TEDxBrum – Marking the Map

Marking the Map – TEDxBrum event

This Saturday is the 2nd TEDxBrum event at Millennium Point.  This year’s theme is “Marking the Map”.  Immy Kaur Outreach Director at TEDxBrum, explains how they have been trying to bring TEDxBrum to some of the most socially excluded in the city.

Original blog here: 

How is Birmingham Marking the Map?

TEDxBrum Outreach Programme

I was first introduced to TED talks just two years ago via Facebook, and my first experience was Karen Armstrong TED prize winning talk ‘The Charter for Compassion’ . It very simply and eloquently described how religion could be a force for good, a thought area I was working very closely with a developing a real passion for. I was inspired; I bought her book, read more, and started to discover the world of TED. There was something for everyone, short, long, inspiring, challenging and sharing ideas that really were able to start catalysing change. I soon found that the first ever TEDxBrum was happening in Birmingham and they were looking for team members – I joined and the rest was history. Since that day I have been sharing talks with all I meet and consistently inspired.

In the second year I took on the role of Outreach director and started on the first year of our ambitious outreach programme. Why was an outreach programme needed? This year has seen us talk about the amazing ways in which people, places and organisations are ‘Marking the Map’ in Birmingham. However, that isn’t the only story, Birmingham is also ‘Marking the Map’ for many reasons we should be less proud of, we mark the UK map of relative poverty in a shocking way.

‘Around 35% of children in Birmingham are classed as living in poverty’  FairBrum, 2013

In the first year of the outreach programme we knew as a team of volunteers with full time jobs it would be difficult to tap into the wide range of issues that have been highlighted marking Birmingham’s deprivation and social inclusion map. But we aimed to start to connect communities together and raise awareness of the issues our city faces and the showcase the platform TEDx brings to catalyse real change.

‘This year the outreach programme reached 581 people through face-to-face workshop style contact that had never come across TED before and brings 53 people to Millennium Point that otherwise would not have been able to access the event. ’

6 months we started to deliver workshops and short talks around the city about TED talks and about TEDxBrum’s upcoming event ‘Marking the Map’ to a range of organisations, charities and individuals who never ordinarily know about TEDx, be able to access TEDxBrum or the event at Millennium Point. Groups were intrigued, inspired and excited to find out more about TED, what was it and how did it fit in their lives? New safe spaces and platforms have been created for people to share their ideas, and be confident that someone wants to listen about how they are ‘Marking the Map’. This time it wasn’t about traditional leadership, huge daunting platforms, but instead a wide range of different people across the city, sharing their thoughts and ideas, empowered to know that someone cared about what they were up to, we wanted to know, and we wanted them to join us at TEDxBrum.

We offered a range of free and significantly reduced tickets to enthusiastic people from across many of our most deprived wards or working in organisations to bring about change for a better tomorrow for people in Birmingham. This year we will be joined by amazing people from Near Neighbours – Catalyst Cohort, Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Police, West Midlands Fire Service, Nishkam Centre, The Feast Project, Bromford Support, Birmingham South Central CCG, Connect Justice and many more. However, its not just about organisations, the programme was open to anyone who was passionate about Birmingham, passionate about change and wanted to attend but often their financial circumstances would make it impossible. Whilst TEDxBrum is completely volunteer led and not for profit, to put on an event for 350 in a huge location has its natural running costs. We were passionate however, that this didn’t stop anyone who wanted to attend being there on the day. Rather than me talking about it, we will be sharing stories from those who received tickets through the outreach programme and what this and the event meant to them next week – keep a look out!

Sparkhill Food Bank

Across the country we are surrounded by shocking statistics about food poverty, just last week the Guardian newspaper reported over 500,000 people were relying on emergency food banks to make ends meet. In Birmingham, food poverty is surrounding us, an issue that affecting many for the first time. FairBrum has been doing fantastic work to unearth these issues in Birmingham check out their latest work here: https://fairbrum.wordpress.com/

‘More than 40,000 people in the West Midlands received emergency food parcels in 2011 – 2013’  Trussell Trust, 2013

Across the city we have an amazing network of Food Banks supporting those that need it most, in today’s age often known as the ‘hidden hungry’, those would never have ordinarily expected to have faced these challenges.

“The sheer volume of people turning to food banks because they can’t afford food is a wake-up call to the nation that we cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep.” Chris Mould, Trussell Trust, 2013

This year TEDxBrum have very honoured and proud that Sparkhill Food Bank part of the Narthex charity have agreed to partner with us at the event to raise awareness about food poverty and to accept donations from guest at Millennium Point. In a recent meeting with the food bank, the passionate colleagues told us how a surges or recent referrals to the food banks have meant they currently distribute approximately ¾ of a tonne of food every week and demand regularly outweighs that amount of food they have available.

This year we will be inviting guests to bring one small item with them to the event (you will receive an email), and to learn more about they can support the food bank to meet needs across the city in this very difficult time for many.

Not coming to the event? You can find out more by tweeting @SparkhillFood or contacting the team on 0121 771 0464.

I’m convinced and very passionate that nobody can truly move forward if we leave many behind, no one can do it alone, we are in it together. TED has always been a platform to share new ideas and catalyse change and as a team we sincerely hope TEDxBrum will continue to grow into this open platform.

This is just the start of our Outreach programme next week we will be sharing stories from those who participated in the years programme, and looking to build partnerships for next year. If you would like to get involved in shaping the Outreach programme of the future for TEDxBrum please contact immykaur@me.com


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