Sometimes, the most transgressive ideas are those that happen in the cosiest places, such as beds. In this particular case, the one of a hotel room. But we don’t need to look much further, as all of us remember Yoko Ono and John Lennon advocating for peace from the comfort of their bed in 1969. With this picture as a stimulus, and focused on the relationships between people and with the goal of inspiring and working on a better future for all of us, BedTalks arrives at Barcelona.
This fifth edition of the freethinking festival lands on the Student Hostel Campus Barcelona Marina on April 19th from 4 pm to midnight. It doesn’t only bring more than sixty new lecturers, it also offers workshops and a young atmosphere that has already inspired more than ten thousand participants around the world. And now, let’s get to know a bit better this festival.
For those who don’t know you, could you introduce yourselves?
BedTalks is the free-thinking festival from The Student Hotel group. It’s our way of saying hi to the local community when we open a new hotel or TSH Campus student-only property, and welcoming them in.
BedTalks is a unique and open event for everyone, but the most particular characteristic is the fact that the talks happen in beds. Where does this idea come from?
BedTalks is inspired by John Lennon’s 1969 Amsterdam-based bed-in to highlight world peace, with a side order of TED talks.
The final goal is to achieve world peace, but also to create communities with the assistants to the talks. Is the ultimate goal to connect people? What was your biggest motivation?
The Student Hotel offers a Complete Connected Community. One of the biggest ways to connect is to engage in conversation and inspire each other, learn from each other, commit to new collaborations and support and encourage all visitors to actively add new concepts to the conversations with their own ideas, expertise and experiences.
Beds are synonyms of intimacy and comfort, what ideas can you get from a private space (a bed) that you can’t get from a public one (a stage)? Do you think you’re breaking the traditional idea of a conference?
A bed is a warm place; a conversation in such an intimate situation is very different to one that takes place from behind a lecture or on a stage. BedTalks deliberately breaks away from the traditional idea of a conference. It’s more inclusive, more relaxed and strips away convention to allow real connections.
Apart from the place where the talks take place, what makes BedTalks special?
The people taking part in, whether they are talking on the bed or are part of the small audience experiencing the connection the speakers are making. The first BedTalks included a lot of different people: from an African Nobel Peace prize winner to a ninety-year-old WWII fighter pilot legend; a young South Korean culture-changing student, to a teenage YouTube sensation.
There’s a lot of variety between the speakers in the talks. Is this a way of making ideas and conversations more fluid?
Yes. To be honest, we didn’t know if it would work. Asking a female Muslim Nobel Prize Winner to jump on the bed with a Dutch male community leader could have been a step too far. But we try to invite as many inspiring people as possible to capture the positive energy BedTalks generates.
The next BedTalks will be in Barcelona this 19th of April, on the TSH Campus Barcelona Marina, the biggest student residency of the city. Is this why this year’s festival is focused on education?
TSH Campuses are the first student-only residences from The Student Hotel, so it was a logical step to focus on education. Having said that, BedTalks Barcelona will feature speakers from a diverse range of interests, from education to acting, to design and politics.
I have also read that this 2018 will be the first time you broadcast live a BedTalks Festival, did you imagine this on the first festival? How was it and what do you expect from this month’s one in Barcelona?
The first BedTalks, which took place in Amsterdam in 2016, was partially broadcasted live. Live broadcasting is a way to bring the event to people who cannot be there in person to share the inspiration and Complete Connected Community further.
Live broadcasting, new and exciting speakers, meeting objectives, etc. What do you expect from the future of BedTalks? Where do you want to take it?
Our proposition is simple: BedTalks is for people who are changing the world. So far, our BedTalks events have had more than five hundred speakers, ten thousand guests and three hundred and fifty commitments of collaboration to make positive changes. The goal is to grow bigger, deliver maximum impact, and do our bit to encourage a better world for all.
BedTalks will take place on April 19 from 4 pm to 12 am at The Student Hostel Campus Barcelona Marina, Carrer Sancho de Ávila 22, Barcelona.