After six months of planning, a team of volunteers has delivered an inaugural TEDx event, a one day community conference designed to encourage connections, spark conversations and ignite change across the North-east community.

The event, held on July 31 at Aberdeen Arts Centre, welcomed 100 attendees to enjoy the TEDx experience and the line up 10 of inspirational speakers - all sourced from the local North-east community.

Centred on the theme of New Ways of Seeing Old Things, TEDxAberdeen was organised by a team of volunteers under licence from global brand TED. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

TED and TEDx talks are extremely popular with many talks racking up millions of views online. TEDx events are also unique in the way they are organised, curated and attended - they are all about the ideas and the power of those ideas to change lives and ultimately the world.

Back in March, potential TEDxAberdeen speakers were invited to pitch their idea to secure a speaking slot to share their idea worth spreading at the conference. Applications exceeded the TEDxAberdeen organising team’s expectations with more than 100 speaker applications submitted by the April deadline. The applications were then narrowed down to just 10 speakers who have been preparing their talks over the past 12 weeks.

The audience, who also need to apply to attend, were treated to a line up of passionate, emotive and thought provoking talks on a divers range of subjects including artificial intelligence, learning from animals, forensic science, education, mental health and the perception of truth.

The TEDxAberdeen speakers are all based in North-east community with the youngest speaker, Youssra Bennadji, being only 16 years old.

Commenting on her experience Youssra said: “Speaking at TEDxAberdeen was an incredible experience. The journey was truly an adventure of a lifetime! Speaking about my passion for animals was a great honour, and I hope to continue down this path. I have learned so much from all of the amazing speakers, the team and the crew. I thank you all for the magic you have brought into my life in the past few months.”

Moray Barber, TEDxAberdeen Licensee and co-host said: “I’ve been a big fan of TED talks for many years. The insight you can get from TED, on any number of subjects, is incredible and we’re thrilled to be able to deliver this event for our community. A time to reconnect with our city and each other; to unleash new ideas which can inform, engage and inspire. Ideas, creativity and a passion to succeed are the lifeblood of our region, essential elements as we forge a new future for our community.”

The level of support, high number of number of speaker and ticket applications, and seeing the response from our speakers about what it meant to them to be chosen to speak has reiterated that the timing for such an event is right.”

Organising an event in the middle of a global pandemic has not been straight forward to say the least but the team have worked against the odds and closely with our venue to successfully deliver the event in line with Covid guidance.”

We have a tendency to look outside our region and not necessarily recognise or celebrate the talent we have here. Our line up of speakers proves that the inspiration we seek lives here in our community and we’re delighted to have provided a platform for them to shine.”

All of the talks were filmed on the day and will be available to watch online via the TEDx online community which has a global reach of millions. For more information list:

The event was supported by local businesses including Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, EY, XIC Print & Design, BurnessPaull plus the Breadmaker, 10 Dollar-Shake and Platters kept the attendees suitably fed.

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