TED talks come to Australia, innovatively

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TED talks come to Australia, innovatively

Given the cutting-edge nature of the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) convention that annually brings together the world’s sharpest minds in one U.S. location, it is unsurprising that TED presentations are to set foot on Australian shores in a rather unconventional fashion.

Held across one and a half days from Thursday 8 May, The Best of TED 2008 is an opportunity for like-minded individuals to gather in Sydney, view and discuss high-definition video recordings of this year’s presentations.

Among an impressive list of presenters are: U.S. presidential candidate Al Gore, who addressed TED 2008 attendees on climate change; brain scientist Jull Bolte Taylor, who mused about how human brains define us; artist Siegfried Woldhek, who presented his discovery about Leonardo Da Vinci; and physicist Stephen Hawking, who discussed the origins of life, the universe and everything.

The event has been jointly organised by Australian think-tank Thought Leaders in conjunction with Pow Wow Events, and will take place at the Hoyts Cinema Complex in the Sydney Entertainment Quarter.

While the Sydney event organisers admit to having no formal relationship with organisers of the annual Monterey, California TED convention, the idea for hosting the gathering in Australia is said to have sprung from Thought Leaders’s attendance and discussions at TED in February 2008.

“We all love TED, and selfishly, we want to see it here,” Michelle Falzon, CEO of Pow Wow Events, told iTnews. “Thought Leaders, whose ethos essentially match those of TED, really grabbed the tiger by the tail and later contacted Pow Wow to help with organising the event.”

“It’s still very early days for TED in Australia, but from little things, big things grow. We hope that TED will one day be held in Australia,” she said.

Tickets to The Best of TED 2008 are priced at $295 per person, which includes a screening of selected videos from the four-day-long, $6000-per-person, live event, refreshments during the event, and facilitated discussion groups with other event attendees.

Videos screened at the event will include recordings that are not presently freely available on the official TED Web site. Falzon expects the event to appeal to what she called an “underground” pool of creative, highly intelligent individuals in Australia.

Since The Best of TED 2008 was announced last week, public response has been strong, but not overwhelming, Falzon said, expecting TED’s Australian presence to grow with public exposure and time.

“TED is very much an underground movement here, but we’ve had a fantastic response so far,” she said.

“We’re doing the best we can to replicate the atmosphere at the [Monterey] conference. We’d love next year to be able to host a simulcast of TED, but of course there are budgets, planning, and time frames to consider.”

Tickets and more information are available from The Best of TED 2008 Web site.

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