TEDxProvidence Returns September 20

The popular conference will feature speakers on health, education and civic engagement in Rhode Island.

[AS220 Founder Bert Crenca, speaking at last year's TEDxProvidence.]

Some of the most interesting people who work in health, education and civic engagement in Rhode Island will be speaking later this month at TEDxProvidence, a local conference that’s part of an international movement.

The all-day conference will be held at the RISD Auditorium on September 20. We chatted with organizer Peter Haas about what people can expect in the third year of the popular event:

How did you choose categories?

We based it on the recommendations we had for speakers. We had a whole lot of speakers who were recommended outside of the categories from last year, so we decided to run with these categories.

For someone who hasn’t attended TEDxProvidence before, what can people expect?

There are other idea conferences that run in the eighteen-minute-talk range in Providence, BIF [Business Innovation Factory] being a prime example. But our goal is to bring that type of format to the general public at a price that’s a little more affordable.

The focus on Rhode Island was also one of our primary goals. A lot of TEDx conferences bring speakers in from other cities. We wanted to focus on Rhode Island stories and highlight people in Rhode Island who are doing great things who haven’t had platforms for their voices to be heard.

From last year, there are a couple of great examples of that like, Daniele Meats, Davide Dukcevich, Bert Crenca, Barnaby Evans. A lot of people may have heard of the individuals behind WaterFire or AS220 or Daniele Foods, but they haven’t had the chance to hear their personal stories and how they came to be and TEDxProvidence is an opportunity for people to tell some of those stories.

Why else might it be a good idea to attend the conference?

This is a great opportunity, in addition to hearing the speakers, to meet interesting people in Providence. I’m looking at the list of people who have bought tickets so far and they’re really exciting people who you can just bump into. And we’ve got some great food trucks coming. So it should really all in all be a good day, even if people don’t catch all the talks.  

The speakers are: (Note: list updated on Thursday, September 11)

Health and Wellness:

Emcee: Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts

Martin Keen: inventor and founder of Focal Upright

Jeffrey Sparr: mental health proponent, artist, and co-founder PeaceLove Studios

Dr. Alyson McGregor: Women’s Health director


Civic Engagement:

Emcee: Mike Ritz, executive director, Leadership Rhode Island

Nick Horton: prison reformer

Matthew Lannon: marriage equality advocate

Gayle Corrigan: housing advocate

Julius Searight: founder of Food 4 Good, recent competitor on Great Food Truck Race



Emcee: Jen Hetzel Silbert, co-founder and curator Learning401

Dennis Littky: founder of the Met School

Damian Ewens: founder and CEO of Achievery

Valeria Khislavsky: founder of Valbrains

Don Miller: principal, Shea High School

Adrienne Gagnon: maker, educator and director of Down City Design

Justin Davis: artist and poet


TEDxProvidence will take place from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for students and $45 for the general public. You can buy them here. RISD Auditorium, 20 N. Main St., Providence, tedxprovidence.com.