On 29 March, the first pioneering full-day TEDxDaltVila took place in Ibiza Town’s ancient Dalt Vila. Its theme was expanding perspectives. I wasn’t able to attend the event myself, but I know people who did. Several said it was the best event of its kind they’d ever attended.
TED is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation that discovers and spreads ‘ideas that spark imagination, embrace possibility and catalyze impact’. Local, self-organised TEDx events bring people together for a TED-like experience.
According to its website, TEDxDaltVila aimed to gather the local community to share ideas on how to enable Ibiza to be ‘seen by the global TED community as an island full of inspiring stories, solutions and ideas’.
On the day, eighteen speakers with impressive credentials spoke on an inspiring range of subjects. Six performers took part. The event also included interactive experiences.
Speakers included César Mayol Serra on ‘Ibiza’s Aloe: How a traditional remedy can pave a sustainable future’; Lilian Simonsson on ‘How to turn walls into bridges: taking action for the global refugee crisis’, Nicc Johnson on ‘Music can save your life, literally’, and Holiday Phillips, ‘Grief as activism: to create a world without racism, we must learn to grieve’.
Performers included Joanna Hruby and Theatre of the Ancients, comedian, actor and clown Charlotte Fox and artist and songwriter Nick Mulvey.
Not long after the event, I spoke to Jo Youle, presenter on the day and one of the first people to join prime mover Mia Kirn who began organising the event back in July 2022.
Jo has been a freelance journalist and radio presenter for the past 20 years. She settled on the north coast of Ibiza around 10 years ago. Here, she runs her own studio where she makes podcasts for clients that include wellness brands and music events.
‘I’d been coming to Ibiza for a really long time,’ she told me. ‘Then I suddenly discovered the north of the island. I realised there was so much more to it than meets the eye. And I fell in love with the other side of the island and its people.’
Through her company Reset Rebel Productions, Jo also runs training courses on the island to inspire people to find their voice through podcasting on Ibiza and, as her website puts it, ‘Reset the narrative of what the island is known for’.
‘In the beginning, I was on the Speakers Committee,’ Jo told me. ‘For those of us involved in organisation, the event was pretty challenging but all our hard work paid off. It sold out within a week. That shows how much the island wanted it.’
For Jo, ‘expanding perspectives means making Ibiza known for its intellectual community, as a place where people are coming together to work on groundbreaking projects that are having an impact not just here on the island but globally. People like Pablo Vidarte.’
Pablo, an inventor, developed Bioo, a biotech company that generates electricity from nature using biological batteries. He made the Forbes list aged just 20. The European Parliament has recognised Bioo as the Most Innovative Company of the Year. Google and South Summit named it Most Disruptive Company of the Year.
The talks at TEDxDaltVila were all filmed. ‘By putting videos of people like Pablo on TEDx, a global platform,’ Jo said. ‘We’re exposing their work to an audience that could number millions. People viewing those videos might then be attracted to the idea of becoming part of the community here on the island.’
Ibizan values were the foundation for many of the talks. For example, Nicc Johnson’s ‘Music can save your life, literally’ was born out of his experience as a professional DJ in Ibiza, including being a resident DJ at Pasha.
Nicc travelled the world as a DJ and saw first-hand the impact music had on all humans. This made him eager to learn more about the psychological and physiological impact music has on the human brain.
Today, Nicc is the Co-Founder and CEO of Music Health where, he says, ‘we’re on a mission to integrate precision music with ease into healthcare, wellness and fitness companies. We’ve started with dementia care!’
Although he currently lives on the other side of the world, Ibiza is still Nicc’s home.
‘For me, the event was an opportunity to present the magic of Ibiza in a different light,’ he told me. ‘I truly hope that Ibiza continues to become a magnet for entrepreneurs that use the island as their base while they change the world. There’s an opportunity for Ibiza to become a bit of a European hub for entrepreneurs and startups.’
Dr Rola is a multi-award-winning physician, humanitarian, campaigner, speaker, social entrepreneur and coach. She has helped build seven hospitals in Syria, including the first ever crowdfunded hospital. Dr Rola is also the first ever Syrian TED fellow.
According to Jo, ‘Dr Rola’s speech was one of the highlights of the event.’
After witnessing much suffering, Dr Rola realised she needed to heal herself. She moved to Ibiza and set out on the path of doing just that, as many of us do when we come here.
Jo told me, ‘I think it’s really important to understand that Ibiza is a place to recalibrate. In her extremely moving talk, Dr Rola showcased and highlighted Ibiza’s healing and regenerative powers in a way I’ve never before heard them spoken about.’
There will be another TEDxDaltVila in March 2024. Great news for people like me who missed this year’s event.
Holding the event slightly off-season is deliberate. ‘Encouraging people to come in the off-season is a good thing,’ Jo said.
‘I think it could help lead to a slower or more evenly paced year for the island, instead of there only being a crazy summer season that puts a ridiculous amount of strain on the island and its infrastructure followed by sleepy winters,’ she added. ‘The good thing is it’s already happening. More people come in the winter, which means shops, bars and restaurants stay open and there’s more to do. It’s all part of expanding the perspective so the island operates at its finest.’
I live and work in Ibiza all year round and am grateful for all the opportunities the island has given me. So I’m thrilled that TEDxDaltVila was such a resounding success.
TEDxDaltVila also impressed many people Charles Marlow has sold homes to.
I absolutely agree with Jo that us expats who live here all year round can be a transforming force for the island. After all, we’ve moved here because we love the place.
Along with everyone involved in TEDxDaltVila, I’m committed to getting together with other expats to brainstorm, float ideas and ‘change the storyline’, including helping to grow Ibiza’s regenerative agriculture scene.
I’m excited that Ibiza is becoming a transmitter of ‘inspiring ideas, solutions and ideas’. Rather than simply a receiver of an enormous number of tourists intent on enjoying themselves without any thought for the island environment and community.
Like Jo and many of the people who took part in TEDxDaltVila, I too love the north of Ibiza. It’s wonderful to see this part of the island evolving into a community intent on sharing enlightening experiences, pioneering ways of being and thinking and making change.
For now, I’m very much looking forward to watching the videos of the talks and performances as soon as they’re live on TEDX.com.
If you’d like to support TEDxDaltVila and be kept up to date with how things are progressing for next year, you can sign up for the newsletter here and become a follower on Instagram.
All photos by Sofia Gómez Fonzo.