activity inviting the audience to identify what agri-robot may best reflect their personality.

Why did you get involved with TEDx?

I have always been in for any kind of STEM outreach be it to young or older people, as I feel involvement in the making of technology and science is for all abilities, ages and genders irrespective of what most medias advertise them to be.

Were you excited about taking part in a TEDx?

As a child, I was always excited about school trips to Industries and Universities. I felt much pride when I was able to ask experts a question about the science we were being taught. I think the motivation and encouragement that I received is an important reason behind me sticking to higher education in STEM. With all outreach events, I look forward in being able to return the favour a little bit to the scientific community!

What did you showcase?

I created an online quiz titled “Which Agri-Food robot is your twin soul?” on Buzzfeed, which was in a pattern similar to other popular personality quizzes found on their website. The intention was to get them know more about atleast one robot (their result), which sneaked in tech details about the robots alongside comparing them to human personality types.

The “Which Agri-Food robot is your twin soul?” showcase presented by Roopika Ravikanna.

Have you done anything similar before?

Made a quiz based activity? – No. But similar outreach including small demos? – Yes. I have taken part in the outreach activities for the British Science week 2022, in promoting robotics to school students as a future career choice and in an outreach for Boston College students with a similar purpose.

How was it received?

The audience were a lovely bunch of people from different age groups ranging 20 – 80 years! They were united by a common focus on food and agri sustainability though not many were involved in technology or science before. They were excited to find their Robot Twin and were thrilled to listen to more information about some of the most famous robots in the industry like Thorvald, Pepper and ASIMO.

What did you feel the audience take away from the session?

Their response was great, filled with sharing results and looking to see what their friends’ results were. Moreover, I think they felt rewarded to know and understand about some state of art robots in a simplistic way.

A huge thank you to Roopika and the BrayfordPool TEDx team for developing, creating and hosting the event. Using these events and similar sessions we can help demonstrate to the public the work that we do, its potential, and how it can positively impact society for the better.

Do you want to get involved in the CDT?

If you are interested in learning more about what we do and if you share a passion for agriculture and technology then go to our AgriFoRwArdS CDT website to see more about our research, how you can be involved and how to apply to be a student in the program.

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