My Oulu: TED talks return to Oulu with the help of volunteers

TEDxOulu brings the widely known TED talks to Oulu. On the stage is the event's host Meg Dale. Photo: Sami Luukela


Julkaistu: Kirjoittaja: Sanna Riikka Johanna Häyrynen

Jaa sosiaalisessa mediassa:

The first TED conference was held in 1984 and has been held every year since 1990, now in Vancouver, Canada. Initially, the speeches at the event, as the name implies, dealt with technology, entertainment, and design, but today the speeches can deal with, for example, culture, science, or politics, and the topics can be humanitarian or academic.

In addition to the main event, events under the TED license have been held in more than 130 countries. Most often, conferences held elsewhere are TEDx events, organised independently with the help of volunteers.

The first TEDx event was intended to be held in Oulu fifteen years ago, but at that time the event did not receive enough funding or support. Years later, Aaltje Bos heard about the TEDx concept again and got interested in organising the event in Oulu.

”At that time I was ready for a new challenge so I participated in TEDxTrondheim and interviewed the lead organiser. I immediately fell for the community aspect,” the lead organiser of the TEDxOulu event Aaltje Bos explains.

More than 40 volunteers

Aaltje Bos says that over 40 volunteers from all walks of life bring expertise, enthusiasm and commitment to the event. In addition to the practical arrangements for the event, the volunteers will help create the best possible conditions for the performers and the speakers of the event.

The moderator of the first-ever TEDxOulu event, Malawian activist Vanessa Phekani, who currently lives in Oulu, works this year as a volunteer in the event. Her role is to coach this year’s moderator.

”I was the last event’s moderator and it made sense for me to coach the next moderator and that’s how I volunteered my time for doing it. It’s been an amazing experience, seeing the whole process come to life and seeing the amount of work Aaltje and the team have put together, it’s just an amazing process and it’s a humbling thing to do as well,” she says.

Speakers at the event will also receive support and advice from volunteers. Patrick Nessbit is one of the coaches for the speakers at the event.

“Giving a good speech or talk is a great challenge for anyone and if I can in any way contribute to helping someone for giving a better talk, I’m happy to do so. What I like about the event is the networking more than anything and again the chance to help someone,” he says.

Good spirit despite the challenges

Most volunteers are involved in organising the event and ensuring the comfort and safety of the participants. Among other things, James Hansen is taking care of the catering and will help the attendees during the event.

”I’ve been involved in events in Oulu for seventeen years since I’ve been here. We’ve done events before with Aaltje and anything that comes up Aaltje is like, James will join in, he will come along. And I always put myself forward to work with anything that comes up,” he says.

The restrictions caused by the pandemic have added some challenges to the organisation of the event, as the planning has taken place mainly remotely. However, in the dress rehearsal held on last Sunday, the spirit among the volunteers was very good.

TEDxOulu brings health to the spotlight

The theme of this year’s TEDxOulu event is ”Spotlight on Health”. The talks at the event will seek to bring inspiring ideas about our collective potential to improve health and societies globally. The talks heard at the event want to encourage people to spread ideas on health and well-being into the community.

Among the speakers at the event are Finland’s leading digital health services consultant Pekko Vehviläinen, opera singer Kaisa Makkonen and occupational therapist Mari Tynkkynen, and Finnish Red Cross Blood Services nurse Ben Gran. The acrobatics of Oulu Art School and Oulu Symphony Chamber Musicians also perform at the event.

Aaltje Bos says that the content of the event consists of short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and presentations around the theme of health. The speakers, acrobats and musicians at the event have prepared performances that are sure to inspire and provoke conversations.

”TEDxOulu is an experience and we guarantee that every detail of TEDxOulu will feel special to the public,” she says.


– The TEDxOulu 2022 event will be held at the Cultural Centre Valve on Sunday, April 10, from 12 pm to 6 pm.
– The tickets cost 60 euros and they include coffee, tea, refreshments, snacks, as well as sweet and savoury hors d’oeuvres during the networking breaks. The registration ends on April 8.
– Read more on TEDxOulu’s website.