Reasons to be Cheerful

I subscribe to GRIN. That is to say… Every Monday to Friday, I get a bulletin from the Grants Resources Information News, which focuses on one grant scheme or related resource. Every alternate Friday it features a blog by TED fan and philanthropy advisor Emma Beeston. I thought today’s tied in nicely with the theme of TEDxExeter 2017, which we have just announced: HOPE. Emma was happy for us to feature it as a guest blog.

Clare Bryden, TEDxExeter Storyteller


Depending how you get your news, it can easily feel that we are living in gloomy and uncertain times. So, as the evenings get darker, it is important to keep looking for the positives that are all around us.

Not to delude ourselves (as my teenage son puts it when I endeavour to be cheerful, “life is not all rainbows and butterflies”) but to give us hope that positive change is possible. These are the reasons to be cheerful that I have gathered over the past few weeks and that give me cause for optimism: 

  • I attended a training session for small charities supporting refugees across the SW, which was co-hosted by Unbound and Lloyds Bank Foundation. I was very impressed by the fact that, despite the considerable difficulties they face to deliver vital front line services, all the charity leaders were also working to achieve systemic change. And one of the advocacy trainers reminded us all that the campaign to abolish the slave trade was started by just 12 people coming together.
  • The Funding Network held a live crowdfunding event in Bristol. The pitches were excellent – getting your case for support across in six minutes is no mean feat – and over £25k was raised for the five good causes. These were all small organisations where this level of funding, and the recognition, will make a big difference. But what struck me was the positive energy in the room created by people coming together and wanting to help.
  • I got to visit Exeter CoLab as they hosted the latest meeting of the Funding SW funders forum. This is such a good example of bringing services together to tackle social issues. I liked the focus on relationships, with those in difficulty telling their story just once and then being introduced to the individuals who can help them, rather than being constantly referred from one organisation after the next.
  • I have started using 360Giving website. After so many years of talking about data sharing and transparency, it is fantastic to have this open resource where you can see who has given grants to who. Do take a look, and if you are a grant-maker, add your data.

The millennials are coming and they are going to change things. I have been reading lots of research showing how millennials want to combine working with doing good. And this includes their activity in philanthropy and investment (e.g. a World Economic Forum study surveyed 5,000 millennials in 18 different countries and found that their overall top priority for any business should be “to improve society.”). Here is one article with some examples of what the next generation are up to.

And these are just some examples.  I have also visited and read about lots of other excellent charities who are working really hard to bring about positive social change. Thanks to all of them for giving me hope for our collective future.

TEDxExeter 2017


TEDxExeter: HOPE

8.30am – 5.15pm, Friday 21 April 2017

A day of inspiring talks, connection and action

“Critical thinking without hope is cynicism, but hope without critical thinking is naïveté.” — Maria Popova

TEDxExeter is back for a 6th year. We’re bringing another exceptional group of speakers and performers to Exeter to share their work, vision and hope with us. We’ll gather over 900 people on the day to share inspiration and explore ways of turning hope into action and making a positive difference in our lives, our communities and ultimately our world.

Live at the Exeter Northcott Theatre
Simultaneous Livestream at Exeter University’s Alumni Auditorium

Both audiences will join together in the breaks to meet each other, our speakers, sponsors and groups making a difference locally. Lunch and refreshments are included in the ticket price.

“Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things you can know beforehand.” — Rebecca Solnit

Come and join us – dreamers, thinkers, makers and doers – and be part of something special.

TEDxExeter: HOPE









Nominations to speak and perform at TEDxExeter 2017 are now open

Imagining the world anew
Danny Dorling – Imagining the world anew

At TEDxExeter we seek exceptional people to share their ideas with our community. We welcome nominations for speakers and performers of any age or background – people with ideas worth spreading. You can now nominate yourself or someone you know or admire as a potential speaker for TEDxExeter 2017, which will take place on Friday 21 April 2017. Nominations must be in before midnight on Friday 9 September 2016. Read on to find out more.

TEDx talks are all about ideas. The format is simple – a powerful idea, communicated to connect with the audience and change the prism through which we view the world. Our talks are compelling, challenging, inspiring, and delivered without notes or complicated slides.

TEDxExeter is one of the UK’s foremost TEDx events, a platform for exceptional ideas, and a catalyst for profound change.

We hold an annual one-day conference which draws a diverse and passionate array of speakers, performers, demos and audience members – almost 1,000 people are there on the day.

We livestream the whole day, and in 2016 people gathered in over 30 viewing parties around the world, and viewers from 69 countries watched live online.

We also run community events throughout the year exploring issues with local relevance.

Talks from TEDxExeter have been viewed over 6.5 million times around the globe and so far four of our speakers have been featured on, one of the world’s leading platforms for big ideas, with more of our talks to be featured there soon.

All TEDxExeter speakers and the team are volunteers, committed to nurturing and amplifying the innovative ideas that we hope will make Exeter — and the world — a better place.

What is a TEDx talk?

If a lecture is a cup of tea, then a TEDxTalk is a double shot of expresso. A TEDxTalk is a way to condense your ideas into a compelling brief talk that spreads a big idea. We’ve discovered that these short talks can have a long lasting impact.

What is your big idea?

We are now looking for speakers and performers for TEDxExeter 2017 where we will explore the theme of Hope. It will be held in Exeter on 21 April 2017.

This year we will also hold smaller TEDxExeter events and we’ll consider your applications for them too.

So, how do we begin choosing individuals for the TEDxExeter stage? Who are we looking for?

In 2017 our speakers will explore some of the biggest challenges facing us all, looking at them through the lens of Hope. We look for speakers who are changing the world through their work and ideas. We approach speakers directly, and we also invite applications from people who want to be considered.

How do you become a TEDxExeter speaker or performer?

Apply now to speak or perform at TEDxExeter 2017 – or nominate someone you would like to see or hear. Applications close at midnight on 9 September 2016.

Never given a talk before?

Members of our team work closely with selected people to help them prepare and develop their talk or performance. All the speakers, performers and coaches volunteer their time to ensure a memorable and impactful experience on conference day.

How does it work?

Click here to complete the submission form.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. You also have the option of attaching a video file with a maximum length of two minutes. Submissions will be reviewed by our speaker team, and we’ll reply to you by email by 1 October. Please be concise, keeping your answers below 150 words per question.


At TEDxExeter we are lucky to have many more nominations for speakers and performers than we can possibly use. Whether you are nominating yourself, or someone you’d love to hear speak or perform in Exeter, you will stand a much better chance of success if you read (and follow) these tips before you nominate.

1. What is the big idea?

At TEDxExeter, like its parent TED, speakers are selected for their “Idea Worth Spreading”. If you think your idea is new, make sure it hasn’t already been shared – especially at another TED or TEDx conference. Most importantly, make sure the nominee’s message is one that will make the audience wonder, one that will inspire, and one that will make them continue the conversation.

2. Think local, act global

We want our speakers to connect with the audience here in Exeter, but their ideas should have global significance and be applicable to the broader global community.

3. The right fit

Is your nominee the right person to share this big idea? Think about why you or the person you are nominating should take the stage to convey their message, and whether they are the best ambassador for that topic or idea. 

4. Sell your idea, not your product.

We often receive nominations from talented individuals looking to promote or sell their book, business or service. The TEDxExeter stage is not an opportunity for self promotion or to promote companies or organisations, but a platform for exceptional ideas and a catalyst for profound change. One of TEDs key rules is no selling from the stage.

There you have it! We sincerely appreciate the time, effort and thought that goes into each submission – and we look forward to revealing our line up of speakers in January 2017!

Click here to nominate now. The closing date for nominations is by midnight on Friday 9 September 2016.