TEDxLambeth officially debuted on Friday 11th October 2019 at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in London, UK, attracting 70 attendees from all over the globe including New York, Trondheim and Almaty. A year in the making, this gathering brought together 12 remarkable speakers and performers, not to mention 28 dedicated volunteers, and received rave reviews on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @tedxlambeth). Each talk, in TED tradition, was published on the official TEDx Youtube channel in late October.

To briefly contextualise, TED was born in 1984 out of a fascinating convergence among three fields: technology, entertainment and design. Indeed, the principles that have made TED great with more than a billion viewers online are the inspired format, the breadth of content, as well as the commitment to seek out the most interesting people on earth and allow them to communicate their passion. TEDx events, in turn, follow the same format but are organised by communities, organisations and individuals to deliver TED-like experiences at the local level. Since the programme’s creation, more than 5000 TEDx events have spread throughout the world. The aim of TEDxLambeth, with that in mind, is to become a meaningful platform for inspiring change, and stimulating discussion. Being held under the theme of ‘Antinomies!’ — or opposites — TEDxLambeth’s stated mission is to showcase the very best, and most current ideas, generated in Lambeth and the UK, to a global and enlightened audience.

Against this background, the three-hour-and-a-half event explored three sub-themes, titled ‘Antinomies to surprise!’, ‘Antinomies for thought?’ and ‘Antinomies in art …’, each investigating a variety of exciting and emotive topics. The occasion itself, moreover, opened with Daniele-Hadi Irandoost, Curator and Founder, setting the scene with Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant and a ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside James Roberts, a Paralympian from Wales, UK. Speakers and performers, specifically, included Jillian Haslam, Sölvi Fannar, Terje Toomistu, Professor Emeritus Michael York, Professor Andy Clark, Ben Brabyn, Katie Day, Haralampi G. Oroschakoff, Reverend David William Parry, Gerrie Skeens, Julia Munrow and Gabriele Pollina; each giving astonishing talks and performances from finding one’s voice, what unites the 112 gender identities, a brief history of soviet hippies, cultural astronomy, the extended mind, building connections across economic and skills divides, roar of the menopause, conceptualist art, excerpts of a theatrical play on the suffragettes, and even handpan music. The show rounded off with everyone, both participants and team members, clapping along to the Lambeth Walk as they walked on stage.