Whether you’ve received a link to one of the videos in an email from your mum, or have seen hours of your day disappear while immersed in the website, most viewers of online video are familiar with the not-for-profit, global intellectual revolution that is TED.
However, many may not be aware that we have our very own, Australian chapter of the US-based, international movement, which started in California in 1984 and was created as a conference bringing together the realms of Technology (T), Entertainment (E) and Design (D). Well, it’s coming to the Opera House this May.
Now in its fourth year, TEDxSydney was one of the first licensed TEDx (independently organised TED) events in the world. Since then, over 6000 TEDx events have sprouted in almost every country and every language.
From ‘space junk archaeology’ and how architecture is eliminating poverty, to new research which asserts that we are not in fact ‘consumers’ and an astonishing discovery on how to remain forever young, expect to hear it all in sharp (and entertaining) 15-minute talks from 15 remarkable Australian thinkers. This year’s line-up of speakers is diverse to say the least, and includes horticulturist and entrepreneur Joost Bakker, space archaeologist Alice Gorman, environmental activist Damien Mander and influential designer Marc Newson.
“The common thread all speakers share is the urge nurture ideas and work together to imagine the world in new ways,” said Janne Ryan, one of the founding members of TEDxSydney.
While Ryan laughingly admits that it all sounds a bit “new agey”, there’s nothing trivial about the calibre of speakers and the universal appeal of topics at the upcoming conference, all very carefully curated by a committed and hard-working team.
“TEDx is very much a collaborative idea. The hope is that the person you sit next to in the audience is as interesting as the speaker on stage – and that this mutual engagement with the world inspires a project which may not have had a start if it wasn’t for TedX,” says Ryan.
“It is also important that we help Australians find their way in the world. We are hoping to bring our education, our ideas and our own innovation into global awareness.”
In Ryan’s inspired words, it is “in these connections the world changes”.
Even if you aren’t lucky enough to score a ‘golden ticket’, which affords you a seat in the audience, you can take in the life-changing ideas presented in the comfort of your pyjamas, via a free download.
TEDxSydney takes place on Saturday May 4 at the Sydney Opera House. Applications to be part of the live audience close on March 31. Visit tedxsydney.com for details.