TEDxPerth – an eclectic menu of brain food

26/10/2015 - 15:14

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No-one need be disappointed when TEDx comes to town next month, despite tickets for this year’s event selling out within hours of their release.

BE QUICK: TEDxPerth plays to packed houses.

No-one need be disappointed when TEDx comes to town next month, despite tickets for this year’s event selling out within hours of their release.

There’s little chance an event focused on technology, entertainment and design (TED) would limit itself to only those lucky enough to squeeze inside the Perth Concert Hall, where the 2015 event will be held on November 7.

TEDxPerth will be streamed live on the web, while the giant TV screen at the Northbridge Piazza will be streaming the talks all day.

TED talks were established in 1984 and usually involve a single speaker. Talks can be no longer than 18 minutes and must be under the umbrella theme of ‘Ideas worth spreading’.

However, the subject matter is as broad as the presenter’s imagination, with topics ranging from astrophysics to community work in remote Aboriginal areas, or may feature musicians playing experimental pieces on iPads.

TED itself is a not-for-profit organisation and, now in its fourth decade, has become a global phenomenon. Beyond the official TED conferences, with ticket prices reaching $US6,000 or more, there are the independently run TEDx events, organised by volunteers and priced under $100, and thousands of talks shown for free on the TED.com website.

The first official TEDxPerth event ran at the Octagon Theatre in 2012, and was a sell out. Attendees received 12 talks on a variety of subjects from 12 Perth locals, including meals. It is like food for the brain.

TEDxPerth has sold out every year since (tickets are usually gone inside a day), prompting the move to the larger Perth Concert Hall in 2014, which is where TEDxPerth will be held again this year. Although the initial tickets are gone, there’ll be another release at the end of October on the TEDxPerth Facebook page.

All TEDx presenters are carefully coached beforehand, with the talks being filmed live on stage. Some are then selected for main TED.com website.

The first TEDxPerth talk to garner global recognition in this way was from former Business News 40under40 winner Hamish Jolly with his 2013 ‘Shark Suit deterrent wet suit’ presentation, which has attracted more than 2 million online views to date.

Some of the most popular TED talks of all time include Sir Ken Robertson’s 2006 talk, ‘Do schools kill creativity?’ with 35 million views, (spoiler alert, the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’), and Simon Sinek’s 2009 presentation ‘How great leaders inspire action’ (24 million views and a must for anyone in a leadership position), which told organisations how to ‘find their why’.

“There are exciting ideas in action right here in Perth – and these ideas get a global audience at TEDxPerth,” the events general manager, Georgia Malone, said.

“What makes TEDxPerth different from an ordinary conference is the diversity of topics. People are realising that the problems of the future will be solved by synthesising ideas, approaching issues from multiple angles – and this is what TEDxPerth is about.

“Leaders in science, business and in Perth come together to share their insights. It makes for a really interesting day.”

Already announced speakers include: Centre for Rock Research and Management director Jo McDonald; UWA chemistry student Callum Ormond; and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research’s Kevin Vinsen, a full-time data intensive astronomer involved in the new Square Kilometre Array project.

A new addition to TEDxPerth in 2015 is the Stranger Danger Breakfast. The breakfast will give a group of TEDxPerth attendees the chance to expand their minds and grow their circle of friends. Developed in collaboration with Stranger Danger Dinners Perth, attendees sit with a group of complete strangers where they can discuss life, the universe, and everything.

Business News is running a competition on its Facebook page, the winner of which will receive a ticket to TEDxPerth.

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