The reality of life for refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria will come vividly to life when award-winning photographer Giles Duley shows his pictures and tells the stories behind them at this year’s TEDxExeter.
Duley, who lost three limbs and nearly his life in 2011 when working in Afghanistan, is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. He started out as a fashion and music photographer photographing such nineties icons as Oasis, The Prodigy and Pulp. Disillusioned with celebrity culture, he discovered that he could use his craft to tell the stories of those without a voice, and that it was powerful and effective.
He has worked with NGOs such as Médecins Sans Frontières, Emergency and UNHCR, documenting their work and telling the stories of those affected by conflict across the world. He was on foot patrol with US soldiers near Kandahar in February 2011 when he stepped on a pressure plate buried in the road, triggering an improvised explosive device. He lost both legs and an arm in the explosion. He spent 45 days in intensive care and on two occasions his family were told to say their goodbyes. Despite the odds, he has not just survived, but thrived and flourished. He told his doctors “I am still a photographer”. His attitude was that the loss of three limbs “is going to give me greater insight and empathy into people’s suffering and hopefully put me in a better position to tell their stories. Because that’s all I am, a storyteller.”
Recently Duley has been documenting the refugee crisis caused by the ongoing conflict in Syria, documenting the lives of refugees in the Middle East and in Europe as part of a long-term project for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. He will tell some of their stories in his TEDxExeter talk. Writing in the Guardian he says that not since the Second World War have so many people been on the move: “I have never been so overwhelmed as by the human drama on the beaches of Lesbos. In its sheer scale, it is hard to comprehend; the lack of response impossible to explain or excuse”.
“We are delighted that Giles will be speaking at TEDxExeter,” says curator and licensee Claire Kennedy. “He is a world renowned humanitarian photographer who focuses his lens on individuals and families fleeing conflict, helping us connect to them through their stories. His 2012 talk at TEDxObserver, When a reporter becomes the story, was voted one of the top 10 TED talks of 2012, and we’re confident that his talk at TEDxExeter, so vital now, will also be a winner.”
TEDxExeter will be held at the Northcott Theatre on April 15th with a livestream to the nearby Alumni Auditorium. Tickets for both sold out in December. However, there will also be public livestream events at RAMM (the Royal Albert Memorial Museum) and Exeter Central Library. It is also possible to watch the livestream (click the link on www.TEDxExeter.com on the day) or to hold your own private viewing party (find out how at http://tedxexeter.com/events/host-a-private-viewing-party/).
For more information please contact Cathy Debenham, firstname.lastname@example.org, 07786 440129. A photograph of Giles Duley is attached.
Photographs of previous TEDxExeter events are available to download from the TEDxExeter Flickr page. Click on individual pictures to see captions and picture credits.
Notes to editors
TEDxExeter is organised by a team of local volunteers. It is made possible by the generosity of the following local companies who support the event.
University of Exeter
First Sight Media
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Exeter City Council
Matt Round Photography
All TEDxExeter talks are filmed and made freely available on the internet. The TED translation project means ideas from Exeter reach a truly global audience. So far TEDxExeter speakers’ talks have been viewed more than 5.25 million times. Four of them have been featured on TED.com: Karima Bennoune sharing stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities; Scilla Elworthy speaking on non violence; Bandi Mbubi calling for fair trade phones; and slam poet Harry Baker‘s love poem for lonely prime numbers… Michelle Ryan’s talk on work-life balance tops a TEDx YouTube list on the way we work.
About TEDx x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.
TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.