“Providence has a very diverse group of people living here,” says Robin Dionne of TEDxProvidence, which returns for its fourth year on May 2. This makes our capital city a perfect fit for TEDx, a local satellite of the larger, global TED series of conferences and multimedia initiatives. Standing for technology, education and design, TED was founded on the very idea of bringing innovative people and concepts together. TEDx – where x stands for independently organized event – applies that philosophy on a micro level.
This year will explore the themes of entertainment, finance and environment. As per the TED format, local players connected directly and indirectly to those fields will get 18 minutes to engage with an audience about “ideas worth spreading.” Speakers on deck run the range from activists and economists to dancers and slam poets, including Norb Vonnegut (author/finance blogger), Willem van Rijn (climate change activist), Kristen Minsky (vintage dance company director) and Lucy Spelman (doctor of zoological medicine).
TEDx Providence will be taking place at the historic Columbus Theatre on Broadway, a venue that’s no stranger to being a sort of petri dish of artistic expression, performance and scale. “Just like TEDx has a little of everything, Providence has a little of everything,” said Robin, adding, “The Columbus has a lot of everything.”
The venue’s recent resurrection, from sadly neglected reminder of Providence’s past to its current status as a multi-purpose hub of performance and creation, is itself a testament to the ideas TED promotes. Great things can happen when passionate people with big ideas put their heads together.
260 Broadway, Providence