TED talks coming to Suffolk to change hearts and minds

TEDx is coming to Stowmaket in 2022

TEDx is coming to Stowmaket in 2022 - Credit: TEDx

Ever wanted to host your own TED talk? Now you can as a grassroots scheme is to be initiated in Stowmarket next year, offering people a chance to tell their own stories.

TED talks gained popularity in 1990s America, founded on the concept of "ideas worth spreading" in short 18-minute talks for speakers presenting great, well-formed ideas.

Speakers at TEDx talks can present any subject in any way they want to 

Speakers at TEDx talks can present any subject in any way they want to - Credit: TEDx

The top rated 25 talks include 'Do schools kill creativity?', 'Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model', 'How to spot a liar' and 'The art of misdirection'. 

Famous speakers include self-help guru Tony Robbins, British author Sir Ken Robinson, American fashion model Cameron Anderson — and now, you.

TEDx is a grassroots initiative of talks organized independently under a free licence granted by TED, meaning anyone in the world can host an event.

Liz Wilkins from Haughley wanted to start a TEDx event in 2019, but then a breast cancer diagnosis and the Covid pandemic hit, meaning she spent early 2020 going through a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment at West Suffolk Hospital.

Liz Wilkins is organising TEDx Stowmarket to give local people a voice and place to tell their stories

Liz Wilkins is organising TEDx Stowmarket to give local people a voice and place to tell their stories - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The 49-year-old said she could have easily held the event in Bury St Edmunds or Ipswich, but wanted to shine a spotlight on her hometown Stowmarket, after tiring of the 'Stow-martian' stereotype.

"I am just so fed up with this derogatory and inflammatory term 'Stow-martians'," she said.

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"I am really proud of where I live, I am really blessed to live here — we have a thriving town centre and high street, the Innovations Labs, great train links to London, Norwich and Cambridge, fabulous countryside locations on our doorstep.

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s overall mission to research and discover “ideas worth spreading"

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s overall mission to research and discover “ideas worth spreading" - Credit: TEDx

"It's time to change the narrative on people who live in Stowmarket, give people who live here the opportunity to talk when we don't usually hear their voices, and under the TEDx umbrella the talks will be shared on the YouTube channel which is a global platform.

"That's the beauty of this programme and it will bring Stowmarket to life, raise the profile of the area."

Liz is looking for volunteers to help run the initiative, as well as prospective speakers and venues for April 2022.

TEDx is a grassroots project to allow communities to independently host their own talks

TEDx is a grassroots project to allow communities to independently host their own talks - Credit: TEDx

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