You might have already heard – because it has been the buzz on the island streets for the past few weeks – but a TEDx conference is coming to Ibiza!
Organised by event maven Mia Kirn, TedxDaltVila will take place at the Espai Cultural Can Ventosa theatre in Ibiza Town on March 29th 2023, and bring a whole host of thought-provoking speakers from both the local and international community to the stage.
Under the theme of “Expanding Perspectives”, no less than 19 fascinating minds are currently busy drafting their speeches on a range of topics that include relationships, climate change, sustainability, education, art, mental health, history – and even the future of time travel!
It’s probably fair to assume that most of us have, at one point or another, found ourselves at a crossroad moment in our lives when, in the search of purpose, motivation or simply some good old-fashioned guidance, we went on a TED Talk binge. But for the (as of yet) uninitiated, Tedx is a grassroots off-shoot of the renowned charitable organisation, which champions ‘ideas worth spreading’ through an ongoing series of talks delivered by leading ‘thinkers and doers’.
They are widely and freely available through a variety of platforms and initiatives, such as TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; and TEDx, which licences thousands of individuals and groups to host local, self-organised TED-style events around the world.
Ibiza, with its long history of attracting artists, musicians, free spirits and unconventional thinkers, is arguably the perfect place to host a Tedx conference. And while the upcoming TedxDaltVila has been welcomed with excitement by many, few can imagine the time, effort, dedication and attention to detail that goes into organising an event under the world-famous TED banner.
We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with organiser Mia Kirn to quiz her on her TEDx mission, which started as a bright idea but has turned into something much bigger…
What sparked the idea to bring TEDx to Ibiza?
I have lived in the US – on and off – for a long time, and I have always been involved in events, planning and production. I moved back to Ibiza (for the second time) in 2020 and I was missing the job that I had left behind. I spent a lot of time driving my kids around all over the island, so I thought to myself, ‘Okay, instead of just listening to music I’m going to put on some TED Talks.’
People had already been telling me that I should host some intellectual talks in my yurt at home, and I thought, ‘Well, I could do that… or I could do something big, like a TEDx conference!’
Why is Ibiza such a good place to host a TEDx event?
A lot of people think Ibiza is just a clubbing mecca for tourists or a very bohemian, spiritual destination. And sure, it’s all of those things – but it’s also a place where people come and form their creative ideas and where they have access to other like-minded people to create and incubate new projects.
A lot of people find Ibiza as a place of creative refuge. The island is so much more than most people think it is, and I want them to see it for that.
How did you go about bringing TEDx to Ibiza?
I quickly realised it is a lengthy application process. It took around four months and a lot of time, but we got there in the end.
We can imagine that the guidelines for hosting a TEDx event are quite specific…
Yes, of course. They have a very strong brand, and if they didn’t make sure everything stays within their guidelines you could end up with a very scattered event. But personally, I have found the TED team to be very helpful.
They advised us on which topics to stay away from, how to properly fact-check things, and the kind of speakers to get involved. There is a lot of information, but it’s incredibly helpful – especially if it’s your first time doing this!
How many people applied to speak, and how did you go about choosing the final list?
So many people applied, so many! It was actually overwhelming, but it ended up being a nice community building exercise.
I set up a speakers’ committee and all the members are plugged into different areas of the island to make sure we get all sorts of different perspectives. Because if you get five people all talking about climate change, then that’s not a TEDx conference.
You have to have a really varied line-up of speakers. And apart from the topics, we also needed to make sure we have the right balance of men and women, ages, races… we wanted it to be really well-rounded.
You have a wide range of different speakers, so that’s a job well done!
It’s incredible, really. We had a total of over 60 applications and I had to whittle it way down… and we still ended up with 19 confirmed speakers!
Our youngest speaker is Marina Kestner, she is a 15-year-old student at The Learning Project, which opened last year on the island and is a self-directed, democratic education centre. And our oldest speaker is Amanda Fielding, she is 80 years old and one of the top neuroscience researchers in the world – she is amazing.
What is the process like for vetting the talks?
Everyone has seen a TEDx Talk, sure, but no one actually realises what it takes to craft a TEDx Talk until they are actually doing it. And many of our speakers are finding out now how much hard work goes into that.
It is a scripted talk and the drafts come to us for review. At the moment, we have seven people checking the drafts and then we get back to the speakers – usually with a lot of changes.
If they are citing any scientific information it has to be fact-checked, which is super laborious, so we have to stay on track at all times. Because in the end, the audience is trusting us to put information on stage that is true.
With 19 speakers, it’s going to be a full-on day!
It’s certainly a commitment! We are opening the doors at 9am to register everyone so we can start around 10am, and then the talks and performances will go on until around 6pm. There will be lunch and coffee breaks, of course.
We only have 100 tickets available, so I really want to encourage people to stay for the whole day.
The event is called TedxDaltVila, but the venue is a little outside of those famous walls…
Yes, I wish it was in Dalt Vila but everything up there is unfortunately too small for an event of this scale.
I originally found a place in Dalt Vila that I was really excited about, but a TEDx event is not only live, it’s also fully televised – so we had to have enough room for four cameras, proper lighting and a decent sound system.
My executive producer and co-organiser, Dominic Magdalena, looked at the venue I had in mind and told me instantly that sadly, it’s not possible. So we’re going to be in Can Ventosa, which is quite a big theatre in the centre of Ibiza Town.
Apart from the venue and production, what has been the most challenging aspect of bringing TEDx to Ibiza?
It’s been challenging to raise the necessary funds, especially in our first year. It’s a non-profit event, but the cost of producing it is very expensive because you have to pay for all the cameras and other equipment. But we want this to be a yearly event and I hope next year it will be easier.
I want to say a special thanks, on behalf of the whole team, to theHub.Ibiza, Mikasa Ibiza, Sabina and Six Senses Ibiza, who are all really helping us. And I have to say that without such an enthusiastic team of committed individuals – we are 16 now – we would never be able to pull this off. And, of course, all of the community who are going to buy tickets.
After the day of the event, when you look back on the first TEDxDaltVila, what do you hope to have achieved?
It’s not just about the day, it’s about building a TEDx community in Ibiza, a place where people can come and be exposed to all of these intellectual ideas and creative minds.
I hope that our speakers will have a lasting impact and I would love to, one day, be able to measure that impact to see if anybody has changed something or felt the activation to start something. Because that’s what I feel the point of this is, to make people feel like they have agency over their lives and within their community, to share knowledge and ideas – very well-researched, of course – and to spark intellectual conversation in Ibiza.
And your vision for the future of TEDx in Ibiza?
I hope the TEDx community continues to grow year by year. I know that even though I started it, I’m sure I won’t finish it… so I hope that whoever else takes my role can continue and keep it open and transparent so people can be a part of it.
It’s a volunteer effort, so people will come and go… but it is super rewarding!
Tickets for TEDxDaltVila are on sale now. For further information and to buy visit the TEDxDaltVila website or find them on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.