Social innovation, new media and zombies, the dark side of Salem history, ancient and modern technology will be some of the topics presented by 14 speakers selected for Ignite Salem, slated for Thursday, June 18.

Ignite features a series of five-minute talks accompanied by twenty visual images. The event runs from 8:30 to 10 p.m. at Northern Lights Theater Pub, 3893 Commercial Street SE.

“Salem has a number of highly creative people with potent ideas and this event offers a platform for creative expression and networking,” said Ross Swartzendruber, organizer of the event.

Presenters representing varied backgrounds including science, television, film, graphic design, software and community organizing will delve into their areas of expertise. The unique format provides a rigid structure for wildly creative ideas that are difficult to convey in the short time span and exposes attendees with a barrage of seemingly unrelated ideas.

β€œIt’s the combination of varied expertise that makes the program innovative. If there’s a topic that you find interesting, you have immediate access to more information about it,” Schwarzendruber added.

The evening concludes with a performance by Right On John, a one-man band playing homemade instruments.

For a full list of speakers and topics, visit

Ignite emerged in Seattle as a geek-, tech-, and maker-centered event organized by Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis. Since then, thriving Ignite communities have launched in Seattle, Budapest, Paris and New York City. Ignite events in Oregon have taken place in Portland, Bend and Corvallis. Admission is free and tickets are available at For more information, contact