Saturday Nov. 10, 2018

TEDxOshkosh

We believe in the power of a great thought, the resonation of an idea and the discussions they prompt. A great thought is what led us to create TEDxOshkosh. We invite you to join us at the Grand Opera House to listen to people with great ideas worth spreading, and engage with our community in conversation.

TEDxOshkosh 2017 is Complete

TEDxOshkosh Break Through brought the event back for a second year -- one with the attendance cap removed -- and almost 300 people listened to 14 great speakers at The Grand Oshkosh on November 4. Each and every talk was captured on video, and once four cameras of hours worth of imagery is edited, will be available here and on YouTube.

Mark Your Calendar for TEDxOshkosh 2018

We'll be back at The Grand Oshkosh again in 2018. Save the date, and join us for another great day of ideas on Saturday, November 10.

What is TEDx?

2016 Highlights

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxOshkosh, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxOshkosh event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

Learn more about the TEDx program of TED.

Latest TEDxOshkosh News and Updates

Don't Miss TEDxOshkosh "Pitch Night"

Do you have an innovative idea? A great thought? We want to see you at TEDxOshkosh Pitch Night on February 26th. It’s where potential speakers of TEDxOshkosh pitch their great idea in hopes of presenting it on our main stage on November 10th.

2018 Speaker Pitch Night will be held on Monday, February 26th from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Waters at 1393 Washington Avenue in Oshkosh. Both potential speakers and the general public are invited.

TEDxOshkosh spreads ideas and perspectives to spark conversation and connections in the community.  Those interested should bring their idea to the Pitch Night and give the TEDxOshkosh team their best 4 minutes. Speakers are encouraged to show up promptly at 5:30 p.m - no registration needed - and speaker candidates will take the stage on a first come, first served basis. At least one of the ideas from Pitch Night will show up on the stage for TEDxOshkosh 2018.

TEDxOshkosh is searching for ideas that break through borders, change lives and ultimately can change the world. Most importantly, we are seeking ideas that are new. The TEDxOshkosh team encourages scientists, artists, technologists, businesses, not-for-profits, charities, young and old, and all diverse sections of society to pitch their idea to speak at TEDxOshkosh 2018. If you, your work, or your community project is working on something that encompasses the theme of “ideas worth spreading” then TEDxOshkosh wants to hear from you.

TEDxOshkosh Sparking Conversation in UW Oshkosh Advanced Composition Class

By: Christine Roth, Ph.D., Director of the UW Oshkosh Department of English Graduate Program

Editor's. note: When the TEDxOshkosh team discovered that UW Oshkosh Professor Christine Roth had incorporated TEDxOshkosh as a part of this semester’s Honors Advanced Composition class, we just had to ask her to write a guest blog post for us.

I teach Honors Advanced Composition at UW Oshkosh, and I have always asked students to write a researched critical essay as their final project. This fall, however, my students will finish the semester with a public TEDx-style Talk instead of a traditional academic essay. The folks at TEDxOshkosh learned about what we are doing in class and invited me to write a blog entry about the experience.

Part of the UW Oshkosh Honors College’s mission is “to challenge the university’s best students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and community leaders.” Since 1984, TED has presented us with a similar kind of challenge, connecting innovative thinkers with an intellectual community that shares their passion for ideas that make us think, that offers solutions and new perspectives on issues of the day, and inspires people to make a positive difference in their communities. The model seemed ideal for a group of bright, engaged students from diverse academic disciplines, backgrounds, and writing styles.

TED and TEDx Talks are created to “spark conversation.” This is important. Students feel a lot of pressure to be correct. And there is a time for that. In formal writing assignments, we want our research to be rigorous, we want our data to be sound, and we want our grammar and spelling to be free from errors. But I also want my students to be interesting. When a student makes an argument about a text, I want that student to be able to respond to the question “So what?” In other words, I want that student to know what makes the argument interesting to other people. If it’s not interesting, it might not be worth writing out. And to be interesting is to take an intellectual risk. It is to question what we think we already know and to offer a fresh perspective that makes people want to share their own thoughts and responses. It is the kind of exchange that lies at the very heart of academic work.

Unlike traditional student essays, though, TED and TEDx Talks are written for and delivered in front of an audience. This is also important. Students must shape their argument for a specific audience’s interests, needs, and knowledge base, and they are immediately accountable for the views that they express. No longer are they writing within a sort of vacuum, waiting for the professor to respond with private comments and praise. They are communicating with their peers, professors, and colleagues in a way that anticipates a number of professional situations for which I am supposedly training them.

Students prepare for the TEDx-style Talk in much the same way that they would prepare a traditional essay: they identify a topic that they (and their audience) will find interesting, they research that topic to learn what others have said, they respond to that conversation with an original but informed position of their own, and they craft a document in which they articulate, support, and comment on that position. But I see students thinking about this project differently. They want to say something meaningful to their audience. They want to say something that gets people talking. And they want to say it well.

Our whole class will be at the TEDxOshkosh event on November 4. We’re all excited about it. Many of the students are looking forward to hearing particular talks already—many on subjects that fall well outside of their disciplines. My hope is that this experience will help foster a lifelong pursuit of knowledge in my students and teach them not only how to do their jobs better (whatever those may end up being) but also how to live more curious, engaged, interesting lives in general.

TEDx’s Compassionate Ripple Effect Sets the Experience Apart

By: Alex Hummel, TEDxOshkosh '16 Speaker

“How does TEDx speaking differ from other speaking opportunities you have had in your career?” they asked me, triggering a long, long rumination beyond the offered deadline that, eventually, led to this blog post (You’re welcome?).

On the surface, it’s an easy answer: TEDxOshkosh, like its brothers and sisters around the globe, is built on a brand and a few basic rules. Darkened theater with a BIG, RED, DOT (do not venture outside the boundaries of said BIG, RED, DOT). Countdown clock ticking away from 18 stern minutes, staring at you from downstage, along with the rest of the audience in that darkened theatre. And a very clear understanding that there are a number of strategically positioned cameras in the house that will capture your every gesture from varying angles. Yes, the world might see this.

So, that.

Nerve-wracking? In the end, it is an incredibly humbling opportunity to tell a story and/or educate a live audience, and a YouTube audience, about something they may not have ever pondered, even if they share common experiences.

My October 2016 speaking experience in the inaugural TEDxOshkosh was phenomenal. I am grateful to the coordinators who welcomed my talk focused on my mother’s elegant efforts to keep her memory loss (Mild Cognitive Impairment) at bay after my father’s unexpected passing in late 2014.

My TEDx experience reminded me that simple stories make a difference. They reassure people they are not alone in their journeys. Stories provide small doses of laughter and inspiration. They offer solutions. My talk has been far from a viral sensation, at a whopping 777 YouTube views (as of this writing). However, it continues to resonate with people here and there, inside and outside of my small network of friends and acquaintances.

THAT is what is most different about the TEDx experience: the ripple effect one’s message can—and does—have on people experiencing, enduring and living out common stories, be they struggles or strides.

I continue to hear from people who bump into my talk on YouTube. It is a great gift to know we made a connection, opened their eyes and made them feel something.

“The story of your mom's growth at a time when many others retreat is truly inspirational,” one long-time family friend shared.

“I finally had a chance to watch your Ted Talk and I wanted to let you know how moving and impactful it was!!” said another friend of my parents, who graciously reconnected with my mom after kids and jobs and other commitments had kept them relatively distant for some time.

“On Tuesday morning, a eureka moment sparked me to watch your TED Talk - excellent!!!,” shared my wife’s former colleague, who also lost her husband after decades of marriage. I had mentioned the talk to her at a community fundraiser, and she told me she would check out the video. “… It hit home in many ways.”

“You described your mother's journey with humor, compassion, and above all—love,” said one of my work colleagues.

And this one continues to stand out: Feedback from an area high school teacher who, last year, mobilized his students to reach out and connect with the residents of an assisted living community.

“The students are excited about the opportunity,” he said, after having been a live audience member at the TEDxOshkosh event.

TEDx provides its speakers an opportunity to not only enlighten but also to encourage kindness. Sure, there’s a bit of pressure-cooker preparation to pull off a talk. But any stress and strain in that responsibility is vastly outweighed by the potential for a longer-lasting, cascading compassion after one’s 18 minutes expire.

If you are asked to speak or an opportunity to submit a proposal presents itself,… step into the BIG, RED, DOT.