Sometime in 1984 in a cheap hotel ballroom in Monterey, California, a bunch of geeks got together to listen to each other talk about ‘stuff’. Specifically, technology, entertainment and design – that is to say, TED. That very first TED Talk included, among other things, a demonstration of a compact disc and a young guy called Steve Jobs schlepping a weighty beige box he called a Macintosh. TED (and its community subsidiary TEDx) has grown into a multinational, polylingual, cultural phenomenon. And now, thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers, the very first full-day Ibiza TEDx event, TEDxDaltVila, will be held on Wednesday March 29, 2023 at Can Ventosa in the heart of the island’s capital.
The theme for TEDxDaltVila is Expanding Perspectives and much like the motivation behind the original TED event, the mission is to challenge the status quo and push the Ibiza community to shift viewpoints and look beyond conventional wisdom. There are selected speakers lined up for the inaugural one-day event – each presenting their ideas, inventions and thoughts in short, concise and captivating presentations. The unwavering drive of lead organiser Mia Kirn, along with a team of highly motivated local volunteers, has led to the development of a multisensory event that’s likely to become an annual fixture on the island’s calendar.
Long-term Ibiza lover and full-time resident Mia Kirn is the driving force behind the first full-time multi-sensory TEDxDaltVila event in Ibiza on Wednesday March 29, 2023.
Mia’s relationship with Ibiza began through her parent’s love of the island. Conceived in Ibiza and raised all over the world, Mia has visited Ibiza every year of her life. Her parents have been based in San Carlos for decades, and with her own family visits to the island becoming more frequent, it made sense for Mia and her husband to buy a house across the street ten years ago – a place to call home during extended stays with their children. Then, in 2020, the world changed, and so Mia gave up her professional career and the family relocated to the safety of their beloved island home permanently – a sacrifice scattered with silver linings. “Even though I love Ibiza and moving here was the best thing to do, I was sad to leave my job behind,” she admits.
Mia had spent much of her professional life in documentary programming for the likes of Al Jazeera and producing large-scale, televised events before transferring those same skills to an educational non-profit centred around climate change. As she went about her new day-to-day island life, she felt driven to find a new purpose here. Like all parents in Ibiza, Mia experienced the relentless ferrying of children around the island, and it was on those trips up and down dusty caminos that she found her next calling. “I literally went through the whole TED Spotify playlist in the car,” she laughs. “I started to get curious. What would it mean to host a TEDx? I looked over the TED website and realised I could do this in Ibiza.”
Every TED event must have an overarching theme and with hundreds of hours of listening under her belt, Mia knew her theme had to be broad but also related to the issues Ibiza faces as a growing year-round community and tourist destination. Landing on the concept of Expanding Perspectives for the first TEDxDaltVila was quite straightforward – after all, Mia is not the first Ibiza resident to feel like the island is transitioning yet again, shedding its hedonistic image and becoming a place with more substance. “At the beginning, the audience might not understand why each speaker is there but by the end, the thread that binds them all together will be obvious,” she says.
Among the contributors taking to the TEDxDaltVila stage are Jorge Ferrer – a professor of psychology, relationships counsellor, educator and author of six books. Marina Magdalena, who helps young people explore their creativity while learning real-world skills, sits alongside fashion designer Neliana Fuenmayor, who is dedicated to promoting transparency and sustainable innovation in the garment industry. Pablo Vidarte is an entrepreneur turning plants into biological batteries. There’s sex coach Ruth Ramsay and novelist and playwright Ben Dunwell… and the list continues.
Mia formed a Speakers Committee to help define the parameters of the TEDxDaltVila theme, assess applications from the public and invite candidates from their own networks. “TED tells you not to look for the speaker but to look for the idea,” she explains. “You have to ask – does this person have something really valuable to share? We were looking for fresh ideas or new perspectives on existing ideas and issues.” There’s no room for self-promotion at a TEDx talk – it’s not about selling more books or tickets to your workshops. Anyone can become a speaker – even if they don’t have public speaking experience – because the TED system is designed to elevate presentations to the level we’re all used to watching on YouTube.
First, there’s the fact-checking. Speakers must provide extensive drafts of their script with detailed citations. Any study quoted, any factoid, data or date is rigorously checked for authenticity. Then there are countless hours of videotaped rehearsals. The TEDxDaltVila team includes a trained and experienced actor in the role of dramaturge, helping speakers harness their cadence and pace while also training them to stop touching their faces or looking at the floor during their speech. “It’s not a corporate presentation,” explains Mia. “A TEDx talk is a performance. You have to entertain your audience.” And at TEDxDaltVila, it’s not just the speakers who’ll be doing the entertaining.
The TEDxDaltVila Speakers committee have been dedicated to looking for fresh ideas and new perspectives on existing ideas and issues for this unique event.
For those who have never attended a TEDx event, there is a whole lot more to it than the series of illuminating yet precise talks. It’s a multi-layered gathering that includes an immersive audience experience. From the music you hear and the scents you smell to the goodies you receive (yes! TEDxDaltVila attendees will receive goodie bags!) and the activities on offer during break times, all of it has been carefully and thoughtfully orchestrated. “Three events are happening simultaneously,” says Mia. “The live event in the theatre with speakers and musical performances. There’s also the audience experience, which happens in the breaks, where people will have the chance to network, see new inventions and participate in games. And then, everything is filmed with a full production crew to be uploaded to the TED website.”
TEDxDaltVila, with its new ideas and inclusive structure (all TEDx events are not-for-profit), is reflective of a wider change in Ibiza, a change that has been developing for years. After decades of exploitation, people are now more interested in protection than profit and the consensus is one of careful optimism towards an Ibiza that not only survives, but thrives.