Last year I was honoured to be asked to become the curator for a brand new TEDx event. I jumped at the opportunity and have been on an awesome ride since. The event was due to happen at the Midlands Art Centre in Birmingham in October last year but was postponed due to Covid. We now have a new date of 7th August and things are really hotting up!
I have curated my own events before, however this event is a little different so it’s been an awesome learning journey for me so far. I’ve had quite a few questions from interested peeps so am sharing some behind the scenes of my TEDx curation journey as I go. if you have TEDx as a speaker goal or you just want to know more about how TEDx events work then read on!
What does a curator actually do?
As a TEDx curator, my role is to bring together a group of speakers that are all aligned with the theme of the event and have an idea worth spreading that can be delivered as a 15 minute TED style talk. Curation works a little like a spiral. Usually one speaker will be selected, and then decisions are made around that talk and idea so that the talks complement and contrast against each other, create a journey for the audience on the day, and give different perspectives and angles on the theme. The theme for our event is ‘Spill The Tea’ you can find out more details about what that means by checking out the TEDx Moseley website.
How is TEDx curation different?
Working in alignment with TED to create an independently run TED event has enabled me to get even closer to the organisation I love. There are guidelines to follow to ensure that the event is aligned and in keeping with the principles of TED and the strapline ‘ideas worth spreading. As licence holders, the TED Moseley team have access to whole wealth of TED best practice on how to run a world class event.
How did the application process work?
The speaker team and I spent a lot of time creating our process to ensure that we got it right, for ourselves and the awesome speakers applying. We asked applicants to submit a form explaining their idea and telling us about themselves, how their talk aligns with the theme and will benefit the audience.
Once the deadline closed, I read through every application in detail. The key for considerations were to ensure:
- The talk idea was aligned with the theme ‘spill the tea’
- It was an idea worth spreading – in other words was a new idea, a twist on an existing idea, a personal journey, a creative expression, a science based idea backed up by research, a personal story or innovation.
- I could connect with the speaker and understand more of who they are and the level of experience
- The main core message or talk idea was clear and articulated well.
Did every speaker need to be experienced to be considered?
No! The beauty of TEDx is that it is for the people, by the people. That means that the idea, story or message is one that people can relate to and connect with. While some speakers who made it to the final line up have experience on the stage, there are others who don’t. The team wanted to give a platform and a voice to people that have stories to share, regardless of their experience.
How did you decide the final line up?
This took a long time and was incredibly difficult. With so many amazing ideas and applications, it was tough! One thing that did help was to consider the topics and sub themes of the talk. It took a lot of back and forth but we finally came to our decisions and contacted our speakers. Hearing their reactions was incredible and I’m so excited for the next stage!
What is the next stage?
We are now onboarding our speakers and will be sharing some resources to help them start to shape their talks. I will then be holding live masterclasses to support the speakers in putting their talks together. Each speaker will have different needs but essentially getting the core message, structure and delivery of the talk nailed is the focus.
After that they will submit their talks by video for my feedback. We will then have sound checks and potentially rehearsals before the big day itself.
How can I find out more about the event?
Head on over to the TEDx Moseley website and sign up to be kept in the loop!
- If you want to know more about how to become a TEDx speaker just hit reply and fire away. I’m here to answer your questions!