And welcome to the brand-spanking new TEDxBrighton 2012 blog. Preparations are well underway for the second TEDxBrighton event, under the guiding hands of a new team, and on a new topic: the generation gap. We’ll be using this site to bring you updates about the event and the conference theme between now and the autumn, when it’s due to take place.
Let’s kick off that process by answering the big question. Why “the generation gap”? What made the organisers choose that for the theme?
Brighton is a city long known for its willingness to challenge the concept of people being “other” just because they’re different. It’s a city known for its youth culture, but which is also welcoming to the old. It’s a city where new digital businesses are burgeoning amongst the relics of royal history. It’s famous for its warm embrace of the LGBT community and for being the first place in the UK to elect a Green Party MP.
A city that builds links between communities seems the perfect place to explore the idea of one of the most pervasive and persistent roots of difference and division: the generation gap.
But where does the generation gap actually lie? What of the links of family between the old and the young, where the 20-somethings and 60-somethings of the city will happily knit, while those between would never dream of it? What of those who suffer the loss of their parents in their 30s – and those who don’t experience it until their 70s? Perhaps “generations” are more complex than we give them credit for. Perhaps there are generations of life experience as well as age.
There’s a cultural tendency to try and define groups of people solely by age – Generation X, Millennials – or by presumed skill sets – Digital Natives, for example. But how well do these ideas hold up? Can great swathes of humanity be lumped together like this? Certainly, there’s plenty of emerging evidence that the concept of the Digital Native is a myth – and that suggests that many of our models of generations just don’t hold up .
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be interrogating the idea of the generation gap on this blog, in preparation for our day of exploration of the idea later in the year. If anything, the biggest gap in the generation gap is one of knowledge – and through TEDxBrighton 2012 we hope to find some ideas worth sharing to fill that gap.
We hope you’ll join us here and, perhaps, at the event later in the year.