It’s like falling off a blog

After four years of doing, it is a well-established traditional that I collate any blog posts reflecting on the day that I manage to find.

If you were moved by TEDxExeter to write a blog post, do it now! In previous years, people have been moved to start a blog. Go on…you know you want to!

If you have written a blog post, please tell us about it. Twitter works well. If you are one of the few that have written a post and told us about it – congratulations and thank you!

Your starters for 10

Carina Ripley enjoyed the refocusing of the day away from ‘me’ to how to make the world a better place.

Our photographer James Millar reflects on the privilege of meeting and photographing the exceptional people that were our speakers.

The pupils of Exeter School enjoyed many stand-out talks.


It’s not a blog post, but the Dean of Exeter Cathedral incorporated reflections on TEDxExeter in his sermon on the following Sunday [only available for 4 weeks], the 4th Sunday of Easter.

Cool Earth featured the talk by their own Matthew Owen on their website, with a little bit of annotation.

Twitter twadition

Thanks everyone for tweeting before, during and after the event. Here is my traditional round-up of Tweflections on the day.

It was really, really good…

@ExeterCX A big thank you to @TEDxExeter for putting on a great programme, entertaining and massively informative. Many moving & inspiring stories.

@CarinaRipley #TEDxExeter was really, really good

@jphedge Big thanks to @TEDxExeter team and speakers. One of those rare moments in life where the hype absolutely matches expectations.

@sethhonnor Thanks to @ClaireKennedy24 and all the @TEDxExeter volunteers for a brilliant day yesterday #IdeasWorthSpreading spinning around in my head.

@honeyscribe Had a day full to the brim with sparkling positivity @TEDxExeter huge thanks to @ClaireKennedy24 & the team for such an inspiring day.

@MrMattYoung Hey @TEDxExeter thank you. I laughed, I cried. I was inspired and I was annoyed. Awesome day #TEDxExeter #BeforeIDie

@Mr_John_Harvey_ .@TEDxExeter Thank you for an incredibly thought-provoking day… Brilliant – & often very moving – speakers… #TEDxExeter

@tricityvogue Feeling an emotional wreck after yesterday’s @TEDxExeter – so many brilliant ideas to absorb, so many powerful emotional journeys. Phew!

@thehallexeter We’re told everyday how greedy, violent and useless human beings are. @TEDxExeter reminds us how much humanity we really all do have.

@IAmEricMoeller Fantastic day at #TEDxExeter yesterday. Thank you to the great speakers and organising team.

@MURAND99 Wholeheartedly agree,  It was a thought provoking and well-organised day. Well done to all on the @TEDxExeter team.

@thehallexeter Congratulations to @ClaireKennedy24 and the entire @TEDxExeter team. Gets better every year. Videos of talks @ soon.

‏@vinesworks Inspiring, humbling, compassionate, thought provoking day @TEDxExeter.  thanks, what a great team ? @Devon_Hour

@chivpolis @TEDxExeter Thanks for a slick/professional and absorbing day. Very well done !

@Exeterlearning @SidcotSchool had a brilliant time @TEDxExeter

@MkMeghjee @TEDxExeter was so inspiring and thought provoking today. Totally worth missing a day of revision!

@Ju_Summerhayes Thank you @TEDxExeter for a wonderful day. Insightful, thought-provoking and great organisation. #tedxexeter

@danmcivor Great day @TEDxExeter Thanks to all who volunteered and organised it. Progressive veggie-only catering for 400 delegates too!

@sue_cade @TEDxExeter thank you for a stunning, thought-provoking programme and such brilliant speakers #greatday I’m so glad I came! #TEDxExeter

@WCKfood @TEDxExeter Thank you for a great day full of ideas. Excellent programme & v happy to round off with the amazing Harry Baker. #inspired

@Sarah_L_Vickery Thank you the amazing @TEDxExeter team,you provided a brilliant experience & I have again been inspired into action

@robjglover thank-you @TEDxExeter again for a brilliantly thought provoking day #tedxexeter now my brain is mush!

@benking01 Incredible day @TEDxExeter. Thank you to everyone involved. Imagine watching 20 @TEDTalks in a row. That! #TEDxExeter

@TEDxTotnes Wow! #TEDxExeter you can hear people thinking! Inspiring #TakingTheLongView

@WesNeary Having one of the most mentally stimulating work days in a long time watching #tedxexeter some difficult questions being addressed.

@Mr_John_Harvey_ Loving the #BeforeIDie boards at @TEDxExeter… #TEDxExeter #TEDx #Exeter

…because the speakers were really, really good…

@Mizz_Moneypenny Really enjoyed @TEDxExeter, so much to reflect upon from fab speakers. Harry Baker’s words sum it up “everyday(‘s) potentially adventurey”!

@sue_cade @kieronkirkland Enjoyed your two spots at @TEDxExeter on Friday, illuminating!

@Di_ITPR Fantastic day at @TEDxExeter yesterday – think my head and heart might explode! Stand-outs for me @ChetanBhatt1962 @MagicCarmel & DickMoore

@Ju_Summerhayes @TEDxExeter @ExeterNorthcott my favourite talk. She [Beth Barnes] was awesome. #TEDxExeter

@MartinKelman Peter Randall-Page’s paints hung either side of the @TEDxExeter stage. Taps into the beauty and complexity of life

@thehallexeter Thank you @harrybakerpoet for your @TEDxExeter performance. Born in London, educated in Bristol now owned by Exeter. You can never leave.

@MartinKelman @TEDxExeter after the first two sessions I told my wife that I was an emotional wreck, then Dick Moore started I was gone again More tissues

@lisychka @ChetanBhatt1962 I learned so much from you today. Thank you. #TEDxExeter

@MrMattYoung Hi @MagicCarmel I really enjoyed your talk today #TEDxExeter Your humour really struck a chord as does your purpose #inspired

@benking01 .@harrybakerpoet Really enjoyed your #westonsupernightmare performance at the end of #TEDxExeter today. Best wishes for the marathon!

@MrMattYoung Hi @MagicCarmel I really enjoyed your talk today #TEDxExeter Your humour really struck a chord as does your purpose #inspired

@ShinyShoeClaire Thanks @TEDxExeter for a great day. Brilliant talks by @MagicCarmel @CliveSSmith @GraeaeJennyS @harrybakerpoet @shellkryan #TEDxExeter #ff

@benking01 One speaker @TEDxExeter DID reference #TakingTheREALLYLongView! Peter Randall-Page – ‘Theme & Variation in #Nature and Culture’ #TEDxExeter

@ShinyShoeClaire Quote of the day & made me grin: imagine the fun you’re having. And then add the feeling of fleece. #TEDxExeter @harrybakerpoet

@pforphyllis Smiling and laughing the whole way throughout Harry Baker’s slam poetry. Such a talented and funny guy! Perfect end to #TEDxExeter

@paultrueman74 Astonishing performance by @sarakhyde. Powerful theatre, hardcore data crunching and a powerful vision. Make her PM. #tedxexeter

…and the speakers enjoyed it too…

@kieronkirkland Massive thanks to the @TEDxExeter team and especially @ClaireKennedy24 for inviting me to speak at such an amazing event! #TEDxExeter

@MagicCarmel @MrMattYoung Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. Felt honoured to get to talk about @magic_breakfast as part of today’s fab line up. @TEDxExeter

@harrybakerpoet Inspiring day of talks at @TEDxExeter – if anybody would like to sponsor the marathon effort my page is  #2DaysToGo

@isenseIRC Heading home after an inspiring day of talks to take action against the most pressing global problems #TedxExeter #takingthelongview

@sarakhyde Reapplying eye makeup after talk on 500,000 children who start the day hungry from @MagicCarmel. @RichardWatts01 – one for you? #TEDxExeter

…as did the sponsors…

@AnTech_Ltd We were so proud to sponsor @TEDxExeter! What a wonderful, thought provoking day, enjoyed by all! #TakingTheLongView

@WilkinsonGrant “@TEDxExeter: A HUGE thank you to the #TEDxExeter 2015 sponsors @WilkinsonGrant @StephensScown  @kidhelios & @StormpressExe ” A privilege

@ExeterCollege Pleasure! @TEDxExeter: A HUGE thank you to the #TEDxExeter sponsors @DPT_NHS @ExeterNorthcott @SunGiftSolar @dacors & @ExeterCollege

@WebsitesAhoy .@TEDxExeter Thank you to you too! A great day. @EgremontGroup @SouthernhayHome @AnTech_Ltd @jtmillarphoto

@jtmillarphoto A great day, many thanks to you too @TEDxExeter @EgremontGroup @SouthernhayHome @WebsitesAhoy @AnTech_Ltd @tricityvogue

@SouthernhayHome @TEDxExeter @EgremontGroup @WebsitesAhoy @AnTech_Ltd @jtmillarphoto It was real #fun, let’s do it #alloveragain! #2016 #keepintouch

@StephensScown @TEDxExeter truly inspirational stories.  We might need to grab some tissues before the next session starts #TEDxExeter

…not to mention the team, the volunteers and the tech guys

@DYGolden Brilliant, insightful day yesterday filming at @tedxexeter maculacollective

@Tom_Coleman_ Pete doing his thing at @TEDxExeter yesterday. Great day with the @MaculaC team. #vasw 

@pforphyllis Got to know the core team & the volunteers of #TEDxExeter a bit better at the after-party. Glad to have worked with a group of inspiring ppl

@EdBird_EN @TEDxExeter What an awesome day, such a pleasure working alongside you all – especially this one… @sarahbird86 😉

@tricityvogue Massively inspired by @TEDxExeter today and hugely proud of the brilliant photography by @jtmillarphoto

@Exeterlearning @TEDxExeter loved every minute of it. Thank you for letting me play xx

@dr_hobson I had a fab time today volunteering. Looking forward to next year @TEDxExeter 

@tobit_e Another great #TEDxExeter, a real privilege to be part of, and to livesteam was awesome, albeit (speaking as a cameraman) slightly stressful

@MaculaC Successful day filming for @TEDxExeter today! Thanks for letting us work with you, we all really enjoyed it!

@Slanketlover I have just had the privilege to be part of something really special. An amazing day. #TEDxExeter

@firstsightmedia Some really interesting stuff going on at @TEDxExeter today! Check out our live stream via . #TEDxExeter

TEDxExeter 2015: Speakers and Performers live

Images by James Millar. More photos are available in the full set on Flickr. The images can be downloaded under Creative Commons, but they still require acknowledgement using either of the following: © James Millar/TEDxExeter or Images by James Millar.

TEDxExeter 2015: Sponsors

Images by James Millar. More photos are available in the full set on Flickr. The images can be downloaded under Creative Commons, but they still require acknowledgement using either of the following: © James Millar/TEDxExeter or Images by James Millar.

TEDxExeter 2015: Speaker and Performer portraits

Images by James Millar. More photos are available in the full set on Flickr. The images can be downloaded under Creative Commons, but they still require acknowledgement using either of the following: © James Millar/TEDxExeter or Images by James Millar.

They think it’s all over… it is now!

So that’s it.

There’s breaking news from the Cool Earth stand in the Great Hall, where delegates have saved 17 acres or 4,200 trees. We are looking for homes for the “Before I die…” boards which have also been in the Great Hall.

Claire is thanking the signers, who have worked incredibly hard. And there are many other thanks all round – design, photography, filming, production of postboxes, musician in the Great Hall, the Northcott, film crew, transcribers and translators, and especially volunteers – big clap!! And then I and the rest of the team had to pop down to the stage. The final big clap is due to Claire, our amazing organiser.

Thank you to everyone who came to the event, and who made it what it is. We hope the livestream viewers enjoyed it as much as we did, and we would be interested in hearing about your experiences.

Harry Baker performance

HarryBaker2015_portaitFinally, we welcome Harry back. He starts with a haiku: “Went to Chinatown / There were too many bright lights / Asked them to dimsum.”

His first poem is dedicated to the pun-tastic Jason Doner Van in Bristol, and is about his first week at university and pole-dancing. Like last year, it’s impossible to blog. Yes, I’m a cop-out!

He grew up in London, and one of the best things about growing up in London is that everywhere else seems relatively friendly! He is studying in Bristol, which is also relatively close to the beach. So the next poem is called Weston-Super-Nightmare, about a university trip there in February.

He’s tired of telling people who ask that he is studying Maths and German, and then mumbling about doing something to do with poetry next. So now he wants to shout loud about how he will be doing something he loves and being adventurous with it, and like everyone today will be trying to make the world a little better. Because why not?

TED Talk – Andrew Solomon

The final TED Talk, from Andrew Solomon, summarises many of our themes today. He is looking at how we can not so much find meaning as forge meaning in events. He survived his childhood of bullying for being gay through avoidance and endurance, and found these were important.

‘Forge meaning, build identity’ became his mantra. It doesn’t mean that we can’t still be mad as hell! It doesn’t make what is wrong right, but what is wrong precious. Identity politics applied, say, to gay people should help build both the identity of those people, and the understanding and embracing of that identity by others.

In his relationship, he has learnt not to focus on the reduction of pain, but the presence of joy. And he has learnt to look not for future bliss and joy, but joy in the present, however painful it is. And then to invite the world to share your joy.

Peter Randall-Page talk

PeterRandallPage_portraitPeter Randall-Page is next up. He very kindly allowed us to display some of his artwork on the stage this year.

He is speaking on theme and variation, commonly associated with music, but he is applying it to nature. It is ubiquitous but hardly noticed.

At 6, the Natural History Museum sent him a box of fossils. He was dyslexic, so learnt through means other than words. He found lots of patterns. Patterns in nature are generally created through opposing processes, and there is a limited book of patterns, which could be understood as driving the evolutionary process itself. Without an organising principle, what would randomness look like?

He is showing some wonderful images on screen. The latest are the Giant’s Causeway and a hornets nest. Both have hexagonal packing. Neither are perfect because geometry only exists in human imaginations. And yet we intuitively understand this. We enjoy the dangerous unpredictability of variation, and the common underlying theme.

Variation is not a singularity. In art it implies playfulness and expression. So Peter work often uses sequences in his work – e.g. images of walnut kernels – to build up expressions of qualities through comparison. As an aside, we seem to respond to bilateral symmetry, probably because our bodies are symmetrical.

The shape of pine cones and pineapples is to do with efficient packing, relating to the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio, and is very pleasing to the eye. Peter used this principle in his work ‘Seed’ for the Eden Project.

The underlying principles of the microscopic pattern generated by two chemicals that don’t mix reminded Peter of playful improvisational music. The phenomenon produces the camouflage patterns on zebra and mackerel. The resulting artwork – a combination of painted canvas and boulders – Peter called Rocks in my Bed, after the song by Duke Ellington.

Variation also implies an element of chance. So Peter often uses the random, e.g. a weathered boulder, and a structuring principle, e.g. an overlaid geometric net. Compare with fish-net tights, which help us to see and appreciate the form of the leg more clearly!

Fundamentally, Peter is interested in what makes us tick, and subconsciously tries to bring it out. He shows a piece using a random boulder and a continuous line – ref Paul Klee ‘taking a line for a walk’. Another is based on the Platonic solids, sculptured from a chaotic material.

Back to spirals, and an image of a galaxy, illustrating the different scales of theme and variation. We need both: theme without variation is monotonous; variation without theme is chaotic. Together they can create beauty in nature, music and art.

Kieron Kirkland talk

Kieron_portraitKieron is back on the stage, and has just confounded us with another trick. We are [at least, I am] asking how. Kieron says we should ask why.

He is taking us back in our imaginations to Christmas past and the magic of Santa filling our stocking. Now he takes us back further to 19th century Algeria and a duel between a Frenchman and a local chieftain. The chieftain shoots first, and the Frenchman catches the bullet between his teeth. Then the Frenchman shoots at a wall, and blood oozes from it.

The secret of every magic trick is to create a unwilling suspension of disbelief. Why should we believe? If a magician just loses money, we get annoyed. If he (or she) sprinkles it with wiffle dust and makes it disappear we are more impressed. But good magicians will change the way we see the world, and the greatest how we see ourselves. It’s not about changing perceptions about things, but about why things happen.

For Kieron it started with finding out about the stories of 1st century St Thomas in India: how he trumped local magicians, explained the why, and told them how God’s power was also available to them.

Who had the power in the 1920s and 1930s? There were many alive/dead tricks, whereby magicians could pick who was which from a list of names. Magicians also passed on messages from dead people, and they were believed. Why? Because people were desperate to speak to their loved ones who had died during World War I.

On to Uri Geller… if you could choose a super-power, would it be spoon-bending?! But the why here is unexplored human potential. If spoon-bending is possible for one man, what are the implications for the rest of us? Today we have Derren Brown, who is playing back to us what science has uncovered recently about the mysteries of the human mind.

In a world where technology has become so complex it’s almost magical, Kieron wants us to think how magicians think. Magical whys don’t just exist. Become aware of them.