http://www.healthordisease.com

John Robb

John RobbJohn Robb was born in Blackpool, fired by the punk rock DIY ethic he put together his legendary cult band the Membranes. At the same time he started his own fanzine before moving onto the music press and writing for Sounds where he coined the phrase Britpop and was the first person to interview Nirvana, the Stone Roses and the whole of the emerging Manchester scene. From this platform he went onto be regular radio and TV pundit and presenter and author of best selling music culture books including ‘Stone Roses and the Resurrection of British pop’ and ‘the oral History Of Punk rock. He is currently the boss of one of the UK’s main music culture website www.louderthanwar.com, fronts a reformed Membranes whose critically acclaimed Dark Matter/Dark Energy album combined the Universe into life and death an a post punk trip.

Sabine Hauert

Sabine HauertSabine Hauert is Assistant Professor in Robotics at the University of Bristol in the UK. Her research focusses on engineering swarms across scales, from trillions of nanoparticles for cancer treatment to thousands of robots. Profoundly cross-disciplinary, Sabine works between Engineering Mathematics, the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, and Life Sciences. Before joining the University of Bristol, she engineered nanoparticles for cancer treatment at MIT, and deployed swarms of flying robots at EPFL.

Sabine is also President and Co-founder of Robohub.org, a non-profit dedicated to connecting the robotics community to the world. As an expert in science communication with 10 years of experience, Sabine is often invited to discuss the future of robotics and AI, including in the journals Nature and Science, at the European Parliament, and at the Royal Society.

Her work has been featured in mainstream media including BBC, CNN, The Guardian, The Economist, TEDx, WIRED, and New Scientist.

Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson is a game designer who specialises in enabling people to play in real, social spaces. He designs experiences to amaze, exhilarate, activate and promote understanding. Simon currently runs a startup called Free Ice Cream dedicated to making complex subjects playable.

In 2008 Simon co-founded Slingshot and was a company director for 7 years. Slingshot was a real world games company. They delivered real world gaming experiences to over 60,000 players worldwide. Slingshot was about offering a proposition that was simultaneously ridiculous and appealing. They were known primarily for 2.8 Hours Later. The original city-wide zombie chase game. It has inspired many others to take up gaming as a form. Along the way they also won several media innovation awards.

Way back in 2008 Simon set up iglab, the world’s first pervasive testing games lab. It was a means to popularise pervasive gaming as a form and to introduce new artists and designers to the possibilities offered by play, games and the city .

2008 also saw the inception of igfest; an international festival of street games and playful experiences. Simon directed and curated the festival for six years bringing in some of the finest games designers from around the world and working closely with the community of international peers.

Simon was a founder resident here a the Pervasive Media Studio. With the work and research Simon did here then he helped shape the agenda of the pervasive media studio toward the use of play as a strategic goal for urban development.

In 2016 Simon set up a new game studio Free Ice Cream. They are focused on making games that enable people to play with subjects that are in one way or another very complex. The first major commission saw us develop a game called 2030 Hive Mind. It is a real time policy simulation that sat at the core of The Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development AKA The Playable Conference.

Simon keep a poorly updated ludography of old games at s-j.io

Raia Hadsell

Raia Hadsell is a research scientist on the Deep Learning team at DeepMind. She moved to London to join DeepMind in early 2014, feeling that her fundamental research interests in robotics, neural networks, and real world learning systems were well-aligned with the agenda of Demis, Shane, Koray, and other members of the original team. 

Raia came to AI research obliquely. After an undergraduate degree in religion and philosophy from Reed College, she veered off-course (on-course?) and became a computer scientist. Raia’s PhD with Yann LeCun, at NYU, focused on machine learning using Siamese neural nets (often called a ‘triplet loss’ today) and on deep learning for mobile robots in the wild. Her thesis, ‘Learning Long-range vision for offroad robots’, was awarded the Outstanding Dissertation award in 2009. Raia spent a post-doc at CMU Robotics Institute, working with Drew Bagnell and Martial Hebert, and then became a research scientist at SRI International, at the Vision and Robotics group in Princeton, NJ.  

Raia’s research at DeepMind focuses on a number of fundamental challenges in AGI, including continual and transfer learning, deep reinforcement learning, and neural models of navigation.

Neil Lawrence

Neil Lawrence leads Amazon Research Cambridge where he is a Director of Machine Learning. He is on leave of absence from the University of Sheffield where he is a Professor in Computational Biology and Machine Learning in the Department of Computer Science.

He received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southampton in 1994. Following a period as an field engineer on oil rigs in the North Sea he returned to academia to complete his PhD in 2000 at the Computer Lab in Cambridge University. He spent a year at Microsoft Research in Cambridge before leaving to take up a Lectureship at the University of Sheffield, where he was subsequently appointed Senior Lecturer in 2005. In January 2007 he took up a post as a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Computer Science in the University of Manchester where he worked in the Machine Learning and Optimisation research group. In August 2010 he returned to Sheffield to take up a collaborative Chair in Neuroscience and Computer Science.

Neil’s main research interest is machine learning through probabilistic models. He focuses on both the algorithmic side of these models and their application. He has a particular focus on applications in personalized health and computational biology, but happily dabbles in other areas such as speech, vision and graphics.

Neil was Associate Editor in Chief for IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (from 2011-2013) and is an Action Editor for the Journal of Machine Learning Research. He was the founding editor of the Proceedings of Machine Learning Research (2006) and is currently series editor. He was an area chair for the NIPS conference in 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2013, Workshops Chair in 2010 and Tutorials Chair in 2013. He was General Chair of AISTATS in 2010 and AISTATS Programme Chair in 2012. He was Program Chair of NIPS in 2014 and was General Chair for 2015. He is one of the founders of the DALI Meeting and Data Science Africa.

Guest Blog – Finding Hope Closer To Home

TEDxExeter was my first time at a TEDx event and it was everything that I had expected: inspirational people sharing stories and ideas to make you rethink your point of view. Lots of these stories were from around the world, a chance to hear first hand from people who are affected by the refugee crisis, radicalism and more. However, for me the talk that stood out was one that was a little closer to home – Toby and Jo Gorniak, a couple from Plymouth who, through Hip Hop dance, were changing the lives of young people.

The words of the poem that accompanied the performance really touched me because it used the real words of young people they’d worked with. They talked about feeling invisible, confused and the need to just to be loved.

I grew up with children just like those they talked about: some of my friends were children whose home lives were far from perfect. They were moved from home to home and were surrounded by alcohol, drugs, anger and self harm, with parents so stretched mentally and financially that there wasn’t much room left.

I was lucky, that despite a tough situation, my parents gave me hope and permission to dream. The message in my family was always: if you worked hard you could make it. But for some they were not so lucky. They accepted that this was how it was and I saw close friends’ lives take a more destructive journey.

So beyond the dancing and their background, seeing how Toby and Jo Gorniak had found a way of giving children a purpose and a chance for their voice to be heard, truly does fill me with hope.

TEDxExeter is all about being inspired, sharing new ideas and discussing how we can make a positive impact on our local communities. At Stephens Scown we like to keep our eyes, ears and minds open to new ideas and we have gained so much from our involvement in TEDxExeter. We are proud to be sponsors for the 3rd year.

Blog written by Kerry England, Marketing Executive, Stephens Scown

Guest Blog: Kester Brewin on HOPE

Kester Brewin will be speaking at our forthcoming TEDxExeter event in April. He is an alumnus of TEDxExeter 2013, where he spoke brilliantly about “Mutiny!”.

 

A couple of weeks ago I was having dinner with an aunt, who happens also to be one of the wisest people I know. We were chewing over some thing I’d raised, and she placed her wine glass on the table, and pondered for a moment and said, “you know, it gave me great solace when I was finally able to admit to myself that I don’t live in my first-choice world.” Things don’t always work out. Life is not always what we have wanted it to be. There are disappointments and wounds.

With TEDx looming I have been thinking a lot about our theme, hope, and wondering if it is simply this: that even though we do not live in our first-choice world, we hold on to the idea that our world can still be changed. We can still be changed. Our politics can still be changed. Our community, our nation, our climate. Hope is, by definition, about the future. It is a belief that the world that is yet to come is not yet decided, and can still yet be moulded.

To put it mathematically (a professional habit – apologies) hope is a vector: it has to have direction. When we hope, we look ahead along a particular line. The question that this prompts is what engine is driving that hope. What force is making that change we want to see in the world?

For many years my hope was located in my religious beliefs. In any given situation, my hope was that God would sort it out, and it took me a long time to realise that this was because I was afraid of taking action myself. By pushing hope into the ineffable, I was able to abdicate responsibility for the world that I lived in. If it was imperfect it wasn’t my fault; if it wasn’t made better it wasn’t God’s will. In any case, my final hope was in heaven, a cast-iron ‘first-choice’ world that I would topple into once I’d fallen into my grave. Job done.

Amusing as this religious hope might seem, it’s far more common than we might think. Putting your hope in a ‘big other’ – in some big system above us that we trust is in control and will sort everything out in the end – is how many people live out their politics. We don’t need to act in our communities, because the government will do it for us. Others have a similarly religious view of technology: their hope located in the divine intelligence of Google or Bill Gates to deal with disease and poverty and unemployment. Climate crisis? Haven’t we got an app for that?

The maxim attributed to Gandhi – “be the change you want to see in the world” – is really about the adjusting the vectors of your hope. Once we see that the ‘big other’ largely has other ideas about what the world should look like, we have to redirect our hope away from the vertical – God, the political class, ‘high’ technology’ – and to the horizontal. Still confident that our world can be transformed, we get off our knees and backsides and commit to working with others to do something about it.

Nujeen Mastafa

Nujeen Mustafa has cerebral palsy and cannot walk. This did not stop her braving inconceivable odds to travel in her wheelchair from Syria in search of a new life. Sharing her story, Nujeen recounts the details of her childhood and disability, as well as her harrowing journey across the Mediterranean to Greece and finally to Germany to seek an education and the medical treatment she needs.

Trapped in a fifth floor apartment in Aleppo and unable to go to school, she taught herself to speak English by watching US television. As civil war broke out around them, Nujeen and her family fled first to her native Kobane, then Turkey before they joined thousands of displaced persons in a journey to Europe and asylum. She wanted to come to Europe, she said, to become an astronaut, to meet the Queen and to learn how to walk.

In her strong, positive voice, Nujeen tells the story of what it is really like to be a refugee, to have grown up in a dictatorship only for your life to be blighted by war; to have left a beloved homeland to become dependent on others. It is the story of our times told through the incredible bravery of one remarkable girl determined to keep smiling.

Nujeen’s story has already touched millions and in this book written with Christina Lamb, she helps to put a human face on an ongoing global emergency.

Nujeen Mustafa is now 18 years old and living in Cologne with her brother and sister.

Street Factory

 

Toby & Jo Gorniak are the Co-founders of Street Factory CIC in Plymouth. Street Factory share a belief in all young people, their capabilities and the possibilities for their growth and development, working hard in helping them develop not just as individuals, but also as a group, constantly reinforcing the belief that they have a duty and responsibility to the community around them. They teach through the 10 elements of Hip Hop, through genuine love and deep rooted trust that every young person can ‘find their genius’.  

Toby G is a hip hop artist, professional dancer, choreographer, educator and speaker. He has won numerous national awards for his work including an O2 Award, business awards, BBC & ITV community awards, police engagement  Health Lottery Community Award and an Honorary fellowship degree for his “Outstanding , Innovative approach to Community work”.  

Jo Gorniak is a professional actress, and performer, performing locally & nationally, with a Drama in the Community HND & Degree in Performing Arts. She has worked in New York, on projects using drama & hip hop to transform lives and at Los Angeles Film School.  

At TEDxExeter Jo and Toby are performing with three Street Factory dancers who have devised an original piece of Hip Hop Theatre on ‘Hope’.  

Dancers:

Perry Johnson: “Dancing for me is the borderline between day-dreaming and reality and I get to control the outcome “

Max Revell: “I dance not for the enjoyment of others but for the happiness of myself”

Emmanuel Atangana Maze: “Your passion makes your life and dance is passion”