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TEDxGrandRapids to be held at Grand Rapids Civic Theater

On Wednesday, May 7, TEDxGrandRapids will host its fifth annual conference with speakers ranging from a freelance journalist who writes about cocktails, spirits and bars to the founder of TED, all on the topic of "What's Connected?"


Be a part of the day by watching online here.

For more information about TED, visit the website.

For more information about TEDxGrandRapids, visit the website.

On May 7, TEDxGrandRapids will celebrate its fifth year of sharing innovative talks through a conference of 15 diverse presentations. Held at the Grand Rapids Civic Theater, speakers from a range of backgrounds including entrepreneurs, designers, writers and scientists will speak around the theme for this year’s conference: “What’s Connected?”

TED was founded in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. According to its website, TED aims to use the power of ideas to “change attitudes, lives, and ultimately, the world.” While its headquarters are located in New York and Vancouver, TED is a collaborative and global organization intended to share “ideas worth spreading.”

Following the creation of TED, TEDx events have been held around the world in over 150 different countries. The "x" in TEDx indicates that it is a local, independently organized TED event.

With 24 volunteer team members and even more day-of volunteers, TEDxGrandRapids takes 15,000 hours and over eight months to produce. Originally, part of the reason TEDxGrandRapids was created was “to bring highly talented people with very diverse perspectives to Grand Rapids for the day,” says Bill Holsinger-Robinson, TEDxGrandRapids lead organizer. This year’s event is expected to do just that.

“True to this year’s theme, our speakers will share reflections on the nature of being connected and the surprising ways people and things connect,” says Holsinger-Robinson. “We’re bringing experts from across the world to Grand Rapids for what might be the most provocative, engaging TEDxGrandRapids event to date.”

Richard Saul Wurman, widely known as the founder of TED, will be featured as a speaker at this year’s TEDxGrandRapids. Wurman is the inventor of the field of information architecture and has written, designed and published 83 books on topics ranging from health care to cartography. He has received many awards for his work.

Other speakers at this year's TEDxGrandRapids range from a Malawian chief whip to a freelance journalist who writes about cocktails, spirits and bars. The complete list of speakers can be found on the event’s web page.

Though attendees for the conference have already been selected, the community is encouraged to participate in the event by watching a free livestream online on the organization’s website. Videos of the this year's talks will be available on the TEDxGrandRapids website weeks following the event.

“I’m hoping that this year’s theme starts showing emphasis on how the answer to ‘what’s connected?’ really is everything,” says Holsinger-Robinson. “In this community, we are all intricately connected and interlaced. We pay attention to those connections we have and we want to build and continue to be generous with those relationships.”

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