Charles Burns, Speaking Engagements

The Eighteenth-Century Selfie

IN NOVEMBER 2022 I was invited to give a TED talk at the prestigious TEDx Arundel event in Norway. In keeping with the theme of TED (Technology, Education and Design) I chose to focus on the odd technology and dubious science used by silhouettists of the late eighteenth century. This was a time when silhouettes were hugely popular all over Europe and evverybody wanted one.

Hence the title: The Eighteenth-Century Selfie.

The Eighteenth-Century Selfie: my TEDx talk. 15′ 32″

Silhouettist as Speaker

If there’s one thing I love even more than making silhouettes, it’s speaking about them. Whether it’s a university-style lecture on the art and history of silhouettes, a short light-hearted look at a forgotten art or a variation on my TED talk. The various possibilities for talks on the art of silhouette cutting include:

  • A short, light-heated introduction to lost art of the silhouettist. Combined with an on-stage demonstration of silhouette cutting using your VIP guests as volunteer models.
  • My own story from Covent Garden street artist to cutting a portrait of Queen Elizabeth. Charles was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in his early 40s. He discusses the impact of autism and explains how his life-long obsession with silhouettes rescued and gave him a new direction.
  • An in-depth lecture, illustrated with slides from Charles’ extensive silhouette collection, on the art and history of silhouettes. The first version of this talk was commissioned by Harvard University to shed light on silhouettes held at their Houghton Library.
  • A silhouette workshop in which all your guests can have a go at cutting a silhouette themselves. The results are hilarious and will be remembered for years to come.

All talks are bespoke, Please get in touch to discuss your requirement and how best to present this fascinating art at your event.

Please note all my speaking engagements are now handed by DBA Speakers.
Please contact Diana Boulter on ‭01256 316515‬ or fill in the enquiry form below.

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