Organizers will select 10 to 15 speakers to headline the conference, and those interested have until Aug. 31 to submit an online application, according to lead organizer Grace Belangia.
TEDx events are localized versions of the global TED conferences, which began in 1984 around technology, entertainment and design issues. TED has since expanded into a nonprofit that brings the world’s best thinkers to one stage to give “the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less” about a variety of topics.
Since the TED nonprofit began giving licenses to communities in 2009, more than 7,000 TEDx events have been held in 149 countries.
Belangia said she applied for a TEDx license last year and began planning for the event to celebrate the talents of Augusta’s thinkers and to help expand the city’s cultural appeal.
“It’s not a platform to pitch your business, it’s not a platform to sell your book; it’s really about bringing people together with ideas worth spreading,” Belangia said.
TEDx events are required to follow the same format and speaker guidelines as the global TED talks. Speakers are unpaid, restricted to 18 minutes or less, and are not permitted to promote a personal, political or religious agenda, according to official rules.
They are urged to provoke critical thinking about an invention, concept, culture, research or other issue.
Past TED talks have focused on what kind of role advertising has in society, the future of public education, human happiness and how to understand the universe.
Speakers have included Bill Gates, Chilean writer Isabel Allende, Steve Jobs, politicians, inventors and philosophers.
Belangia said her hope is to recruit mostly local talent for Augusta’s event, which will be held Jan. 31 at the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library on Telfair Street.
She is also accepting applications for musicians, poets and other performers to entertain the audience during the short breaks between speakers.
Selected speakers will be announced in September, and tickets will go on sale in October. TEDx guidelines permit only 100 tickets to be sold for the inaugural event, but if public interest is evident, the conference is allowed to expand in subsequent years.
Belangia said that she and her 15 board members are volunteers and that all profits will go back into the TEDx fund to hold future conferences.
“In addition to giving local talent a platform, this gives people outside Augusta a chance to come and see what our city’s all about,” she said.