Many of you will know what a TED talk is – a presentation of inspiring ideas and concepts by people from all sorts of fields. We watched many via Youtube whilst I was at school.
TED is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to sharing great ideas, and has spread worldwide in their commitment to this. The Birmingham-based event, TEDxBrum, which is annual and runs all day, aims to be just as grand and awe-inspiring yet locally relevant. It is independently organised by volunteers with the help of local sponsors.
Whilst tickets ranged from £25 (for Earlybird tickets) to £40, they do try to make the event as accessible as possible for everyone. The ticket was for the whole day including food and drinks, and you could pop in for only one particular session if you felt it. I was there for the whole day to get the most out of my ticket. If you couldn’t make it at all, it was all live streamed anyhow, and the talks will be going up onto Youtube in the upcoming weeks.
This year, the theme was ‘Perspectives’ – the idea that everyone has a particular way of viewing the world and that civil conversation from many perspectives is important for growth and change. There was a huge range of topics covered and I wasn’t looking forward to anything in particular and just turned up with an open mind.
As an added plus they encouraged sharing the event live by tweeting and posting photos, and even let me use my DSLR so I was able to get some shots in. One person asked me if I was part of the crew – no, I was just looking for a good angle! The official photos taken by Thom Bartley, Curtis McNally and Paul Stringer are absolutely amazing and demonstrate both humbling and ambitious moments of the day – something I could certainly learn a lot from!
(Unless stated otherwise, all photos are taken by me. I would appreciate credit to if you decide to use these photos, but it’s not necessary at all. I got a lot of extra fun and satisfaction just from being allowed to shoot!)
As it was my first time visiting the Hippodrome despite being a Birmingham local, I didn’t know what the auditorium looked like and end up in the lower circle. All the seats have a good view of the stage and the more important thing is that you could hear all the talks, to be honest. You were allowed to shift seats between breaks so I did eventually move down to the stalls in search of a good angle for my camera.
One of the most memorable talks from the day was definitely by Travis Alabanza, who was just dripping with strength and passion as he spoke about violence against non-binary and gender-nonconforming individuals.
For me, the other most memorable part of the day were the performances from local music artists. These included DANS Chinese dancers (so this kid walks up onto stage and plays an intro piece and the whole crowd is awestruck and want to hug him), as well as The Dylema Collectiv (spoken word poetry against an mood setting musical backdrop) , singer/guitarist duo BEAR, Daps on the Map, and Lumi HD. There’s nothing like live music whether it is your genre or not. Especially in a venue like the Hippodrome, it manages to resonate with you anyway.
(You can double click for the full images!)
In the breaks between sessions, you could socialise with other talk-goers, listen to poetry on the bottom floor, or talk to awkward artists on the second floor. I had a chat with Kenny Cowle about her photography – experimenting with the chemical processes involved with developing pictures to create fragile, constantly changing works of art.
I will be honest, my memory isn’t so great and there was so much awesome stuff to cram into my head so a lot of it didn’t stay for long, haha! This is what the YouTube videos are for, anyhow. I learnt a lot and laughed a lot and really really enjoyed myself, anyhow. Most importantly, I learnt a fair bit about Birmingham as a city, how it could be better, and what we can all do to play our part in its improvement.
Needless to say, I will be sure to put aside the date in my diary for TedxBrum 2018.
Until next time,