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”

James Craig


James Craig is a second year student at Exeter College studying Maths, Chemistry and History.

Having originally aspired to be a Doctor, a work experience placement at a Solicitor’s firm set him on a different path. Being interested in law and politics now for several years, he has applied to study Law at university after completion of his A-levels. He’s previously been Chair of his schools council, tutor rep and is currently the Diversity Officer of Exeter College’s Student Representative Committee.

James believes in the power of communication and is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to talk at TEDx.

Rob Wilson

Rob has been involved with Toast Ale since its inception in early 2016, initially as an advisor and more recently as full time Chief Toaster. Toast Ale believe that if want to change the world, you have to throw a better party than those destroying it. Prior to Toast, Rob led an organization called Ashoka in the UK, supporting a global network of social entrepreneurs to scale system changing ideas and enterprises.

Rob is an award winning serial social entrepreneur himself having founded a number of ventures over the years. He founded READ International in 2004; a Tanzanian student-volunteer-led development organisation which to date has provided over 1.5 million books to school children and created 100 school libraries. He co-founded Generation Change in 2012, a partnership of the UK’s leading youth social action organisations, helping 600,000 young people a year take positive action in their local communities. He also recently co-founded the youth-led campaign Undivided; a non-partisan campaign set up to get the best possible Brexit deal for young people. In 2011 he co-authored a book with his wife Nikki about social entrepreneurs in Africa called On the Up.

Rob lives just outside London in Kent with his wife Nikki and their two very cheeky little boys Thomas and Matthew.

Madhumita Murgia


Madhumita is a journalist, editor and speaker with expertise in the fields of science, health and technology.

As the European Technology Correspondent at the Financial Times, she is passionate about how technology and science have disrupted and transformed all aspects of our lives. She was previously head of technology at the Telegraph, where she oversaw the publication’s tech coverage and has written award-winning longform features on data privacy, gene editing and other major tech trends for publications such as Wired, Newsweek and the BBC.

Before journalism, Madhumita worked on an HIV vaccine at Oxford University.

Virginie Helias


With 28 years of experience at Procter & Gamble in Brand Management and Innovation, Virginie has a broad experience across multiple categories and global to local brand management expertise across several of P&G multi-billion dollar brands (Pantene, Ariel/Tide, Pampers). She has international experience (France, UK, Switzerland and the United States).

Prior to her current position, she was the Western Europe Franchise Leader for Ariel, one of P&G largest brands, where she turned Ariel into the leader in Sustainability through the launch of the highly successful “Cool Clean/Turn to 30” campaign and the most sustainable laundry product (Excel Gel).

Beyond her brand and innovation expertise, she is also recognized for her visioning, change management and leadership development skills. She is a certified coach.

In July 2011, she recommended the creation of a new position –Global Sustainability Brand Director, working across all P&G business units and regions. Her mission was to embed sustainability into the innovation, brand-building and everyday business practices at P&G. In July 2016, she was promoted to Vice President of Global Sustainability, in recognition of the work she has led to make sustainability a core business strategy, an innovation driver and a catalyst for a more resilient organisation.

Virginie lives in Geneva, Switzerland, with her husband and 3 children. She is a marathon runner.

Voices of HOPE

Music has played an important role in many social movements, bringing hope to millions, fostering community, and encouraging perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Negro Spirituals were a vital means for African American slaves to express their solidarity and protest, and immunise themselves against despair in the face of extreme unjust treatment. They have been described as “Living Hope”:

African American religious music has generally been born of suffering yet focused on hope-hope for a better world, where oppression and suffering give way to justice and freedom. In the spirituals and hymns that have grown out of African American experience, this hope has most often been expressed in terms of a heaven beyond this world, where all will be made right. That vision of hope has never failed, though, to stir longings for something better “here and now” as well. The music of this tradition has made, and continues to make, an indelible impression on the landscape of American (and world) culture-expressing a proud heritage of faithful endurance, offering a testimony of hope to all who suffer, enlarging many human hearts through unique poetic power, even challenging public policy through compelling portraits of a just and free society.

The tradition continued in South Africa during the struggle against apartheid. In many anthems of hope, the people expressed their anger at the government and their sorrow at the Sharpeville massacre and other tragedies, and sung of their coming freedom.

In recent years, Gareth Malone has demonstrated the power of singing together in daily life. He has taken his choral direction skills and expertise into places and situations where they were decidedly lacking. In “Boys Don’t Sing”, he led a large choir of difficult boys to a performance at the Royal Albert Hall; he set up a vibrant community choir in South Oxhey in “Unsung Town”; and he nurtured the “Military Wives” to a Remembrance Day performance before the Queen. In all cases, the music and the experience of singing together, encouraged by Malone, has drawn out emotions, given confidence, and literally and metaphorically given a voice to many people.

Then there is the choir Voices of Hope, the current holders of the “National Choir of the Year” title. It was founded in 2011 for a memorial concert to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF). It takes its name from the BHF’s Gifts of Hope tribute fund, which enables people to share memories of their loved ones and help to tackle heart disease.

Clare Bryden, TEDxExeter Storyteller

HOPE and Joy

To celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday recently, he and his close friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu got together for a week to talk about something very important to them: a human, embodied, and honest exploration of the challenges of living a joyful life. The result was “The Book of Joy”. Here is a small excerpt from the book, in which they are speaking with co-author Douglas Abrams about hope.

Clare Bryden, TEDxExeter Storyteller

 

Book-of-JoyThe Dalai Lama said “When bad things happen they become news, and it is easy to feel like our basic human nature is to kill or to rape or to be corrupt. Then we can feel that there is not much hope for our future.

“All these things happen, but they are unusual, which is why they become news. There are millions and millions of children who are loved by their parents every day. Then in school their teachers care for them. Okay, maybe there are some bad teachers, but most of them really are kind and caring. Then in the hospital, every day millions of people receive immense caring. But this is so common that none of it becomes news. We take it for granted.

“When we look at the news, we must keep this more holistic view. Yes, this or that terrible thing has happened. No doubt, there are very negative things, but at the same time there are many more positive things happening in our world. We must have a sense of proportion and a wider perspective. Then we will not feel despair when we see these sad things.”

Neither [the Dalai Lama nor Archbishop Tutu] was asking us to look at the world through rosecolored glasses or to not see the world with anything but a searingly honest view. The Archbishop even discouraged people from being optimistic.

“You’ve spoken, Archbishop, very powerfully, about how hope is not the same as optimism. Could you tell us a little bit about the distinction you make?”

“Hope,” the Archbishop said, “is quite different from optimism, which is more superficial and liable to become pessimism when the circumstances change. Hope is something much deeper.

“I mentioned earlier about Chris Hani, whose assassination occurred at a very critical point in the negotiations for a new, democratic South Africa. We were on the edge of a precipice. It was so serious that the then president, the white president of South Africa, F. W. de Klerk, asked Nelson Mandela to address the nation.

“That incident could have caused the collapse of the negotiations, but it didn’t, in fact. We were fortunate that we had someone like Nelson Mandela.

“Now, if you had been an optimist, you would have said, Well, the assassination of Chris Hani is really the end of everything. What made people want to go on going on – holding on by the skin of their teeth – was not optimism but hope – dogged, inextinguishable hope.

“I say to people that I’m not an optimist, because that, in a sense, is something that depends on feelings more than the actual reality. We feel optimistic, or we feel pessimistic. Now, hope is different in that it is based not on the ephemerality of feelings but on the firm ground of conviction. I believe with a steadfast faith that there can never be a situation that is utterly, totally hopeless. Hope is deeper and very, very close to unshakable. It’s in the pit of your tummy. It’s not in your head. It’s all here,” he said, pointing to his abdomen.

“Despair can come from deep grief, but it can also be a defense against the risks of bitter disappointment and shattering heartbreak. Resignation and cynicism are easier, more self-soothing postures that do not require the raw vulnerability and tragic risk of hope. To choose hope is to step firmly forward into the howling wind, baring one’s chest to the elements, knowing that, in time, the storm will pass.”

As the Archbishop was explaining, hope is the antidote to despair. Yet hope requires faith, even if that faith is in nothing more than human nature or the very persistence of life to find a way. Hope is also nurtured by relationship, by community, whether that community is a literal one or one fashioned from the long memory of human striving whose membership includes Gandhi, King, Mandela, and countless others. Despair turns us inward. Hope sends us into the arms of others.

Wiggle Room in the Universe

Last year, I wrote a review of Rebecca Solnit’s vision of “Hope in the Dark” for Issue #1 of The Porch magazine. Now it is on Issue #3, The Porch has kindly allowed me to cross-post it here.

“Hope in the Dark” was originally published in the Bush years as ‘an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists’. It sold out after Trump’s victory in December. So here also are Rebecca Solnit on Hope, Lies, and Making Change on WNYC in January this year; and from earlier in 2016, Brain Pickings’ reflections on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change.

Clare Bryden, TEDxExeter Storyteller

 

Activists come in all shapes and sizes.

My particular interest is in sustainability, especially in economics and climate change, and until 2009 I was an insider working in consultancy and government science. But more recently, my tendency has been toward what might be called the outlying practices of contemplative prayer, living the change, conceptual art, and writing.

Rebecca Solnit has been an outlier since the 1980s – a social justice activist who is committed to direct action; and a writer compelled to weave beauty into the conversation about the things that compassion demands we change. She first wrote Hope in the Dark in 2003-04 for activists, to “make the case for hope… against the tremendous despair at the height of the Bush administration’s powers and the outset of the war in Iraq”. This third edition includes a new foreword and afterwords, reflecting on the intervening twelve years. It is a timely publication, during a bizarre US presidential election in which it seems the stakes couldn’t be higher, and at a moment which demands urgent and significant action on climate change.

For Solnit, Hope in the Dark “is one part of a vast, ongoing conversation about who we are, what powers we have, and what we can do with them”. It is now part of the conversation in my head, with other books and ideas that have inspired me; another piece in my mental jigsaw of how I can be what the world needs.

When she locates hope in “the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act”, I am reminded of how much wiggle room there is in the universe. Not just in the uncertainty inherent in quantum physics, but also in our minds: the wisdom available to us through what Jung called our unconscious, which, at its best, dances with linear Cartesian thinking.

Solnit quotes Paul Goodman: “Suppose you had the revolution you are talking and dreaming about. Suppose your side had won, and you had the kind of society that you wanted. How would you live, you personally, in that society? Start living that way now!” My linear logical mind is uncertain whether my small attempts to live that way now or my contemplative prayer practice are really making a difference. But my unconscious, in its dark unknowing, convinces me that I must continue in that uncertainty.

Donald Rumsfeld recognized the existence of uncertainty in his “unknown unknowns”, but he left out or never saw the unknown knowns, those things we don’t like to admit. Walter Brueggemann wrote in The Prophetic Imagination of the need for prophetic grief in the face of how the Powers that Be deny change and death, and their wrong-headed insistence on perpetual business-as-usual. Solnit agrees that hope “is not the belief that everything was, is or will be fine… grief and hope can coexist.”

She invites us to imagine how things could have happened differently and better if 9/11 had not been followed by lies and propaganda that served the Bush government. Such imagination is a powerful tool. She also invites us to imagine (as in It’s a Wonderful Life) how things could have happened differently and worse if we had not acted. It is important to acknowledge those victories that look like nothing has happened: the environmentally destructive road that wasn’t built, or the fracking that was banned.

There are so many stories of victories, and individual and collective histories of change: but we are somehow trained to downplay or even erase them in the face of today’s struggles. For Solnit, hope is the branches that grow out of the roots of recovering such memory. Much of Hope in the Dark is story and memory – “examples of positive change, of popular power, evidence that we can do it and have done it” – and this is primarily what will continue to resonate for me in my own activist ups and downs.

Alongside Solnit’s stories of the Zapatistas, Silent Spring, Nunavut, and many others, we can set still more. I recently re-read Alastair McIntosh’s Soil and Soul, an account of two successful campaigns in Scotland against a proposed super quarry on the Isle of Harris, and for land reform on the Isle of Eigg. Like many, these victories were incomplete. Land ownership is still concentrated in the hands of very few. Quarries will still be opened until we stop building unnecessary roads and use only recycled sources for crushed rock.

This is the essence of what Solnit calls a “seventy-seven cent victory”. Such a victory doesn’t shut activism down either in the mistaken belief that we have won and our work is finished, or because a perfect victory is not immediately possible. Instead, it celebrates winning an increase in women’s pay from sixty-six cents relative to the male dollar, vowing not to stop until parity is attained.

McIntosh’s activism is inspired by Walter Wink’s writing on naming, unmasking and engaging the powers. Solnit doesn’t directly draw on Wink, but often nods to his approach, for example: “Making an injury visible and public is usually the first step in remedying it”. In the case of climate change, we should celebrate the investigative journalism which revealed how Exxon suppressed information about the impact of climate change, and the achievement of the Paris Agreement despite struggles1 – while recognising how much further we still need to go and how rapidly the room to act offered by uncertainty is shrinking.

In one of the new additions to this edition, Solnit issues a challenge: “This is the time to find your place in [the climate movement].” I first found my place there in the early 1990s, and have to agree. The quotation (slightly out of context) that for me sums up Hope in the Dark is: “Here are some stories about other things BUT CLIMATE IS BIGGER THAN THIS”. Thankfully, each story has also inspired me to recall my own; and to reaffirm the knowledge that others have achieved what they also once believed impossible. It can happen again.


1 See Christiana Figueres’ TED Talk

Gill Hayes

A four month sabbatical in the French Alps in 2008 gave Gill Hayes and her family space and time to think about what was really important to them in life. As a result her husband sold his business and they relocated to Devon for a better quality of life for themselves and their children.

Gill decided to retrain as a yoga teacher. However, ‘living the dream’ didn’t go quite according to plan and she became severely depressed. By sharing her story of recovery, Gill wishes to spread hope to others with depression, to challenge some of the beliefs around mental illness and to encourage us to all to play a role in the mental health revolution.

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Christina Lamb

Christina Lamb is one of Britain’s leading foreign correspondents and a bestselling author. She has reported from most of the world’s hotspots but her particular passions are Afghanistan and Pakistan which she has covered since an unexpected wedding invitation led her to Karachi in 1987 aged just 21.

Within two years Christina had been named Young Journalist of the Year. Since then she has won numerous awards including five times being named Foreign Correspondent of the Year and Europe’s top war reporting prize, the Prix Bayeux. She was made an OBE in 2013. In 2016 she won the Foreign Press Association award for Feature of the Year for reporting on the Chibok girls in Nigeria and in 2015 Amnesty International’s Newspaper Journalist of the Year for reporting from inside Libyan detention centres.

Currently chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times of London, Christina’s postings have included South Africa, Pakistan, Brazil and Washington and she has recently reported on the refugee crisis across Europe and the Yazidi women enslaved by ISIS in Iraq.

Christina has written eight books including the bestselling The Africa House and I Am Malala and is a patron of Afghan Connection and on the board of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. Her latest books are Farewell Kabul; From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World and Nujeen; One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair.

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