The conference will feature engaging TEDxJacksonville talks from 12 speakers from the U.S., the UK and Ireland, musical performances, experiential activities, coffee, lunch, an after-party and more. The conference is 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., followed by the street party Afterglow in front of The Florida Theatre on Forsyth Street. With the advance ticket discount, tickets are only $68 plus fees — if purchased by September 9. After that, general admission tickets go up to $78 plus fees. Tickets to the final session of the conference — with four speakers and the closing musical performance — are $39 plus fees. The conference has sold out six years in a row.

Tickets may be purchased here:

This year’s conference speakers:

• Anne Driscoll, Dublin, Ireland — An award-winning journalist, Driscoll has investigated wrongful convictions as senior reporter at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University and as a 2013-2014 U.S. Fulbright scholar. She is project manager for the Irish Innocence Project at Griffith College Dublin.

• Benjamin Evans III, Los Angeles — An author, activist, actor and minister, Evans received his MBA from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University before moving to Miami to pursue his career in accounting. While in Miami he co-founded the iconic BMe Community, a national movement of community builders that are led and inspired by black men.

• Iris Grant-Simmons, Jacksonville — As CEO and President of the Genési Group Inc., Grant-Simmons facilitates dialogue with for-profit and nonprofit entities in developing strategies that expose areas of benefit not readily identified through traditional models in philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, community engagement, fundraising and brand awareness.

• Jeffreen Hayes, Chicago — A trained art historian and curator, Hayes merges administrative, curatorial and academic practices into her cultural practice of supporting artists and community development. Among her many curatorial projects is “Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman,” which opens at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in October and continues through April 7, 2019.

• Kristin Keen, Jacksonville — Keen has spent her career creating opportunities through business for women caught in human trafficking to have access to a new life. She helped co-found Sari Bari, a thriving business that now employs more than 120 citizens of India. As the founder and executive director of Rethreaded, she has employed more than 35 women and provided more than 55,000 hours of work for survivors of human trafficking.

• Ash Perrin, London — Drawing on his work as an entertainer and a clown who cares passionately about the health and happiness of children, Perrin launched The Flying Seagull Project more than 10 years ago. Since then, the group has worked with more than 100,000 children in hospitals, orphanages, deaf/blind schools, refugee camps and slums around the world.

• Anunnaki Ray Marquez, Orange Park — Born intersex and assigned the wrong gender at birth, Anunnaki Ray lived as female for the first 46 years of life before emancipating his authentic male gender in 2014. Anunnaki is in the process of receiving a birth certificate from the state of Colorado recognizing that his true biological sex is intersex and not a disorder. He would be the third person to be recognized as intersex in the U.S.

• Philip Robbie, Jacksonville — As the National Design Director for RS&H, Robbie reflects not on the projects he saw to completion, but on those that remained unbuilt. This condition is common well beyond the architecture field: we all have projects left unbuilt, songs left unsung, stories left unwritten, and ideas that were undefended and never realized. Robbie argues that we must find the courage to build the unbuilt, write the unwritten, sing the unsung and defend the undefended.

• Claudia Wilner, New York City — At the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Wilner works to combat unlawful civil and criminal justice debt collection practices. For most of us, a simple traffic ticket is an expensive annoyance. But for millions of our fellow citizens — disproportionately, low-income people of color subject to discriminatory policing policies — it’s a financial calamity that creates a spiral of bad consequences. Wilner argues we must correct the inequities in our policing practices and our license revocation laws, which effectively criminalize poverty.

• Joy Wolfram, Jacksonville — Dr. Joy Wolfram is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Florida, where she leads the Nanomedicine and Extracellular Vesicles Laboratory. She also holds affiliate faculty positions at the Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas, the Department of Biology at the University of North Florida, and the Wenzhou Institute of Biomaterials and Engineering in China. Her goal is to bring new nanomedicines with increased therapeutic efficacy and safety to the clinic.

• Mark Woods, Jacksonville — Mark Woods has been a columnist for The Florida Times-Union since 2001. After winning the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship, allowing him to take a one-year sabbatical writing about the future of the national parks, he published “Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks” in 2016. It won the Florida Book Awards gold medal for nonfiction. Woods makes the case that preserving “America’s best idea” is a constant battle — one that has become even more urgent in the years since the National Park System turned 100 in 2016.

• Brian Wu, Scarsdale, New York — Currently a sophomore at the Horace Mann School in New York City, Brian Wu has an unquenchable thirst for anything related to aerospace engineering and astronomy. Over the past year, he has been working on a graduate-level research project at the University of Florida, which led to the tentative discoveries of nine Giant Planets, two Brown Dwarfs, and the first low-mass Circumbinary Planet to be detected using Doppler spectroscopy. A circumbinary planet is a planet that orbits two stars rather than one. Wu continues in his ultimate goal of discovering potentially habitable Earth-sized planets.

And three live performances:

• Bold City Contemporary Ensemble — This ensemble is a group of classically trained musicians who believe passionately that its tradition can be successfully continued through the performance of very new music. For all those who say classical music is dying, the Bold City Contemporary Ensemble vehemently disagrees and proves the opposite is true through a series of engaging, outside-the-box performances.

• Douglas Anderson Dancers — DA’s Dance Department provides a secure setting for students to develop an understanding of dance as an art form. Several alumni have established careers dancing in and choreographing for professional ballet and modern dance companies such as the Joffrey Ballet, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Susan Marshall and Urban Bush Women.

• John Lumpkin & The Covenant — John Lumpkin II is a producer, arranger and artist. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Florida under the direction of Danny Gottlieb and a master’s from Florida State University under the leadership of Leon Anderson. John grew up in the Pentecostal church and still plans to exercise his gifts there as well as other national venues.

Hope McMath — a Northeast Florida cultural leader, educator, artist and the founder of “Yellow House” — is returning as conference host for the fifth year in a row.

Four artists will create works live at the conference thanks to a PNC Arts Alive grant. The artists will receive a stipend for their time working at the conference and will have the opportunity to sell their pieces to audience members at the after-party.

TEDxJacksonville will be held at The Florida Theatre for the third year in a row and will host interactive experiential activities with Forsyth Street closed in front of the historic venue.

Conference organizers will offer discounted tickets for 50 high school students and 50 college students at $38 each — thanks to the support of Jacksonville System of Care Initiative and Michael and Julie McKinney.

TEDxJacksonville will again partner with several downtown restaurants to provide lunch in their venues — within walking distance of The Florida Theatre.

The confirmed participating restaurants:

• 20West Cafe • Bellwether • Burrito Gallery • Casa Dora Italian Cafe • D&G Deli & Grill • Indochine • Spliff’s Gastropub • Super Food & Brew

Additionally, Biscottis and Holy Smoke BBQ will cater food for the event. Lunch selections are available first-come, first-served with limited capacity at each venue.

The annual conference, now in its seventh year, has sold out every year since its inception as the TEDxRiversideAvondale conference in 2012.

EXCHANGE: Conversations for the Curious

This year’s TEDxJacksonville conference theme is “Exchange: Conversations for the Curious.”

Exchange — whether of materials between organisms, or ideas between people — is key to the processes we recognize as essential to life. Some exchanges are visible, predictable, calibrated in known currencies at agreed rates. Others are veiled but potent, with the capacity to create and to devastate in equal measure.

At TEDxJacksonville 2018, we will harness the power of exchange. You’ll be challenged to shift your perspective and abandon your assumptions, to exchange the seen for the unseen, the built for the unbuilt, and the status quo for lives that are full of challenge, meaning and impact.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

TEDxJacksonville exists to open minds with inspired ideas. Learn more about TEDxJacksonville at, on Twitter @TEDxJAX and on Facebook at

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.</i>

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