Dare to be audacious.
That’s the theme – and the challenge to attendees – at this year’s interactive idea-sharing event called TEDxAugusta.
Speakers who are experts in their fields will share innovative ideas and experiences beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Miller Theater, 708 Broad St.
“It’s really meant for anyone in the community to think about something that might be outside their comfort zones,” said Grace Belangia, a co-founder of the Augusta high-tech business incubator theClubhou.se and a TEDxAugusta co-organizer.
“It might be something risk-taking, whether it’s a career or a relationship or education or mental health – any of those things you would venture into that would improve yourself or society.”
The nonprofit media organization TED – which stands for technology, entertainment, design – has presented talks concerning “ideas worth spreading” since 1984. Videos of the short, impactful TED Talks have commanded a growing popularity online.
In 2010 TED crated the offshoot TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that strive to re-create the TED experience on a smaller community scale.
Each event tends to center around a theme. This year’s TEDx Augusta theme is “Venture.”
It’s not designed to be a traditional conference in which attendees sit and listen to speakers. TEDx Augusta will have 18 speakers this year across a wide range of professions.
But “the intent is to learn something and to be engaged, and entertained to a certain extent,” Belangia said. “It’s never intended to be a traditional conference. It’s more of what we like to think of as a production.”
TEDxAugusta is planned as an interactive experience for people who strive to think creatively and to be innovative, she said. Between speakers, attendees can – among other planned activities – participate in virtual-reality demonstrations and 3-D printing displays, and sample locally sourced food.
There also will be a “pop-up book shop,” Belangia said. Overseen by downtown business The Book Tavern, the shop will feature book selections highlighting the speakers’ own written works or books about the themes the speakers cover.
Attendees also can meet new people – a lot of them.
For the event’s fourth year here, TEDxAugusta organizers have moved it from the smaller Imperial Theatre to the newly renovated Miller, expecting 1,000 people. They also switched the date from a Friday to a Saturday, Belangia said, to attract more teachers, more students and more people who work during the week.
The idea is for participants from different backgrounds to get together and share experiences – artists and educators, or soldiers and retirees.
“Those collisions of interaction are probably what excite me the most. Because you wouldn’t normally find those circles of people if you just stayed at your school or your neighborhood,” Belangia said. “TEDx really gives you permission to meet a stranger in your hometown.”
The emcee for the event will be former TEDxAugusta speaker Celeste Headlee, the executive producer and host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s radio news talk show On Second Thought.
To purchase tickets and find more on TEDxAugusta, visit www.tedxaugusta.com.
Reach Joe Hotchkiss at (706) 823-3543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.