We love TEDxArendal and we love the people involved in this amazing event! We will be presenting you guys for some of our volunteers, partners and organisers, and we start this party off with no other than our Event Director; Linn!

As we are all going through challenging times, we are thankful for the wonderful and fun memories we can look back on from our previous events. TEDxArendal 2019 was Linn Juul-Petersens first run as Event Director, but she´s certainly no newbie to the organisation.

– I joined the TEDxArendal crew in 2015. At that time I was living in Oslo, but I knew that I would move back home to Arendal in a few years’ time. I joined TEDxArendal because I figured that people who are engaged and use their spare time to meet other people and make great events, must be people I want in my life, she says enthusiastically.
Having lived away from Arendal for quite some time, she realised that her network would not be as diverse or as big as it used to be, and so TEDxArendal became a great door opener for her as well.
I also joined the TEDxArendal Crew as a way of getting to know the local community again and widen my network. Let me just tell you right away – it worked! I have gotten both great friends and a professional network through my five years as a part of the TEDxArendal crew, she exclaims with a big grin.

Being a volunteer with TEDxArendal is a fun and rewarding position, but taking on the job as Event Director is a whole other ball game. For Linn, this was a dream come true.

– When the position as main coordinator for TEDxArendal was announced, it felt too good to be true. For me it was the perfect role – spending my days planning and organizing with an overall purpose of tying people, businesses and ideas together in an event and a sharing community. You know, there is a “hairy goal” and a purpose behind organizing an event like TEDxArendal. And that is also the reason why Arendal Municipality and local businesses want to take part in creating the TEDxArendal community. Amongst others, we put our region on an international map as an innovative, up to date and future oriented region. We get to be part of a huge international TED community with unlimited potential. For the Agder citizen we create a community to take part in and a unique event-day to experience. These reasons, combined with other factors, will hopefully help the overall goal of putting Arendal and Agder on top of mind when a person or a family is deciding where to live, where to start a business and were to spend their time, she explains.

Linn gets eager as she´s talking about what TEDxArendal means to her. Her speech is quick, her face lights up and there is no doubt that she loves being a part of this community. And she has no doubt that this means a lot for the community as well.

– I´ve learned that Arendal and Agder really live up to the saying “sharing is caring”. TEDxArendal has been a part of our community since 2013 and I see that people really want TEDxArendal to succeed. Whoever we have contacted, asked, needed – they have all been more than willing to take part and share both of their knowledge, time and products. TEDxArendal is, and will forever be, a non-profit event. That is why we really appreciate that our community is so willing to join us, states Linn, before she continues:

– Building a community is extremely rewarding, but it takes time. We have an awesome gang of approx. 100 people in our crew in different roles. We also have 30 fantastic partners, with Sparebanken Sør as our main partner. I spend a lot of my time trying to fulfill TEDxArendal’s dreams and missions in our community, as well as making it worth while for the fantastic people who choose to spend their valuable time with us, sharing that same mission. Also, there is sooooo much we could achieve through the TED, TEDx and TEDxArendal brands. But it all takes time and we have to prioritize. My first goal is to get all of Agder involved – and then we take the world, Linn shouts into the room, throwing her arms up in the air.

Our Event Director is really excited about TEDxArendal 2020, but as so many of us, she´s also a little nervous about the impact the corona virus will have on our community in the long run.

– We are already feeling the restrictions due to the corona virus. Last week, we had a full day of TEDxArendal concept and program workshop planned. The workshop was held online with a few (quite big) adjustments. In order to deliver a TEDxArendal 2020 that lives up to the expectations of our guests, the planning has to go on. The day after the workshop we had a full evening-workshop planned with all our crew – over 50 people attending – that also had to be canceled. Right now, the only thing I can do is cross my fingers that this will be over by October. For both TEDxArendal’s sake and the rest of the world, she says somberly.

Having said that, she´s also got some great ideas what you could do to pass time during lockdown, isolation and quranteen.

– The obvious answer here is “watch a TEDtalk”, right? Well it might also be the best. Most adults know that a TEDtalk within any subject is both interesting, thought provoking and normally contains a bit of humor. But did you know that we have the same for kids – its called TEDxYouth. At TED.com or on YouTube you can find online videos from youth events. These events and videos are one of our most creative TEDx event types, since they are organized by, or catered toward, kids. The Youth events and talks are all about imagination and having fun combined with learning. Explore this at your next “home/office/kindergarden/schoolteacher”-session! We are also working on organising a TEDxYouth in Arendal. It’s still a work in progress and we are shaping the concept, so if you read this and wish to contribute and get involved please let me know, she adds eagerly. (For examples, check out this link: https://www.ted.com/talks?sort=newest&topics%5B%5D=youth )

In between organising meetings, follow ups, partner deals and cheering on the teams, Linn takes time to dream about the future for TEDxArendal, although in these times, dreams may change.

– I guess the dream scenario right now would be a full day of bacteria-free learning, smiling, hugging, experiencing and a bunch of worry free high-fives, she says inbetween chuckles.
We have a lot of dream speakers – a few of them are already booked, she then adds.

No matter how fun and exciting it is to plan the event itself, Linn is super clear about what she considers the most important aspect of TEDxArendal.

– The absolutely fantastic, wonderful, creative, fun and loving volunteers! It’s not hard to get either people or partners involved – but it takes time, coffee and eye contact. I am a firm believer in face to face conversations and the power of looking people in the eyes. If people take the time and effort to look you in the eyes, they are already engaged and interested in what you have to say. And from there it´s just a matter of coming together, to help each other and work together, she says convincingly, with a warm tone to her voice.

And Linn has no doubt about what will be the first thing on her agenda once the corona virus has released its grip on us all.

– The first thing I will do, and the thing TEDxArendal needs the most is to organise a TEDxArendal Crew get-together! The crew meeting that was planned mid March has been postponed until we are all able to meet and hug again. The TEDxArendal crew is a bunch of huggers, so it would be irresponsible to put them in the same room at this time, she admits with a big laugh before waving goodbye through the computer screen.