If you were to have walked through the King Držislav Park in Osijek, Croatia on the first Saturday of June this year, you would have seen an interesting sight — a team of graffiti artists, volunteers and friends transforming an abandoned amphitheater into a venue for a TEDx event.
For their TEDxWomen event, the team at TEDxOsijekWomen brought the amphitheater, once popular for open-air concerts, back to life, says organizer Ivan Stamenkovic. “The city’s scarce resources did not allow renovation of the site,” he says, “so we used this opportunity to leave something for our city, even after the event itself is over.”
To do so, they rallied one of the city’s street art collectives into an effort that brought life to the park, says Stamenkovic. The team renovated the amphitheater, prepared it for live speakers and constructed an outdoor viewing lounge for attendees, passersby and anyone else, where Osijekians could sip drinks, chat, watch the work unfold and get ready for the upcoming TED and TEDx Talks.
“Accompanied by great music mixed by our local DJ, drinks and a lovely day, time quickly passed,” says Stamenkovic. “The makeover was done, and we were ready to host our four live speakers, for the first time in Osijek,”
Four speakers gave talks on local ideas, including treatments of dyslexia in Osijek, agriculture in the area, innovation in education and awareness of obstacles to food production, including insects.
After the speakers finished, Stamenkovic and team broadcasted a session from TEDWomen into the new space and followed the talks with an after-party in the grassy viewing lounge.
“We celebrated the end of a day of great ideas, positive vibrations and new beginnings,” Stamenkovic says.