TEDxNavesink 2014: We’re Going to Seriously Play Around

At Play is the theme for TEDxNavesink 2014 hosted at the Two River Theater in Red Bank on May 10.
Photo by Gaetan Ducatteeuw

Have you ever solved a problem or hit on an idea while just fooling around on the web or listening to music? Did you ever play a videogame that taught you a skill in the process?

We have and it got us thinking, How can play change the pathways in our brain? Can playing make us more innovative? Can play help us solve problems?

With those questions worming through our minds, we hit on our theme for TEDxNavesink 2014 hosted at  Two River Theater in Red Bank on May 10: At Play.

We’re inviting more than 20 speakers who lead their fields locally in science, art, design, medicine, education, psychology, comedy, music and more, to jump into the world of play and explore all it has to offer.

But don’t be fooled by the title, we’re not talking about kids here. Play as we’re looking at it, isn’t for children. We want to know how play sparks innovation, how it changes the way we think about sex and urban planning, how it influences our creativity, our memory, our careers and our economy.

If you didn’t catch last year’s first ever TEDxNavesink here’s the lowdown on what we’re all about. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDxNavesink is a local event that brings people together to share a TED-like experience. At TEDxNavesink, live speakers combined with TEDTalks videos, spark deep discussion and connection. Learn more about TED and TEDx here.

But if you come to TEDxNavesink, hosted at  Two River Theater, don’t expect a day of lectures. TED talks are interactive experiences, fast paced and visually driven.

“TED is about novelty, surprise and drama. It’s a meeting place for people who are creative, who can play off each other,” says TEDxNavesink executive director Brian Smiga. “These are presentations to delight and confound. They can’t be boring. Yes, it’s about science and ideas and education, but it isn’t lectures. It’s really non-fiction theater.”

In its first year, our all-day event was a sell-out at Brookdale Community College. This year we move to the culturally rich Two River Theater in Red Bank, home of award winning plays and playwrights. In our new venue we’ll offer some bonuses like a catered lunch for all attendees, more networking opportunities and an evening reception.

We’ll announce our first wave of speakers later this month so check back here often for updates on who will be presenting. You can also check out our videos from last year’s TEDxNavesink.

We’re still actively interviewing presenters, and we noticed, we haven’t heard from you.

TEDXNavesink organizers want to know, what are you playing at? Economics? Glass blowing? Neuroscience? Is play a driver for your work, your art? Did you use play to reinvent your career or create a new technology? Then we want to hear from you.  Speaker candidates for this year’s idea conference can submit their proposals on our website.

Want to secure your spot at the conference? Last year’s attendees get first dibs. Click here for more information. Tickets to the general public go on sale Jan 23.

So come play with us on May 10.

Photo by: Gaetan Ducatteeuw