Best Moments of TEDxSydney 2020

Fraser Orford

On Friday 6 November one of the largest TEDx event in the southern hemisphere took place. Almost six months after it was scheduled to take place in-person, TEDxSydney went virtual to an international audience of over 3,000. In a year that saw the worst bushfires in our country’s history, the resurgence of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, an unprecedented US Presidential Election and a pandemic whose effects we are yet to fully understand, the TEDxSydney team were determined to keep things REAL.

Catch up on the best moments of TEDxSydney 2020.


Keenan Mundine spoke to his lived experience of breaking the cycle of incarceration and recidivism and his work now as a justice advocate. As Co-Founder of Deadly Connections Community and Justice Services, Keenan’s talk is particularly poignant as the discussion around Australian youth incarceration has resurfaced in 2020. 

Obstetrics and gynaecologist Dr Angela Jay courageously recounted her harrowing experience of surviving violence at the hands of her intimate partner in 2016, the and path that that experience has set her on as an advocate for women’s safety and reproductive justice.

Social media sensation Nat’s What I Reckon exploded onto the TEDxSydney stage to remind us of the power of comedy in destigmatising the lived experience of anxiety and depression. With over 2 million YouTube followers, Nat has become the unlikely hero of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Daria Gavrilova (or Dasha, to her fans) is one of Australia’s most popular tennis stars. With the Victorian lockdown providing a little more downtime than she is used to, Dasha kept the TEDxSydney audience in stitches with stories of her new-found ceramic skills and becoming a Tik Tok “dancing” queen.

Once told that she was “too pretty to be an Aboriginal”, Sasha Sarago took to the stage as Founder of Australia’s first digital lifestyle platform for women of colour – Ascension. Sasha asked the TEDxSydney audience to question their own definition of beauty and to pledge to a new and inclusive meaning.

Somali-born executive Jamila Gordon fled civil war to build a global tech career in Australia, most recently as Founder and CEO of Lumachain, a technology platform that disrupts traditional enterprise supply chains, globally. Jamila’s TEDxSydney 2020 talk has already been selected to be presented at TEDWomen 2020: Fearless, taking place online on November 12.

The badass women of the BINDI BOSSES lit up the stage with their fusion of traditional Indian classical and folk dance with street dance performing to a mash up of contemporary and local music from Baker Boy, Nav-47 and Cartel Madras.

Moments before walking onto the red dot, Damien Cave (the Sydney Bureau Chief of The New York Times), finished penning his enlightening and up-to-the-minute update on the US Presidential Election.

Cabaret star Catherine Alcorn and her kick-ass all-female band took to the stage to close TEDxSydney with an apt cover of Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight. Alcorn finished her set which included hits from Beyonce, Kylie and Bette Midler, by toasting the future of the Australian live entertainment industry which has been completely decimated by this year’s pandemic.

This year, in lieu of the much-loved TEDxSydney Hub, attendees were given 27 Discovery Sessions to choose from, each offering attendees the opportunity to connect with each other as well as explore ideas with past TEDxSydney speakers and partners.


Highlights from the Discovery Session series included:


TEDxSydney’s 2020 talks will soon be available online via the official TEDx YouTube channel. Though the date for TEDxSydney 2021 is yet to be announced, if their 2020 virtual event is anything to go by, you won’t want to miss it!

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