TEDxKingston 2016

A Look Back at our First Event

Our first TEDxKingstonUponThames event started with a Facebook post. Interested to see what enthusiasm there would be for a TEDx event in Kingston, our chairman Nick Rogers posted tentatively on a local page back in April 2016. The response was overwhelming and overwhelmingly positive. Out of that post, an organising team formed with little in common, on the surface, other than a love of TED. Over the next few months as we worked together, we discovered that we had a balanced set of skills and the determination to make a splash with our first event.

The search for speakers was eye-opening, with applications from across Kingston, London, the country and, indeed, the world. Our aim was to put together a balanced line-up, with diverse topics all relating back to our theme – ‘Innovating, Empowering, Overcoming’. With talks ranging from shark conservation and the power of music through to climate change science fiction and LGBT rights, we certainly think we succeeded!

Organising a day-long event for 100 people (the maximum allowed under TEDx rules) is a daunting task and the workload ramped up in the weeks and days leading up to D-Day. At one point, it seemed that fate was determined to throw as many obstacles in our path as possible but, working as a team, we overcame them, one by one.

5th November arrived and with an array of emotions – excitement, trepidation, anticipation – we watched as our first guests began arriving at our venue, Kingston University. Any fears we had were blown out of the water when our first speaker, Graham Buckingham, founder of Bite Back Shark and Marine Conservation, gave a knock-out talk on his mission to end the appalling practice of shark finning.

We finished in the early evening and retired to the university bar for a few drinks with guests, speakers and the rest of the committee. There was a superb atmosphere as the speakers reflected on their achievements and the guests spoke about the talks they had seen. We knew then that we had started something special; there was no question but that we had to continue.

Every talk from this event can be viewed on Youtube below.