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TEDxExeter Ideas Festival Reaches A Global Audience

TEDxExeter Ideas Festival Reaches A Global Audience

People gathered in venues across Devon to join in the TEDxExeter ideas festival while thousands more watched online in more than 25 countries around the world.

The day of talks and performances to sell-out audiences at the Northcott Theatre and the University of Exeter’s Alumni Auditorium on Friday, April 5th, was live-streamed free online.

Public screenings of TEDxExeter ideas festival were held at libraries in Exeter, Barnstaple and Tavistock, as well as venues including the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, The Oddfellows Inn, Hotel du Vin, Westbank in Exminster and the Budleigh Hub in Budleigh Salterton.

Speakers tackled subjects including disability, fancy dress, artificial intelligence, street harassment, FGM and the impact of rudeness at work, particularly in the NHS.

Kat McHale, a public health doctor and mother-of-three, spoke powerfully about facing her own mortality since being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Apprentice Izzy Clarkson and Exeter College student Jess Pepperell told how their idea of labelling priority items on supermarket shelves led to a sharp rise in donations to Exeter Foodbank and has subsequently been adopted by Sainsbury’s nationwide.

Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter and former chief executive of the Sutton Trust, argued for radical reforms to give all young people a chance to fulfil their potential.

Ciara Eastell, chief executive of Libraries Unlimited, made a passionate case for the power of libraries to change lives.

Steve Simpson, Associate Professor in Marine Biology and Global Change at the University of Exeter, gave an insight into his research into underwater sound, which was featured on Blue Planet II and Blue Planet Live.

Kate Salmon, a Met Office scientist, told the story of her row across the Atlantic to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

Other highlights included a hilarious performance by musical comedy duo Harry Baker and Chris Read, and a performative talk about social media and mental health by beatboxer and electronic singer-songwriter SK Shlomo.

Independently organised by local volunteers, TEDxExeter is part of a global community devoted to ideas worth spreading.

Among the audience for this year’s event were people in countries including Australia, New Zealand, India, Russia, Japan, Nigeria, Somalia, the USA, Mexico and Venezuela.

Claire Kennedy, curator and licensee of TEDxExeter, said:

“Our theme this year was ‘The Art of the Possible’. When many communities are feeling more and more divided, the day offered an opportunity to pause and consider the future we want to create and how we might get there.

“Since we launched in 2012, TEDxExeter talks have been viewed over 21.5 million times. These are ideas from Exeter impacting the world. None of this would be possible without our inspiring speakers and performers, our dedicated team of volunteers, the huge generosity of our partners and the positive energy of our whole TEDxExeter community.”

Completing the line-up of speakers were:

  • Jess Leigh, a member of Plan International UK’s youth advisory panel;
  • Naimah Hassan, programme director of Global Media Campaign, which works to end FGM;
  • Thore Graepel, a research group lead at Google DeepMind and chair of machine learning at University College London;
  • June O’Sullivan, chief executive of London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) Nurseries and a regular commentator on early years, social business and child poverty;
  • Alex Kenmure, head of business development at GoodGym, a community of runners that combines getting fit with doing good;
  • Lucy Clayton, curator and co-host of the Dress: Fancy podcast;
  • Hannah Barham-Brown, a trainee GP, disability advocate and member of the British Medical Association Council;
  • Chris Turner, founder of the Civility Saves Lives campaign.

Videos from TEDxExeter 2019 will be released on YouTube next month.

Next year’s event will take place on Friday, April 17, with tickets going on sale later this year. For more information, visit the website.

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