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March 4th, 2022 | 6 PM EST

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TEDxIndianaUniversity presents “Playground”, our seventh annual TEDx conference. We invite the Bloomington and Indiana University communities to join us for our first evening back on a live stage in two years. Seven speakers from across the country will share their stories and perspectives, united by a desire to spread ideas worth sharing. 


“Playground” is meant to give audience members and conference speakers the chance to reflect and walk down memory lane. Many of us spent a lot of time on playgrounds as children, exploring both the good and bad elements of the world around us -- often for the first time. Our conference seeks to ask: has that period ever truly ended? Did we ever truly lose the ability to see the world through the lens of pure imagination?


Playgrounds are places of imagination, exploration, and wonder.


“Playground” is a night of remembrance and rediscovery. 

Speaker Lineup


We are to host seven unique speakers from across the country to share their diverse, powerful stories.


          Jon Racek is a multidisciplinary designer and faculty           member at Indiana University whose scope of expertise       includes architecture, interiors, furniture, landscapes, and playgrounds. Jon is the founder of Play360, a nonprofit that trains organizations in the developing world to build their own learning resources, including playgrounds and classroom resources.  Jon also directs Printshop, a project to create a network of distributed manufacturing centers in Rwanda centered around 3D printing. Before joining the faculty, Professor Racek was an architect, furniture designer, and entrepreneur. His work has been exhibited all    over the world and featured in publications such as the           New York Times and TIME Magazine. In 2012, Building              Design and Construction Magazine named him one of               “40 Under 40” in the architecture, engineering, and                     construction industry. Jon has recently received a                         Fulbright Scholarship and will be traveling to                                 Sri Lanka in Spring 2022!

Jon Racek

Architect, Designer, Globetrotter


                    Dr. Katie Dieter is the associate director of African and African

             American Studies at Stanford University. Prior to this role, she was a

      senior lecturer at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing

   Arts and was adjunct faculty at the University of the West Indies, Mona, both

located in Kingston, Jamaica. With a Ph.D. and M.A. in African American and African Diaspora Studies, a M.A. in Gender Studies, and a bachelor’s degree in African and

African American Studies and Studio Art (metal sculpture and furniture design), Katie’s research focuses on the ways the visual and performing arts can be used as methods of knowledge production and resistance. Katie is also an artist and includes intersectional themes in her artwork. In a recent chapter included in Fire Under My Feet: History,

  Race, and Agency in African Diaspora Dance, she analyzes choreography of Indiana

      University’s African American Dance Company using a creative auto-ethnographic   

               approach to reimagine dance through her own paintings.

Dr. Katie Dieter

Advocate, Artist, Researcher
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Abolitionist, Doula, Educator

Max Mowitz

                                                   Max Mowitz is Program Director at One Iowa, Iowa’s

                              statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, overseeing organizational

               programming, direct service, and community education via LGBTQ training.

        Max has been active in LGBTQ advocacy work since coming out in high school,

    focusing on comprehensive LGBTQ education to the broader community as a

  component of queer liberation. 

Max is part of the Planned Parenthood Speakers Bureau and serves as a board member for the Iowa Abortion Access Fund, Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund, and Planned Parenthood. Max is pursuing their full-spectrum doula certification and

  is practicing as a gender-affirming doula, serving Trans and Nonbinary

     individuals in their gender-affirming experiences as a support system as

        they navigate healthcare systems, social gender-affirmation, and

            mental health. Max is passionate about justice and the liberation

                 of all marginalized peoples. Max is a harpist, guitarist,

                         powerlifter, drag enthusiast, abolitionist, and a

                                   spouse to Austin and partner to June.


Heather Brizzi

Techie, Veteran, Innovator

             Heather Brizzi is a Cleveland, OH native who has been

        leading in information technology for over two decades.

       Throughout her career, Heather has been a

      transformational leader focused on technology-related

 operations in the support, services, and the project portfolio space. She leverages her strengths in developing and coaching others to develop strong, capable teams that excel in service

and solutions enabled by technology. Heather has a passion for

  connecting people to purpose and hopes to assist them in

    pursuing their best life by understanding their skills, how they 

      can use them, and developing plans to realize those dreams.

         She has been a leadership panelist, moderator, and speaker

            inspiring others throughout her career in tech.


Dr. Andreas 

             Andreas Bueckle is a Research Scientist in the Luddy School of

        Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University Bloomington.

     His interest lies in how we can use data visualization to improve performance and satisfaction for training and coaching in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and other immersive techniques in an increasingly data-driven world. Born and raised in Germany, he holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen, an M.A. in Communications from Berlin University of the Arts, and a Ph.D. in Information Science from Indiana University. After working as a video journalist, videographer, and video editor on projects in Germany, France, India, and the US, he switched to a more technical education and got his Ph.D. in Information Science, working with Dr. Katy Börner at

Indiana University Bloomington. Aside from doing research,

Andreas is an avid sailor and the Head Coach

of the Sailing Club at Indiana University.


Navkiran Natt is a student-youth activist and film/media researcher who works between Panjab and Delhi. She is trained as a dentist and later completed her Masters in Film Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi. She works on transnational Panjabi migration and its reflections in Panjabi popular culture and media. She did a podcast

  series on the Green Revolution's health implications in Panjab with the Goethe

    Institut, New Delhi. Currently, she is co-editor of Trolley Times, a newsletter that

      started from India's ongoing farmers' movement.




Activist, Filmographer, Journalist

Analyst, Scientist, Videographer


The amazing teams behind the plan, prep, and execution of each conference and salon. 

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          Quincy Owens is an Indianapolis based sculpture artist and painter. He has

       work on display in public spaces in Indianapolis and his work has been displayed

    across the US as well as in other countries. He grew up in a region of Indiana where flat rural land transitions sharply to rolling hills. This transition from one dynamic to another has inspired his work ever since and the majority of his major works originates from the concept of shifting, corresponding, and contradicting systems. Having worked as both a teacher and as a freelance artist, as well as being a husband and Father of five, Owens places the creativity/ curiosity he has experienced in his own life into his vibrant works of art. With the end goal of his artwork being honesty, Owens has been

      recognized in art competitions as well as by the Indianapolis art community. works

          with the Harrison center of Indianapolis to share his work and share a playful

                 perspective on life.

Quincy Owens

Artist, Sculptor, Tinkerer

Behind each TEDxIndianaUniversity event is an organization of people dedicated to the spreading of ideas. Each team - Curation, Finance, Marketing, Membership, Operations, and Production - work tirelessly throughout the year to foster community within the org, as well as throughout IU and Bloomington. In the photos above you will find our weekly All-Staff meetings, a great day at First Thursday (featuring President Whitten!), and us volunteering at My Sister's Closet

This year's conference, Playground, is a cumulation of months of perseverance and passion to deliver an experience with filled with learning, networking, and hopefully some childhood reminiscing to your days on the playground.


We would not be who we are or where we are without the help of these amazing organizations!

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