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Program Our venue in Oxford

The city of Oxford -- with its beautiful, historic buildings, and elegant, tranquil setting -- provides the backdrop for four days of TED magic.

About the location

Just one hour from London and its airports, Oxford is a one-of-a-kind environment that for centuries has championed the power of reason, discovery and art, fostered open-minded discussions and forged new directions in the search for understanding. Whole worlds have been created in Oxford -- from JRR Tolkien's Middle-earth to C.S. Lewis' Narnia to Lewis Carroll's Wonderland to, more recently, Philip Pullman's parallel universes -- as well as some of the most enduring literary portraits (think of Henry James' Portrait of a Lady and Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray. Yet Oxford is also the theater where some of today's most advanced research is performed. History and modernity, past and future, enquiry and research meet in Oxford. TEDGlobal will be finely woven into the Oxford landscape. Sessions will take place at the Oxford Playhouse, with casual seating in the Simulcast Lounge next door at the historic Randolph Hotel.

Special events will take place at a wide range of Oxford's most intriguing landmarks, including the distinctive Sheldonian Theatre, historic Keble College, the just-renovated and expanded Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology, and the Malmaison Hotel, the newly renovated hotel that was once a Victorian prison. The conference will close with picnic and punting on the River Cherwell.

To deepen the sense of place, attendees will be offered a series of optional pre- and post-conference visits and special programs, including a tour of Bletchley Park (where Alan Turing lived and the Enigma encryption code was decrypted), behind-the-scenes visits to Oxford landmarks such as the Bodleian Library, and out-of-town excursions to London and elsewhere.

Watch this preview video to get a sense of the mood here:


Our venues in Oxford will include:

  • The charming Oxford Playhouse, a theatrical venue in downtown Oxford
  • The historic Randolph Hotel, just next door to the Playhouse, whose atmospheric lobby and public spaces become part of the event
  • Historic Keble College, with its beautiful Quad and Hogwarts-style dining hall
  • The just-renovated and expanded Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology
  • The stylish Malmaison Hotel, which manages to be both cozy and clever, in a converted Victorian prison
  • The banks of the River Cherwell, where we’ll spend our final afternoon picnicking and “punting”