Out and about with Frosty

Some of the speakers at TEDxExeter 2016 very kindly gave more of their time during their visits to Exeter. Anna Frost called in at a number of schools, the City Council, and went for a short (for her) outing with some local runners. Her whistle-stop tour was arranged by Tobit Emmens, member of the TEDxExeter production team, and speaker at TEDxExeter 2013. He has written a guest blog for us.

 

The children, all 400 of them, as well as the teachers, drew a collective breath when Anna Frost told them how long it took to run the Hardrock100, one of the hardest ultra marathons in the world. 27 hours, two sun rises and lots and lots of food. Anna, who many in the sport know as Frosty, was at St Michael’s Primary Academy, Heavitree, to talk to the children about being curious (what was over the next mountain?), adventurous and brave.

The children were enthralled, amazed and inspired. One pupil said to me: “it was so inspiring to meet a real life superhero”. After assembly, Frosty led an activity session for members of the school running club, with relay races, wheelbarrow races and a lesson on how to cure a stitch. Iain Randall, deputy head of St Michael’s, was delighted that Frosty was able to visit: “we often talk to the children about people who do amazing things and how they can act as role models, but to have one visit and work with the children was brilliant”.

After St Michael’s, Frosty visited St Luke’s Science and Sports College. There she met more primary school children from across the city on a sports Gifted and Talented programme. The children had been learning about pacing, and endurance. They were delighted to meet and listen to Frosty, who gave a short talk on how she started running, the ups and downs and the adventures she has had. This was followed by a Q&A session, and then it was outside for an activity session: a warm up and ‘long run’ around the field to put some learning into action.

Matt Upston, the College Sports Coordinator said: “having athlete role models come in and talk to the Gifted and Talented students can really inspire students to greatness. Frosty was fantastic working with the students and gave them a real insight on what it was like to be a professional athlete and the highlights and lowlights of a career on the road. Anna’s talk was engaging and inspirational to both the students and staff!”

In the afternoon, it was the turn of grown ups! A small group of local runners met at the Four Firs carpark, for a 15 mile run on Woodbury Common. For the local runners who took part, it was fantastic opportunity to run and quiz Frosty on everything from what she eats, how she trains, how she prepares for an ultra marathon, what it’s like to be a professional athlete, why she doesn’t use GPS activity tracking, the role social media has in professional sport, and what she plans on doing next.

Anna also met with representatives of Exeter City Council’s rugby world cup legacy team. Frosty gave some valuable insights on some of the challenges of bringing professional athletes into mentoring programmes.

TEDxExeter speaker calls for us to take a stand against terror and hate

Following the Orlando shooting on 12 June, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune condemned murderous hate and called for commentators to question how Islamist political ideology purveys hatred against many groups.

Writing in the Huffington Post, she says: “If a suspected Christian fundamentalist had carried out an attack like this, liberal commentators would rightly be questioning how the rhetoric of some homophobic Christian leaders might have fuelled the atrocity.

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“As difficult as it is to do so appropriately in an atmosphere infused with discrimination against Muslims and terrifying Trumpism, if the Islamist inspiration of the Orlando murderer is confirmed, we will have to ask precisely the same questions. How has Islamist rhetoric inflamed homophobia and led to mass violence? Mateen’s armed, murderous hate is neither better nor worse because he was a Muslim. It is simply lamentable, to be condemned vociferously, should not be imputed to others who share his identity categories, but must be dissected, analyzed and fought mercilessly.”

Karima Bennoune, who is herself of Muslim heritage, spoke at TEDxExeter in 2014. In her talk, Your fatwa does not apply here, she told four powerful stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities — refusing to allow the faith they love to become a tool for crime, attacks and murder. These personal stories humanise one of the most overlooked human-rights struggles in the world.

Speaking about the Orlando shootings, she added: “we cannot be tolerant of intolerance either, whoever’s intolerance that may be. Tolerance of intolerance does not produce tolerance. We have to stand against the far right, whether Christian or Muslim, in the West or in Muslim majority contexts and without disappearing difficult realities behind politically correct platitudes.” 

To read her full article, click here.

Imagining the TEDxExeter 2016 livestream anew

The TEDxExeter 2016 livestream was watched by people from 69 countries all over the world during the course of the day. The top 25 countries included (among the usual Western suspects): India, Mauritius, PNG, Pakistan, and Libya. Riffing on the mapping presentation in his talk “Imagining the world anew”, Danny Dorling kindly passed on our request to his colleague Ben Hennig, who brilliantly produced the following for us.

TEDxExeter_CountriesEqualSize

The first map shows each country represented in the streaming data in an equal size, so that it is a highlight of where all the visitors in the world came from, but represented by an equal measure and not in any other proportion. All other countries basically disappear from this first map.

TEDxExeter_StreamShareWithUK

The second map includes the actual shares of stream usage from each country. In this one, the UK is most prominent because it took the major share.

TEDxExeter_StreamShareWithoutUK

The third map takes out all UK data (so these 86% share of streams from the UK) and gives a proportional picture of where else people streamed the event in an accurate relative representation.