The annual TEDx Ogden showcased local experts’ innovative research and groundbreaking work in the community at Peery’s Egyptian Theater June 29.
Amir Jackson, TEDx Ogden 2018’s project manager, said this year’s theme, Illumination, wasn’t arbitrary.
“I think Ogden has lived in the shadow of its neighboring cities for a long time,” said Jackson. “Illumination is about getting outside of that shadow and shedding a positive light on Ogden.”
As a community event, TEDx 2018 sought to bring Ogden out of those shadows by providing a platform for some of the city’s most inspiring and diverse voices.
“We’re representing a city and what that city stands for,” said Jackson. “For me, this city stands for diversity and inclusion. We’re trying to make sure as many voices as possible are represented.”
Hannah Cross, a mental health therapist for the Utah Division of Juvenile Justice Services, centered her message on forgiveness of the self and others, regardless of previous misdeeds. She said our current corrections system reinforces a message that people are broken. She seeks to change that.
“Our corrections system is backwards,” Cross said. “My call to action is that communities and helping professionals begin to heal their own self-identity so that they can have the ability to do that for other people.”
Alex Doman, founder and CEO of Advanced Brain Technologies, produces therapeutic music and neurotechnology designed to improve and repair brain functions.
Doman experienced an acoustic trauma at a Circle Jerks concert in 1986 that left him with tinnitus.
“Part of my own therapy and rehabilitation was researching and finding means to reduce that ringing in my ears and find healing,” Doman said. “Through that process, I researched therapeutic methods from Europe that had been established and proven effective to help with different conditions.”
Doman hopes attendees of his talk would leave knowing the brain is better on music.
“Music has health benefits,” said Doman. “It doesn’t have side effects, and it can help us with a whole host of health issues that often we would go to a pill for first. I want people to think about music as a healing modality before they reach for that medicine.”
Doman also denies the veracity of the claim that certain types of music are better for the human brain than others.
“If music feels good to you, music is good for you,” said Doman. “We have certain preconceptions that heavy metal, punk rock, rap or certain types of music are bad for you, but they all serve a purpose. They’re a voice for a generation, they’re a voice for a culture and they’re important.”
Doman said scientists should focus on how people who enjoy certain types of music respond to it, adding that music designed for therapeutic effects is different from music intended for entertainment.
“It’s specifically composed, arranged, recorded and then modified to have certain effects,” said Doman. “What we’re doing is quite unique—and more than music. It’s music for therapeutic use.”
Doman said he hopes those who listen to his talk will begin thinking of music as a source for therapy and healing on a daily basis.
Jackson said Ogden’s strong sense of community is one of the things that, as a non-Utah native, drew him to the city.
“Without a doubt, the first thing I think about when I think of Ogden is its vibrant community,” Jackson said. “It’s a city, but it’s a small town. This is the place where, if you have an idea, people are willing to support it. You don’t have to have a lot of money or a name. You don’t have to have done anything successful previously. People will support you here, and that’s not something you find often in other places.”
Jackson said he hopes attendees of TEDx Ogden 2018 would come away knowing that the city is a place full of ideas.
“I’m a transplant to this city, so everything I’ve heard about Ogden is secondhand,” said Jackson. “But whatever Ogden’s past is doesn’t determine its future.” He believes, in line with this year’s theme of Illumination, Ogden’s future is bright.