TEDX aims to modernize storytelling

Using multimedia and a compelling narrative, TED (technology entertainment and design) conferences modernize classic storytelling for a 21st century audience.

Using multimedia and a compelling narrative, TED (technology entertainment and design) conferences modernize classic storytelling for a 21st century audience.

With a time limit of 18 minutes, speakers share “ideas worth sharing,” according to the organization’s slogan.

The local TEDX organization is gearing up for an event later this year, but work has to be put in now, including a call for speakers.

Rene Michalak owns the licence for the local TEDX, which currently allows for a limited event to take place in Red Deer. To expand the budget and capabilities, he is attending an upcoming TED conference in Whistler.

“TED talks are excellent in terms of sharing information and hearing a story we wouldn’t necessarily have the chance or opportunity to hear,” said Michalak.

“We, as a species, used to tell stories before we had television. We used to watch the stars in the sky and not the stars on TV. Storytelling is such an important part of our culture. We’re returning to that, but using technology to give us a new approach to it.”

While still very much in the early planning stages, the local TEDX committee is looking for speakers to fit the theme they have chosen, Pushing boundaries.

“Anyone interested in presenting or telling their story, if it fits in that theme of Pushing Boundaries is what we’re aiming for,” said Michalak.

“We want it to be as local as it can be, it just depends on who applies. It is intended to be Red Deer and Central Alberta. Because we hope to do a full-day event this time, it might by eight or 10 speakers.”

Anyone who is interested in being a speaker can get in touch with the local organizing group through their website, www.tedxreddeer.com.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first TED conference, originally planned as a one-off event featuring demonstrations of the Sony compact disc and an early demonstration of the Apple Macintosh computer. The talks are now broadcast online, for free, and since the TED website opened, it has had more than one billion views.

Red Deer’s first TED event was held in October 2011, followed by a second one last year.

“It went well (in 2013), but not as well as we were hoping it could go” said Michalak. About 60 people attended and they were aiming for 100. This time, they hope to sell about 300 tickets.

“We had five presenters in 2013. The theme was Shut Up and Do It. We had people talk about ideas worth spreading, which is a theme of TED in general, but it’s one thing to talk about ideas, it’s another to implement them.” Presenters included Rob Aronson, from Calgary, talking about a sandwich company for feeding the homeless, and Damien Laliberte, a former Red Deer-based filmmaker, who was working on a documentary on teen suicide.


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