Vancouver Convention Centre

A whirlwind that is TEDActive 2014

Vancouver Convention Centre

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s





As the Production Manager for TEDxCanberra, I consider myself fortunate to be involved in a very diverse and eclectic community who contribute a lot to the world. Earlier this year I went to Canada to discover more of TED and its community. TEDActive 2014 started before it started. On Saturday 15 March, the Mayor of Vancouver unveiled the art installation on the Vancouver Waterfront, Unnumbered Sparks, created by TED speaker, Janet Echelman. The temporary sculpture combines technology and traditional craft, that allows people to use a phone to draw lines, water drop rings, webs and squiggles across the spectrum of colours.

Unnumbered Sparks

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s

Day 0

Sunday, also known as Day 0, started early at the Vancouver Convention Centre, where the organisers of TED provided TEDx organisers with a behind the scenes tour of their new home.

The next chapter

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s

After this, we headed off to Grouse Mountain for a TEDx organisers gathering filled with Deep Dive sessions – a strategy of immersing a team rapidly into a situation in order to provide solutions or create ideas.

Deep Dive session

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s

Plus some fun time activities in the snow.

TEDx in the snow

Photo credit: Flickr by Bret Hartman

Day 1

Whistler – getting to know you: our generous and gracious hosts for the week, Kelly Stoetzel and Rives, introduced attendees to what would be our home for the next activity-packed week.

Kelly and Rives

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s

That evening at the Squamish Lil’ wat Cultural Centre welcome function, I was provided the opportunity to reunite with former TEDxCanberra Executive Producer, Naomi Wynn, who is now immersed in the world of TEDxTokyo.

Naomi and Sharen

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s

Day 2

TEDActive Design Studio: TED Fellow Jimmy Lin set a design challenge for the TEDActive attendees to get involved in. This was to find a way to Get the right information, options and care at the right time at scale for cancer patients and their medical provider. This involved identifying a solution that leverages technology, systems and treatments, that exist or will be available within the next 18 months. We gathered together and worked through a variety of feasible options for Jimmy to take away and implement through the Rare Genomics Institute.

Jimmy and Sharen

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s

Day 3

Amongst the hive of activity and fast pace that was set for the week, TED Ed provided an Animation Station for attendees to experiment with and create stop motion movies.

TED Ed Animation Station

Photo credit: Flickr by Sarah Nickerson

We were set loose on Whistler Village with the opportunity to undertake self guided experiences. This included visiting local snowboard and ski maker, Prior.

Prior ski and snowboards

Photo credit: Flickr by Sarah Nickerson

Followed by a stop at Purebread, a local family-based bakery, who opened their doors and insights to us, in addition to providing some wonderful baked delights. They challenge themselves by ensuring the menu constantly changes so that their customers are always pleasantly surprised by what’s on the shelves for the day.


Photo credit: Flickr by Sarah Nickerson

Day 4

Day four of the conference included lunch and a Q&A session with TED Prize 2014 Winner, Charmian Gooch.

Charmian Gooch

Photo credit: Flickr by Marla Aufmuth

In the evening we took a gondola ride to the top of Whistler Mountain.

Whistler Mountain

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s

… and were surprised with a visit from Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman, who treated us to an unrehearsed evening of song and stories.

Amanda Palmer

Photo credit: Flickr by Stacie McChesney

Neil Gaiman

Photo credit: Flickr by Sarah Nickerson

Day 5

The last day of the conference seemed to appear from nowhere, as we headed into the TEDActive Action Lab for some final projects.

Action Lab

Photo credit: Flickr by share_s

Followed by the TEDActive 2014 Farewell Function to say thank you to our hosts, Kelly and Rives, and “see you next year” to our existing and new-found friends.

Farewell Function

Photo credit: Flickr by Marla Aufmuth

This is only a very small window into what is a week full of activities, connecting and projects, that also include 12 sessions of TED Talks.

This blog post originally appeared on the TEDxCanberra web site


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