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When A Tree Falls...

Read More About Our Theme

When a Tree Falls...

Will You Be There to Hear It?


March 27, 2021  | 2 PM Eastern

TEDxIndianaUniversity is beyond thrilled to invite you to our 6th Annual and Virtual TEDx Conference, When A Tree Falls. Join us from the comfort of your homes for a fantastical afternoon of engaging talks, diverse thoughts and ideas worth sharing.

This year’s theme is designed to highlight all voices and perspectives. "When a Tree Falls" is the question of whose stories get to be told, and who hears them when they do. Our conference will center around the impact that groundbreaking stories create, and with a world of information saturation, what it takes for that story to be heard.

From global crises to personal triumphs, shockwaves are being sent through every institution, belief, and relationship we have - will you be there to listen?


Speaker Lineup

We were host to seven diverse speakers from the worlds of art, science,  politics, and more as they took the stage and shared their powerful stories.

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Dr. Kelli Morgan

Curator, Educator,

Social Justice Activist

Dr. Kelli Morgan is a curator, educator, and social justice activist who specializes in American art and visual culture. Her scholarly commitment to the investigation of anti-blackness within those fields has demonstrated how traditional art history and museum practice work specifically to uphold white supremacy. She has held teaching positions at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan, as well as curatorial positions at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 2014, the Ford Foundation awarded her a dissertation fellowship. She earned her PhD in Afro-American studies and a graduate certificate in public history–museum studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

"At the heart of my curatorial practice is an understanding of traditional art history and its maintenance within museums as more insidious than instructive."

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Arsham Parsi

Iranian, Queer,


"My dream is that one day the rights of all queers will be recognized and respected everywhere. That one day no one will be executed, tortured, arrested, imprisoned, isolated or disowned by their families and communities merely for the “crime” of being gay."
Arsham Parsi is an Iranian, queer activist. He had to flee his country in 2005 due to the fear of persecution and possible execution under Iran’s Islamic legal code of Lavat, but since then he has been working towards the goal of equality and justice for individuals struggling to express their sexual identity in Iran. After being registered as a refugee in Turkey, he founded the International Railroad for Queer Refugees, an organization that secures international refugee protection status for Iranian queer asylum seekers. He helps them with interviews, makes trips overseas to work with participants, and holds daily phone calls with hopeful queers. He dreams of the day when sexual orientation will not be a legal cause to deprive individuals of their fundamental human rights in Iran.
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Joe Salesky

Businessman, CEO,


Joe Salesky is an incredible businessman, innovator and CEO of multiple companies, with a passion for reducing literacy disparities. He has created an app called “Ustyme” which not only introduces reading into more homes but also gives children a chance to envision themselves as a character within the book. By providing a platform in which children can customize fictional characters to resemble them better, Salesky encourages children to build the confidence and skills that come from sitting down and actually reading with their family members. Through his many accomplishments, Joe Salesky wishes to inspire positive and creative thinking within others to equip them with the tools necessary to overcome future obstacles.

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Dr. Roger Hangarter

Professor, Photographer,


Roger Hangarter received his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from Michigan State University and is currently a Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Professor of Biology at Indiana University. He served on numerous grant panels for the NSF, USDA and DOE. He was elected as President of the American Society of Plant Biologists and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and the American Society of Plant Biologists. His awards include Teaching Awards from the American Society of Plant Biologists, the Botanical Society of America, and Indiana University. He received a Science & Engineering Visualization Award from the National Science Foundation and AAAS for his movie "Return of the 17-year Cicadas", and an Emmy Award for his work on the WFIU Indiana PBS series “The Natural Heritage of Indiana”. His photography and time-lapse movies have been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries. He developed the traveling exhibits, sLowlife and Plant Dance, and the Plants-In-Motion website to raise awareness of plants as dynamic and essential life forms.

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Tatjana Rebelle

Activist, Organizer, Writer, Performer, Promoter

Tatjana Rebelle (they/she) is a mother, activist, organizer, writer, performer and promoter. They have lived in Indianapolis most of their life, which is where they learned to use their writing to deal with growing up in the midwest as a non-binary, first generation Afro-German and Queer. They founded VOCAB Indy, a monthly cultural arts event centering QTBIPOC communities in 1997 and stepped away from curating the event in 2020, to pursue writing and traveling. They have been fighting for social justice for communities of color and QTBIPOC rights for several years. They are currently the Resilient Schools Coordinator with Earth Charter Indiana, leading the Indy Thriving Schools program, which is a certification and grants program for schools tackling sustainability and climate change. Their work gives them the chance to follow their idol, Bayard Rustin’s, footsteps in speaking truth to power and taking a stance against global and local oppression. Their goal is to bring art and activism to the people that need to hear it the most, with every action they take.

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Jessica Kent

Social Justice Activist, 

Social Media Personality

Jessica Kent is a social justice activist and an advocate for prison reform. Having served time in prison and struggled with addiction herself, she now uses her platform of nearly 1M followers across YouTube and TikTok to inform people about the realities of the US prison system. At almost ten years sober, Jessica unveils the hard truths of struggling with addiction, while imploring her audience to seek sobriety and avoid making the same mistakes that she has. She got her Bachelor’s Degree in Correction Program Support Services from the University of Phoenix in 2020, which has catalyzed her passion for improving the justice system. Her journey serves as an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people.

Find more information about our speakers on our social media or desktop website.

Dr. Kelli Morgan

Curator, Educator,

Social Justice Activist

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Dr. Jennifer Guiliano

Professor, Historian,


Dr. Jennifer Guiliano is a white academic living and working on the lands of the Myaamia/Miami, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Wea, and Shawnee peoples. She currently holds a position as Associate Professor in the Department of History and affiliated faculty in both Native American and Indigenous Studies and American Studies at IUPUI in Indianapolis, Indiana. An award-winning teacher and scholar, Dr. Guiliano published her monograph Indian Spectacle: College Mascots and the Anxiety of Modern America, which traces the appropriation, production, dissemination, and legalization of Native American images as sports mascots in the late 19th and 20th centuries. 

We could not be more ecstatic to announce that the Bloomington Delta Music Club will be joining us to bring some incredible performances to you! 

Bloomington Delta Music Club is a designated space in which musicians, vocalists, producers, and content creators of any caliber at IU can come together to jam, perform, and create in the name of music. 


Bloomington Delta Music Club


Meet the Team Behind the Conference

If you take a peek behind the extravagant annual conferences put up by TEDxIndianaUniversity each year, you will find a team of dedicated and passionate members working diligently to ensure your experience is nothing but the best. And this year is no exception.


Our team of 43 members, working in 6 committees - Marketing, Production, Curation, Membership, Operations and Finance - has persevered through the challenges the past few months have thrown our way to create a unique TEDx experience for you that you will never forget. 

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors

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