“It’s impossible to not see how much is changing in Somerville … so it seems like the perfect theme for this year,” says Devin Bramhall, spokesperson for TEDxSomerville, of “reinvent,” the theme chosen for this year’s talks. The volunteer-organized, day-long series of lectures will celebrate its third incarnation on May 17 at Assembly Row. Even the location fits the bill, says Bramhall.
“Assembly Row is part of the really big huge changes that are happening in terms of bringing the startup community from [Boston],” says Bramhall, who comes from a startup background. “I was like, wow, the startup community is coming to Somerville, and it’s more than just the artists, it’s the tech community. This sort of new wave of commerce but in a cool sort of community type way,” she says.
This change is what’s fueling the theme of this year’s talks, but Bramhall says that they’re curating a vast spectrum of experiences that fall under the broad definition of reinvention. Bramhall, who is selecting the speakers this year, says she’s taking her time. As of early this week, there were only three confirmed speakers. Bramhall says she wants to make sure that she’s setting up as diverse of a program as possible.
“The people I’ve been talking to to potentially speak are talking about reinvention when it comes to gender, when it comes to how we educate children,” says Bramhall. She’s pulling from applicants and nominations as well as her own network, but is hoping to find speakers through word of mouth. That’s how she found Jay Henderson and Nick Kranz, co-founders of Something GUD, a farm-to-doorstep service founded in 2012.
“I found out about them last year through a friend, she was like, ‘have this greek yogurt, you have to try this greek yogurt,'” says Bramhall. “And so I started using their service and thinking, wow, you guys are so cool.”
Jay Acunzo of Next View Ventures and David Delmar of Resilient Coders are also confirmed to speak at this year’s event. Delmar, whose organization seeks to give urban youth access to technological skills, came to Bramhall found through a friend of a friend, which she believes reinforces the quality of the programming she’s amassing.
“Once you tell people you’re doing a TED talk, you get a lot of people giving you ideas,” she says. “That I feel really ensures that you get a really diverse line up in terms of ideas, industries and people.”
Update: Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased here.