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July 6, 2011 / Alex Robertson

FED : Ideas Worth Sharing

Like many people I spent months trying to find some sort of way to get into the TED event about to come crashing down on Edinburgh….. Like many people I investigated live streaming to a side event, organising a TED-X event at the same time or even just trying to find someone with a ticket and willing to give it up!

However it’s tied up tight! You can’t get a ticket for less than £3800 or unless you work for an institution considered to be “in”. As someone who works for a self-funding Charity, with non allocated budget amounting to less than most businesses pocket change, having anything to do with TED seemed impossible. Especially as TED-X events are not allowed at the same time as the main TED event.

I even tried to set up my own event but the time needed to do so was beyond me at this moment. However along came Peter Geoghegan! A few weeks ago he announced FED – Ideas Worth Sustaining. It was to be a free event (well almost free at a £5er) . Not only is there a great line up of speakers but also plenty of “question time” and the option for members of the public to pitch their own ideas worth sharing! This is a great addition. TED tends to reflect the success of their celebrity speakers (and for the most part its hugely well deserved). FED aims to allow us to learn plenty about the work of the speaker but also allows us to get involved in a more open and engaged way.

The event will be small and held in the InSpace at Edinburgh University, Bristo Square. I’ve attached the press release below! Hope to see you there!


Why pay £3700? TED gets its own fringe event – FED

1.30pm July 9, Inspace, University of Edinburgh

Troubled by the prohibitive £3700 ticket price, a group of Scotland’s top thinkers, writers, and artists are to stage their own version of TED, the global lecture series that arrives in Edinburgh next week.

FED – Ideas Worth Sustaining will borrow TED’s famous format of short accessible talks on big ideas, but not its price tag. Rather than costing several thousand pounds, FED will offer a day of talks and for only a fiver.

On July 11, TEDGlobal will host its first conference in Edinburgh. Its theme is ‘The Stuff of Life’. Several thousand pounds will allow punters to hear Philip Blond wax lyrical on the Big Society, Niall Ferguson present his version of history and have a chance to grab a drink with Alain de Botton.

In reaction to TED’s price tag, exclusivity, and increasingly corporate model, FED was born.

Presented by Realpolitik and Bella Caledonia, ‘FED – Ideas Worth Sustaining’ is the homegrown alternative. This one-day event takes place at Inspace at the University of Edinburgh this Saturday, July 9. It will feature talks, discussions, videos and, most importantly, ideas for a sustainable future for both humans and the planet.

FED is an agora for ideas and debate. The SNP’s landslide election victory last month reflected, in part, the desire for a wider vision of Scottish society: FED is about providing ideas about these futures. Of course, Scotland is not divorced from its wider context and the line-up for FED will reflect this, too.

Speakers on the day include Gerry Hassan, Tom Kane, Robin McAlpine, Elspeth Murray, Lorna Waite, Kevan Shaw, Kevin Williamson and Kate Higgins. There will also be space for the public to pitch ideas and suggestions (not to mention tea and cake in the afternoon and drinks at close).

Organiser Peter Geoghegan said: “In financial terms, TED is a boon for Edinburgh but in terms of engaging people who live in the city, and in Scotland, and in leaving any sort of meaningful legacy, it’s sorely lacking. Most of the participants, and almost all the speakers, will come from outside of Scotland and the connection with the city is disappointingly fleeting and insubstantial.
“We felt that Edinburgh needed a home-grown alternative to TED, an inclusive – and inexpensive – place where people with ideas could come together. That’s when FED was born.”

Blogger Kate Higgins, who will be wrapping up the event along with writer Gerry Hassan, said: “In policy and institutional terms, there are so many things broken in Scotland but there are also some wonderful ideas out there on how to fix them.  As we stand on the cusp of a brave new Scotland, it’s important we start harnessing these ideas and readying them for our future.  FED offers a vital first stage in the process – offering space for sharing and debate.”

FED will kick off at 1.30pm. Full program is available here:

For more information please contact Peter Geoghegan on 0777 0501423. Or tickets are availiable here :



Leave a Comment
  1. benmordue / Jul 6 2011 2:07 pm

    So is FED a bit like the BIL unconference?

    Here’s an article about BIL

    • Alex Robertson / Jul 6 2011 2:58 pm

      Very similar! Good find. I think it’s a bit weird that TED is so keen not to have affiliated events outside its own confines.


      Hope to see you there Ben.

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