AMERICUS (Aug. 22, 2013)--Assistant Professor Joseph Watson, Ph.D., has only been on the Georgia Southwestern State University campus for a week, but he is already making his presence known.  

New professor of communication invited to international TED Conference

By Sunni Zemblowski
AMERICUS (Aug. 22, 2013)--Assistant Professor Joseph Watson, Ph.D., has only been on the Georgia Southwestern State University campus for a week, but he is already making his presence known. Watson is the new professor of the theatre, communication, and media arts department and he has been invited to participate in the upcoming TED Conference in March 2014 in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is a nonprofit dedicated to spreading ideas. TED started out as one conference in 1984, but since then, has expanded its scope. Now, along with its two annual conferences, the TED Conferences and TEDGlobal, TED includes various projects such as TED Talks, TED Conversations, the TED Prize, and TEDx.

“The most fascinating aspect of TED,” said Watson, “has to be the excitement and conversation that ensues once an idea – via video or live TED Talks – is seen or shared between individuals. TED Talks are always polished and refined, but it’s the dialogue that occurs after one that really creates change in communities and individuals.”

Watson has been researching TED for the past seven years. He became interested and aware of the organization when a friend forwarded him a TED Talk of Sir Ken Robinson.

“Immediately,” Watson said, “I saw TED not only as an ideal research project and endeavor, but also as an amazing way to build and generate the strength of community through passionate sharing of ideas. As a filmmaker who got bit by the academic bug, TED creates the perfect intersection for my research and interests: communication, pedagogy, and media.”

As part of his research, Watson has attended more than 15 TEDx events. The TEDx program helps organizations, communities, and individuals design a forum to promote conversations much like those at the annual conferences. TEDx events are coordinated and planned independently. Last month, 77 TEDx events took place in 28 countries.

In addition to researching TED and TEDx events, Watson has also helped organize events. Before coming to GSW, Watson curated the first TEDx event in Baton Rouge called TEDxLSU and will be serving as a curator again in 2014.

At the up-coming TED Conference, Watson will be attending as a TED organizer which he calls “an exclusive opportunity.” To be invited, one must be nominated and then apply. At the event, Watson will participate in TED’s boot camp for community as well as their organizational leadership program.

“I’ll be interacting and meeting with distinguished people from around the world for the entire week, as well as attending the prestigious conference and interacting with the amazing presenters,” said Watson.

Watson received his masters in rhetoric and media studies at the University of Memphis and his Ph.D. in rhetoric, aesthetics, and culture from Louisiana State University.

Watson added, “It is my hope that in the near future, I can curate the first TEDxGSW.”

Joseph Watson

Caption--New Assistant Professor Joseph Watson, Ph.D., visits the launch page of the upcoming international TED Conference that he will be attending in 2014.

 - GSW -