Get involved in a TEDActive Project: explore, collaborate and -- most importantly -- act on the vital issues raised at TED. This year we’re exploring the topics of Education, Mobility, Sustainability, Public Art, Social Networks and Travel with the goal of delivering a set of micro-actions that anyone can do to move a project forward.
Projects news from the TEDActive Blog:
12 November 2013
TEDActive is a week-long event. But many argue that it’s also everything that comes before and after. Given that it’s our first year in Whistler, why not use it as an excuse to linger and explore? Go on, let this be your invitation to arrive early and stay late.
Of course, charting new territory can be daunting. Where do you even start?
We reached out to our Event Operations rockstar Lilli Clark, pictured above in her ski gear. She’s a native Canadian, works from the Vancouver registration office, and has been frequenting Whistler since she was young (we have the proof). Here, she compiled for you a list of all of her favorite places to experience, eat and go out:
THINGS TO DO
- Ski the Peak to Creek – The longest run on either Mountain is the Peak to Creak at 11km. It starts at the very Peak of Whistler Mountain and takes you all the way to the bottom at Creekside. You can’t leave Whistler without saying you’ve done it.
- Scandinav Spa – A truly luxurious experience. A large expanse of hot and cold outdoor pools nestled into a hill. On a gorgeous snowy night nothing beats soaking in the hot pools as big snowflakes melt on your cold nose and cheeks. But no talking
- Après at the GLC or Dustys – You cannot come to Whistler without experiencing its legendary après Ski. I prefer either GLC (Garibaldi Lift Company) or Dustys both of which are located at the bottom of Whistler Mountain. (One at Creekside and one in the Village). If there are cold beers, goggle wind burns and people dancing in ski boots, you know you’ve stumbled upon true après.
- Pow Pow Pow – Locals will tell you it’s the only thing TO do. For newbies, “pow” refers fluffy, soft powder snow perfect for snowboarding/skiing. There’s plenty to go around.
- Peak 2 Peak Gondola – The view from the Peak 2 Peak Gondola is spectacular and very much a must-see. It’s a beautiful ride and connects Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
PLACES TO EAT
- If I told you where the BEST place to eat in Whistler was then it wouldn’t be Whistler’s best kept secret. So find me at TEDActive and I’ll whisper it in your ear. You won’t regret it.
- Alta Bistro – a hidden gem. Modern French cuisine set in a casual bistro atmosphere. Locally sourced and sustainable offerings.
- Gone Bakery – Best place for a quick coffee or lunch. Gone Bakery offers some of the best soups in town with fresh bread baked in house daily. No fancy bells or whistles, just really good comfort food.
- Elements – Elements Urban Tapas Parlour is one of my favorite places for Breakfast or Brunch. With a cozy atmosphere and Java Maple Bacon French Toast on the menu…how can you go wrong?
- Fat Tonys Pizza + Zogs – Pizza or Poutine? Pick your late night poison. But be sure to hit up these two late night joints.
LATE NIGHT SPOTS
- Cure Lounge @ Nita Lake Lodge – One of the best places to kick back and relax by a roaring fire and drink one of the best Caesars in town. They also boast a very creative drink menu thanks to their talented in house mixologist.
- Dubh Linn Gate – A traditional Irish pub. True local hang out. ‘Nuff said
- Brewhouse – Perfect place to get your beer and pool game on.
- Cittas – One of Whistler’s originals, Cittas (pronounced “Cheetahs”) is located in the heart of the village and has some of the best people-watching.
07 November 2013
Remember Grace Hawthorne’s colorful, hands-on Paper Punk social station at TEDActive 2013? She’s back with a brand new exciting project. This week, she launched a Kickstarter for “Urban Fold: Build Your Own Paper Block City,” a Paper Punk kit with everything you need to construct the city of your dreams from paper. The kit comes with 700 pieces inside: 48 easy punch-n-fold shapes, 697 cool stickers, a poster and planning mat and a storage box. Rewards for supporters range from sweet postcards and stickers ($10), to a complete Paper Punk Urban Fold set ($33) and even an all-you-can-eat folding, constructing, crafting buffet for you and 350 of your friends ($8,500).
And why should everyone Paper Punk? “Making things is not only the way we connect and truly learn about ourselves and the world, but it’s an easy antidote to our over saturated digital lives, Grace says on Kickstarter. “Making a Paper Punk tastes like a cupcake and looks like a cupcake, but it’s really broccoli for your brain.”
We wanted to peek into Grace’s super creative and savvy brain. We asked her for her favorite sources for creative energy, and here’s what she said:
+ INSTAGRAM SURFING
One of the things I do before I go to sleep is scroll through lots of fashion, design, art, and museum Instagram threads to see what caught people’s eyes that day. It’s fun to see patterns emerge from the disparate images passing by.
+ MARCEL DUCHAMP
The most influential artist of the 20th century who coined the term ‘readymade’ is my hero. His provocations are still relevant today and constantly remind me that possibility lies in perception. His best quote: “I don’t believe in art, I believe in artists.”
+ ANYTHING OUTDOORS
I’m constantly humbled and charged by things I see and experience in nature. It’s a gift when you’re able to catch and savor those seemingly insignificant moments. Nothing on your iPad compares.
+ EDWARD SCISSORHANDS
My favorite movie ever! And I can’t really articulate specifically why because for me the film sums up the human condition in its entirety.
+ LOUD MUSIC
+ STANFORD D.SCHOOL
I’m so dang lucky to be there because every time I teach, I learn and stretch myself. The d.school’s intention about transforming people is a mission larger than themselves…that’s when you know you’re at a place you can call home.
+ SHOPPING (ALMOST) ANYWHERE
I love touching and seeing stuff in a real store, any store! All the textures, colors, scents, shapes, etc are all research for me. My favorite places to walk the aisles include: Home Depot, Molly Stones, Michaels, Saks.
BONUS: As an extra boost of inspiration, she has this huge Wall of Affirmations in her studio space.
17 September 2013
You’ve been staring at your computer screen for the past hour. You’re on your fifth cup of coffee. There’s dust collecting on your project/paper/prototype.
We’ve got your back.
Here are 50 sites to devour when you are having a brain fart.
STILL BORED? Our older sis TED has 100 more sites for you to check out. (She’s such an overachiever )
02 August 2013
Inspired by our friends over at the TED Fellows team and their genius portrayal of the TED Fellows experience — with cat GIFs — we decided to create our own GIF-worthy post. The subject? The TEDActive experience, of course.
1. When you’re getting on the plane to go to TEDActive. (We’re going to Whistler, Canada this year!)
2. You get there and realize that everyone is new and it’s kind of like the first day of school.
3. But then you realize that everyone is super friendly and wants to talk to you.
4. And don’t fret if you’re a newbie, because veterans will treat you like this:
5. If you’re a veteran, you already know the drill.
6. You get an awesome seat in the theater (preferably a red bean bag).
7. Kelly and Rives, the TEDActive hosts, introduce the conference.
8. When a TED speaker blows your mind.
9. When you have that elusive TED moment, that magical lightning bolt of inspiration that only happens at a TED conference, it sometimes looks like this:
10. When it’s the next day and there’s an early morning session and you haven’t had your cup of coffee yet.
11. When you’re late to the next session and you want to get a good seat.
12. When you’re in the TEDActive book store and you want everything.
13. Opening the TED gift bag:
14. The end of the week party!
15. Going home with your brain tingling with new ideas and positive energy.
30 July 2013
The TEDActive community is made up of a unique group of smart, creative, passionate and quirky individuals. In this segment, we will be curating a special TED Talks playlist for each of the myriad of types of people we’ve run into at the TEDActive conference.
The Makers: the ones mad for tinkering, experimenting, creating crazy things that move, blink and buzz. (Also known as the Inventor with 1000 Ideas or the DIY Guy/Gal).
At every TEDActive, we always make sure to include interactive spaces where attendees can be inspired to create something by hand. Why? This experience — of connecting people through the art of making things — is an innately human one. We were born to build and create. When we bring the right-brain out to play, we get a very different type of conversation added to the mix.
We created this special TED Talks playlist to celebrate the vast variety of makers in our community. We know a maker when we see one! We spotted you building robots in your garage, using Makey Makey to innovate your classrooms, creating crazy paper sculptures and so much more. Long live the DIY movement!
18 July 2013
The campfire holds great significance for TEDActive. There’s something about a campfire that brings people together, warms them up, then inevitably opens them up to share their stories and ideas. This is exactly why the fire pit is a staple at TEDActive conferences. We are profiling the extraordinary attendees you’re likely to meet around the campfires, highlighting their personal experiences, passions and most meaningful conversations.
Carl Bärstad’s life philosophy is simple: Stay curious. It is this boundless curiosity that motivated him to tinker and experiment with electronics, organize his own TEDx event, create his own company Sparkling Science dedicated to helping others get in touch with their curious natures and create his own world movement: Kids Hack Day.
At TEDActive 2013, Carl was seen walking around carrying a black box and we couldn’t help our own curiosities — “What is that?” It was more than a conversation piece; it definitely wasn’t an ordinary box. It was a Hackerspace in a Box, a tool that Carl and his company use as “creativity generators” in their workshops. It helps any location — a neglected library space in Los Angeles, a classroom, or the TEDActive interactive spaces — transform into a makerspace. With the help of Fallen Fruit, using the box, Carl was able to rig up this banana piano.
Since TEDActive 2013, saying a lot has happened would be an understatement. We caught up with him at a busy time — he was helping out with a TEDxStockholm event and was supposed to give a talk at a TEDxCopenhagen Salon event later that week. His Kids Hack Day (more on that later) was about to evolve from local to global. Here are some of his thoughts and insights about creativity and curiosity and a sneak peek into what’s on the horizon for him:
How did you end up at TEDActive?
It was my first year. It was because I was at TEDxSummit [a 2012 conference for organizers of local TEDx events] and I was really inspired. TEDxSummit is the whole reason that TEDxStockholm had grown to the point we’re at now. TEDxStockholm is a way for me to have that sense of community all year round. Have a space to grow professionally, pour your soul into something that’s bigger than yourself. Give people responsibility to distribute their own time, but make things happen.
What was your experience like?
There were a lot of other people doing a lot of interesting things. The reason I went was — my gut feeling told me — if you want to find any progressive teacher or educator, or people who want to reform education and are doing great things, then you’re going to find those people in the TED community. It could as well be [about] technology, education and design.
I met principals and educators who are doing amazing things. One person I met, [Jacqueline Jenkins] is the junior school principal at the United Nation International School in New York. She knew everything about Makey Makey, Arduino, makerspaces and they even had a space in their school where kids could just go and work on projects like building robots, painting or doing whatever they want. They had thought a lot around the design of the space and I was super impressed. That whole idea of our Hackerspace in a Box is to promote those kinds of teachers and to give teachers a platform to inspire each other. We’re not there quite just yet. What I’ve realized with Hackerspace in a Box is it’s a bit hard to scale because it’s hard with workshops. You need really really clear instructions.
What conversations did you have around the projects that you’ve been working on — Hackerspace in a Box, Kids Hack Day, and more?
Hackerspace in a Box is the project I had done before TEDActive. I got to talk to a lot of people about it. Since I had a video to show, I brought my box with me. With the banana guys [Fallen Fruit], we connected and set up a banana piano at their table so people could play some music on the bananas. The black box seemed to invoke people’s curiosity. In the TED community, people have really managed to reclaim their curiosity, which was inspiring to me.
I met a couple, perhaps around 70 years old, organizing TEDx events. They were super super thirsty for new knowledge and they were really interested in what I was doing. They were like little kids which was incredible to see. Then I thought, “I want to be like that when I’m older. I want to keep being constantly fascinated by the world.” That’s my biggest fear, of losing that. I guess that’s a personal reason of why I do these things. The future belongs to the curious — that’s my philosophy. It belongs to our kids. Let’s not take that future away from them. By asking the question at what point in time did I lose my curiosity and how can I reclaim it with the help of a kid. Working with kids you can create a bubble, a space, you can do anything, you can try out a lot of things, and put yourself on the kid’s level. It’s a great experience and I think adults need to learn how to play.
And what about Kids Hack Day?
Kids Hack Day was semi-subconscious before I went to TEDActive. I had a slow hunch. At TEDActive, I connected those hunches. I got back home, I participated in Art Hack Day and then it all fell into place. TEDActive had a part in it.
I talked to Sugata Mitra [TED Prize winner] and he inspired me. This whole black box pedagogy that we use, it’s kind of like his SOLE project. His method, but with hardware. It’s about having kids go on intellectual adventures — being exposed to these really interesting questions and searching out the answers themselves. Here is a black box, you can turn it into an instrument. I’ll leave you with it. I’m not exactly sure how it works. But you’ll figure it out. And there are clues. They figure it out. The Makey Makey is quite intuitive. If you look on our videos even 11 or 12 year olds can manage to figure it out after a while. They get really excited. You don’t have to know what a circuit is to make it work. But if you can make it work, you take something and make something unexpected happen, that creates the motivation to continue exploring and making. It flips that switch in their minds — “I can do anything.”
Where does your passion, your drive come from?
It was all thanks to TED. When I was an exchange student in Madrid and I studied industrial engineering and management which we jokingly call “fake engineering.” It’s only theory. You feel useless with practical things. You can’t build anything. During that exchange year, when you’re a student, and especially when you’re away, you’re an exchange student, you’re away from that normal social circles and you get a lot of time and space to reflect … and watch TED Talks! I was bored in school. I wasn’t really interested in that field. There weren’t very good courses and everything was lecture-based. The first talk I watched in this period, in 2009, was Henry Markam’s “Building a Brain Supercomputer.” It was so deep and insightful and fascinating –that you could visualize the neural pathways that light up when you watch any object. I ended up watching ten TED Talks the whole night. They were all really good. I must have been quite lucky. Most of them are good but not all of them are super fascinating. I was high on inspiration for weeks. I felt that I had to contribute, make a difference in the world, the same way TED has done and also the way TED speakers have done. I maybe wanted to give a TED Talk myself one day. TED was the seed of my entrepreneurship.
[Almost there! Here he is a few days later giving a talk at the locally organized TEDxCopenhagen Salon:]
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL…
After our interview Carl sent us a few more updates on the status of Kids Hack Day where the first event will be held in Stockholm on August 31, 2013:
Thanks to the connections I made at TEDActive with Felipe Spath from Bogotá (who got a scholarship to come) Kids Hack Day #3 will take place in Bogotá spearheaded by Felipe’s friend, Juan Pablo Calderón who’s also running TEDxBogota.
Kids Hack Day Kampala will be spearheaded by TEDPrize winner Ruganzu Bruno who I also met at TEDActive and who will come to Stockholm on a scholarship to help us paint the space. We connected deep at TEDActive together with Sugata Mitra
Kids Hack Day Sydney will be spearheaded by TEDxSydney curator Jess Scully. Jess is amazingly energetic and passionate about education. We hung out a lot at TEDActive and also connected on a very deep level. TEDActive has helped me build relationships on both a personal and professional level that I feel is going to last a life time.
It would never have been possible to do Kids Hack Day as a global movement without the amazing people in the TEDActive community.
15 July 2013
The TEDActive community is made up of a unique group of smart, creative, passionate and quirky individuals. They come from diverse backgrounds and over 70 countries. Today we kick off a new segment where we curate a special TED Talks playlist dedicated to the myriad of types of people we’ve run into at the TEDActive conference.
THE DOERS: the ones taking charge in their local community, knowing that change begins from the ground up. Actions take many forms — from empowering a democratic revolution in Egypt through social media to planting a garden in the urban jungle of South Central LA — but one thing they have in common is the heart of the action: community. We’ve put together a playlist of TED talks on the power of taking small action to make a big change, to motivate all doers (and even the non-doers) into making a move.
Lets honor those getting things done all over the world!
21 June 2013
Our awesome hosts Kelly Stoetzel and Rives were in Edinburgh, Scotland last week for TEDGlobal 2013 and they brought the TEDActive spirit with them. On Thursday night, they hosted a new, experimental late-night event with a talk-show twist called “Inside the Active Studio” where they invited standout speakers and performers to come on the stage for encore acts and intimate interviews. In true TEDActive tradition, there was lots of comedy, cocktails and, of course, beanbags.
The event came together quickly and seamlessly during the week. ”It was a bit of a free-for-all. We pulled people after they killed it on the [TEDGlobal] stage and asked them to get involved over the last few days. They were all pretty game to do it,” said Kelly.
Here are the top six highlights of “Inside the Active Studio”:
1. When in Scotland … you should have a Scottish accent contest. Who won the Active Studio one? It was Hetain Patel, who performed a brilliant art piece, earlier that week on the TEDGlobal stage, in which he challenged our notions of identity and language.
2. Uri Alon, who gave a TEDGlobal talk about scientific research and improv, came on stage with his red guitar and sang songs about working on Sundays at the lab and about a letter from a scientific journal rejecting his paper.
3. Mid-event, audience and speakers enthusiastically sang parts of ”Man in the Mirror” and “Build me up, Buttercup.”
4. Russell Foster, neuroscientist and sleep expert, said a nap is only useful as long as it’s not longer than 20 minutes. If you go over that amount, you’ll go into deep sleep and the recovery from that will counteract all of the benefits.
5. In Carin Bondar‘s TEDGlobal 2013 talk, she spoke about the paper nautilus, a creature with a hectocotylus — a detachable penis that swims over to the female and attaches itself to her nether regions, providing sperm. A question on the minds of many in the audience: Does it come back? Her answer was no. “But, it does grow back!” she remarked optimistically.
22 May 2013
At TEDActive 2012, TEDActivators opened their gift bags to find a copy of the Holstee Manifesto, the famous poster beginning with the words “This is your life.” Here, we’ve collected ten other inspiring quotes, manifestos and beautifully designed graphics that speak to us. What are the words that inspire you?
1. Austin Kleon’s “Steal Like an Artist” is a creative manifesto made from the ten pieces of advice he wished he had heard when he was starting out.
2. Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Ryan McArthur successfully captures the complexity of Emerson’s words with his minimalistic design.
3. Maptia‘s goal is to build an inspirational map created from memorable experiences. Maptia’s Manifesto is “a pledge to be open to new things, to always stay curious, and to go explore the world – whether it is just around the corner at home or on the other side of the globe.”
4. “I live under the sky too” is Shilpa Gupta‘s art installation erected in Bandra, Mumbai. The text is written with LED lights in three different languages — English, Hindu and Urdu — and the words from each sentence are interwoven into the other. The lights go on and off highlighting each version of the sentence.
5. Remember: A spark is all it takes. Charlotte Estelles Littlehales put together her art piece using 2,600 matchsticks in the course of 720 minutes. Within a minute, the entire project was engulfed in flames and ash.
6. Bruce Mau, lauded designer, wrote a design manifesto in 1988 titled “Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.” We especially resonated with his first piece of advice: “Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.”
8. “I will do one thing today.” We know you TEDActivators are busy folks. You probably have fifty things on that to-do list. Let’s start with one.
9. Designer James O’Connell dedicates this illustration to “the few people who can’t digest the sense of sharing or helping.” So, what are we waiting for? Let’s all do good together.
10. And finally, we have the very wise words from workisnotajob. Their company name also serves as their motto and their goal is to inspire you to do more.
17 May 2013
After an exciting night of design-themed talks at TED@250 the Lincoln Motor Company unveiled three new videos (created in collaboration with TED) to profile the incredible artists they brought to the TEDActive 2013 conference – Aurora Robson, Andy Cavatorta, and Gilberto Esparza.
Launched today, the Lincoln Reimagine Project will lend support to these visionaries in the arts, design and innovation — artists who are equal parts fearless and creative. At TEDActive this year, Aurora, Andy and Esparza showcased original pieces that disrupt the traditional ways we imagine music, sculpture, and even recycling. The videos highlight their artistic philosophies and their unique approaches to the pieces they produced for TEDActive.
Over the past year, the Lincoln Motor Company has embarked on a journey to reimagine the world around with. In this spirit, they collaborated with TED to identify three artists who are equal parts fearless and creative. Aurora, Andy and Esparza each produced pieces that shifted cultural and environmental paradigms. In their hands, the traditional ways we imagine music, sculpture, and even recycling have been turned upside down. These videos highlight their artistic philosophies and their unique approaches to the pieces they produced for TEDActive.
At this year’s TEDActive in Palm Springs, Gilberto debuted his Auto-Photosynthetic Plants and created a futuristic symphony made from plastic tubes, an iPad, and bacteria.
Aurora asked TED attendees to give her the plastic packaging from their gift bags, which she used as a medium to create an ethereal, floating sculpture.
Melodic, chant-like music is not the obvious byproduct of swinging, robotic tubes of steel, but MIT Media Lab graduate and former punk rocker, Andy Cavatorta, has made gigantic, aural structures that are meditative and comforting.