TEDx Sydney 2018 Rundown

Live catheters down a beatboxers throat, a real person that’s swapped places with Siri and a creature choir that has to be seen to be believed – where else, but TEDx Sydney 2018.

Being a massive fan of TED clips online (my favourite being Start With Why) I thought it was about time I got myself along to a real live gathering, so my business partner and I forked out a couple of hundred bucks each to get along to this year’s event. The theme being HumanKind.

Held at the ICC in Darling Harbour, it’s a great venue for anything, so the format of interesting talks coupled with live performances captivated the 5,000 people in attendance.

The day kicked off with an inspiring Welcome to Country by Evon Weldon followed by a cracking performance from Odette.

First speaker off the ranks was Eddie Woo. He featured on Australian Story a couple of years back and is a maths teacher who films all his lessons and puts them on YouTube (WooTube is his channel). He admits to not having confidence with maths himself, but now sees the beauty in it after going to university and being inspired by one of his lecturers. His way of explaining some of the complex topics that high school maths explores, resonates with kids and he can break things down in a way that makes it really easy to understand. I have a teenage daughter that can struggle with maths at times and getting her onto Eddie has been the best thing to compliment her regular school classes.

A futuristic talk by Dr. Anjali Jaiprakash, a Robobiologist (did you know there was such a thing?) was up next and she delved into a new invention her and her team have been working on called the Retinal Plenoptoscope.

James Bevington who has recently carried out an eight month simulated mission to Mars. He and five crew mates lived in isolation on a barren landscape on earth with their only contact to the outside world through messages with a 20 minute each way communication delay. Inspiring stuff and definitely not one for claustrophobics.

Young poet Solli Raphael jumped on stage and gave us a quick rendition of his wares. This kid took out the 2017 National Slam Poetry title in an all-adult competition at the Sydney Opera House. #poetryslam is pretty popular at the moment and I didn’t realise that there’s even a couple on the coast. I’ll be sure to check one out next time. It ain’t poetry as you know it.


Ian Strange an Australian multidisciplinary artist living in the US spoke of his visual themes of home and showed us some of his recent work. And Chyloe Kurdas spoke of her love for ALF and the creation of AFLW (Australia’s first ever national women’s professional competition).

Session 1 complete with seven talks in just on an hour and a half. Time for morning tea.

The Hub is where everyone gets together in between sessions and the massive hall at the ICC accommodated things well. Partners such as St George and H&R Block had some great activations and there were loads of freebies to grab.


TEDx prides itself on the food and beverages it supplies at the events and the selection on offer was great. Not to mention all the exhibitors giving out free samples of their deliciousness.

I could give you a rundown of almost all the speakers and performers at this year’s TEDx but why bother when you can just watch the whole livestream (all 9 hours of it) here.


Some talks and performances I recommend watching and can be easily accessed by the drop down to the bottom right of the viewer, or jumping to the time codes:


Eddie Woo (25:20min)

Kaiit (2:53:06min)

Meet Sara (3:01:22min)

Thomas Oxley (3:06:23min)

Lumiphonic Creature Choir (6:07:34min)

Tom Thum (8:25:02)


I had my reservations about sitting through all the talks but I can honestly say that I was captivated by most of the topics (this isn’t your standard boring conference) and apart from a voicemail from an important client, I only missed one of the performances towards the end of the event.

The main thing I took out of TEDx was that it really is all about ideas – ideas worth spreading. Ideas from every facet of life – science, the arts, business, medicine, you name it, there was something there for everyone, especially for a creative person like myself.




Paul Barkley | Creative Partner – Abnorml

(Paul has been a member of Nexus for the past 3 years and runs a creative agency called Abnorml. Abnorml specialises in creating innovative advertising campaigns that drive growth. You can check out some of their work here.)





Recent News

Scroll to Top