Penticton TEDx will have a transitional theme

The date for this year’s TEDx Penticton is coming fast and organizers say everything is ready to go.

Brian Hughes

Brian Hughes

When it comes to an event like Penticton’s fourth TEDx conference, it is difficult to know where to start, because there really is so much interesting stuff going into it.

But the date for this year’s TEDx Penticton is coming fast and organizers say everything is ready to go.

(Related story: TEDx set to return in the fall)

Curator Brian Hughes said they have a fascinating lineup of speakers ready to share their thoughts. This year’s theme is “The Young. The Wise. The Transitional.” and Hughes said he has speakers lined up to match each of the three concepts, starting with his co-curator Grant Mansiere, a high school student from Summerland.

Hughes said Mansiere was originally involved in developing a parallel TEDx Youth event, but when that turned out to be too complex to organize on short notice, Hughes took him on to help organize the main event. That, Hughes said, accounts for the youth portion of the theme.

“We have young musicians, we have a young speaker, and we have a couple of speakers that are talking about youth issues.” said Hughes. The youth speaker, Faith Steele, will be taking on the subject of youth mental illness in her talk, The Confusion of Youth.

The Wise is represented by a number of speakers, including Harry McWatters, a pioneer in the wine industry who is heading into his 50th vintage.

(Related story: Wine industry pioneer honoured)

“An element of the TEDx is archiving important characters that live in our area,” said Hughes. “These kind of legacies are important, that is the wise element.”

Transitional, said Hughes, is about people going through changes in their lives, and changes in society and cultural. Hughes said he himself is an example of the transitional, since he just turned 60 this year. But it is also represented by speaker Michelle Thiessen, who is talking about how the world is grappling with issues around legalization.

The theme is mirrored in the three emcees chosen for the event, which includes Hughes, representing the transitional, Mansiere, representing youth and veteran CBC journalist Bill Phillips for the wise.

Hughes said they have recruited even more intriguing speakers,: indigenous artist Lee Claremont; Patricia Tribe, former NASA director of education and more.

(Related story:Penticton educator Tribe has Reading from Space program lift off)

Many of these names are well-known, but one speaker is known across Canada. Bob McDonald, host of the long running CBC radio Quirks and Quarks, is also on the list.

Hughes points out that this year is the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

“He predicted gravitational waves 100 years ago, and they just confirmed them this year,” said Hughes, explaining that McDonald’s talk will be focus on the importance of this phenomen.

“He says he is bringing his garbage can, because he uses that to explain black holes and how gravitational waves are given off,” said Hughes.

All of the talks will be recorded and added to the archive of stories collected at previous TEDx Penticton events in 2011, 2012 and 2014, which is part of the larger global collection of TED and TEDx talks.

“When we started this in 2011, no one knew about TED. It is making it much easier and much more interesting as a curator to get the speakers here,” said Hughes. “We are showing the world how we view these global issues and how we deal with them. It is a very interesting cultural library we are developing here.”

Hughes said he loves to put together events like TEDx, and before that, The Philosophers’ Cafe, because of his love of stories.

“I am a sucker for a good story, I love stories,” said Hughes, something he gets from his father, whose radio program, the Roving Mike, ran on CKNW from the 1950s until Bill Hughes signed off for the last time in 1994.

“He would go onto tour buses and talk to people from all over the world,” said the younger Hughes. “I grew up around stories.”

TEDxPenticton will be held at the Cleland Theatre at 7 p.m. on Nov. 25.  This year, the format is shifting from a day-long event for 100 people, to a three-hour evening for 400.

For more information, visit TEDx Penticton online at