TEDx Roseburg Ripples through community

Published by J.R. Williams on

TEDx Roseburg’s logo
Provided by TEDx Roseburg

TEDx Roseburg Ripples through community

TEDx Roseburg, a community speech event, is set for April 10 with the theme of Ripples, playing off last year’s theme of More than Words. The speeches will share innovative and inspiring ideas that can ripple through the local community.

Thirteen speakers will present fresh ideas from bridging the rural/urban business divide to correlating geography and art, medical preparedness and more.

The event is organized by Andre Larsen, whose passion for Roseburg hosting TEDx events runs deep.  Larsen was inspired to bring TED Talks to Roseburg after the UCC shooting.  “It was really surreal for me.  The news was filled with reports of the events, character breakdowns of those involved, and Roseburg was being depicted nationally in a very negative light.”

For Larsen, the reality of what was happening in Roseburg was very different. “Everything just stopped for Roseburg,” she said; “everyone was dropping their lives to comfort and help each other.” 

She saw inspiring stories and ideas circulating within the community that were not being reflected in the media, and she wanted to give that facet of Roseburg a public platform.

TEDx Roseburg’s flyer for this years event.
Provided by TEDx Roseburg

TEDx is about take away and action.  During a TED Talk binge session, Larsen saw a city name on an TED event stage.  Wondering how Roseburg might be able to host a TED event led her to explore more details.

Organized independently from TED Talks, TEDx events are coordinated on a community-by-community basis, giving TED-like talks and performances a local platform.  Anyone can apply for a one-year license to host and organize a TEDx event for their city.  After receiving the license, organizers raise funds for production, select volunteers and choose a theme with the help of their teams. 

This year over 50 local speakers applied for an opportunity to present to the community. Each applicant goes through an interview process.  Science-based information is a must for all presenters.  The core team of this event were looking for speakers that also met other basic criteria including diversity in topics and people, lasting impact, ability to meet event theme, passion and ability to stand behind their ideas.  TED and TEDx speakers can create a profound impact through audience connection. 

The TEDx Roseburg team ensured this year’s event would be live although, not in person.  One of four TEDx events annually scheduled for Oregon, TEDx Roseburg is the only Oregon event that has not been cancelled.

“Reconfiguring the event was a challenge but rewarding,” Larsen said in a phone interview.  She explained that the TED organization provides an extensive manual but had no contingencies for current social distancing protocols. Some organizers chose to cancel events outright, while others chose to pre-record and make the edited talks available online.  “Those options didn’t feel good to me,” she explained.  TED talks are designed to be live and edited recordings lose their impact.

Maintaining the TEDx experience was important to the Roseburg team, so they created an “experience box” to bring a scaled down version of the in-person experience into audience members’ homes for gatherings of up to ten people.  The box is a kit that includes food, drinks and decorations to host a private viewing party with extra activities provided to create a more interactive audience experience.  

The experience box will be $250 and individual tickets will be available for $10, with a 20% off early bird discount offered through the second week of March.  Both ticket options will allow audience members to interact with the speakers and other audience members via chats. The experience box ticket holders will have additional interactive options.

Tickets will be available no later than the last week of February.  TEDx Roseburg has also offered a 20% discount for UCC students and staff.  

Edited TEDx Talks are always made available free on YouTube post event.  More information and resources are also available and updated regularly on the TEDx Roseburg Facebook page.

Contact me at:

For more articles by J.R. Williams please click here.