Beginning in 1984 as an invite-only event in California’s Silicon Valley, the TEDx phenomenon has grown to become a worldwide movement of public discussion and presentation. TED events the place to be seen if you want to be perceived as knowledgeable and interested, and will provide you with enough engaging small talk to last until next year’s conference. But, with TEDx conferences popping up everywhere, it can be hard to know which ones to attend and which ones to skip.
If you’re after a unique and insightful experience, here are the top five TED events that every TED devotee should make the pilgrimage to.
TED Long Beach
The original and, arguably, the best. The original TED event moved from Silicon Valley to Long Beach in order to accommodate increased audience interest, but will be moving to Vancouver, Canada in 2013. This is a series of talks for people who are interested in TED’s core vision: Technology, Education, Design. However, at $US7500 a ticket, the original TED talk is a major investment, even for its greatest devotees.
The TEDx Broadway event discusses the future of New York’s premiere theatre district. The event aims to bring together the best of the best in theatre to consider the implications of falling ticket sales on the Great White Way, as well as the proliferation of musical theatre into other media. Performance is a topic close to the hearts of many A-list celebs, so if you’re in the mood to starspot, TEDx Broadway will not disappoint. Last year, star of the stage and screen, Neil Patrick Harris was one of the presenters.
TED’s medicine forum has a reputation for bringing the best minds in medicine together for three days in Washington D.C. The most interesting aspect of the conference, however, is the application process to attend. Every member of the audience has been deemed to be an important person in the field of medical research, so the people sitting in the stalls are often just as important as the people on stage. But, if you’re not an up-and-coming medical researcher: don’t worry. TEDMED is one of the few TED events that is wholly simulcast to institutions across the world free of charge.
The interesting thing about TEDx Sydney is that it is one of the few TED events around the world that reflect a national opinion. While there are other TED events in Australia, none come close to the size of TEDx Sydney. Set on Sydney’s beautiful harbour inside the iconic Opera House, a trip to TEDx Sydney is a great idea for tourists and locals alike.
Boston is the central city to many of the US’s most prestigious universities. Harvard, Cambridge, MIT: they are all surrounding this otherwise rather dull city. But, what does that mean? It means that when an ideas juggernaut comes to town, the academic folk of Boston get pretty excited. If you are at TEDx to be intellectually challenged by some higher-level ideas, Boston is the event for you.
Frances Ward is a TEDx devotee from Sydney who loves watching TED to fill her mind with information on topics as diverse as business finance and neuroscience.