5 reasons why you should go to TEDxExeter

Claire Kennedy began TEDxExeter in 2012 and has grown it with her brilliant team into an event that is live-streamed across the city and the world. In the wake of Brexit, Trump, Syria and all of the other awful things that have happened recently, the theme for this year’s festival was ‘Hope’ and the speakers were selected because they are “changing the world through their groundbreaking work and ideas”.

I experienced my first TEDxExeter when we first moved to the city in 2016 as a volunteer. A huge fan of TED talks, it was a brilliant experience for me. I met lots of amazing inspirational people some of whom, I have collaborated with since. This year I got concession tickets through my work at Age UK Exeter to watch the event from the great hall at Exeter University.

5 reasons why you should go to TEDxExeter, exploring exeter 2018


Some of my highlights from TEDxExeter 2018

Amy and Ella Meek – Kids against plastic @kidsvplastic #BePlasticClever

Amy and Ella are 14 and 12 years old who, after finding out about plastic bottles’ negative effect on the environment, launched their campaign Kids Against Plastic, which aims to: Give people an understanding of the environmental effects of our use and misuse of single-use plastic. Provide easy-to-do ideas of things they can do to reduce their single-use footprint. Clear 100,000 pieces of single-use plastic beverage items and microplastics from the environment and single-use plastic bottles off the shelves of UK supermarket.

The girls gave a brilliant speech which prompted me into action (see the post on my Facebook page)

The main message I took away from their talk is that we (individually) can make a few changes in our lives that can make a HUGE difference. We can start by reducing our use of the big four single-use plastics (straws, bottles, bags and cups) & we can encourage our local businesses to stop using non-recyclables. Exeter City Council has just passed a motion to do just that by the end of this year, hopefully, this will roll out across the city (we are also putting it in action at Age UK Exeter).

There is hope.. hope is a powerful force.

5 reasons why you should go to TEDxExeter, exploring exeter 2018


Dexter Dias @DexterDiasQC

During the first coffee break, we found the book table and hubby happened to buy Dexters book: The ten types of human – who we are and who we can be – Then we heard him speak and we were hooked.

Dexter is a Human rights barrister & researcher at Harvard and Cambridge. Through his work, he developed a burning desire to find an answer to the question: What are human beings really like? He told us about the people he had helped to fight against FGM, paedophile rings and other injustices and asked us to:

Imagine what we can accomplish when good people do good things.

The scope of it – imagine if all of the good people in the world did good things.

He ended his speech in answer to his question:

We get a glow when we fight for justice.. that is why I choose to hope

His speech tapped into some horrific stories which featured some amazing, resilient people who, despite major adversity and harrowing experiences, are glowing through their fight for justice. We are very much looking forward to reading his book. 

5 reasons why you should go to TEDxExeter, exploring exeter 2018


Kate Garbers – Unseen Charity @KateGarbers

There are 46 million people in slavery in the world today.

This is happening in cities and towns across the UK.

A brilliant speaker and passionate protector of some of the most vulnerable people in the world, those who have no rights, no protectors and no real home, people who have been trafficked – modern day slaves. Kate told us about a situation she was made aware of locally, at a carwash business in Exeter where a group of Romanian men were being made to work for a pittance and live in unfit conditions. 

Wherever we are in the UK, we are not very far removed from slavery. It’s not just the clothes we buy that are made in Bangladesh sweatshops and sold at knock-down prices in High Street shops. Slavery is right under our noses, hiding in plain sight. Kate wants us to be aware and to report things that might be suspicious. It is Unseen’s aim to;

assist survivors to become empowered, independent and resilient individuals. 

Find out how many slaves work for you with this calculator.. you will be surprised.

Look at these stats on modern day slavery.

5 reasons why you should go to TEDxExeter, exploring exeter 2018


Cóilín Nunan @ASOAntibiotics

Cóilín is a scientific adviser to the Soil Association and to the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics. He has campaigned against the overuse of antibiotics in farming for over 15 years,

We need to act now.

Presenting us with depressing stats on preventative antibiotic use on animals. He pitched the argument that we need to eat less meat/quality sensitively reared meat:

Factory farms are abusing antibiotics, and putting people at risk of illness and death from antibiotic resistant diseases. We need to save our antibiotics.

We are eating and producing more meat that the environment can handle and the animals are being reared in poor conditions pumped full of antibiotics with no thought or respect for their livelihood.

As a vegetarian I couldn’t agree more, large-scale industrial animal farming is a wholly repugnant practice. 

Further reading: Pressure for antibiotic cuts increasing but industry still resistant to change 


5 reasons why you should go to TEDxExeter, exploring exeter 2018


Here are five reasons why you should add TEDxExeter to 2019’s calendar now!


  1. You will be inspired – I have listed just three of the stories that inspired me but every speaker inspired me in some way.
  2. You will meet new brilliant people – from the volunteers and speakers to the local CICs / social enterprises and charities that have stands at the event. There are plenty of opportunities to meet and talk throughout the day, to make new friends and useful connections.
  3. It will open your mind to new ideas – you may be fully aware of lots of the topics that are presented but seeing/hearing them from people who are living them can often trigger a fresh approach/new ideas/perspective,
  4. Be world aware – It’s easy to get wrapped up in ‘the now’ and for our own geographic work/life situation to become the ‘be all and end all’. Which is why it is really important to step outside of our daily lives and look at the bigger picture.
  5. Instigate change – Whether it is as simple as changing your recycling habits to volunteering for a local charity, TEDx events promote that force for change. As Dexter Diaz might put it: you’ll ‘get the glow’.


Background information on TED

What is TED?

Even if you haven’t been to a TEDxExeter event, most people have seen at least one TED talk. TED is a global organisation devoted to spreading ideas. The ideas are usually presented in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began as a one-off Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in 1984, and thanks to the rise of YouTube and the introduction of  TEDTalks in 2006, it has taken the world by storm.

The first six TED Talks were posted online on June 27, 2006. By September, they had reached more than one million views. TED Talks proved so popular that in 2007, TED’s website was relaunched around them, giving a global audience free access to some of the world’s greatest thinkers, leaders and teachers. (TED.com)
Now TED covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.

TEDx are independently run TED-like ideas festivals set up to help share ideas in communities around the world to spark conversation and connection



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