Just this weekend, I was hugely honoured to be asked to talk at the first ever TEDx Bedford.
For those of you who have not come across TED talks before, TED is a not-for-profit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. This is a paragraph from their website:
“It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference on the West Coast each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.”
“We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.”
It’s a pretty awesome thing. The likes of Bill Gates, Bono, and Steve Jobs have all done TED talks. Like I said, pretty awesome.
TEDx events are “designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level” and two amazing people, Kayte Judge and Andrew (Chip) Nadin decided they wanted to hold one in Bedford.
The theme they chose for the event was “Everyday Radicals” and here is what the official programme had to say:
“Our theme is ‘Everday Radicals’ and you can expect to hear stories of adhocracy and everyday heroes; About revolutionary ideas both big and small; Of simple actions that provoked big change; Stories of empowerment and agency; Smart ideas from unlikely protagonists and everyday people; Ideas that have the power to transform; Stories with the power to turn our worlds upside down and ideas that call us to action and challenge us.”
There were 16 speakers in total, all from different walks of life, and with different things to say, and each one of them hugely inspirational. Topics ranged from the cutting edge, £30 computer-the Raspberry Pi; through facilitating children in Playing Out in our streets, making ethical Pants, foraging for salad in your back garden, crowd-funding, place-shaking, why schools are failing our children, community ownership, film-making on a budget, anti-architecture, music therapy, and illustrating, hiding money in art galleries, all the way to World Peace. Oh, and there was a little bit of Make Do and Mend thrown in there from a slightly over-awed me!
I still can’t quite believe that I was there, amongst it all, in SUCH esteemed company, and that I was actually up on stage, and people were listening to what I had to say, but I was 🙂 And I managed to do it without falling over, or going bright red, or completely freezing up. It was my first taste of public speaking, and a great place to start. The audience and the other speakers were very kind and hugely positive and they even laughed in the right places. I may regret saying this, but I might even like to do it again!
One of the most brilliant things about the whole day, the whole TEDxBedford experience for me, was that it only happened due to the generosity and wonderfulness of a very dedicated band of volunteers. People willingly gave up their time, equipment and expertise, to help make something truly amazing happen. And happen it did. Incredibly professionally, and without a hitch.
So not only were the speakers inspirational, but each and every person who was involved: Kayte and Andrew for having the vision and the guts and dedication to pull it all off; all the brilliant volunteers; and all the audience members for listening so openly and so warmly, and then engaging so positively.
To me, what I do feels very Everyday and not at all Radical. And I was very much in awe of the other speakers, and the things that they were doing, the ideas that they were spreading. Just being in a room with that many people who were getting on and making things happen (speakers, volunteers, organisers and audience!) was a huge buzz, and made me want to do more, and do better, and be better.
I am truly honoured to have been asked, and to be given the opportunity to share my vision of a world where we all take individual responsibility for our collective future, and we all think just a bit more about the implications of the choices we make on the health of the planet. Where Making Do and Mending really is Everyday, and not at all Radical.
Thankyou TEDxBedford 🙂