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Speakers ready to 'Exchange' ideas at 2018 TEDxJacksonville conference

Conference set for Oct. 20 at Florida Theatre

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you've never been to a TEDxJacksonville conference, this could be the perfect year to satisfy your curiosity.

The organization's 2018 conference, “Exchange: Conversations for the Curious,” is set for Oct. 20 at The Florida Theatre.

The conference will feature engaging TEDxJacksonville talks from 12 speakers from the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland, musical performances, experiential activities, coffee, lunch, an after-party and more. The conference is 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., followed by the street party Afterglow in front of The Florida Theatre on Forsyth Street.

WHO'S COMING: Jump to a list of this year's speakers and performers

The annual conference, now in its seventh year, has sold out every year since its inception as the TEDxRiversideAvondale conference in 2012. 

This year’s theme is geared to challenge attendees to shift their perspectives and abandon their assumptions and to exchange the status quo for lives that are full of challenge, meaning and impact. 

Hope McMath returns as conference host for the fifth year in a row, and the event will again partner with several downtown restaurants to provide lunch in their venues within walking distance of The Florida Theatre. 

The confirmed participating restaurants:

  • 20West Cafe
  • Bellwether
  • Burrito Gallery
  • Casa Dora Italian Cafe 
  • D&G Deli & Grill
  • Indochine
  • Spliff’s Gastropub
  • Super Food & Brew

Additionally, Biscottis and Holy Smoke BBQ will cater food for the event. Lunch selections are available first-come, first-served with limited capacity at each venue.

Four artists will create works live at the conference thanks to a PNC Arts Alive grant. The artists will receive a stipend for their time working at the conference and will have the opportunity to sell their pieces to audience members at the after-party.

Conference organizers will offer discounted tickets for 50 high school students and 50 college students at $38 each -- thanks to the support of Jacksonville System of Care Initiative and Michael and Julie McKinney.

With the advance ticket discount, tickets are only $68 plus fees if purchased by Sept. 9. After that, general admission tickets go up to $78 plus fees.

Tickets to the final session of the conference -- with four speakers and the closing musical performance -- are $39 plus fees.

Tickets may be purchased here: bit.ly/tedxjax2018.

Conference speakers:

  • Anne Driscoll, Dublin, Ireland — An award-winning journalist, Driscoll is project manager for the Irish Innocence Project at Griffith College Dublin. 
  • Benjamin Evans III, Los Angeles — An author, activist, actor and minister, Evans co-founded the iconic BMe Community, a national movement of community builders that are led and inspired by black men.
  • Iris Grant-Simmons, Jacksonville — Grant-Simmons is CEO and president of the Genési Group Inc. and facilitates dialogue with for-profit and nonprofit entities. 
  • Jeffreen Hayes, Chicago — A trained art historian and curator, Hayes' curatorial projects include “Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman,” which opens at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in October.
  • Kristin Keen, Jacksonville — Keen helped co-found Sari Bari, a thriving business that now employs more than 120 citizens of India, and founded Rethreaded, which employs and provides work for survivors of human trafficking.
  • Ash Perrin, London — Perrin, an entertainer and clown, launched The Flying Seagull Project, which has worked with more than 100,000 children in hospitals, orphanages, schools for the deaf and the blind, refugee camps and slums around the world.
  • Anunnaki Ray Marquez, Orange Park — Born intersex and assigned the wrong gender at birth, Marquez is in the process of receiving a birth certificate from the state of Colorado recognizing that his true biological sex is intersex. He would be the third person to be so recognized in the U.S. 
  • Philip Robbie, Jacksonville — Robbie, the national design director for RS&H, reflects on his projects that remained unbuilt, a condition common well beyond the architecture field.
  • Claudia Wilner, New York City — At the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Wilner works to combat unlawful civil and criminal justice debt collection practices, arguing that inequities in policing practices and license revocation laws effectively criminalize poverty.
  • Joy Wolfram, Jacksonville — Wolfram, an assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Florida, leads the Nanomedicine and Extracellular Vesicles Laboratory with a goal to bring new nanomedicines with increased therapeutic efficacy and safety to the clinic. 
  • Mark Woods, Jacksonville — Woods, a columnist for The Florida Times-Union since 2001, published the award-winning “Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks” in 2016 and makes the case that preserving national parks has become even more urgent. 
  • Brian Wu, Scarsdale, New York — Wu has been working on a graduate-level research project at the University of Florida that led to several tentative discoveries and continues in his ultimate goal of discovering potentially habitable Earth-sized planets.

Live performances

  • Bold City Contemporary Ensemble — A group of classically trained musicians who use engaging, outside-the-box performances to keep the tradition of classical music alive.
  • Douglas Anderson Dancers — DA’s Dance Department, which provides a secure setting for students to develop an understanding of dance as an art form, has sent several alumni into companies such as the Joffrey Ballet, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Susan Marshall and Urban Bush Women.
  • John Lumpkin & The Covenant — John Lumpkin II is a producer, arranger and artist who grew up in the Pentecostal church and still plans to exercise his gifts there as well as other national venues.