September 2018. I – Joyce Van Kerckhove – joined TEDxFlanders as a volunteer to lead the communications team and hosted a brainstorming session at LDV in Antwerp. To reflect upon TEDxFlanders’ mission and vision during this time where more and more inspiring events are taking place in Flanders. In preparation for this session, I’m digging into TEDxFlanders’ archive to see how it all began. And I’m amazed! This is huge.
It all started in 2009. TEDxFlanders was founded by Christophe Cop, who wanted to bring the TEDx mission to life in Belgium. He’s a passionate community builder and prefers to be ‘the mortar instead of the cornerstone in bringing people together’. On 3 July 2009, he organised the first TEDx event in Belgium and TEDxFlanders was born. A cozy gathering of 70 guests and 3 speakers. The beginning of a story that continues to this day!
Come curious, leave transformed
In the years to come, the event increasingly grew bigger, with intriguing themes such as “Introspection”, “Leitmotiv” and “Naked”. Trying out new and innovative formats on highly valued locations in Antwerp (University of Antwerp, Central Station, Flemish Opera, Bourla, Stadsschouwburg and KBC Start@It) with big names and beautiful stories on the stage every time.
Over the years, TEDxFlanders started to organise several smaller salons and TEDx livestreams in smaller venues in Antwerp. It continued to offer the TEDx community smaller, low-profile formats on “ideas worth spreading” and to keep the conversation going.
Strong Women community
In 2014, a separate project, TEDxFlandersWomen, started to grow as part of TEDxFlanders with Ellen Wezenbeek as the driving force behind it. TEDxFlandersWomen is one of the 325 events hosted on the same day as TEDWomen Global, focusing on women and women’s issues. They are built around the live webcast of TEDWomen Global and can also feature local speakers. TEDxFlandersWomen has become known as a powerful community for professional women in Flanders. It also gained an international status by attracting expat women living in Antwerp and in Flanders.
The spirit of TEDxFlanders:
Inspiring to inspire
Today I am proud to be a part of this growing community. And I know I’m not the only one. Our team brings together independent women from all professional and cultural backgrounds. We’re building this community together, bringing our skills and experiences in Belgium and all over the world. We all share an insatiable curiosity for spreading new ideas within our local community with the goal of bringing them to the stage. There are many reasons to volunteer at TEDxFlanders. You might be motivated to find meaning and purpose as part of our community. You may want to build a new network. You can find and share inspiration in and beyond your field of expertise. What you will definitely find is a rich and diverse learning experience alongside our volunteers dedicated to the mission of TEDx.
Come and join us in many ways
This year is special for us as it is a time for us to celebrate! TEDxFlanders is more alive than ever. From our volunteers and speakers to our partners, we are all very excited to celebrate TEDxFlanders’ 10th anniversary. Join us on Wednesday 3 April, 2019 because ‘Now is here’. As Denis Ghys, one of the former co-organisers, said in his talk 5 years ago: “Please come. Come in many ways.”
Don’t have tickets for our main event ‘Now’ on 3 April, 2019 at deSingel yet?
By Joyce Van Kerckhove on Feb 20, 2019