My TEDxSFU talk is now online

I presented a TEDxSFU talk this month, and it was one of the toughest things I have ever had to do. I can’t put into words what it means to me to be chosen to give this talk, and my gratitude extends to the TEDxSFU organizing committee, the TED community, and my colleagues at the iSpace Lab for their support. Most of all, I am grateful to the fellow TEDxSFU presenters who have helped me refine this presentation and give me the confidence I needed to tell my story. I’ve long considered it career suicide to disclose any perceived weakness or vulnerability in public, and my fellow TED peers helped me every step of the way to overcome this fear, with the greatest support coming from the TEDxSFU coach, Bernhard Riecke. I hope you enjoy the talk!

Evoking Deep Connections by Embodying Another’s Reality | Denise Quesnel | TEDxSFU

 We often talk about “walking in someone else’s shoes” but what if we actually could? What if we could experience their emotions and plights? Denise draws upon her personal experiences to discuss how virtual reality can help change the way we understand one another and how we empathize. Denise Quesnel is a researcher of the immersive realities, specifically the creation and design of virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) content and interfaces for profound emotional shifts, like awe and wonder. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Technology is advancing tremendously and now, we're able to create virtual realities for ourselves. But what role does technology play in defining the meaning of humanity for us? Come listen to Denise Quesnel speak on the shift that virtual reality is creating in our world!

Posted by TEDxSFU on Sunday, October 22, 2017

Behind the scenes of a TED talk


What makes a good TED talk? Outside the usual ‘practice makes perfect’, there’s a specific thing TED does that makes their talks so powerful. What I didn’t know when I first was selected to give a talk at TEDxSFU, was that we practice our talk upwards of 6 times in front of our fellow presenters and TEDx organizers, a TEDx coach, and all these people together help craft the talk. The presenter may start with the initial presentation and idea, but it is together as a collective that we provide feedback, suggestions, and iterate on these ideas again and again to make it great. This means we get to know each other very well, and we witness moments of vulnerability and genius in each other. It was tremendously moving to go through this will all the speakers, and get to know their journeys, dreams, and hopes for the future. The TEDxSFU put together this ‘getting to know you’ video for each of us so that people could learn more about why we do what we do, and how we are at the core. I really enjoyed the interview and the questions they asked, which dared to go where most never go.


Virtually there

Nearly a year ago, a friend and colleague told me I needed to ‘up’ my online presence. We were discussing how good ideas get traction, and how in the day and age of online presence our connection to one another relies on how readily we put information out there. Because I have a ton of half-written material that never made it online, I was intimidated to finish it all before getting it online. I’ve since realized this task is impossible, since so much of that material is dated at the near-breakneck speed we are experiencing with virtual and augmented reality, and technology in general. So I’m going to start my newfound online presence by posting some interviews I did with last year’s VR Village contributors, that haven’t seen the light yet in their entirety. Then I’ll follow up with some other material I’d written that didn’t necessarily get published this year. Hopefully this kick-starts some great conversations for the next while. Hopefully this rescues this poor neglected blog.