The third of our short series of stories from speakers and attendees at previous TEDxExeter events. Holly was one of a school party at TEDxExeter 2012, and loved it so much she returned with a friend during half-term in 2013.
After our visit to the first TEDxExeter in 2012 on a school trip, Hollie and I knew that we would be going again in 2013. The buzz of the day was outstanding; excitement, inspiration and ideas coloured every conversation after the talks.
Whilst every talk in its own right was wonderful, a few stood out, sitting in my mind nearly two years later. The first, a breathtaking 10 minute talk by Bandi Mbubi entitled “Congo calling”. Delivered in a calm, yet persuasive manner, Bandi talked about the need for a “fair trade cell phone”, and how, whilst the mobile phone is an “instrument of freedom”, it has also become an “instrument of oppression” due to the lack of regulation of mining in the Congo.
Another presentation that stuck with me was “Making greenhouse gases visible” by Antony Turner. Antony spoke about applying the common concept of pictures helping stories to come alive to the visualisation of our carbon output. He showed us pictures that his company, carbon visuals, creates in order to allow us to compare our emissions to “a landscape we are familiar with” and truly grasp their size.
Upon leaving TEDxExeter 2012 with our minds thoroughly exhausted, Hollie and I set on the task of ensuring a school trip again the next year. However, when the date was released, dilemma struck – TEDxExeter 2013 was during a half term. So, as a pair of 16 year olds, we decided to take matters into our own hands. With a little help from one of our favourite teachers, we managed to secure tickets for the following year.
Arriving outside the Northcott in the early morning, I could feel both excitement and nerves curdle in my stomach as it became more and more obvious that we were the youngest people there. However, as I stepped inside, it became apparent that these feelings were completely and utterly unjust. Upon our entrance, we were greeted and welcomed by staff and fellow audience members alike, and the familiar buzz of what we were about to witness sunk in.
One particular talk stood out for me in the 2013 line up : Jo Berry’s “Disarming with empathy”. After sharing the story of her father’s death due to an IRA bombing, Jo demonstrated the power of true forgiveness. She told us how, in her efforts to get something positive out of what had happened, she was led to meet the man responsible, and how by humanising the enemy, she could finally understand the circumstances leading to the death of her father. When the talk had finished, the audience rose to their feet, giving Jo a deafening and everlasting applause.