Matthew Owen biography

Matthew OwenMatthew set-up Cool Earth in 2007 to work with indigenous communities keep their rainforest standing. Cool Earth now works throughout the tropics and has put 500,000 acres of endangered forest our of reach of loggers. Matthew has run a childcare charity, managed a research group and spent 15 years in investment banking. He now lives in Falmouth with three daughters.



TEDxExeter’s Twitter account is the place to go for the latest news about our previous and upcoming speakers and performers. And here are a few bonus snippets.

Tomorrow, Karima Bennoune is giving the Edward Said memorial lecture at Warwick University. Her first report as UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights was recently released; click on “LATEST REPORT”.

Jenny Sealey’s theatre company Graeae and the Central Illustration Agency (CIA!) recently collaborated on a wide-ranging exhibition at The Guardian. “Reframing the Myth” celebrated 35 years of placing Deaf and disabled artists centre stage.

Deeyah Khan and Manwar Ali (Abu Muntasir) both featured in this BBC interview about the lure of ISIS. Deeyah Khan wrote in the HuffPost last June about how “We Must Tackle Extremism Without Compromising Freedom of Speech”.

Carmel McConnell was awarded her MBE on 19 February for services to school food. A slide from her TEDxExeter talk was featured at the TED conference in Vancouver, as Jay Herratti celebrated ideas coming through TEDx events around the world with a particular focus on food.

Patrick Holden was featured in a Guardian article about urban farming and equality.

And finally… Last week, Mike Dickson released a new book! “Our Generous Gene” is “A call to action illustrated with stories from ordinary people who are, to their surprise, already changing the world and seeing small actions ripple outwards for good… For a future of happiness and meaning we just need to develop the naturing, caring instincts we are born with and focus on creating a world, not acquiring it.”

More articles in the press

Doing a bit of a catch-up of articles in the local press about TEDxExeter 2016 …

… and alumni Michelle Ryan and Andy Robertson

TEDxExeter talk by Exeter Professor tops TEDx YouTube Channel playlist: The Way We Work

Press release

Professor Michelle Ryans 2015 TEDxExeter talk has been viewed nearly 70,000 times in the past six months, and tops a recent compilation of TEDx talks on the way we work.

Michelle Ryan is Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter. Her TEDxExeter talk examines work-life balanceasking whether it is about balancing time or balancing identity. Her research demonstrates that in male-dominated professions, such as surgery, science and the police force, men and women start out with the same ambition to succeed, but womens ambition erodes over time.

It was incredible to participate in the TEDxExeter event and be able to speak to so many engaged people about my research,” says Professor Ryan. “To see the talk reach out to a global online audience through the TEDx website is very rewarding. We really need to rethink what we mean by work-life balance and understand how issues of identity and belonging might feed into how we can strike a balance between who we are at home and who we are at work.”

The lack of women at the top is often put down to a ticking biological clock or the time constraints of having a family. Professor Ryan’s research has found other reasons why women dont make it. Fewer than 10 per cent of surgical consultants are women and yet their hours and demands on time are no less than those on nurses or midwives, both careers with many women in senior roles.

Ryan argues that how people feel about their workplace is important. You feel you have a good work-life balance if people like you have made it [to the top].Where people cant see anyone like them in senior roles they are more likely to stop aspiring to achieve them, and are less likely to make the sacrifices needed to succeed.

We are delighted that Michelles talk has got this recognition from TEDx,says TEDxExeter licensee and curator Claire Kennedy. It brings a new angle to why women are not as successful in the workplace as we know they can be, and that knowledge will help more people to break down barriers.

It is also exciting that another TEDxExeter talk has been highlighted. Other talks have been selected to be on including Scilla Ellworthys talk on fighting win non-violence and Bandi Mbubis talk Congo Calling from 2012. Karima Bennounes when people of muslim heritage challenge fundamentalism and Harry Bakers love poem for lonely prime numbers were also chosen for in 2014. These four talks have been viewed over 4 million times, and talks from our first four conferences have been viewed more than 5 million times.

For more information about TEDxExeter please contact Cathy Debenham,, 07786 440129. Photos of Michelle Ryan are attached. If you use them, please credit James Millar.

Photographs of past speakers and events are available for 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 local companies who support the event. TEDxExeter 2016 will take place in the Exeter Northcott Theatre on Friday 15 April, with a simultaneous livestream to the nearby Alumni Auditorium. Tickets for both venues ar now sold out (the Northcott has a waiting list). Other livestream viewing parties will take place in venues around Exeter and beyond. Details will be announced nearer the event.

Our sponsors are:
University of Exeter
Stephens Scown
SunGift Energy
Wilkinson Grant
Exeter City Council
LHC Architects
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Websites Ahoy
Southernhay House
Dacors Design
Exeter College
First Sight Media

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.)

Follow TEDxExeter on Twitter at For more information and to watch our talks visit our website:

About TED

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 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, 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.

Follow TED on Twitter at, on Facebook at or Instagram at

The One and The Many

fitzroyplace-byThomasRandall-Page-croppedPeter Randall-Page has a new monumental public sculpture now on view in London.

Way back in August 2014, Claire and I visited Peter’s studio and were privileged to see the work in progress. I have no idea how the stone could ever have got there through the high-edged windy lanes of deepest darkest Devon, or how it got out again. What I do know is that it is a stunning complement to Peter’s talk at TEDxExeter 2015 on “Theme and variation in nature and culture”, truly taking the long view.

The website for The One and The Many is beautiful, and extremely informative. And yesterday, Peter was on Radio 4’s Start the Week talking about the sculpture and ideas behind the project. The program is now available as a podcast.

Here’s a snippet from the publicity around the unveiling:

Commissioned for the recently opened Fitzroy Place, The One and The Many is primarily a celebration of human ingenuity and imagination. Embracing many cultures, the sculpture is situated in the heart of Fitzrovia, an area with a rich and vibrant cultural history and thriving creative community.

Carved from a 25 tonne, 3.5 metre high naturally eroded granite boulder the sculpture is inscribed over its entire surface with marks carved in low relief representing writing systems from the earliest cuneiform script (active 5,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia) to those still in use today. The texts themselves are creation stories from various cultures, each conveyed in their own writing systems.

The One and The Many powerfully expresses Peter’s passion for the way in which we imbue the world with human meaning through our creativity and imagination and the mark making which has been fundamental to the way we communicate our thoughts and ideas from our ancestors to the present day.

A scholar from Exeter University checked the classical Arabic, lines from Ibn al-Nafis’ Theologus Autodidactus.
Carving of the Braille text in progress, lines from ‘The God’s Script’ by Jorge Luis Borges.

The way we work

Michelle Ryan’s talk from TEDxExeter 2015 on “Work-life balance: balancing time or balancing identity?” is currently headlining a playlist curated by TEDx Talks on YouTube.

Michelle says:

It was incredible to participate in the TEDxExeter event, and be able to speak to so many engaged people about my research. To see the talk reach out to a global online audience through the TEDx Talks website is really rewarding. We really need to rethink what we mean by work-life balance and understand how issues of identity and belonging might feed into how we might strike a balance between who we are at home and who we are at work.

The playlist “The way we work” also features talks on “How to manage for collective creativity” and “Why work doesn’t happen at work” among others.

Theme and Variation

Peter Randall-Page spoke beautifully at TEDxExeter 2015 about “Theme and variation in nature and culture”. He has now created a new ceramic frieze, called “Theme and Variation” for the façade of the Bramall Music Building at the University of Birmingham.

The abstract design of the frieze is derived from the visual interpretation of improvisation in jazz music. It is constructed from over 900 unique hand made terracotta tiles using the ‘Sgraffito’ technique. There is an accompanying exhibition on the making from 8 October 2015 to 27 January 2016, which looks well worth a visit.


TEDxExeter 2015 – Taking the Long View

TEDxExeter 2015 happened in the Exeter Northcott Theatre on 24 April 2015, with the theme “Taking the Long View”. We also had a concurrent livestream in Exeter Library’s Rougemont Room.

We aimed to take the long view back into the past, and explored how it has shaped the world we now live in. We wanted to ask about what responsibilities the past places on us in the way we live now and how we innovate. Much current political, economic and personal decision-making is rife with short-termism. So we also took the long view into the future, and asked how it can reveal and help us to understand the challenges that face us now, and shape the way we live and the decisions we make.

TEDTalks video and live speakers combined to spark deep discussion and connection. There was also music, a locally sourced lunch and wonderful opportunities in the breaks to meet and mix with speakers, performers and fellow TEDx-ers, and continue the conversation.

Download an A4 version of the programme (pdf) handed out at the event.

Morning Session: Open Communities

Welcome and Introduction to TEDx and TEDxExeter

Matthew Owen Cool Earth: saving rainforest a village at a time

TED Talk Will Marshall Tiny satellites show us the Earth as it changes in near-real-time

Rachel McKendry Going viral: the digital future of public health

TED Talk Candy Chang Before I die I want to…

Carmel McConnell Can we end child hunger in the 6th richest economy?

Morning Session: Global Connections

Clive Stafford Smith My father, mental illness and the death penalty

TED Talk Eric Whitacre A choir as big as the Internet

Chetan Bhatt Visions of a future without origin stories and identity myths

Karima Bennoune A video update

Celia McKeon Reimagining security

Afternoon Session: Renewed Visions

Dick Moore Dancing or drowning in the rain?

Beth Barnes Effective altruism

Kieron Kirkland Performance

Jenny Sealey Sidelined

Sara Hyde We need to talk about prisons

Afternoon Session: Changing Perceptions

Michelle Ryan Work-life balance: balancing time or balancing identity?

Kieron Kirkland Make magic and influence people

Peter Randall-Page Theme and variation in nature and culture

TED Talk Andrew Solomon How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are

Harry Baker Performance

Sponsors and Partners 2015

We’re very grateful to our sponsors and partners who “took the long view” with us at TEDxExeter 2015. Please click on their logos to visit their websites and find out more about their products and services.

Find out more about the benefits of sponsoring TEDxExeter, and how you can support future events and make TEDxExeter accessible to a wide cross section of our community.



We pride ourselves on being a national-quality law firm with a regional focus.

Whether you need help in your business, family or personal life, you can be assured of access to our best people and best resources at all times. We’re not a large, faceless legal organisation. Far from it – as proud members of the communities in which we operate, we are available, visible and accountable for everything we do. Once you’ve worked with us, you will understand why in an independent legal survey we often come top for client satisfaction, with 100 per cent saying they would recommend our services to others.

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Telephone: 01392 210700



At Egremont we help our clients turn good ideas into action. A key feature of our work is to help organisations understand the accelerating pace of change in the world today and what the implications are for the next decade. So, for us, the key question is ‘how quickly can business become sustainable’ not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because commercial economic models will force no other choice. This is why we are delighted to be supporting and sponsoring a hotbed of ideas at TEDxExeter.



SunGift is an award-winning, renewable energy specialist, based in the South West. With access to some of the World’s latest technology we can offer ‘best value’ Solar PV systems designed to suit a customer’s property and budget. We also fit a whole range of renewable energy technologies including solar thermal systems and biomass boilers.

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Wilkinson Grant & Co are very proud to be able to support TEDxExeter for a third year running. We are very much aware that our business is as much about the people we work for and the community we live in as the properties we sell and let. The TEDxExeter team have put inspirational days together over the past few years and we are looking forward to this year’s talks and performances, and hope we can assist bringing them to a larger local audience in our community. Wilkinson Grant & Co have been market leaders in the Exeter and surrounding area property market since 1995 with a team of specialists in Residential Sales, Lettings, Estate Valuation, Wealth Management, as well as Mortgage Advisors, RICS surveyors and a Land & Development team.



AnTech is an Exeter-based company that provides high quality products and services for the upstream oil and gas industry. We are motivated by ideas, and we are committed to designing products and services that improve environmental sustainability within the oil and gas industry. AnTech is pleased to support the dissemination of ideas that TEDx brings to Exeter. Find us at



Devon Partnership NHS Trust. Our vision is an inclusive society where the importance of mental health and wellbeing is universally understood and valued. We support around 40,000 people a year with their mental health and learning disability needs, working closely with health and social care providers across the south west. We aim to challenge discrimination and stigma and to champion recovery and inclusion and to ensure our services are shaped by the voices of the people who use them.



Websites Ahoy! aims to make it easy for small businesses and community groups to publicise themselves on the web, with good-looking and good-value websites. Our ulterior motive is to help build local communities and support networks. So we are delighted to able to support TEDxExeter through developing and maintaining For information about our services, please see



Southernhay House Hotel is pleased to sponsor the press launch for TEDxExeter, coming to the Exeter Northcott Theatre in the spring of 2015. Without going overboard, Southernhay House has an independent and intellectual outlook which sits perfectly within the TEDx field. In its work to promote Exeter as a thoughtful and cultural centre, Southernhay is proud to support TEDxExeter. Southernhay House is an independent boutique hotel, bar and restaurant (and sister hotel to iconic Burgh Island) aiming to bring “London style at Exeter prices” to Devon. The personal involvement of owners and staff alike makes the Hotel stand out from the crowd. With one foot in the 18th century and the other firmly in the 21st century, we share the TEDxExeter long view.



Chromatrope specialise in digital strategy, innovation, new product and content development and special projects. We are committed to generating imaginative and creative projects for a range of public, private and third sector clients. We passionately believe in the positivity of sharing ideas, so we are delighted to be able to sponsor TEDxExeter. Find out about our services and get in touch at



Stormpress is a business built on values of fairness, trust and integrity and we are proud to be associated with TEDxExeter over the last few years.

We offer a combination of design, print, exhibition stands and banners, mailings, and fast turnaround digital printing based on building long lasting relationships and embracing technological change as it comes. For our latest product, Artworker Pro by Stormpress, we have thought outside the box to use technology to make life better. Artworker Pro is unique in that it offers you the ability to manage and edit your artwork online, whilst leaving you free to choose who prints the resultant print ready file. Our skills giving you control.



Award-winning photographer and videographer James Millar formed metis media in 2011 and his company provides a full compliment of visual services to a high-profile portfolio of clients in the South West region. James’ work as a press photographer regularly appears in the national and international press, and he is also an acclaimed portrait photographer. Metis Media’s comprehensive public relations and marketing service works with Devon clients as diverse as a leading law firm, the South West’s largest accountancy business, a vineyard, and Devon’s most prestigious hotels.



Dacors Design is a bijou graphic design consultancy based on Dartmoor. The remoteness helps us to think.

Confident that we can give you more bang for your budget, we can design and supply press ads, posters, stationery, brochures, reports, stationery, direct mail campaigns, exhibition stands, packaging and much more. On brief, on budget and on time.

With extensive experience of dealing with the not-for-profit sector, we know how ideas can spread from local issues to global campaigns. We are proud to be supporting TEDxExeter 2015.



Exeter College is a large, thriving and growing tertiary college which places teaching, learning and student success as our top priority. We enjoy an excellent regional reputation and were judged as outstanding by Ofsted in a full inspection in 2014, were awarded the Times Educational Supplement ‘Outstanding Provider of the Year’ and ‘Outstanding Leadership and Management’ in 2012 and BTEC School and College of the Year Award in 2014.

We have high expectations of our students and staff and each year their combined efforts result in excellent exam grades, outstanding training successes and brilliant music, art, sports and community achievements. We support, challenge and stretch our students through a relentless focus on excellent teaching, learning and assessment and we are delighted to be supporting TEDxExeter 2015 and the opportunities it will provide for both our staff and students to explore ‘Taking the Long View’.



Saks is the UK’s leading hair and beauty franchise group with an award-winning, national and international network of salons on the high street and in health clubs. Saks is also renowned as an international leader in hair and beauty education with educational practices which have been acknowledged as outstanding, resulting in the ultimate accolade, being awarded UK’s Best Training Provider with Beacon Status.



First Sight Media are proud to be associated with TEDxExeter, providing professional video production and streaming services whilst having delivered creative live events, training and promotional videos for over 20 years. Specialising in live and on-demand video streaming, communicating your message through us, over the internet has never been easier. We also offer the ability for you to enhance your conferences and webinars through our bespoke presentation software iPresenter, allowing you to deliver high definition video of your speaker simultaneously with their presentation slides online.

Whatever your audience, we can offer a tailored solution to effectively communicate your message through creative multimedia. Visit our website to see examples, and get in touch at or 0800 072 8753.



Luscombe have been making beautiful drinks since 1975. Based on a farm in deepest Devon, all of our drinks are crafted with exceptional care and integrity. “It’s all about the taste”. That’s how Gabriel David, the owner and managing director of Luscombe, sums up our approach to making drinks and we think it shows in everything we do. We source all of our ingredients from growers we trust to ensure we get the best possible produce that’s grown to the highest standards. And when it comes to making the drinks we never compromise – much of the equipment we use has been made specifically for us. Some people say we’re obsessed. We think that’s a compliment.



MailChimp makes it easy to design exceptional email campaigns, share them on social networks, integrate with web services you already use, manage subscribers and track your results. You’ll love mixing and matching MailChimp’s templates, features and integrations to suit your needs—think of it as your own personal newsletter publishing platform.



Exeter Northcott Theatre plays a vital role in the artistic life of Exeter and the heart of Devon, providing ambitious and exciting performances and opportunities that make a difference to the lives of the broadest community possible.

Our beautifully designed theatre is a favourite of UK touring companies, who value the enthusiastic response they always receive from Exeter audiences, and we host the finest middle-scale touring drama, opera, dance and family theatre that the UK has to offer. We place a high value on offering members of the community the chance to take part both on our stage and in their schools and communities, and we also play a key role in developing the workforce of the future by offering training and career development opportunities across the breadth of our work. We’re delighted to be hosting TEDxExeter’s 2015 conference ‘Taking the Long View’.



Exeter Library is part of The Devon Centre Exeter which opened in May 2014 following a £4.5 million refurbishment. It aims to be a community gateway to help and advise about local services, improve skills and offer various volunteering opportunities. The new Centre provides a modern 21st century library; flexible workspace with free Wi-Fi throughout; five bookable meeting rooms seating 2 to 80 people with a range of in-room facilities; a Café with Garden Terrace, a Business and Information Hub supporting start-ups, small firms and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses; and the only FabLab in a UK public library – an open-source, not-for-profit, community resource where anybody can make just about anything from electronic circuit boards to CNC machining an electric guitar.

Security for the future

Celia McKeon’s talk on “Reimagining security” has been featured on the Open Democracy website.

Does security mean defence: tanks and barbed-wire fences? Or can it mean building relationships, confronting inequalities and recognising each other’s humanity?

Celia and fellow TEDxExeter alumna Scilla Elworthy both signed the Ammerdown Invitation posted on Open Democracy in September 2014 –  “Security for the future: in search of a new vision”. Celia’s talk has subsequently been featured in the post.

A group of UK peacebuilding professionals invite participation in a new civic conversation about alternatives to the current approach to national security there. Here they outline their concerns about the existing model and offer a different vision for the future, welcoming input from anyone who wishes to engage in this debate.