TEDxYouthCroydon event: Saturday November 16th 2013 @ The Brit School

By - Tuesday 12th November, 2013

Croydon is hosting its own TED talk on Saturday November 16th 2013 at The Brit School. Rajdeep Sandhu talks to founder and curator Elaine Powell on what ideas Croydon has to offer the world

Speaker Ngwe Tun at TEDx Youth Conference in Yangon, Myanmar, 2010
Image by Htoo Tay Zar and used under Creative Commons license

When I heard about the TEDxYouthCroydon event I was full of excitement and expectation. I have an addiction to TED talks, they are inspiring, informative but most importantly they enable people to share their experiences. They get you into talks you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to go to by sharing them on the internet for free, whether that’s because they are held in another country or because you’re not lucky enough to be allocated a ticket.

On November 16th the BRIT School will be hosting TEDxYouthCroydon, which was the brainchild of Elaine Powell from South Norwood. She has worked with young offenders and trained over 5,000 young people in public speaking. In three months, with a team of people she pulled together, she has managed to get an incredible line-up of speakers and performances that I cannot wait to see. In amongst her hectic schedule I managed to have a chat with Elaine.

“I come from Croydon, I went to school at Thomas More and it just seemed really fitting to have a TEDx event in Croydon.” Elaine told me over the phone. “I’m very familiar with Croydon and it’s the largest borough in London, with the largest number of young people, although people seem to forget about Croydon. But also in light of the riots, Croydon was one of the worst hit, and I really wanted to show the positive things that young people are doing in and around Croydon and I wanted the young people to benefit by experiencing a TEDx event.”

“The great thing about our event is that it will be live streamed, so people can watch our event anywhere in the world”

Despite the focus on Croydon, the TED brand has a global reach and this event is part of TEDxYouth whereby there are 100 events happening across 32 countries in one weekend. It is all to tie in the with United Nations Children’s Day on November 20th. “You can have your say in Croydon and impact people in Shanghai, Dubai and New York. Everything is global now and the great thing about our event is that it will be live streamed, so people can watch our event anywhere in the world”, Elaine said.

The event’s theme is ‘the spark’, which they have interpreted as ‘what’s the big idea worth spreading?’, linking into TED’s own tagline: “ideas worth spreading”. They have speakers sharing their ‘big idea’ and the journey of making it achievable. With the help of social media, they attracted more speakers than they could otherwise have and had a selection to choose from. “The majority of the speakers came to us because to speak on the TED platform is a very prestigious thing to do.” Just to name a few there will be Mandem on the Wall, whom you’ll recognise from Channel 4′s Youngers, Tom Messenger, who helped organise the first ever Street Child World Cup in Durban, and John and Joshua Okungbaiye, who create unique backpacks, amongst other speakers and performances from poets and the BRIT School.

But they didn’t have the same luxury when it came to get sponsors, something I found quite surprising considering the reach of the TED platform: “It’s been challenging getting partners on board to see the value of what we’re trying to do for the young people and Croydon. Showing them the benefits not only for themselves but for young people, there’re so many worthy causes out there sometimes its hard for them to choose and want to align themselves with you.”

If you have got your ticket already you’re in for an inspiring, entertaining and informative day. “I want them to come away and say ‘If they can do it, so can I’, or ‘What’s my idea, what can I share to make a difference to the world?’” If you haven’t got a ticket to the event, you can watch the live stream on Saturday 16th November here.


Rajdeep Sandhu has been a lifelong resident in New Addington, apart from when she studied journalism in central London. Now she works in book publishing and when she isn't working, can be found reading, writing or tweeting. Most of all she is excited about how New Addington will benefit from the changes in Croydon.

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  • Elaine Powell

    Thanks for sharing the good news about TEDxYouthCroydon. We are looking forward to hosting a great day and inspiring the young people around the world. Thanks Rajdeep