TEDx – Canberra: A Review

Amanda Whitley

Last weekend was TEDx­Can­berra – a vol­un­teer run, non­profit ideas event that brought the inter­na­tion­ally recog­nised TED brand to the National Cap­i­tal for an inde­pen­dently organ­ised TEDx event.

TEDx­Can­berra brought ideas, the­atre, thinkers, inno­va­tors and enjoy­ment to the region with some of Can­berra and Australia’s most inter­est­ing pre­sen­ters tak­ing the stage to deliver their “ideas worth spreading” along the theme “An Opti­mistic Chal­lenge”.

HerCanberra contributors, Blonde Ink and Sharmin Jassal went along…this is what they had to say about their TEDx experiences.

Blonde Ink

I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to TEDxCanberra. I’ve been online, watched the presentations, been inspired and gotten a lot out of their various presenters. Online.  I’ve never been to one live, in the flesh.

This year’s TEDxCanberra sold out in just over a day and, after missing out on tickets, I luckily was given an opportunity to go along.

Unfortunately I could only go to the first session due to some other commitments, but thankfully the speaker I wanted to hear from the most was in the first session, Karen Barlow.

Of course there were other great minds involved: Danial Kilob, Clive Summerfield, Brian Schmidt and Stephen Walker. However, Karen stood out on paper and in person.

She spent time in Antarctica manning the ABC Antarctic bureau and came away with so many memories. One in particular was being set upon by a swarm of penguins, allowing her to capture the best photos of the trip.

The only downside I felt to TEDxCanberra was the networking. I went solo so it was hard to approach groups and try to insert myself in their conversation. Luckily I had Twitter to keep me company when there was no one to talk to!

I’m definitely keen to go again next year, hopefully for the whole day! And I’ll make sure I take along a friend.

Sharmin Jassal 

For those who love learning and keeping up-to-date with the latest thoughts and theories, the TED series (online and offline) provides an endless amount of content to devour.

And, if attending the event isn’t enough, one can tune into TED to listen to brilliant minds from around the globe. It is, as the website states, free- so, the only investment you would need to make is time.

Personally, I have the TED app on my iPad, which makes it uber convenient to listen in to some brilliance when I’m, say, waiting to see the dentist.

Most people brush off TED like it’s a technology conference filled with geeks who want to learn about the new smartphone or table. This can’t be further from the truth. The TEDx events, a spin off from TED and independently organised and managed, is a forum for our society’s thought leaders to come together on one stage to share with the world their piece of brilliance. It isn’t all about technology – and like this year’s agenda at TEDx Canberra, the topics were varied.

I had the privilege of attending the afternoon session and was enthralled by all the presenters. The three who moved me (one close to tears) for the afternoon were:

David Lindberg

David works for CommBank and is a banker – if you are already bored, I wouldn’t blame you. But once he started talking, I was captivated – David launched into ‘the end of money as we know it’. He highlighted the evolution of e-commerce and m-commerce; the future of payment. How money (as in those dollar bills in your wallet) will slowly become a thing of the past and be replaced by e-payment methods such as your smartphone.

This in itself was interesting enough but, David left us with a huge question: If we are approaching the end of money as we know it. Then, what would motivate theft and crime?

Peter Kennedy

Peter brought me to tears – his was an engaging presentation as he provided an account of the events in 2009 that led to him being removed from his position as administrator of St Mary’s Catholic Parish in South Brisbane.

More information of Peter’s life is documented here – his story will move you and inspire you to be the best you can be – that your actions, not your believes, which will be your legacy.

An incredible spirit, Peter’s presentation received a standing ovation.

Leslie Cannold

Leslie started her presentation with, ‘I had an abortion, maybe I didn’t – why should it matter?’

Leslie’s presentation was about pro-choice and about women in general. She tackled the abortion myth, shame and ethics.

You can follow Leslie on Twitter here.

The TEDx site has a collection of the previous years’ sessions – simply follow this link and you’ll be able to click and listen.

The recordings from this year’s sessions will make their way up on the website and when you have a minute, take the time to listen. TEDx is about challenging yourself to think differently, consider the many other points of view that make our world the amazing place that it is.

You will be motivated to think differently and who knows, perhaps have something to say yourself!

 Did you go along to TEDxCanberra? What’s your review?

Photography by Martin Ollman of Technosapien.


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author