TED Comes To Town

The week of TEDxBrum 2016 is upon us and, as we gear up for everything to make the day special, we'll be sharing some reflections and creative responses to this year's theme, the Power Of Us. Not sure what to expect, or still undecided about getting a ticket? Here's a run down of TEDxBrum's DIY eveny to put you in the picture and give a taste of what's to come.

We hope you'll join us on Saturday for the next chapter.

In 2014 the highly anticipated TEDxBrum returned to Birmingham bigger and better than ever before. TEDxBrum's DIY event was held on 8th November at the striking and somewhat enchanting Library of Birmingham. Resonating concepts “Disrupt, Collaborate and Share”, the day was one of extreme inspiration, discovery and celebration of all things do-it-yourself. 

The small but powerful TEDxBrum team ambitiously taking the independent reins of the technology, entertainment and design (TED) platform for the third year was somewhat risky, and made it hard to anticipate what was to come. However with the perfectly matched venue, over 400 guests, 20 amazing speakers, changemaking partners and over 50 dedicated volunteers the event was nothing less than a huge exhilarating success. Energetic hosts Beatfreeks founder Anisa Haghdadi, beatboxer Rory McGhie and Creative Academies founder Jerrel Jackson were on hand to guide the audience through the rich and expansive programme with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, and there was excited in the air as the studio theatre filled.

The day's programme was nicely divided into four intertwining themes - Using the Web to Win, Future Cities, Children as Idea Makers and How Small Changes can Affect Organisations and Governments. Speakers explored topics such as repairing DNA, revolutionary 97ers of digital media and placing art at the heart. From the opening speech by Leigh Purnell “When someone tells you NO - ask them why not?”, to Lee Kemp’s closing talk “because a small change here can lead to a big change over there” I was left pondering, inspired and heavily empowered. Intermingled between the talks were 8 performances from musicians and spoken word artists from the local area, and plenty of perfectly timed food and drink breaks were provided.

The theme of DIY was perfectly captured by the creative workshops held during the breaks including City of Colours DIY session and The People Shop Make a Mantra workshops. An open space exhibiting the works of partners including Cancer Research and The Big Issue Magazine who were on hand to provide invaluable information to guests. And the creative goodness didn’t stop there - our very own BCU illustration students visually captured the magic of the day. Warmly producing beautiful drawings throughout the day, the illustrations were then accumulating into a visually wall representation.

For those who missed a ticket, the amazing people from Bite the Ballot, an organisation campaigning to empower young voters, hosted a livestream plus an additional discussion workshop. Over 1,124 people also joined the TEDx magic via livestream from the comfort of their homes. With a reach of approximately 6.6 million, people TEDxBrum was trending across twitter; deservingly so.

It was a special event for the city, bringing together people of various backgrounds, ages and beliefs for one common purpose, to “make” Birmingham. From the offset, choosing the theme of DIY- “the method of building, modifying or repairing something without the aid of experts or professionals” TEDxBrum emphasised the power of the individual and a “can do” attitude. By the end of the event you couldn’t help but feel an inarguable responsibility; that we have the power and right to be part of the city’s development and enrichment. 

For the past 5 years TEDxBrum has grown into something even greater. Now it's time to turn ourselves from empowered do-it-yourself citizens to collective do-it-together movements to harness the #PowerOfUs. With the biggest event ever planned for Saturday 11th June, I’m sure the people of Birmingham are excited for what TEDxBrum will bring next, because I sure am!

by Maniba Zariat
TEDxBrum Champion

There are still tickets available for this year's TEDxBrum event - the #PowerOfUs, taking pace at Birmingham Town Hall this Saturday. Click here to visit the Town Hall Box Office and RSVP on facebook.