Warwick 02 MARCH 2014 | BUTTERWORTH HALL WWW.TEDXWARWICK.COM
Hello, We are delighted to welcome you to TEDxWarwick 2014, the 6th annual TEDx-event organised by students at the University of Warwick. Today’s program revolves around the theme of ‘Inside Out’. In a world where globalisation is bringing about an increasing trend of localisation and individuation, seemingly paradoxical headlines are often daily features. The past year was full of these stories, be it Edward Snowden’s unveiling of the NSA’s mass surveillance, or be it convening of the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw to the backdrop of the destruction and death caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. It is therefore that we would like to present to you those scientists, artists and leaders and individuals with a unique insight and the ability to turn things Inside Out. We hope that through TEDxWarwick we empower not only the speakers to spread their ideas, but the audience to push them further. We encourage everyone to use this unique opportunity to discuss, challenge and question the talks you see today. Dhwanit Zaveri and Raghav Sharma Coordinators
Today’s Schedule, 10:00 11:15 11:45 13:00 14:30 15:45 16:15
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Session 1: Crafting a Vision Tea and Coffee Break Session 2: Roots of Inspiration Lunch Break Session 3: Unchartered Territories Tea and Coffee Break Session 4: Conquering Mountains
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Your hosts today,
MATTHEW GILL SIOBHAN BENITA
Welcome Editor’s Note History of TEDxWarwick
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Experience of a Speaker Fabian Oefner #include&embrace TEDxWarwick’s Technology Salon 14 Ideas for 2014 A Ted Perspective The European Identity TEDxWarwick’s Women’s Salon Aperture X-Men Immigrants Inside Out 2014 Speakers
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Aperture Notes The Team
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Editor’s Note How could we make our event bigger, better and more exciting for our attendees? As we sat around a café trying to plan the year ahead we realised the biggest hole in the event was the curtain closing on the day. For days, there would be a buzz around our event; attendees would talk to all their friends and discuss every one of the talks they had heard, and the experience they had had. But, having nothing to show for the event, the energy gradually subsided, with the ideas of the day becoming lost amongst the various stresses of life. So the answer logically was something tangible for our attendees to take home, to read at their leisure and to reminisce the day. Something for them that would not just be digital like our videos, but something that would go far beyond the event while remaining central to it. The magazine in your hand right now is the first issue of the TEDxWarwick Magazine. It is a collection of the year gone by since our last event from the perspective of the team and our contributors. The magazine is a neat summary of what really happens in TEDxWarwick; recalling the successes of our salons; celebrating our speakers for the year; and sharing original ideas from within the team itself. But of course we didn’t stop there, because like TED we believe that digital media has made the access to and sharing of information so much easier and beneficial for hundreds of thousands around the world. But, in our haste to digitalise everything, we often forget the tangible. TEDxWarwick, therefore, tries to adopt the same ‘Inside Out’ approach we celebrate this year by appreciating the limitations of the magazine, but realising its compatibility with the digital world. The magazine is completely interactive with our website by following the mini URL’s at the end of each article. So the next 60 pages tell you half the story and share half the experiences we’ve had - you do not want to miss out on the other half!
David Alfrey Director of Publications
TEDxWarwick Welcome is an independently organised event under licence from TED.
About TED At TED, the worldâ€™s leading thinkers and doers are challenged to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. Talks are then made available, free, at TED.com
Started in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, TED today shares ideas from a broad spectrum from science to business to global issues
The first 6 TED talks were launched online in June 2006, reaching 1 million views by September the same year
TED.com reached 100,000,000 views weeks before TED2009, where MITâ€™s Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry revealed their SixthSense demo, which made augmented reality look easy
The Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts has enabled any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide in more than 100 languages
TEDxUSC, at the University of Southern California, became the first official independently organized TED event. There have now been more than 5,279 TEDx events in 148 countries and 50 languages!
In November 2012, TED made headlines as they hit 1 billion views - We may never know who watched THE billionth TED Talk. It might have been you...
5 Years of TEDxWarwick Speakers Netherlands United Kingdom United States of America
In the autumn of 2008, Kunal Amin, a final year student at the University of Warwick, approached TED about organising an event at the University itself. Since the request coincided with the developmental stages of the TEDx initiative, we hosted one of the very first TEDx-like events in February 2009.
Our first video was uploaded to TED.com, a feat achieved by 0.8% of all TEDxtalks in the world. “Faith Versus Tradition in Islam” by Mustafa Akyol to-date has over 800,000 views.
TEDxWarwick more than trebled its audience capacity from 400 to 1250 hosting the event in the Butterworth Hall. Of our 12-speaker lineup, David Mackay’s “Reality Check on Renewables” can be found on TED.com with over 330,000 views.
We added shorter, more thematic Salons to our event repertoire: TEDxWarwick City2.0, TEDxYouth@Warwick and TEDxWarwickED throughout the year. Furthermore, we introduced “open speaker applications”, giving those with an idea worth spreading an opportunity to take the stage. Through this route, former Teletubbie, Nikky Smedley gave her talk ”Play. Laugh. Shut up”. Keeping to tradition, Derek Paravicini and Adam Ockelford made it onto TED.com. “In the Key of Genius” currently has over 1,100,000 views.
To-Date 2 million video views
3 videos on TED.com
2014 1,250 live audience
TEDxWarwick 2014: We publish the first issue of our TEDxWarwick Magazine
History of TED and TEDxWarwick
PREPARING TO SPREAD IIDEAS WORTH SPREADING Luke BAWAZER
STEPPING ON THE BIG STAGE
My heart was pounding steadily when I stepped on stage at TEDxWarwick 2013. A manner of success, I think—it was a moderate pace in comparison to the potential wild, leaping beats that could have easily shaken my confidence as I spoke for the first time before more than 1,000 people. The pressure of the moment stemmed not simply from the sea of eyes and ears before me, but more so from the sense of reverence I felt for that small red circle on stage. A compounding sense of both weight and inspiration welled from my unwavering belief in the importance of the idea that I carried with me. Any space that hosts the diffusion of beneficial ideas—of new hope or direction—among human minds, is a space that is, in my view, sacred. Having seen so many great minds speak so freely and eloquently, spreading great ideas, from that small red circle, I could not help the immense sense of honour I felt for the opportunity to stand for 12 minutes in that space, endeavoring to spread the idea of Genetically Evolved Technology. My effort in this present contribution is modest: I’d like to relay the steps I took to prepare for my talk at TEDxWarwick 2013. To this end, I have prepared a list of 6 main efforts that I believe summarize the most important aspects of my preparation process. I have several hopes in sharing my preparation experience. First, however proficient future TEDx
speakers will surely be, I hope that some will still benefit in their preparation from reading this account. My experience is likely most relevant to speakers who are planning to step on the big stage for the first time (like I was), and who have a technical background (like I do), in contrast to those who regularly perform for large crowds and are thus less at risk of being distracted by an overzealous thumping within the chest. However, I hope that even a seasoned veteran speaker can benefit from this article in some way, whether it serves as a reminder to reflect on your own unique preparation process, provides examples of what not to do (though I hope this is not the case), or gives a helpful tip or two that can be used to positive effect in your own preparation. In addition to benefiting other TEDx speakers, my second hope is that my reflections here can contribute to my own growth as a speaker. To that end, I will be happy to receive suggestions and criticisms for how my talk might have been improved, whether in content, delivery, preparation, or all of the above. (To provide feedback, I can be reached at Dr.Lukmaan.Bawazer@gmail.com). Last but not least, I hope that through these following paragraphs, my deep gratitude for the opportunity to have spoken at TEDxWarwick is made apparent.
MY PREPARATION LIST
Make a slide deck that tells a story.
Write a script and commit it to heart.
Try my best to listen to the advice of TEDxWarwick staff/volunteers.
Practice my delivery (a lot).
Visualise giving a great talk - starting a few months before the event.
Breathe and let it be.
Preparing to Spread Ideas Worth Spreading
THE STEPS EXPLAINED 1. I made a slide deck that told a story.
Effective communication is, basically, good storytelling. Curiosity is the protagonist of scientific stories. For a scientific story to be compelling, however, it must resonate with the thoughts and experiences of the listener. I’ve followed the twists and turns of what is, to me, an incredibly exciting plotline (bioengineered materials) for many years. I know that a talk to a general audience should have more general content, but in practice, it is emotionally difficult to pull away from the intricacies of the drama unfolding in my field of research. Fortunately, I was paired with two fantastic volunteers from TEDxWarwick (Vishal Singhal and Amanda Tai) who gave me feedback over the development of my talk. They recommended that 12 minutes on the TEDx stage may not be the best time and place to relay biochemical details. Broader is better. The goal is to introduce the story, to hopefully inspire others to begin learning more deeply about the idea. With feedback over Skype from the TEDxWarwick team, the transition from the first draft of my story to the one I told on stage was a process of removing detail and clearly defining the most important ideas. In a presentation to other scientists, the heart of a story will live, for example, in the positions of chemical bonds during a particular molecular dance of interest. The big picture is often merely assumed, or touched on lightly at the very beginning of a talk. However, I notice that many veteran, renowned scientists are very skilled at explaining the realworld import of their detailed scientific projects. This makes sense to me. The most compelling science is the science that consciously cares about improving our world. I am thus very grateful that TEDxWarwick, with Amanda and Vishal’s valuable help, presented me with an important exercise in thinking about the big picture of my work. In the end, I decided the key protagonist of Genetically Evolved Technology is the ability to rapidly select material structure and function in a manner that emulates biological evolution. There are related concepts that are also very important to Genetically Evolved Technology, but given the 12 minute time constraint, I unwittingly (but rightly, I think) sacrificed focus of these concepts to achieve a more streamlined and understandable presentation.
The first couple of slides introduced the backdrop of the idea: inorganic materials are key to our technological progress. The biggest picture antagonists that the research behind Genetically Evolved Technology aims to address are problems related to energy efficiency, industrial pollution, and global warming. As I was weighing the prospect of emphasizing these challenges in the talk, one concern I considered, which a scientist should always be wary of, is the possibility of over-hyping the research. In the end, however, I felt justified in highlighting these major global motivators. First, I made a point at the end of the talk to emphasize the conceptual nature of the idea I was presenting. I also noted the need of future collaboration to drive the idea forward. Second, these global challenges are a key part of the story within the presentation. They are real-world issues that people can relate to, and they are truly the biggest motivations behind the research. There are no silver bullets for addressing these pressing global issues. But if as a scientist I wake up every day and remember why I’m going into the lab, my research is going to provide a better chance at real positive impact. Third, I truly believe that Genetically Evolved Technology has far-reaching implications, and will eventually transform society for the better. If I weren’t convinced of this, I wouldn’t have been on stage. Thus, overall, my slide deck was meant to present a story with a backdrop, a conflict, a description of a possibly important solution, and a brief prospectus of how this solution might develop and what benefits it might bring to society.
2. I wrote a script and committed it to heart.
I care deeply about my idea, I believe it can make a positive difference in the world, and I want to do all I can to help it reach the largest possible audience. I wanted my words to count, and my thoughts to come across as smoothly as possible. Writing a script and learning it word-for-word seemed to me the most diligent way of caring for the idea I was sharing. I didnâ€™t want to take any chances. My script was finalized the Monday before the event on Saturday, and I spent the week leading up to the event learning the words, studying my script as faithfully as an actor studies his lines for a performance.
3. I tried my best to listen to the advice of the TEDxWarwick team.
I sent my first script to the team a couple weeks before the talk, and they took care to help me shape my script, word by word, until it was finalized. It was evident that the team cared deeply about organizing a great event. Neither Amanda nor Vishal had a scientific background by training and I found this helpful toward creating a talk tailored for a general audience. They were able to tell me in a friendly but straightforward manner whether what I was saying was clear or not. It was sometimes difficult for me to let go of certain phrases, concepts, or diagrams that I wanted to include. In those moments, I decided I would put my trust in the feedback I received, and try my best to honor their suggestions. In the end, Iâ€™m sure this helped make my talk better. My research advisor, Prof. Fiona Meldrum, listened to my practice talk several days before the event, and provided largely positive feedback that the content was well suited for a general audience. This was encouraging.
4. I practiced my delivery (a lot).
I took time off work on both the Thursday and Friday before the event, dedicating these days to practicing my talk. Friday also involved travel to Warwick, also providing an opportunity to rehearse on stage in the auditorium. Thursday was the most important day of preparation for me, as I went through the talk so many times that the script solidified itself in my mind. The words reached my lips increasingly easily in the transitions from slide to slide. A potential criticism of memorizing a talk word-for-word is the risk that the talk might come across as rote or stale. However, just as an actor can give life to a fixed set of words, it is possible to infuse emotion and spontaneity into a memorized
Preparing to Spread Ideas Worth Spreading
talk. As I memorized my script by presenting it out loud over and over again, I began as well to focus on various aspects of my delivery. Two sources that provide a lot of useful information for public speaking include Trees, maps, and theorems by Jean-luc Doumont and The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane. Based on their tips, I took care to focus on my posture, pace, and voice tone. I practiced standing tall. I made sure to avoid closed body language. I tried to vary my voice tone. A useful tip from Cabane’s book is that speakers who smile more are generally better received. Even for certain personalities who are not inclined to show emotion, the mere act of thinking about smiling has been shown to improve an audience’s perception of a speaker. Another useful tip from Cabane was to make eye contact with the entire audience. Even in front of a large crowd, and even in the bright lights of the TEDx stage, it is possible to give each part of the audience equal attention, and imagine that you are making eye contact with each and every person. As I tried to incorporate the above speaking tips, I recorded my practice presentations with my laptop and critiqued myself as my confidence in my presentation grew. On the rehearsal day at Warwick, I spent all the spare time I had practicing again and again. By Saturday morning, I estimate that I had rehearsed my talk 20 to 30 times.
5. I visualized myself giving a great talk, starting several months before the event.
This aspect of my preparation was not that involved in terms of time commitment, but was very relevant given the many months in between the day I received my speaking invitation and the day of the event. While walking, eating lunch, or performing daily duties, I would remember that I would be speaking in front of 1000 people, and wonder how it might go. Based on advice from Cabane’s book, and recommended practices in sports psychology, I made a point to utilize these moments as opportunities to prepare. I would imagine myself walking off stage, satisfied that I had successfully conveyed my message, or imagine myself midspeech, enjoying myself in front of the audience. I did a Google search for an image of the Butterworth Hall where the event was to be held. The image was from the perspective of someone on stage, facing the audience. I made that image the desktop background on my laptop, making a mental effort to become comfortable on stage in that particular auditorium, beginning months before I stepped foot in the physical space.
6. I breathed, and let it be.
Prepared or not, my heart was beating rapidly as I stood off-stage, waiting for my turn to walk out onto that small red circle. My response to the anxious anticipation was to begin taking very deep breaths, and clearing my mind. This action was in part bolstered by regular relaxation habits I have incorporated into my daily routine. Each night before falling asleep in bed, I would consciously take at least five very deep breaths. I ended up reaping a lot of benefit from this daily habit. As I stood there off-stage, breathing deeply, my mind was called back to the comfort of my cozy bed, helping to counteract the adrenaline that was pumping through my system. In addition to this deep breathing, I also utilized another tip that is related to one described by Cabane (see step 4, above). It’s an exercise that she calls “the responsibility transfer”. Anxiety that we might mess up is often associated with a deep sense of personal responsibility over external outcomes. Releasing ourselves from this sense responsibility can be liberating, allowing us to be more present and to access a sense of flow. The responsibility transfer exercise involves taking a moment to collect one’s thoughts, and making a concerted mental effort to recognize that, in the grand scheme of things, responsibility for the upcoming moments belongs to a power that is greater than any one person. In the moment of the responsibility transfer, simply make the effort to emotionally transfer a sense of responsibility for the upcoming event to a greater power, whether God, a guru, or the unknown source of human hope. For me, I prayed; but I want to share the universality of the practical usefulness of this exercise, regardless of one’s beliefs. Buoyed by deep breaths and my own version of the responsibility transfer, I endeavored, while walking across the stage, to simply let things be. I stepped onto the circle, peering through the bright lights, and began to speak. “...Thank you”. Silence echoed through Butterworth Hall, but the applause that followed was worth every minute of the time spent in perfecting it. My heart rate had restored to its healthy pace and it felt good — really good. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/luke »
Aurora No. 01 (2013) This image illustrates the combustion of alcohol. A flame is stopped in time as it travels through a glass bottle, containing whiskey and oxygen.
Orchid No. 07 (2013) An ephemeral, floral structure appearing out of a pool of acrylic colours, as a sphere is thrown into it.
“It is pretty amazing,” said Fabian Oefner dryly to a silent, awestruck audience at TEDxWarwick 2013, as he described his latest work. Inspired by science and art, his aim is to create images that appeal to both the viewers’ heart and brain.
Fabian Oefner Fabian Oefner (born in Switzerland, 1984) is a curious investigator, photographer and artist, whose work moves between the fields of art and science. Speaking at TEDxWarwick, Oefner demonstrated how his images capture in unique and imaginative ways natural phenomena that appear in our daily lives such as sound waves, centripetal forces, iridescence, or the unique magnetic properties of ferroliquids. His exploration of the unseen and poetic facets of the natural world is an invitation, as he puts it, “to stop for a moment and appreciate the magic that constantly surrounds us”. Since TEDxWarwick, Oefner has spoken at TEDGlobal and been featured in a number of media outlets. Oefner’s photographs have been exhibited in various countries and are part of private collections around the globe. Oefner continues to produce work that forces his audience to suspend time in order to take in the breathtaking colours and movements of his art. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/fabian »
Marbelous No. 05 (2013) An unusual look at the properties of oil, as colourful marbles of oil paint float in a solution of water and methylated spirits.
Our cutting edge research often puts the cat among the pigeons. It also puts the entrepreneurs among opportunities and new solutions among those who will benefit most. warwick.ac.uk/unconventional
#include&embrace What’s missing in a hashtag Sasha MARTIN fact, is meaningful social contact. It’s a vicious cycle as the lonely and misunderstood withdraw from others in their community, dwelling in their depression, further alienating themselves and unable to reach out to others in the fear of being rejected and excluded once again.
photo flickr ADAM TINWORTH
Our youth are depressed – and social media isn’t helping. With depression on the rise, most notably in our youth, numerous efforts have been made in an attempt to identify the root cause of the problem. Social media, Facebook in particular, has been blamed time and time again for pressurising youths in various ways, making them feel lonely, out of place, and inadequate; an irony, considering that social media platforms like Facebook were originally meant to help individuals One of the great paradox- reach out to others and form communities. es of depression is that Instead, it’s doing the individuals diagnosed with opposite, and we’re left question if there are it tend to withdraw them- to any platforms out there selves away from society that can rehabilitate these youth back into and others, when what a community that they feel they can call their they need most of all, in own.
fact, is meaningful social contact.
Studies have shown us that one of the great paradoxes of depression is that individuals diagnosed with it tend to withdraw themselves away from society and others, when what they need most of all, in
And it’s no wonder that this is a difficulty that many seem to face, as meaningful social contact gets harder and harder to come by in a society that’s becoming increasingly isolated and individualised. Over the past few decades we’ve seen an increase in the Durkheimian ‘Cult of the Individual,’ where an intense focus on the individual, his wants, needs and desires over anything else has resulted in a people that have been taught not to compromise their self interest for others. We see this in the increase of people marrying later, or even not at all, and a slackening dependence With this exacerbation of the on the family unit that civilised society sense of loneliness that youth has been organised are already prone to feeling in around for over a millennia. this phase of life, it’s clear why
so many studies point towards The response to this? Social media, the pressures of social media which, ideally, as one of the main reasons for would help you reach out to a the prevalence of depression in community anytime youth today. anyplace, no matter how far away you are from friends and relatives, within our hectic dayto-day lives. In 2009, Stefana Broadbent gave a talk at TEDGlobal about how the internet enables intimacy. Broadbent spoke about the isolation that we find in institutions, a trend that she believes started 150 years ago with the industrial revolution, suggesting that these new communication channels allow people to break this imposed isolation. However, Broadbent focused on mainly instant messaging and video chat technologies – Skype, texting, and the chat functions on Facebook, all of which mostly focus on one-toone communication. This got me interested in how much social media allows us to break the isolation that is imposed on us by the various institutions we inhabit, especially since, taking Facebook as an example, these platforms tend to move away from one-to-one communication, and towards a sharing of our everyday lives to a larger community. Unfortunately, we know that Facebook has gotten a pretty bad rep for its ability, or inability, to allow
its users to reach out to others in the community. Numerous studies have found that instead of helping us find a community and feel connected to it, sites like Facebook alienate us from the ‘friends’ that we’ve amassed. One such study by Amanda Forest and Joanne Wood, entitled ‘When Social Networking Is Not Working,’ discovered that instead of enabling individuals with low self-esteem to forge social connections, their usually negatively-charged self-disclosing statuses on Facebook tend to drive others even further away from them. Instead of feeling a sense of cohesiveness and togetherness, Facebook has exacerbated the daily competition that we face in society. There is not only the barrage of presentations of idealised lifestyles to contend with, but also numbered counters that further serve to hierarchise and separate us from one another. These counters are present in several forms on Facebook – the number of friends you have, the number of likes on the various selfies, statuses and pithy comments you make…. Facebook actually gives you a numerical value to the amount of validation that you receive from your peers – a value that only lasts until the next photo, status or comment. It is understandable that a 14-year-old girl, then, looking at a profile picture liked by her mum and best friend, would feel inferior to a peer with over a hundred likes on hers, clearly positioning her in a higher social strata in their community. Studies have shown that in order for Facebook to truly serve the intention of feeling accepted and united within a community,
photo flickr EVA THÖNI
it is necessary to have direct engagement with others on the platform. Unfortunately, it appears that majority of the time, Facebook usage consists of blindly scrolling through a news feed, gathering more and more images of peers to judge and compare yourself to. With this exacerbation of the sense of loneliness that youth are already prone to feeling in this phase of life, it’s clear why so many studies point towards the pressures of social media as one of the main reasons for the prevalence of depression in youth today. This raises the question of whether or not it is possible for a different platform to serve the purpose set out by Facebook, providing a space for youth to engage with a community rather than feeling separated from it. One platform that might offer this, is Tumblr. Tumblr isn’t really known as a social media site – rather, it’s generally recognised as a microblogging site, involving the sharing of pictures, quotes and short quips. But there’s more to the platform than that. There are multiple communities within Tumblr, each gathering around a particular interest. There’s the fashion side of Tumblr, the ‘hipster’ side, the writers of Tumblr… the list goes on. It is the ‘fandom’ community, however, that best exemplifies the capability of the platform to provide a community for youth to bond over.
A fandom refers to a large following of fans of a particular aspect of popular culture – what is usually a book, movie or TV show. Hundreds of thousands of Tumblr users run blogs solely devoted to the fandom of their choice (or several fandoms at once). With the majority of Tumblr users being teenagers or young adults, these fandoms tend to revolve around the young adult genre (the Hunger Games, Harry
Potter, and John Green novels among them), though not exclusively so (with more generic fandoms like Doctor Who, Supernatural, and Sherlock). Through the presentation of themselves through their interests, the users form cohesive communities that bond over their shared love of these books and shows. The community formed on the platform is so cohesive that they have even developed their own written language, a language that is able to reflect (often volatile) For unless there’s a emotions – a necessity in self-expression change in the way we when it comes to the perceive the world around tumultuous plot twists movie releases of us, this sense of alienation and their beloved books. and isolation will not, and They frequently discuss their favourite cannot change. ‘ships’ (a shortened form of the word ‘relationship’ – thus their favourite relationship pairings), and their ‘OTPs’, or One True Pairings, the one pair of characters that they believe are destined to be – an opinion that many defend ruthlessly. It is interesting that unlike platforms like Facebook, where a presentation of oneself through one’s social and business related achievements alienates and pits us against one another, the presentation of the self on Tumblr through one’s interests helps to form communities instead. A theory to consider here is psychiatrist and academic Thomas Szasz’s belief that people under depression often try to express themselves in protolanguage – expressing a desire for social contact and a community that is hidden under a safety net of obscurity. The passionate exchanges occurring in Tumblr fandoms can be seen as a form of protolanguage in itself; not really just reflecting an interest in a 900-year-old time lord traversing time and space, but rather, reflecting the attempt to reach out to the community Instead of seeing the that gathers around this fandom. This world as a dangerous isn’t a new concept, place where life is a fight but one that has been for decades, to the finish, we need to around with communities forming round other remember and cherish fandoms like Star mankind’s ability to inTrek, but in a less accessible fashion, only clude and embrace. really able to reach out to others in the community at comic conventions, rather than anytime, anywhere in the world, through an online platform. Of course, the communities that form on Tumblr are far from a utopia, as some users get into vicious fights over ‘ship-wars,’ and keyboard warriors continue to anonymously attack through the platform’s ask capabilities. Despite all this however, there still remains a strong sense of community, with a constant desire to maintain peace and a sense of inclusion, as Tumblr exists for many of its users a recluse from the bitter competition that exists on Facebook and in real life.
Of course, Facebook and Tumblr are just examples as to the different platforms online that provide different communities and uses to today’s youth. In the same way, it would be ridiculous to pin the rising depression cases in our youth solely on sites like Facebook, with depression being an incredibly complex illness, one that no one right now can claim to fully understand or be able to diagnose. However, I believe that what we can take away from these social media platforms is a reflection of our society. As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, our society is becoming increasingly self-centred and self-serving, and the trends on Facebook that I have pointed out today reflect this issue. I believe that, instead of, as we are taught, focusing on finding ourselves and having no reservations to the betterment of the self, we should instead shift our focus onto the community – a focus that we see reflected on Tumblr. For unless there’s a change in the way we perceive the world around us, this sense of alienation and isolation will not, and cannot change. Instead of seeing the world as a dangerous place where life is a fight to the finish, we need to remember and cherish mankind’s ability to include and embrace. Tumblr only reflects this ability in society to become cohesive once again, and it’s this cohesiveness in our everyday reality that we need to work towards, rehabilitating ourselves from loneliness. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/missinghashtag »
social media apps fickr JASON A. HOWIE
TECH NOLO GY WarwickSalon
TEDxWarwick’s Technology Salon Priya SHAH
On Saturday 19th October, I was honoured to cover the first Salon event of the year. The theme was technology, or to be more specific, ‘How do technological advances eventually alter the fabric of our society?’ The idea behind this first Salon event was to spark discussion on issues of academic and personal interest that may have not been considered before. Speakers from a range of disciplines filled the afternoon with captivating talks about the impact of technology in financial stock markets to biomedical science and even creative art. The talks were fascinating and left one thinking outside of the box even once the event was over.
video games such as ‘Sims’ to explain human interaction; a complete contrast to Realist and Constructivist approaches that I am taught in my lectures. As ridiculous as this may sound – the idea
The cold and wet autumn weather certainly did not deter the audience as a buzzing atmosphere was created whilst the seats were being filled. Like all TEDxWarwick events, this too, was organised and run by a team of dedicated students and the precision with time and logistics did not fail to impress me. After briefly interviewing some of the speakers, the lights dimmed and the talks began.
The first talk was by Tobias Revell, a “critical designer and futurist”. A what? Put simply, he is a designer at ‘Superflux’, an Anglo-Indian company working on emerging technologies. This isn’t just emerging in the literal sense, but also how developing countries can grasp the latest technologies and use them to their strengths. This really caught my attention. He used the ideas of
of mapping ones life on a fictional idea – Revell explained how “fiction enables us to refocus our lives” and escape from, more often than not, “messy present situations”. He is an opportunist, appealing to a niche market, as opposed to the mass market, currently saturated with films. With regards to developing countries, he talked about the impact of emerging technology in “New Mumbai”. ‘New’ is an understatement, due to the array of changes that are occurring in Mumbai at the moment; but the focus was on moving away from science and technological development that happens in labs, to a more creative approach. For example, residences from the slums of Mumbai use biopower created from potatoes. This New Mumbai sounds mad - “and it is” says Revell but “bringing light to distant and rural communities is cheaper and better for the environment.” When I asked Tobias what India needed to do to become a leader in emerging technology, he replied with “nothing, India brings lack of competitiveness to the market”, from which I implied economic competition is not all that India has to offer; the culture is just as, if not more, rich. Most people will come across designers and realise immediately what makes their creativity tick. Revell was somewhat different. From being passionate about lost history to objectivity in conspiracy theories, failed architecture
researching, tasks that I imagine many of us now take for granted. Perhaps, one day Google will be able to work out the intentions behind a particular search? Either way, predicting the stock market is a useful tool to at least mitigate the affects of a financial crisis, if at least not avoid one altogether. “Never trust an idea that’s less than twenty years old” was one of the opening lines of the third speaker, David Chatting; who works in software and hardware to explore the impact of emerging technologies in everyday lives. What surprised me was how it was in the 1970s when videophones were first speculated. The physical model was first not created until the 21st century. This highlighted how most of the time it is not the technologies that are changing, rather the context in which these technologies exist. As a result, the other quote, which Chatting had opened his talk with, “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed”, first said by William Gibson, reflected his talk. and unexplained phenomena; the ten minutes
this speaker had to share his technology ideas, were perhaps not enough to summarise what was creative about Revell. However, his holistic approach to technology was fascinating to listen to and made the likes of ‘Skyrim’ and ‘Sims’ sound rather fun! After a short TED Video about the power of algorithms to explain solutions, another Tobias joined us. This was Tobias Preis, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science and Finance at Warwick Business School. His talk, titled “Can Google predict the stock market” was the ultimate finance application or personal statement talking point! However, all jokes aside, Professor Preis enlightened us with how the power of a search engine can predict the stock markets. Data obtained from search engines can help us analyse how many traders made the decision to buy or sell a share and at what price. As Google keeps a history of everything that we search, in the run up to the financial crisis, there was a correlation between how many times “Lehman Brothers” was being searched and then the ultimate collapse of the bank. Now, of course, such a study does not come without limitations. The data obviously cannot tell one the thought process behind such a decision to type into Google “credit” or “debt”, but such buzzwords are related to the concept of stock markets, and thus provide some useful information. I suppose the focal point of Professor Preis’s talk was how the Internet has revolutionised the way that we think and merely just how useful it is, for emailing or
Last but not least was a talk by Warwick’s Professor Nick Dale, a neuroscientist, amongst many other titles, who talked about the implementation of biosensors in healthcare to revolutionise disease diagnosis. Professor Dale applied the UK’s ageing population to exemplify his technological research. Here in the UK, the demographic ‘timebomb’ means that the cost and time needed for healthcare on the elderly population is only going to increase. At a time when the government’s budget cannot increase, what is the answer to this dilemma? Investing money into technology for preventable diseases and health problems, such as catching the affects of stroke early on, will help reduce the health costs for the after care. The thinking behind this is logical; “the quicker you give treatment and unblock the problem, the quicker you can go back to living your life”, claimed Professor Dale. Scientific breakthroughs have the potential to save millions of lives every year; combine this with technological advancements, and the result is hope for many patients of life-threatening diseases. The talks were supplemented with some interesting TED videos in between. These were just as thought provoking as the talks themselves. One film, in particular, looked at the impact of 3D technology. Imagine seeing something that you like on Amazon and then printing it out of your own printer?! Although it was a typical miserable and cold afternoon, the students who attended, did not let the rain dampen the true inspirational
spirit that was sensed in the theatre. One student, Kushal Patel, said that his “TEDx experience was extremely insightful” and he found the stock market talk “most fascinating”. If I could sum up the TEDxWarwick Salon event in one word it would have to be captivating. Technology has the potential to revolutionise
numerous areas of life; don’t get left behind! All videos and photographs from the conference, as well as further information regarding future events and the speakers, are available on tedxwarwick.com. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/technology »
Speakers Photo and the Host From left to right: Nicholas Dale, Tobias Revell, Costanza Pusateri (host), Tobias Preis, David Chatting
About Priya Shah @priya963 Priya Shah is a final year Politics and International Studies student at the University of Warwick. Having covered many of TEDxWarwick’s events in the past, she aspires to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for the Guardian, The Huffington Post UK, edited for The Warwick Globalist and most recently, interned for the Verve Magazine in India. This year she will be covering all the TEDxWarwick events.
14 Ideas That Changed the World David ALFREY TED upon their conception adopted the mission of promoting ideas worth spreading. Every initiative by TEDx events such as ours at Warwick has tried to recognise and give these ideas a platform that it deserves. Not all ideas however can be captured and staged in 18 minutes. So this year as part of our lineup we have taken the time to recognise the 14 achievements that we believe particularly stood out for us leading up to TEDxWarwick 2014 in the past year aside from our staged speakers.
1. Grow a Burger
Every year the global population crisis increases demanding greater resources to house and feed everybody. Beyond the ethics of raising some 9 billion animals to be killed for food each year in the U.S. —
GROW A BURGER image flickr MARTIN
a big issue for vegetarians and some advocacy groups — factory farms produce vast amounts of waste: some 2 trillion pounds of animal waste, which pollutes air and water. And with global demand for meat expected to grow 60% by 2050, the amount of farmland and grain needed to feed those chickens, pigs and cows may be unsustainable not to mention the extreme use of water needed to grow the feed itself for the livestock. This year, physiologist Mark Post and his team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who have already grown small amounts of meat tissue, say they’re months away from producing the first in vitro burger. Their challenge — aside from convincing consumers that lab meat isn’t as gross as it sounds — will be cost. Proper cell cultivation is pricey (development expenses
for the burger are estimated at north of $100,000), so it’ll be tough to scale with conventional farming, which produces 50 billion hamburgers each year in the U.S. If they succeed, though, we may one day be ordering McInVitros.
2. Wear Your Doctor
On average the UK spends £120 billion annually on healthcare and the NHS (the single largest employer in the UK). The tests used to monitor the health of the patients tend to be invasive, bulky, expensive and outdated. David Icke, CEO of bioelectronics firm MC10, the leading health-censor firm and his team want to change that. Such is the potential of bioelectronics, an emerging field whose leaders are developing small, wearable, wi-fi-enabled sensors that can detect all kinds of vital information — heart rate, body temperature, hydration levels — and relay them to your doctor or your smartphone in real time. Once patients have the big data about their bodies, the thinking goes, they can be proactive about their health, cut care costs and foster better relationships with their doctors. Most of its game-changing sensors — like the one that can assess concussion risk and measure skin properties — are in development or just on the cusp of commercial availability. Still, researchers at firms around the world are working hard to make them as comfortable and affordable as possible. The price of MC10 sensors is typically $1 to $10. Which means the most cost-effective doctor could be one that’s with you all the time. The sensors currently have the capability to: Check Your Vitals: Once patients affix Preventice’s BodyGuardian sensor to themselves, it collects a wealth of data — pulse, respiration rate, activity levels — and alerts a doctor if anything is off base. Assess Impact: A helmet sensor developed by Reebok and tech firm MC10 analyzes head impacts during sports play and flashes a light when players get hit too hard, so they will know to take a break. Track Your Medicine: Proteus Digital Health is
WEAR YOUR DOCTOR image flickr PHOTONQUANTIQUE
14 Ideas That Changed the World
developing a grain-of-sand-size sensor powered by stomach fluid that could be swallowed as a pill and then relay information to a smartphone about the effects of a particular drug. Improve Athletic Performance: Another MC10 sensor, stuck on like a Band-Aid, sends real-time hydration levels to athletes’ smartphones so they know exactly when and how much they should drink. Nurse Your Wounds: John Rogers, a researcher at the University of Illinois, is developing tiny, dissolvable sensors that can generate heat near surgical incisions to prevent infection. Keep Skin Healthy: A translucent sensor developed by MC10 can be stuck on to check users’ UV-exposure levels while they sleep and recommend the best moisturizers.
SHRINK YOUR LIVING SPACE
image flickr MRFULLER
3. Shrink your living space
The population of the world is projected to surpass 8 billion by 2020, rising sea levels simultaneously contribute to the diminishing of the living space currently available to us. Ecologists and architects have recognised and have been working towards solutions that will help alleviate the stress to be placed on our limited resources. Each year the price of rents soar, cities grow together force people further out of the cities - which is bad for businesses. “We’re concerned about brain drain,” says Richard Taylor, head of the real estate center at Suffolk University.
To address this trend, several North American cities have jettisoned old zoning laws, like ones requiring that new units be at least 400 sq. ft. (37 sq m), to allow smaller, cheaper microapartments, often designed to create the illusion of space. A typical studio in a San Francisco microcomplex that opened last year offers high ceilings, a retractable bed and foldaway tables —
and rent under $1,600 a month. “We’re doing space plus utility plus functionality plus aesthetic inspiration,” says Patrick Kennedy, one of the developers. Microapartments won’t solve all urban housing issues. In fact, a Vancouver complex debuted last year to protests from advocates for more low-income housing, in whose view the $850-per-month price tag was too high. But they’re a small step in the right direction.
4. The Cardboard Bike
One day in 2009, Israeli engineer Izhar Gafni sat in a quiet library designing a machine to extract seeds from pomegranates when his mind drifted to cycling, his favorite pastime. Gafni admired bikes made from sustainable bamboo, which was announced a winner of the UNFCC Momentum for Change Women for Results Award 2013. Co-founded by three students – Bernice Dapaah, Kwame Kyei and Winnifred Selby – the initiative seeks to take advantage of the abundant raw bamboo materials in Ghana to manufacture high quality bamboo bikes suitable for export markets as well as for the road conditions, but their high cost seemed prohibitive. He wondered, Why not make them from cardboard, instead? Over the next two years, Gafni learned to fold cardboard sheets into the strongest possible shapes; his experimentation led to robust structures resembling honeycombs and bird nests. He then spent another year crafting the material into bicycle components. “I almost felt like the Wright Brothers going into unknown territory,” he says. The product of his labor is a single-speed bicycle with spokes, rims, and a frame made from cardboard. Varnish protects the glued paper core from moisture, while old car tires serve as puncture-proof wheels. Gafni used a car’s timing belt as a chain and formed plastic bottles into pedal cranks. The 28-pound prototype, called Alfa, can safely support a rider nearly 20 times its weight. Gafni intends to mass produce four models: two 18-pound bikes for adults, assisted by optional rechargeable electric motors, and two smaller versions for children. He hopes to build each bike for less than $12 in materials and sell them for no more than $30. Through advertising plastered on each bike—or enough grant money—people in developing countries could ride them for free. Gafni can already envision fashioning his cardboard into baby strollers, wheelchairs, and even cars. “You can do almost anything with it,” he says.
THE CARDBOARD BIKE image flickr MICHAEL.VELTMAN
5. Community Health Workers in Developing Countries
through blood and to erase the need for reliance upon blood banks. Project leader Marc Turner said: “In the first part of the project we used human embryonic stem cell lines and one of the problems with using those lines is you can’t choose what the blood group is going to be. Over the last few years there has been a lot of work on induced pluripotent stem cells and with those an adult can donate a small piece of skin or a blood sample and the technology allows for stem-cell lines to be derived from that sample. This makes our life a lot easier in some ways because that means we can identify a person with the specific blood type we want and get them to donate a sample from which we could manufacture the cell lines.”
These so-called ‘community health workers’ are armed with only their training, their devote dedication, and a mobile phone. Mobile phones have truly revolutionised the diagnostic and monitoring capabilities of these workers. Community health workers can ensure children are growing up healthy and properly nourished by sending frequent measurements to a centralised database. Furthermore, they can quickly update the database upon the onset of a disease. This has allowed community health workers to access - regardless of where they may be - the details of each family in their community and track the progress and health of families over time.
With the licence scientists will also be able to work on stem cell products used to help patients with Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cancer or those who have suffered a stroke. Other research projects have previously gained licences for human trials of other stem cell products but this is the first time synthetic blood will be tested on humans, according to The Scotsman. Prof Turner hopes that the preparations to begin human testing will be completed in the next two to three years. The uses for stem cells are broad, and all equally intriguing. Human application is an important development for stem cell research and could lead to major breakthroughs in the medicine.
COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS
Poor infrastructure, vast distances, and the lack of readily available transportation makes reaching a doctor or clinic incredibly difficult for many of the world’s poorest and most isolated communities. An ambitious initiative to launch over 1 million community health workers in Africa has aimed to provide sustained basic health care and monitoring services to communities, free of charge.
Never before have we had such cheap and effective opportunities to deliver basic, yet crucial, services to the world’s poorest. These workers are truly ingrained into the communities in which they work and are a boon not only for improving basic health but for disseminating important information on health issues such as disease, family planning and nutrition. Malawi, led by President Joyce Banda, has spearheaded the One Million Community Health Workers initiative. With several African countries following, a true sense of excitement has emerged across the continent, and rightfully so.
6. Transfusion – a Thing of the Past
While some worry about the possibility of making almost everything synthetically, Researcher Professor Marc Turner and his team from the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM) in Edinburgh have been granted a licence to make blood from stem cells which can be tested on humans. This licence will allow scientists to manufacture blood to tackle the shortages of blood, prevent the transfer of infectious disease
image flickr LILEE NISHIZONO
7. Regulating the Robots
Every law student will tell you that without regulation the world would be in a constant state of chaos. The robotics revolution is set to bring humans face to face with an old fear — man-made creations as smart and capable as we are but without a moral compass. As robots take on ever more complex roles, the question naturally arises: Who will be responsible when they do something wrong? Manufacturers? Users? Software writers? The answer depends on the robot.
REGULATING THE ROBOTS
Robots already save us time, money and energy. In the future, they will improve our health care, social welfare and standard of living. The combination of computational power and engineering advances will eventually enable lower-cost in-home care for the disabled, widespread use of driverless cars that may reduce drunk and distracted-driving accidents and countless home and service-industry uses for robots, from gutter cleaning to food preparation. But there are bound to be problems. Robot cars will crash. A drone operator will invade someone’s privacy. A robotic lawn mower will run over a neighbor’s cat. Juries sympathetic to the victims of machines will punish entrepreneurs with company-crushing penalties and damages. What should governments do to protect people while preserving space for innovation? Ryan Calo of the University of Washington Law School argues that to foster start-up-style innovation in home and service robots, the platforms have to be open, meaning that any app developer can write a program
that teaches your floor-mopping robot to clean windows too — much as smartphones have been taught to do more than make calls. The fault for any hiccups would be with the app developer or the user. None of that means there won’t be accidents as we look to robots to improve life. But at least we’ll know who to blame.
8. Play Without Stereotypes
Girls like cooking and dress-up. Boys like sports and construction. That’s the message you’ll get from most toy stores. “But it’s not the whole story,” says Maureen O’Brien, a developmental psychologist who has consulted for Mattel. In fact, until age 3 or 4, most children don’t show any gendered toy preferences: boys are fine donning flamboyant costumes (which helps them experiment with creativity), and girls enjoy assembling building blocks (which helps them develop spatial skills). It’s not until elementary school that the stereotypes pushed by parents, peers and marketers start to take hold: “That toy isn’t for you. It’s for him.”
In the past year, Mattel debuted Mega Bloks Barbie construction sets, and Hasbro previewed a line of Nerf Rebelle crossbows for girls and an Easy-Bake oven with moremasculine hues. For now at least, all these new-toy colour schemes remain gendered: pinkish for girls, bluish for boys. Nevertheless “we’re at an important transition period,” says Deborah Best, who lectures at Wake Forest University on how play affects development. Psychological benefits abound. Getting older girls to engage with construction toys can help ignite an interest in technology or engineering, fields in which men hold the lion’s share of degrees. And playthings that destigmatize certain hobbies — like writing and cooking — from being “feminine” can help boys embrace their creative passions instead of joining a sports team by default. For toy companies, however, the boost is in the bottom line. “We’re reaching an entirely new market,” says Michael McNally, brandrelations director at Lego, whose feminine Friends sets launched in January 2012. Since then, the company has nearly tripled its sales to girls.
PLAY WITHOUT STEREOTYPES
10 THE HYPERLOOP
image flickr SAM_CHURCHILL
bonanza was the news that scientists in Japan had been able to use MRI scans to “read” the images people saw in their dreams.
10. The Hyperloop
After months of hype, Elon Musk finally unveiled a wildly futuristic form of transportation known as the Hyperloop that promised to send visitors between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes or less. The whole multi-billion-dollar transportation system would be solar-powered, earthquake-resistant and pod-based, giving travelers a welcome alternative to traditional forms of transportation. And Elon Musk wasn’t done with the Hyperloop. His Tesla Motors electric-powered cars continued to make headlines throughout the year, earning him rave reviews around the world. Buoyed by Musk’s success in championing futuristic new forms of transportation, a group of auto manufacturers led by Toyota recently unveiled the latest form of carbon-free transportation — hydrogen-powered cars — at auto shows in Los Angeles and Tokyo. These hydrogen-powered cars could make their way to market as soon as 2015.
11. The Lazarus Project
Stewart Brand’s “Revive & Restore” de-extinction project, which gained public attention at the beginning of the year, aims to bring back previously extinct species, starting with the humble passenger pigeon. Brand even organized a full-day TEDx “De-Extinction”
9. Mind Mapping
A US-led venture to map the wiring of the human brain released its first results in March. The Human Connectome Project should help determine how a person’s brain structure affects their abilities and behaviour. The BBC’s Pallab Ghosh got to test out the group’s cutting edge imaging techniques on his own brain. The BBC also reported that efforts were underway to understand the workings of the teenage brain, to identify changes to the brain’s wiring that controls impulsive and emotional behaviour as young people mature. One astonishing addition to the neurological
image flickr YUKI ISHIKAWA
image flickr AMATTOX MATTOX
event in Washington in March, which led to a round of hyperbole about what other species we might be able to bring back from extinction – including the sabertoothed tiger and the wooly mammoth. Simultaneously but independently, scientists at Australia’s University of Newcastle have used DNA from frozen tissue samples to resurrect embryos of a frog extinct since 1983 that gives birth through its mouth. After the male gastricbrooding frog fertilizes the eggs externally, the female swallows them, gestates them in her stomach and regurgitates baby frogs. The Lazarus Project, as this deextinction initiative is known, is led by Professor Mike Archer, who has his eye on the extinct Tasmanian tiger next.
There are a whole number of ethical and scientific challenges to overcome before we start to see the appearance of these extinct species, but the science now exists to make it a reality. De-extinction even landed on the cover of National Geographic magazine, as top-level scientists signed on to support the “Revive & Restore” de-extinction project. In 2014, look for new ways that scientists plan to push their knowledge of DNA and genome technology to reverse-engineer endangered or extinct species.
12 PLUS POOL
image flickr SHAWNOSTER
13. The Edible Password Pill
Maintaining complicated passwords is imperative if you want to avoid getting hacked, but memorizing them can be a daunting task. More recently, corporations such as Apple have introduced biometrics as a means of protecting your gadgets and accounts, but one corporation has gone even further. Enter Motorola’s Edible Password Pill, which is exactly as dystopian (yet revolutionary) as it sounds. Swallowed once daily, the pill consists of a tiny chip that uses the acid in your stomach to power it on. Once activated, it emits a specific 18-bit EKG-like signal that can be detected by your phone or computer, essentially turning your body into a password. Though the pill has cleared the major hurdle of acquiring FDA approval, it’s not scheduled to hit shelves soon. Motorola, however, is owned by Google, so perhaps sometime in the future, logging in to Gmail and YouTube will be as easy as swallowing a pill.
14. 3Doodler image flickr CUBA GALLERY
12. The Plus Pool
THE EDIBLE PASSWORD PILL
An Olympic-size pool designed to float in the less-thancrystal-clear East River, the Plus Pool kills two birds with one stone: it cleans the river water and gives New Yorkers a place to swim. Its unique filtration system scrubs the water as it floats through it, while its distinctive plus-sign shape isolates different wings for different activities. Designed by Dong-Ping Wong, Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin, the pool could make it possible for New Yorkers to dive into clean river water for the first time in 100 years. So far the $15 million project has been funded by Kickstarter, but the team is still raising money to get the pool up and floating by the summer of 2016.
The 3Doodler is a new kind of pen that doodles in three dimensions instead of two. Essentially it works like a 3-D printer, melting and cooling colored plastic to create rigid, freestanding structures in any shape imaginable (sort of like a hot-glue gun but better). Invented by Maxwell Bogue, Peter Dilworth and Daniel Cowen at the Boston-based toy company WobbleWorks, the 3Doodler raised over $2 million on Kickstarter (they were shooting for $30,000) and can be preordered online for $99. It is expected to redefine the way in which we interact with not only art but with our everyday activities too. The extent to which this invention will go is yet to be experienced and it won’t be until later this year that we are expected to understand how much fun 3Doodling will be. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/14ideas »
images flickr DOT SAN
This is Ted. With the X
A Ted Perspective Ted TEO
Vishal bing hotobom
Time certainly flies. Just a year ago, I wrote about how surreal it was for me to be part of a TEDx team and how powerful the simple act of sharing ideas drives discovery. Now, although I can safely say that my excitement of being on the team has been quelled, my passion for sharing ideas has never been stronger. I say this resolutely due to three reasons.
Firstly, the more time I spend organising an event like this, the more determined I am to spread good ideas. Ironically, ever since joining the team, the time I have spent learning from TED talks has decreased significantly. I don’t even get to listen to the speakers on the actual day of the TEDxWarwick event! (To those of you who are keen to join the team, don’t say I didn’t warn you!) Yet, as I constantly seek out these ideas, I find myself spending more time questioning what actually matters and how our society can make positive change. And I think I can speak on behalf of my team; as we go about organising talks relating to stem cell research or alternative approaches to journalism, we always aim to give people more opportunities to see the world around them differently. The second reason is more personal: through TEDxWarwick, I have found joy in communicating through photos and videos. Last year, as a member of the Operations team, my main role was in logistics and area management. However, being an avid photographer, I quickly found my hobby being put to good use in the creation of promotional videos and documentaries. I guess everyone assumed that since I could use a camera, I would excel in videography. That assumption (although not entirely true in my case) was a blessing in disguise; I enjoyed conceptualising and putting my knowledge of photography to the test by shooting videos! Even now, as I strive to generate compelling media for my team, I realise that I am only getting a glimpse into the myriad of ways one can communicate ideas effectively. In this sense, I guess I can relate to our speakers, who have painstakingly condensed their passion and expertise into less than 18 minutes – my respect goes to every single one of them. Finally, it is my quirky team that causes my passion for sharing ideas to grow. Our purpose as a team extends beyond the 8-hour event in Butterworth Hall and, more so, the countless sleepless nights spent juggling our degrees and making the event happen. Every member of the team brings with them a different perspective. Some are engineers-to-be, while others are biomedical science students; some like giving out flyers and talking to people, while others prefer speaking through well-designed posters; some don’t drink coffee, while others – let’s just say their loyalty cards have reached their daily limit on more than one occasion. Yet, despite our differences, I have never felt more at home around this bunch of idea-fanatics. I enjoy how we always go off on a tangent because of some amazing find on the internet and how we can rattle off suggestions so quickly when ideas are needed. I also take pride in how when it comes to the crunch, many of them willingly take on tasks outside their job description and expertise to enable other team members to succeed. These talented and dedicated people make sharing ideas an amazing experience. It is certainly difficult to anticipate what TEDxWarwick 2014 will be like, much less write about it. Nevertheless, I am certain of one thing: I will be taken out of my comfort zone (in fact, I am probably running about backstage solving some minor glitch right now as you read this in your seat). Having been on the team for two years now, my experience tells me that TEDx events – with all the excitement from the crowd and inspiration from the speakers – are always full of surprises. I hope the event will be as much of a surprise for you as it will be for me.
Team Media eady R Getting
g at ostin 013 h l l i 2 tG Mat Warwick x TED
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A Ted Perspective
The European Identity: Idealism, Implementation and Information Christoph KÜHN @kuehnechris
image flickr LUCASTHEEXPERIENCE
Congratulations! Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Félicitations! You probably were not aware, but if you are more than 20 years old, you could have celebrated your 20th anniversary as a European citizen last year. The fact that most people who read this will probably be unaware of it illustrates one of the core problems of the EU: a missing European identity. I have always thought the phrase, “I am a citizen of the EU,” rather abstract. I myself am German, both in citizenship and identity, which makes sense as I have lived there for 18 years, adhering to its laws, speaking the language and enjoying its cultural elements. At the same time, I feel European as I have studied in the UK, have benefited from the rights guaranteed to me by EU law, have tried to speak several European languages and have enjoyed the diverse culture of Europe. But the majority of EU nationals certainly do not feel European and many are not privileged enough to travel around Europe, receive a first-class education or learn several European languages. As a result it remains a challenge to develop a European identity and consequently Europeans are divided. Whether we attribute this to their ignorance, beliefs or a lack of information, the consequence is the same: only a European Union backed by the people of Europe can prosper in the long term thus maintaining global influence and guaranteeing economic prosperity for its citizens. Being European is therefore much more than just identifying yourself as belonging to a diverse society, but holds economic and political relevance for establishing a better society for every EU citizen in the long term.
Transnational vs. National Identity
A European identity does not stand in contrast to any national identity, unless we make it so. The goal of the EU never was, and still is not, to create a common culture. Rather, it is to embrace the differences and to be “united in diversity”, as its motto states. In fact, people usually have several
different identities. You might identify yourself with the traditions of your local community, your religion, your job or your hobbies. However, for anyone to develop an identity they need to interact and belong, even subconsciously, to a community. A Eurobarometer survey in late 2013, which was conducted in the individual EU states, asked citizens if they identified themselves as citizens of the EU. The results showed that 20% of respondents ‘definitely’ considered themselves citizens, whilst 39% only ‘to some extent’. This survey illustrates the problem of the EU: although everyone possessing a European passport is de facto an EU citizen, many people do not see themselves as such. Citizenship and identity are not necessarily concepts that go hand in hand. However, citizenship is a necessary starting point for everyone to develop a sense of identity. To some extent the concept of national identity can be transferred to the transnational level. In 2012, the European Commission asked its citizens what they think the most important elements of European identity are. The answers were: the Euro (41%), democratic values (40%), culture and history (26%) and the success of the European economy (21%). Equally, in response to the question of which issues most create a feeling of community among EU citizens, people responded with: the Economy (26%), Values (23%), Culture (22%), History (20%) and Solidarity with poorer regions (18%). It appears that a European identity consists for most people of two main branches: commonality in shared values and commonality in physical goods. Although the EU shares the common Euro in most member states, strives to uphold values of freedom and human rights and derive benefit from the single market, a common European identity does not
For the purpose of this article I use European identity and EU identity as interchangeable terms, as I am only considering the European Union.
exist. From this, it seems to follow that EU citizens often fail to recognize the potential of the EU, as they are not aware that the EU implements the values they regard as important for establishing a common identity.
Ideals of an Identity
A European identity is based on communal ideals in comparison to a national identity founded on those attached to a state. To be more precise: the implementation and communication of these ideals. I identify myself as European because I believe in the European ideals of freedom, democracy and human rights and I see, read and hear these ideals being implemented in an unprecedented manner. To this extent the EU constitutes a unique system. However, the EU is not a utopian Marxist dream, nor is it the liberal capitalist’s dream: it is rather an attempt to create a socio-economic and cultural system, where “some give, others receive [...] But in the long-term everyone wins” (Helmut Schmidt, 1975) The EU represents the world’s largest economy and has a genuine basis for the development of a common identity. Notwithstanding the fact that the EU is not a federal state, the difference between the EU and the US in terms of a supranational identity is remarkable. Americans can identify themselves with abstracts such as the ‘American way of life’, while embracing multiculturalism. The diverse cultural mix of the EU, in contrast, is often still considered a burden rather than an advantage. Europeans clearly lack a vision for Europe and have little belief in the EU’s ability to live up to its global potential. Transatlantic trade negotiations are not held between France and the US or Germany and the US, but between the EU and the US. As individual nations are constantly facing a loss of economic and political relevance, the EU provides the possibility for all European nations to retain and gain at a global level. This underlines the contrasting understanding of the EU and its actions by the minority of informed and, not exclusively, politically engaged citizens on the one hand and the uninformed and unengaged citizens on the other. Furthermore it suggests that Europeans have not yet come to terms with the concepts of the EU and its identity. This has been reflected in recent years, where on one hand we have factional EU citizens fighting to get out of the EU, such as the United Kingdom Independence Party, and on the other have EU citizens at heart demonstrating for months to join the EU, as we see in Ukraine. The pro-EU voices are united in their belief in the EU and the promise it makes. The different perceptions about EU ideals and values is to some extent a question of social status, as people who cannot rely on the rights guaranteed by the EU want to gain those and people who are enjoying those rights themselves do not see a reason to give up their perceived sovereignty to support other states. It is furthermore a problem of communication, because it is not clear to most Europeans which additional rights are guaranteed to them as EU citizens, clearly indicated by a majority (55%) saying that they are not aware of their rights. With this in mind, it is hardly surprising that Europeans cannot identify themselves as European.
Towards a new vision for Europe
The political leaders of the EU have failed to engage the citizens almost entirely during the process of creating the EU. Not engaging citizens is one of the biggest hurdles toward a common European identity and will be the deciding factor in determining the future of the EU. While it is up to the individual to determine his identities, we must recognize that identities only emerge through interactions, which require the necessary infrastructure. Looking at the US, it might be true that a citizen from, say, Texas has never set foot outside his state and will still feel American. This is because he grows up with the opin-
The European Identity
ion that as an American he possesses a unique set of freedoms that potentially enable him to lead a satisfied life; US citizens are able to develop a sense of American identity, which the EU is lacking. Personally, I am not sure how European I would feel had I not been able to travel within the EU or study abroad. The EU faces a two-fold challenge: firstly, the infrastructure for Europeans to interact with each other needs to be improved and secondly, the citizens of the EU need to be made aware and confronted with the benefits of, as well as the the credible and ambitious vision that is the EU. You might say that this seems like forcing something that might not be meant to be. And yes, this would not be sustainable if the EU attempted to present itself as something it is not, which is not the case. There exists a stark perceived discrepancy between what Europeans expect from the EU and what they think it delivers. It is almost painfully obvious that I cannot develop a common identity if I do not believe that the values I regard as important are being upheld by the EU. Consequently, Europeans from the UK, for example, are Eurosceptic as they are constantly confronted with populist, anti-EU biased news. A change in perception, I argue, cannot only come from the population itself – it must come from the EU and it will come if there is a serious attempt to promote integration and uphold its founding values . The fact that greater transparency and actual communication have an effect can be seen in Europe right now. People feel more European as they get to enjoy the benefits of the EU; they do their business across borders and travel across Europe. While the EU is still a technocratic institution, it can be said that no previous generation has felt as European as this one. This is not hard to believe as this generation has been able to derive greater benefit from the integration of the EU through the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaty by making use of exchange programs, funding from the EU, and the rise of cheap European airlines. You might object here by saying that anti-European sentiment has also never been higher within the EU. However, the rise of anti-European parties also indicates that people are becoming increasingly aware of the institutions and actions of the EU, which in turn presents an opportunity for the EU institutions themselves, as well as other pro-European voices to argue for the European ideals and their implementation. It is critical to use raising awareness to foster the development of a European identity and to unite the citizens of Europe, so as to inspire the people of the EU and even other nations and regions.
The message for the EU is clear: the EU needs its citizens to believe in it. They need to be informed and inspired. Identification without interaction does not work and for this interaction to take place the EU must create the necessary infrastructure and platforms. This is not only true on a European level, but applies to all regions with people struggling to determine their identities. The EU shows us that in order to identify yourself you have to look not only at the commonality, but also at the diversity we share within a communal system of ideals. However, while the ideals of the EU are universal, the implementation and the opportunities are unique. The challenge for everyone is to recognize a credible and idealistic vision, to engage with and stand up for it, but also to distinguish it from a misleading one. I believe the EU presents such a credible vision and can make it possible for all EU citizens to develop a transnational identity, which is why it needs to be defended and advanced, but judge for yourself. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/identity »
TEDxWarwick’s Women Salon Priya SHAH
After a fantastic first Salon event, TEDxWarwick held its second one on Saturday 23rd November. This time, the theme was ‘Women’. An event titled “Women” initially suggests a series of talks about feminism, ranging from the importance of women’s rights to the slightly more radical images of Russia’s ‘Pussy Riots’. Based on this pretext, the audience is rather predictable too; the typical young feminist student ready to preach on behalf of the wider female population. This is somewhat a misperception. Whilst I am quite certain that the speakers we had are feminists, their purpose for giving a talk was not to preach feminism. Rather, Women was about celebrating the achievements of these women, in a range of fields, from development and political work, to even childcare. These women, regardless of age or background, have a history of brilliance that deserves recognition and for their ideas to be heard. Although I may question their views or the focus of topic, their motivation and determination cannot be criticised, nor can the curiosity that they sparked amongst the audience. These are four women who are working extremely hard to achieve their goals. The series of talks commenced with awardwinning filmmaker and photojournalist, Fiona Lloyd-Davies. Her work has focused on a range of sensitive issues from honour killings to human rights, and currently she is focusing on the sexual violence against women in eastern Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC). As a Development Studies student, I was extremely interested in Fiona’s work and her achievements. Anyone who knows even a little bit about the DRC knows that it’s a conflicted, so called ‘failed-state’, as development jargon has taught me. In short, one would not go to the DRC for a casual holiday, not even someone who has caught the travel bug. This is why, when Fiona told me that she was in the DRC visiting her sister and saw how women in the Eastern region would rather stay at home and starve, as opposed to risk going outside and being raped, I was shocked. If that was bad, a figure of 48 women being raped every hour was a further shock to the system. It would have been great had Fiona expanded on the reasons behind why such extortionate figures of rape exist. Systematic rape is a weapon. Many women who are raped are shunned from their family and have to live with the shame away from their communities. Of course it is not their fault, but culture and traditions speak otherwise and they are made to feel like they have done wrong, when they are actually the victim. This creates divided communities and for the leaders of the country who are endorsing this disgusting act, this is what they are out to achieve. The leaders and soldiers of DRC are elites who are working against the interests of their country; unfortunately, it is the women who are the major losers in this situation. Nevertheless, Fiona, unlike many vocal individuals who can describe the situation in eastern DRC, actually did something for these women. She helped a survivor of rape called Masica Cusava, who then helped thousands of other women, like herself, from sexual violence. The method: reconciliation programmes where women work together, eat together and learn together. The instrumental point being that, regardless of past events, these women had braved together and a community spirit was the only way forward. Despite the plight of these women, they had found solidarity in their experiences, and thus farming and harvesting collectively was one way of coping with their ordeal. Fiona was adamant that a change in the law was necessary to restore justice. Arguably, a change in attitudes is also necessary; no amount of laws can prevent rape if the notion of systematic rape is firmly embedded in the DRC. In addition, if the
government has failed to prevent the women of its country from this horrible atrocity, then laws alone will not help such women. Putting aside my cynicism, Fiona has to be commended for taking a step in the right direction on what is a difficult journey in helping women. Far more people can turn a blind eye to these women, but Fiona is a brave person for putting this issue at the forefront of the international agenda. Next, a student at Warwick, Bettina Wolff, raised an issue that many more people should be questioning: is Europe really united? Despite the huge freedoms the EU has enabled, from economic to freedom of movement, people who live in Europe do not consider themselves as European. Certainly in Britain this is the case; most British citizens are exactly that: British – A European identity does not enter their personal statement. But for Bettina, as a German student, studying in the UK, she is strongly European. I enjoyed the way her talk was rhetorically interactive, by asking the thought-provoking question “What do you want in life?” – most answers can be rather generic, such as “success” or “love” or even “happiness”, which was Bettina’s answer. Where she differed was her interpretation of the notion. For Bettina, happiness was related to her European identity and how she has benefitted from free movement, freedom to work and studying in different European countries. This strong affiliation with Europe has resulted in several political achievements. Bettina is leader of the Young European Movement at Warwick and also an aspiring Member of the European Parliament, running for elections this May (www. Stimme-fuer-Europa.de). These are fantastic accomplishments, and certainly for someone whose goal in life is a united Europe, this is the right direction. Bettina felt that if she did not do anything she would have regretted it much more.
However, I could not help but project some cynicism. Having studied European politics myself, I personally am sceptical of a united Europe. Besides the overt problems, such as the Eurozone crisis and issues regarding migration from Eastern Europe, the matter at stake is slightly more deep-rooted. The different European countries do not share identical histories, in contrast to the United States, for example. The USA is united by a common language and history over a much longer period of time. In contrast, the EU is younger; languages and social models divide the EU. The current challenges of the Euro and questions over the democratic deficit further challenge the legitimacy of a united Europe. But just because something seems rather ambitious is not a reason to not contest it. Bettina has acknowledged that she is bold. She is no way suggesting that a united Europe means an abandonment of country-specific cultures. Europe is united in diversity and it is about exchanging different views, not losing national identities. She is juggling a degree, a European movement within Warwick and will be running for a seat in the next European election. This is only the beginning of her mark in European history. From saving Europe to saving our children, speaker Charlotte Davies talked about ‘checking the obvious’ in young children. In a world that is developing and changing faster than a cheetah runs, something like checking children’s senses can be overlooked. That was the bottom line – we are living in a changing world, a knowledgebased economy that requires far more skills and use of our senses that unfortunately not everyone can claim are great. Not being able to see properly, for example, can have a huge impact on a child’s education, and thus opportunities in their later life. Consequently, ensuring children have fully functioning sense is part of development and “If you want to know about human development, look at animals, they use their senses; a lion’s senses are fully integrated and well developed,” said Charlotte. A key point in her life was when her local hospital blinded her son, who was left with no peripheral vision. Although, he can now fully see, the ordeal made her realise the importance of checking senses and how lack of urgency can allow things to go wrong. Nobody listened to Charlotte when she claimed that there was something wrong with her child’s vision, and to put someone in isolation is demeaning. The affects of unchecked senses are profound, such as the correlation between a child who cannot hear very well and his or hers’ impaired speech. It can result in diminished communication skills that could impede one’s opportunities in a knowledge-based economy. This also led onto an analysis of the summer 2011 Croydon riots, where 50% of those arrested had
learning difficulties due to weaknesses in their senses, suggesting that crime cannot be taken at face value. Of course an individual is responsible for their actions, but their circumstances need to be considered and rather than judging such people, helping them is a better solution; not just for their own benefit, but for society in general. Charlotte highlighted the importance of cognitive development as a means to bettering education, particularly for those individuals who were disadvantaged with their life chances. Call her a ‘Labourite’ or a ‘Social Egalitarian’; equal opportunities are instrumental for a better society. Last but not least, Zena Agha, another student at Warwick (currently on her year abroad), gave an exceptional talk about ‘How Islam made me a feminist’. Attacking all perceptions of Islam as being incompatible with feminism, Zena made a point of reiterating, “Islam is hard to follow because it is a book and this has led people astray.” Alongside this, Islam is a religion with 1.5 billion believers, so of course there are going to be controversies. A group of five people will disagree on where to eat for dinner, so 1.5 billion Muslims will undoubtedly interpret Islam in their own way. The variances in Islam range from slightly more liberal Muslims in western countries like the USA, who may not wear a Hijab or pray five times a day, to characteristics that are a contrast to more Conservative Muslims in the Middle East, where women are more often than not wearing a burqa and only displaying their eyes. Consequently, the biggest misconception is the way individuals interchange the terms culture and religion. The Islam religion does not state that Muslim women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia, for example; that is a cultural notion. Islam preaches equality, how a country interprets this in
practice is dependent on a range of factors. Zena has interpreted Islam from a feminist standpoint due to her upbringing. She saw how her mother was a strong, independent woman and overcame struggles in her lifetime. Life experiences shape the person you are today and Zena is who she is today due to a host of her own. Her talk was full of passion and emotion and even if one is not a feminist or disagrees with elements of Islam, her belief in what she was saying was enough to convince anybody that feminism and Islam are compatible. Islam and Feminism aside, Zena has an array of achievements under her belt. From being the youngest member of Operation Black Votes’s MP Shadowing Scheme to campaigning for a boycott of Israeli Settlement foodstuffs, Zena also founded Warwick University’s biggest spoken word collective, ‘Shoot from the Lip’, running poetry slam nights. In an age where many people complain about analysing poetry in English Literature classes, Zena speaks her passion through poetry, as it is a means of expressing her views. She has achieved a significant amount in her life and strikes me as someone who will not give up on what she believes in. The afternoon was far more than merely a presentation of ideas. Each of the four speakers was different in their own right, but what they all showed was how pursuing a passion is what has made them who they are today. Many more women have also achieved tremendous amounts in their lives and as Virginia Woolf claimed, “For most of history, anonymous was a woman.” Thus it is never too late to start recognising the achievements of women. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/women »
Speakers Photo From left to right: Charlotte Davies, Fiona Lloyd-Davies, Bettina Wolff, Zena Agha
“INSIDE OUT” IS A THEME THAT CELEBRATES THE EXPLORERS – THOSE WHO ATTEMPT TO UNCOVER THE STORY,
THOSE WITH AN INSATIABLE THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE, AND THOSE WHO CHAMPION REVOLUTIONARY IDEAS –
BECAUSE GREAT IDEAS COME AFTER INSIGHT.
WHILE SOME UNCOVER SOMETHING NEW OTHERS MAKE US REDISCOVER WHATS
WE THOUGHT WE FULLY UNDERSTOOD. THEY'RE MAKING THOSE ON THE INSIDE SEE OUT,
AND THOSE ON THE OUTSIDE SEE IN.
Zena AGHA We don’t know it yet, but our streets are being lined with mutants That’s right, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel and Storm Are reborn, unworn and not yet torn, And they walk between you and me, They sit beside you on the bus and the tube, They man CCTV and fight adversity They guard gas stations, sell us commodities They help us when our dishwashers break And save us when lives are at stake We never thank them – barely acknowledge them Sometimes we even try and fight them And you know, some of us don’t even know they exist Yet they persist, assist and insist On anonymity, secrecy and public decency They don’t inform us that they have different DNA Chromosomes creating new characteristics Flaunting evolution’s logistics Statistics mutating in the face of the future race Imbued with gifts and talents unknown Powers not yet shown They’ve grown into hybrids They all have stomachs made of diamonds Caught in the liminal, still experimental Only first, second or third generation Still nestling into a new location Not yet credited with integration Struggling to lay some sort of foundation I’m not talking X-Men I’m talking immigration You see our immigrants are superhuman They uprooted, traded their lives and stepped into the shoes of ghosts All for security, for safety, and the myth of no more poverty They sold their soul to Beelzebub for a British passport Now they’re cutting teeth on keys with locks in faraway lands Like spores they were strewn across the world The diaspora And they are mutants Because they are an amalgam of here and there Enacting a marriage of mannerism They keep cellophane on TV remotes And won’t take the plastic off new phones They bear the pain of leaving brothers behind Events that time cannot rewind They watch tackier soap operas And collect call cards like stamps Some of them build empires Some build pyramids Some dwell in wastelands Some lose their grip on it They struggle to say where they’re from on their Facebook profiles And they circle ‘other’ on the NHS race forms They introduced Diwali, Hanukkah and Eid to Christmas They sat Yom Kipur and Ramadam next to Lent And they gave thanks to God knows who They work twice as hard to be considered half as good And they are the brave ones
Where we speak one language they speak two three four Mother-father-brother tongues, Where we only know the sun to set in summer They’ve felt the monsoon’s wrath and the sun’s strength Where we only know skin white as moonshine They know men with eyes the colour of rainbows And lands were women with hips are considered beauties And where we only have one identity They have a plethora, each laid onto the sediment of the last And they’re not called Wolverine, Shadowcat or Dazzler But Patel, Mohammed and Muller But in this version, there’s no professor Xavier to unite them To nurture and support them He’s not there to prove that these mutants can be superheroes Westchester Mansion is hidden in Bromley, Bradford and Brixton Now ladies and gentlemen we’ve arrived at our trouble Magneto’s brotherhood of Mutants appear out of the rubble They now control our newspapers, Our radio and our publishers They lurk in Parliament’s committee rooms and the City’s Boardrooms They have BBQs with our neighbors and sort out our taxes They think evil thoughts, speak poniards and every word stabs They insult our intelligence with their falsities And upset our children with their dualities And I hate myself for saying it but I reckon not even Mr. Cameron can save us now We got into this rut and we don’t know how So fight, though the mutants’ genes are not our own Throw them a bone Let them call this Marvel Universe home And for heaven’s sake, just leave ‘em alone! Cos we are born, we live we die The years keep on flying by And the thought of hating seems so silly when the remedy is educating We created passports, borders and ethnicity We invented race and dichotomy So sit on the tube with your head held high, Realise that that guy by your side Like you looks to the sky Realise that though what he says may be unknown by discriminating You’re alienating one more superhero from the throne
background image flickr UNSUONO
About the Theme
TEDxWarwick 2014 TEDxWarwick conferences always define themselves and their speakers by their themes. An idea, a perception, a tag, that binds a wide range of talks into one every year. As one might imagine, with such a varying array of subjects, speakers and perceptions, finding a common ground isn't easy. Finding a theme to compliment, rather than to limit, the event is one of our first challenges every year. It is perhaps the single most impactful decision shaping the year's activities. With six interlinked sub-teams working within TEDxWarwick towards the conference, each aspect of the conference must be considered from all perspectives before we can finalise the theme. It all starts with an ambush of suggestions from all the team members. Some are easier to filter out than others, however this still leaves us with a few hundred more (no exaggeration!). These then go through rigorous analysis to assess whether the Content team will be able to find a range of speakers, if the Marketing team will be able to attract the wide audience that TEDx conferences gather, whether the Creative team will be able to produce designs to illustrate the aims of the event, and so on. The theme selection process is a long and laborious one. With ideas ranging from deep philosophical metaphors to seemingly drug-induced suggestions, finding the right one becomes increasingly harder as the list builds up. With team meetings taking place across various locations around the university campus, cafĂŠs across Leamington Spa and in numerous online hangouts, we creep closer to the theme. Then it hits; whether by intent or pure luck we still canâ€™t decide. One suggestion, followed by a landslide of agreement from every team member of every team.
We accept this process as almost an annual tradition, with each years process described below.
A Changing World
Ideas Are Sexy
Where Ideas Cross
Our very first event was themed “A Changing World”. The aim of this conference was to showcase the ideas that deal with the fast changing environment we live in. Talks ranged from Ian Pearson talking about the convergence of humans and the digital world – bringing to light the developing technology that make it seem like sci-fi movie technologies were quickly to become a reality – to Solitaire Townsend exploring climate change as well as Tom Atlee illustrating the true power of interconnectivity. After exploring our constantly changing world, came a theme that challenged our perception by showcasing the weird and the wonderful surrounding us: “Ideas Are Sexy”. Starting with a mindboggling talk by Roger Penrose, we explored Space-Time Geometry and a New Cosmology, through which we traversed the theories, born from the intersections of maths and physics, in an attempt to explain the universe we live in. The same year, Simon Berry provided an extremely elegant solution through the Coca-Cola Life Project, to tackle the problem of distributing healthcare to rural areas by using the infamous Coca-Cola distribution network, which enabled the transportation of medicine to otherwise difficult to access areas of the world. With TEDx conferences now becoming the new way to share ideas, we believed it was time to consider the real impact of TED. Thousands of TEDx videos were being released every year and with all these ideas came “Where Ideas Cross”. With a talk on the controversial debate of Islam and Liberty by Mustafa Akyol we explored whether or not these concepts were destined to clash or whether in fact these ideologies came hand in hand. The world of management and war were then fused in a talk on Management Lessons from the War in Iraq by Tim Harford. The elegant nature of maths and the beautiful deductions that rose from it was showcased through mind-blowing magic tricks in Mathemagic by Owen Daniel as the spheres of maths and magic united. The year the Mayan calendar ended, causing conspiracists to theorise the end of the world – a concept which even made its way into the news – we took a step back and looked at the bigger picture. Clearly the world wasn’t about to end, but where were we going? TEDxWarwick decided to look at the large scale problems with the theme of “Global Challenges”. With dollars invested in the billions on sustainable energy research around the world we looked at “How the Laws of Physics Constrain our Sustainable Energy Options” with David MacKay. Some common notions and beliefs were then challenged by Simon Moss in his talk “Africa is Poor and Five Other Myths” as he questioned whether our perception of the global issues we are all familiar with really are what they seem to be at face value. After exploring the various global issues, we were brought to “Building Bridges”, which took on the idea of increasing interconnectivity and the fascinating outcomes it has brought. With more than three-quarters of the world having access to mobile phones and the world wide web, even some of the poorest regions on the planet are increasingly able to connect with others to learn, share and discuss. Tan Lai Yong pointed out the lesson the developed world should learn from the developing in his eye opening and heartfelt talk, “The Broken Bicycle Chain.” A visually stimulating talk by Fabian Oefner brought to life scientific concepts, from simple sound waves to the complex interactions of ferrofluids, with an artistic approach to show us how the world of art and science meet to produce jaw dropping visuals. The beautiful story of Derek Paravicini, an autistic and blind pianist in his talk with Adam Ockelford, “In the Key of Genius,” told us of the musical mind of Paravicini and how he overcame his disabilities crossing bridges few could fathom.
About the Theme
2014 Inside Out Having considered the evolving world, thought about confounding concepts, seen where ideas meet, looked at the challenges we face globally and even explored the complex interconnected environment that we live in, we thought, what next? In a world where globalisation is bringing about an increasing trend of localisation and individuation, seemingly paradoxical headlines are often daily features. The past year was full of these stories, be it Edward Snowden’s unveiling of the NSA’s mass surveillance that sparked major debate about the need for privacy and a limit to government tracking, or be it a convening of the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw to the backdrop of the destruction and death caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. It is in such a world that we see pertinent the need to understand the underlying, foundational issues behind these headlines, from the inside and out. Doing otherwise and leaving stones unturned is the equivalent of leaving the closing chapters of an Agatha Christie novel unread: there would be an unshakable sense of incompleteness, knowing that you could have. That said, not only are our perceptions of rights and responsibilities as human beings constantly changing over time, but with radical discoveries and inventions, such as the finding of evidence of water on Mars by the Curiosity Rover, the successful quantum teleportation of particles over 50 miles, or the first ever creation of human embryonic stem cells by cloning, established and practiced wisdom across all disciplines, is constantly being put to the test,
tirelessly being questioned and challenged. These radical steps towards expanding the breadth of human knowledge are opening up new worlds (literally) in science and technology. Perhaps more importantly, these advancements offer further testament that the realm of the ‘impossible’ is shrinking every year, inspiring and driving the generations to come. Realising this, we wanted a theme that celebrated the experimenters, the explorers and the visionaries who have shaken up their disciplines in both small and big ways. Those individuals who methodically attempt to uncovering the whole story; those with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and those who are pioneers of extraordinary ideas, because extraordinary ideas come, unmistakably, after insight. While some bring something new to the table; others make us rediscover things we thought we fully understood. They’re making those on the inside see the outside, and those on the outside see inside. And hence the theme for TEDxWarwick 2014, ‘Inside Out’. Our aim is to highlight these extraordinary men and women, these innovators, whose determination to advance the human understanding and challenge the accepted is second to none. Whether via a metaphorical bridge transforming theory into reality or a physical bridge linking communities, it has become necessary to build networks of ideas and communities to breach into the ‘unknown’ of human understanding. At TEDxWarwick 2014, we want to leave no stone unturned, starting at the source, we aim to address the end. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/insideout »
Matej Peljhan was born in the Vipava Valley, Slovenia where he spent most of his childhood in a small village called Col. At the age of 10, he suffered a severe accident with explosive devices that were scattered around a field during WWII. He suffered numerous injuries, with the most severe being the loss of his right arm and eye. The injuries suffered from this accident meant that Peljhan had to undergo painful medical treatment and rehabilitation throughout his studies. Though this was no barrier to him and he went on to study psychology at the University of Ljubljana, and then to become a clinical psychologist where he works with children with special needs. It was here that he decided to begin his career as an amateur photographer and saw how it was an excellent and creative way of expressing himself. Starting as a humble amateur photographer he began exploring conceptual photography, partly so he could show the way he sees the world. His favourite motives are people and architecture captured in the urban environment and his photos aim to capture the simple, everyday moments. His motives are full of contrasts; offering a palette of elementary, easy readable symbols that are telling stories and encourage people to start thinking in another way. It did not take too long for him to be recognised for his work, as over 100 salons worldwide began asking for his photographs to be displayed and he has received more than 70 awards because of them. Two of his works are included in the Photographic Collection of the Museum and Galleries of the City of Ljubljana. In 2012, he published a monograph of his images entitled “Fotografije” and he is co-author of the 2011 book Za-Govor Podob (Speaking Images). Since 2010, he has been a member of the Photographic Society of SVIT from Celje. Due to his personal and professional ambitions he strives to bring photography as close as possible to people with special needs. Together with his close friend he has founded “The Institute of Photographic Therapy” where he offers workshops, educates others in the field of photographic therapy and publishes professional articles. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/mpeljhan »
Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high-profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today. With concerto performances at the heart of her career, Benedetti is in much demand with major orchestras and conductors across the globe. Born in Scotland, of Italian heritage, Benedetti began violin lessons at the age of five with Brenda Smith. At the age of eight she started leading the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and in 1997, she entered the Yehudi Menuhin School. Fiercely committed to music education and to developing young talent, she has formed associations with education establishments including schools, music colleges and local authorities. Benedetti embraces her position of role model to encourage young people to take up music and work hard at it, and she continues to spread this message in school visits and masterclasses, not only in Scotland, but all around the world. In addition, Benedetti recently developed her own education and outreach initiative entitled The Benedetti Sessions. Piloted in March 2013 at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, these sessions gave hundreds of aspiring young string players the opportunity to rehearse, undertake and observe masterclasses culminating in a performance alongside Benedetti. She presented The Benedetti Sessions at the Royal Albert Hall in September 2013 and Benedetti has plans to develop this exciting initiative on an international scale. Winner of Best Female Artist at the 2012 Classical BRIT Awards, Benedetti records exclusively for Decca. Her most recent recording, The Silver Violin, is particularly renowned for its success in reaching No. 30 in the UK pop charts simultaneous to topping the classical charts for months. She was appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours in recognition of both her international music career and for her work with musical charities throughout the UK, and has to date received five honorary degrees. Benedetti performs on one of the most precious violins in the world, the Gariel Stradivarius (1717), courtesy of Jonathan Moulds. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/nbenedetti »
“What we want to do is to help people understand that they can create their own games. If they design their own game and understand it as a system, they start to see the system in politics and the system in their everyday lives. This is amazing because they might be able to think about reprogramming it.”
Maria Saridaki is a Research Associate at the Laboratory of New Technologies at the University of Athens where she studies games in their different applications within and beyond the digital world. She works on new, playful environments and studies the experiences of users during game play. Her research predominantly focuses on digital games and new multimedia environments and includes a special interest in serious games as an educational and motivational tool for people with learning disabilities. Saridaki is a co-founder of Athens Plaython, Athens’ annual international street games festival which was first launched in 2011. Athens Plaython transformed Athens into a giant playground, bringing urban games to the squares and walls of the entire city. The festival invoked playfulness, hope and the willingness to co-create into the everyday lives of a community amidst such severe economic turmoil. Saridaki helped to design playful and inclusive experiences to foster creativity, learning and communication. For 2013, she also curated the Talks section of Athens Plaython. Saridaki has set up a number of game design workshops, allowing the youth and adults alike to design their own games and experience new technologies. These workshops have involved a wide range of topics, including Applied Gaming, Transmedia Storytelling and Digital Media Awareness. Saridaki also organised the first exhibition of “serious” digital games in Greece in 2011 and co-hosted the first Global Game Jam in Greece in 2012. Her work has received enormous recognition and has since been presented at festivals, conferences and museums throughout Europe. She has also been involved in and is currently participating in various EU projects as a researcher, game designer and project manager. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/msaridaki »
Kenneth Cukier is the Data Editor of The Economist. From 2007 to 2012 he was the Tokyo correspondent, and before that, the paper’s technology correspondent in London, where his work focused on innovation, intellectual property and Internet governance. Cukier is also the co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger in 2013, which was a New York Times Bestseller and translated into 16 languages. According to him, Big Data is “something very new and will touch all aspects of society. Whilst it helps to have the technical skills, the key to success will be in applying one’s imagination, creativity, intellectual ambition and risk-taking – characteristics that are intrinsically human and cannot be reduced to number crunching.” Prior to The Economist, Cukier was the technology editor of The Wall Street Journal Asia in Hong Kong and a regular commentator on CNBC Asia. Earlier still, he was the European Editor of Red Herring and worked at The International Herald Tribune in Paris. From 2002 to 2004, Cukier was a research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, working on the Internet and international relations. His writings have also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Prospect, The Financial Times and Foreign Affairs, among others. He has been a frequent commentator on business and technology matters for CBS, CNN, NPR, the BBC and others. Kenneth Cukier serves on the board of directors of International Bridges to Justice, a Geneva-based NGO promoting legal rights in developing countries. Additionally, he serves on the board of advisors to the Daniel Pearl Foundation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/kcukier »
After working in the communications industry for 25 years, Jim Bowes became interested in the issues surrounding sustainable development. Much to his surprise, sustainability was not an issue the communication industry seemed the least bit interested in; ironic considering it would create campaigns about sustainable products for its clients and disappointing as what industry knows more about getting people to try new things and then reinforcing that behaviour. Bowes left the industry shortly afterwards, running GreenGraffiti® from his kitchen table and watching it grow into an international brand in just four short years. Jim Bowes founded the organisation GreenGraffiti® in 2007. GreenGraffiti® works with advertisers to produce unconventional, highly targetable street marketing campaigns using innovative natural media techniques such as reverse graffiti, sand printing, moss graffiti and milk paint that grab attention and cause an emotional reaction that helps people to remember their brands in a different way than they are used to. The company specialises in using an old form of street art known as ‘reverse graffiti’, which involves literally selectively cleaning a message out of the dirt. This method of advertising uses no ink, no paper, requires no electricity for front or back lighting and generates very little waste. What sets them apart from their competition is that their business is sustainable, not just their techniques. Bowes’ innovation is not limited to the technique alone but also the fact that GreenGraffiti® operates on a profits-with-principles philosophy. This business has grown with unprecedented pace and approximately 367 individuals and businesses in 74 countries have approached GreenGraffiti® for partnership opportunities allowing the organisation to expand internationally. For Bowes it’s about using GreenGraffiti® as a tool for social and environmental improvement. It’s about providing advertisers with a choice and helping them use their advertising and Corporate Social Responsibility budgets to increase brand-value while also being involved in local communities and contributing towards water projects. As a founding member of “GreenAdsBlue”, a water foundation set up by GreenGraffiti, Jim continues to be involved in giving-back initiatives. With a simple, sustainable concept Jim Bowes proves that you can create profit with principals in a business “with a reputation for greed and short-sightedness”, Advertising. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/jbowes »
George Butler is an artist and illustrator specialising in travel and current affairs. His drawings, done in situ are in pen, ink and watercolour. In August 2012 Butler walked from Turkey across the border into Syria, where as an unofficial guest of the rebel Free Syrian Army he spent four days drawing the civil war damaged, small and empty town of Azaz. Six months later he made a similar trip back to Syria to record the stories amongst the refugees and the field hospitals. These drawings were reproduced by the Times, the Guardian, Evening Standard, Der Spiegel, ARD television Germany, NPR (USA) and reported on the BBC World News, BBC World Service, CNN twice, Al Arabiya and Monocle Radio. However, his sense of adventure did not start here - since leaving Kingston University, drawing has taken Butler around the world, depicting the oil fields in Azerbaijan, soldiers in Afghanistan, reconstructive plastic surgery, G20 riots, the New York Fire Department and Asian Elephants. Amongst several London-based solo exhibitions, he won the Editorial and Overall award for illustration at the V&A Illustration Awards and an International Media Award in May 2013. His work has been exhibited in the Times Watercolour Competition, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours exhibition at the Mall Galleries, 2008, 2009 & 2011, 2013 where he won the June Stokes Roberts Bursary and the Winsor and Newton Young Artist’s Award. He is currently undertaking a project in partnership with the Global Heritage Fund, spending two months in Transylvania illustrating his experiences. An exhibition is planned to showcase his work from this project in London at the end of the year. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/gbutler »
“George Butler combines the curiosity and wanderlust of David Attenborough with the delicacy of brush of Audubon, travelling afar to bring back a subtle evocation of fauna and flora and the people he meets in far-flung places.” Geordie Greig, Editor in Chief, The Mail on Sunday
Gershon Dublon is a doctoral student and research assistant in the Responsive Environments Group at the MIT Media Lab. Here, he works on new tools for exploring and understanding dense sensor network data. Recently he has been thinking about ways in which sensor networks might become extensions of humans’ nervous systems. Recently, Dublon has produced representative artworks include Purée, an interactive human video collage that turns visitors into canvases for projected video clips. This work was carried out in response to the work of Clovis Theilhaber, whose Youtube video corpus was borrowed and process re-imagined. Visitors carrying sheets of paper became video clips as they moved through the space, and were invited to collaborate in shaping the piece by interacting with others and tearing or joining paper. The point of exchange was the body whilst the value of the clips is communicated through their material incarnation on the participants. Thus, Purée was an experiment where materiality mediated exchange. Other projects where Dublon has produced representative artworks include Rainsuit,...; Semblance, a large-scale photo compositing installation; and The Small Figure 3, a short piece for solo bassoon. In the recent past, Dublon has worked on people-sensing as a postgraduate researcher at the Embedded Networks and Applications Lab at Yale University, supervised by Dr. Andreas Savvides. In the more distant past, he helped develop algorithms for feature extraction and analysis of butterfly wing patterns with Dr. Margarida Silveira at the Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon, Portugal. Dublon has an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Yale University, where for his thesis work, supervised by Dr. Peter J. Kindlmann, he built DürerBot, a fully autonomous portrait-painting robot. Also at Yale, Dublon studied composition with Dr. Michael Klingbeil and Dr. Kathryn Alexander. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/gdublon »
In December 2012 a campaign was launched on Indiegogo to fund a project called GravityLight™. The campaign was the first public airing of a solution that had been in development, over the preceding three years, in-house, at London-based product design consultancy Therefore ltd. The campaign struck a chord with the global community, attracted the attention of Bill Gates, the world’s media and financial support from thousands of individuals, ultimately raising over seven times its funding target. GravityLight™ has been developed to be the lowestcost, practical alternative to kerosene lighting for the 1.5 billion people on Earth who form the ‘Base of the Pyramid’: the world’s poor. Inventors Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves set out to deliver reliable light, anytime, on demand, without air pollutants or batteries, independent of the weather, the location or the time of day, for the lowest possible cost. The outcome: GravityLight™, is a ground up rethink of how to deliver a solution to a global problem. GravityLight™ is now being trialled in over 26 countries with users who were reliant on kerosene for their home lighting. Feedback is being compiled and received from the 55 partner organisations delivering the trial, the outcome of which is feeding back into the development process. Formulating practical solutions in this area has been, and continues to be, a steep learning curve with many insights. It requires an approach tailored to the specific challenges of answering the needs of the world’s poor, from both a product and business perspective. Reeves has been working in product design consultancy for 10 years. He has an unusually multi-disciplinary background, combining a degree in Ceramics from Loughborough, with a degree in Industrial Design Engineering from Brunel. At Therefore ltd. he has been called upon at multiple stages of a product’s development, from front-end scoping and concept generation through to design for manufacture and production liaison. He has undertaken in-depth engineering development on longstanding R&D projects at Therefore with diverse requirements, reflecting the range of clients the consultancy has on its roster. Reeves worked at Therefore ltd. initially as Product Design Engineer, then Associate Director, and is now embarking on a new role as CTO of the not-for-profit venture: GravityLight™. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/jreeves »
THePETEBOX is a solo performer, musician, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose pioneering live show has ignited audiences across the world. Breaking out as an award-winning beatboxer, he soon redefined the genre through the use of his loop pedal, guitar and his otherworldly, multi-phonic voicebox. Witnessing THePETEBOX’s live show is like experiencing a magic trick, reveal on reveal, loop on loop, one man building up tracks that are as sonically massive and diverse as any full band setup or DJ set. Make no mistake though, this is no novelty act, this is a singular artist untouched by trends or fads, someone who is genuinely and fiercely independent who has tapped into an art form of true expression that connects directly with the hearts of a rapidly growing fan base. He possesses a primal talent and has transformed it into music that captures the imagination of people from all walks of life and from every corner of the world. THePETEBOX’s debut album ‘Future Loops’, a ‘live, studio, video’ album comprising of original tracks and reworks of his favourite songs has reached over 11 million views on his YouTube channel. In addition to this, he was crowned as the Radio 1 Beatbox Champion and the Channel 4 Talent Award Winner. Through working with visionary director Simon Ellis, his videos have reached audiences worldwide and some of his covers are endorsed by their legendary creators, most recently Brian Wilson singing his praises for a unique cover of ‘I Get Around’ and The Pixies posting the viral ‘Where Is My Mind?’ video on their official website. Future Loops, (released on his own label, Light River Records) is on its third pressing and has sold over 50,000 digital copies through word of mouth alone. THePETEBOX’s versatility is reflected in the stunning variety of settings he has performed in, from clubnights world-wide to multiple Grand Prix, the major stages at festivals (Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds, V-Fest, Bestival UK – Lake of Stars, Malawi – Woodstock, Poland) to name but a few, private parties for the stars and sold out headline tours around the UK and Europe. With a packed tour schedule and midway through a sophomore album of entirely original material THePETEBOX is set to continue to reach and expand the musical horizons of people across the globe. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/thepetebox »
Kristina Cranfeld, born in Uzbekistan (formerly USSR) is a London-based artist and filmmaker. She took her Bachelors degree at Goldsmiths and went on to obtain a Masters degree at the Royal College of Art. Her work is a combination of speculative narratives, performances and social experiments, which investigate and challenge societal and political systems and their impact on human lives. Through critical research, observations of everyday life and drawing from her own experiences, her work exposes the struggles and uncertainties of our age and, through designed interventions, aims to provoke change. Largely concerned with immigration and human identity, Cranfeld’s work is presented through films, installations, photographs and live performances. She continuously experiments with these mediums, finding unconventional techniques to tell and capture compelling visions. Through her work she explores how the creative disciplines can influence complex political issues and the future of policymaking, believing that there is space to engage with and contribute to socio-economic matters affecting migrants. She has held workshops and presentations across the globe, from the Design Museum in London to UCLA in the US, and more recently in her hometown at the Tashkent Institute of Art. Her works were published by WeMakeMoneyNotArt and Blueprint, amongst other publications, and continue to be selected for screenings at a number of international films festivals, with her most recent film being added to the library collections of LADA. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/kcranfeld »
Alison Benjamin is a Guardian journalist (she edits the Society pages and is an assistant editor on the Comment desk) and co-author of a number of books on bees; A World without Bees, an investigation into the plight of the honeybee; Keeping Bees and Making Honey, a beginner’s beekeeping guide; and Bees in the City, an exploration of the rise in urban beekeeping. She and her partner, Brian McCallum, have travelled across Europe and North America researching why the honeybee is disappearing at such an alarming rate and the positive impact bees can have in daily life. Benjamin and McCallum have a number of bee hives in different parts of London ranging from a small nature park, just behind King’s Cross station, to a cemetery park in east London. Together, they have also set up Urban Bees, an organisation that trains individuals, communities, children and young people, and businesses to become responsible urban beekeepers. Their purpose was merely to share their passion for beekeeping with other urban dwellers. They believe beekeeping in cities helps urban dwellers to reconnect with nature and improves wellbeing. Beekeeping, says Benjamin, has made her view how we can live in cities differently. They want to make cities more bee-friendly by encouraging more planting of bee-friendly trees, plants and flowers, better management of green spaces and creating a lot more ‘living roofs’ so that cities can provide havens and habitats for bees and all types of pollinators and in doing so help to improve the lives of humans in myriad ways. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/abenjamin »
“Marks urged politicians to pay more attention to life satisfaction over GDP. ‘The big message of [the Happiness Planet Index] rankings is that we have to produce a system that makes people happier without costing the Earth,’ he said.” Louise Gray, The Daily Telegraph
Nic Marks is the founding director of Happiness Work, a company focused on science-based, responsive analytics to unlock new ways to happiness and productivity within the workplace. Marks is also a fellow of the UK think-tank, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and a board member of Action for Happiness. He is best known for creating the award winning Happy Planet Index, the first global measure of sustainable wellbeing. His finding, that people in the wealthiest countries who consume an extremely large amount of the world’s resources, do not come out on top in terms of well-being, raised questions as to the purpose of economic growth. Marks believes that happiness and contentment are not the result of the accumulation of wealth but rather comes from connecting with others, engaging with the world and gaining a sense of autonomy. Marks, a pioneer in the field of well-being research, has shown that this is not just a theory but occurs in practice. Through statistical methods, which can be used to measure happiness, Marks analyses and interprets evidence in such a way that it can be applied within business and organisations as well as policy fields including education, healthcare, economics and sustainable development. He sees improving happiness and well being as a win-win-win situation whereby organisations benefit from productivity gains, individuals face a more rewarding experience at work and society benefits from greater innovation. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/nmarks »
Nahji Chu Nga Chu, known to everyone as Nahji or misschu and to those who get in her way, as ‘The Queen of Rice Paper Rolls’, is the founder and creative director of “misschu” - a fast food, high design Vietnamese ‘tuckshop’ brand now open in Sydney, Melbourne and London. The empire that misschu has become is every bit a reflection of the person; a vehicle not just for making a living through selling food but also for voicing the context of what it is to be a past refugee or an outcome of the Vietnam War living in the modern first world. Nga Chu uses her refugee visa photo as her logo and these days uses her brand to counteract negative perceptions of refugees and immigrants.
Born in Luang Prahbang, Laos, in 1970, Nga Chu and her family escaped the Pathet Laos Regime in 1975. They sustained themselves on the meagre living conditions afforded by the various Thai refugee camps they inhabited over a four year period before the Chu family’s number came up and the Australian government made them one of the first Vietnamese/Laotian refugees to settle in Australia. “misschu” was founded in 2007 as a catering business in Sydney, supplying venues and events with sublime Vietnamese-inspired canapés. The enterprise is the fusion of an entire life experience. Everything from the menu, to the interior design and decoration reflects the rich and complex history of Chu’s life. Her early experiences at school, when she was struggling to learn a new language and culture, have become a central focus of the interior and service design of misschu venues. The venues are tuckshops, the menus resemble school food ordering forms, the language is simple and playful, as heard in schoolyard banter. The outcomes are friendly, chatty, fun and fast spaces. Designed for people who live fast and need inexpensive nutritious food, misschu currently offers home or office delivery in Sydney, Melbourne and London via electric bicycles. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/nchu»
Christian Guy Christian Guy is the Director of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), an independent think tank established by Iain Duncan Smith to find and promote solutions to poverty. But the CSJ is not a typical think tank, as it runs a unique Alliance, of 350 poverty-fighting charities spread all over the UK. These projects, whether they help heroin addicts get clean, tackle slavery or give prisoners a second chance, help the CSJ to understand the nature of disadvantage and what works in bringing transformation to people’s lives. Through this Alliance Guy has the privilege of travelling all over the country to learn from the experiences of those living and working to tackle our deepest social problems. Christian Guy is also a regular political commentator across national and international media. He has led in-depth work across a number of research themes including welfare reform, child poverty, criminal justice, older age and addiction. Guy is a member of the Government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. The Commission’s role is to publish an independent annual report about the state of child poverty and social mobility in the UK, to hold Ministers to account on their record and to give policy advice to improve lives. Before joining the CSJ, Christian Guy worked as a Community Organiser for a partnership of local authorities, police, schools and voluntary sector organisations and undertook a 12-month political internship in East London. Guy is on the board of directors at Yarlington Housing Group, one of country’s leading affordable homes providers, and is the Assistant Director of Jonathan Aitken’s Westminster Forum, which hosts topical debates for political and cultural influencers. He is a mentor for the Young Foundation’s UpRising leadership programme, which equips emerging leaders for life in the public square, and he acts as an adviser to several charity programmes. In the past he has volunteered for a number of projects, including hostels providing shelter for homeless people and a programme which improves the housing conditions for those living in poverty. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/cguy »
Professor Martin Birchall trained in medicine at Jesus College Cambridge and in ENT Surgery in London, Liverpool and Brisbane. He studied for a higher degree at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and was the first surgeon to be awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Leave Fellowship in 2001. Senior Lecturer and Reader in ENT in Bristol, he was appointed to the Chair of Head and Neck Surgery in Liverpool in 2003 and subsequently inaugural John Farndon Professor of Surgery in Bristol in 2006. He moved to take up a post as Professor of Laryngology at University College London and to work as Consultant specialising in disorders of voice and throat at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in 2009. His clinical and research interests are in laryngeal disorders including laryngitis, stenosis, tracheostomy, vocal cord paralysis, problems with swallowing and lumps in the throat, and advanced endoscopic and outpatient procedures. He became fascinated by the limitations: the need for patients to take drugs to suppress the immune system, the shortage of tissue donors and the simple fact that some tissues and organs are technically or ethically impossible to transplant. The loss of a functioning larynx incurs immense damage to the social and life functions we regard as part of normal human existence. Birchall’s research interests turned to the possibility of using adult stem cells to engineer tissues. Stem cells have the ability to turn into any type of human cell and because they are extracted from the patient there’s no risk of them being rejected by the immune system. The research revolved around the restoration of laryngeal function and understanding of laryngeal inflammation. In 2008, he was co-leader of the team which performed the world’s first stem-cell based organ transplant on an airway in a 30 year old woman. “That was the first time that a transplantation of an organ built from stem cells had ever been performed in a person and it seemed to work first time. It was a major breakthrough for science and technology,” says Martin. In 2010, the entire trachea of an 11 year old boy was replaced at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Although it is still early, both are doing well. Professor Birchall now runs a research programme looking at ways of applying stem cells and tissue engineering to the laryngeal disorders. Clinically, he specialises in voice and swallowing disorders, as one of four internationally renowned laryngologists at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital/Ear Institute. He was Morgan Stanley/Daily Telegraph Briton of the Year in 2008 (Science and Technology) and elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2010. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/mbirchall »
Kah Walla grew up in Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and the United States. After obtaining a university degree at Howard University, Washington D.C., she returned to her home country and worked a few years in a local management consultancy firm. Still in her 20s she founded STRATEGIES! which offers consulting services in leadership and management, respecting the highest norms and standards in the international market. The firm offers services to multinational firms as well as international development organizations. This has brought her international recognition for her expertise in management, her understanding of development issues and her strong stance on Africa, its women and youths. Indeed in 2008 the World Bank published a report on women entrepreneurs in Africa in which she was featured. Being a woman entrepreneur in Cameroon is not always easy. Both social and legal norms restrict the rights of women, particularly those who are unmarried. Yet Kah Walla received complete support from her family and grew up with the ideal of gender equality. Her experience with injustices in the business sector led her to engage with politics; indeed, starting from 2007 she has been actively participating. Noticing many of the problems of her country, she provided constructive criticism and proposed alternative avenues to the current legislation and taxation systems. Kah Walla emphasised the importance of bottom-up approaches in national politics, as her vision is of a “Cameroon governed with and for the people.” She ran for presidential elections in 2011 and despite defeat she continues to fight for democracy, freedom and social justice. Her experience with corruption has sparked her call for greater transparency. She remains involved with the Cameroon People’s Party, which aims to give ordinary citizens the ability to determine their own destiny. Whether it is economic strategy, decentralization, the inclusion of young people and women in policy design and implementation, the creation of jobs, or the leadership of Cameroon in the Central African sub-region; solutions proposed by Kah Walla are clearly inspired by her 25 years of experience in these areas, her worldwide network on issues of development and her fieldwork. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/kwalla »
Zena Agha is a Palestinian-Iraqi poet from London. Currently on a year abroad in Paris, she is in her third year at the University of Warwick studying History and Politics. Agha founded and coordinates Warwick University’s biggest spoken word collective, ‘Shoot from the Lip’, running poetry slam nights and writing workshops for young people in the Midlands - a project awarded funding from the Lord Rootes Memorial Fund. She has performed at events and festivals around the UK and Paris in addition to amassing thousands of views on YouTube. Zena’s media credits include BBC Arabic and the BBC World Service. This is her second TEDx talk; her first was delivered in November 2013 entitled ‘How Islam Made Me a Feminist.’ At 17 Agha was the youngest member of Operation Black Vote’s MP Shadowing Scheme, shadowing Fiona Mactaggart and campaigning for a boycott of Israeli Settlement foodstuffs in Westminster as well as being elected Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for her borough. In recognition of Agha’s extensive community work, she was nominated and short-listed for the London Mayor’s Young Person Peace Prize. In 2013 she created, directed and produced a series of spoken word short films called the Power of Poetry project in collaboration with Operation Black Vote. She is currently working on a project with her fellow students in Paris to create a website examining the contemporary Middle East, which will hopefully be launched the summer of 2014. Following her graduation, Agha wishes to do a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies in an attempt to understand the nuances and misunderstandings associated with the Arabic world. « Interact with this article at: tedxw.co/zagha »
“Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Relevant detail, couched in concrete, colorful language, is the best way to recreate the incident as it happened and to picture it for the audience.” – Dale Carnegie
COORDINATORS AND SECRETARY
RAGHAV SHARMA • DHWANIT ZAVERI • ISHAAN TANEJA
HAMZAH MANJRA • VISHAL SINGHAL • TIM POTTLE • COSTANZA PUSATERI • PRAGYA DASOT • FAIZAN KHAN • JAY SHAH
VERONICA TEO • DHEEYA RIZMIE • BAS BERGMANS • YIN LI TOH • SANAYA IRANI
SHARON LIN • VERONIKA BONDAREVA • DILLON HIRANI • TOMÁŠ ENGELTHALER
MARCUS WETHERED • JAY PATEL • JULIEN AVEZOU
QI PENG WANG • DANA MUNTEAN • JACQUELINE LEUNG • GIULIA CALCABRINI • EVA LE LUEL
TED TEO • LIAM STEADMAN • DAVID ALFREY • HAFIZ HANIF • KOTRYNA SNIUKAITE • SASHA MARTIN
OUR SINCEREST THANKS TO FRIEND’S OF TEDxWARWICK
ROSS SLEIGHT • PAUL BERNEY • ANASTASIIA ROGANOVA • MOHD.NEDAL SALAM Notes
TEDx Warwick 66