Vik Mohan

Dr Vik Mohan is a GP in Exeter, medical director at Blue Ventures Conservation, and the architect of Blue Ventures’ award-winning integrated health and conservation programme.

While working with communities in Madagascar on Blue Ventures’ community-based marine conservation programme, Vik’s interest in community health led him to uncover a huge unmet need for health care, and sexual and reproductive health care in particular. Responding to this need, he led the development of the region’s first sexual and reproductive health service and oversaw its integration into the Blue Ventures’ activities, to form an integrated population, health and environment programme.

Improved natural resource management and community resilience, through to improvements in maternal and child health are some of the many benefits Vik has seen as a result of nearly 10 years of working in this way. He now wants to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from this “whole system” approach to conservation and sustainable development. He now focuses on supporting  others to adopt this approach, in Madagascar and beyond.


Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon is a writer, lecturer and professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University. He is president of PEN American Center. He writes regularly for The New Yorker and the New York Times.

Andrew’s newest book, Far and Away: Reporting from the brink of change, seven continents, twenty five years was published in April, 2016. He is author of many previous books including Far From the Tree: Parents, children and the search for identity, which won the National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction, the Wellcome Prize and 22 other national awards. It tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. It was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback editions.

An activist in LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts, Andrew is a member of the boards of directors of the National LGBTQ Force and Trans Youth Family Allies. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia University Medical Center, serves on the National Advisory Board of the Depression Center at the University of Michigan, is a director of Columbia Psychiatry and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. He also serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yaddo and The Alex Fund, which supports the education of Romani children. Andrew is also a fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University and a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Andrew is a regular on the TED stage. His talk Love no matter what featured at TEDMED in 2013. Later that year he also spoke at TEDxMet on Depression, the secret we share. The video of Andrew’s TED2014 talk How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are, was also shown at TEDxExeter 2015. 


Matt Harvey

Poet and lyricist Matt Harvey was first official Poet-in-Residence at the Wimbledon Championships (“brilliant” The New Yorker) and has been commissioned by – among others – the Science Museum, the Open University and the Energy Ombudsman. He has been a familiar voice on Radio 4 since 2001 when he co-wrote and co-starred in One Night Stanza. He also served seven years as regular poet on Saturday Live, hosted two series of The Wondermentalist Cabaret and wrote and performed the adventures of superhero Empath Man.

Matt is the author of The Hole in the Sum of my Parts, Where Earwigs Dare and Mindless Body Spineless Mind and two picture books for children, Shopping With Dad and Beastie and the Boys. With composer Stephen Deazley he collaborated on children’s song cycles A Little Book of Monsters and The Songbook of Unsingable Songs and with Thomas Hewitt Jones he wrote The Same Flame and the hit musical Rumpelstiltskin.

For three years he wrote the Desktop Poetry slot in the Guardian, and currently writes a regular column, Qwerty Something, for Resurgence Magazine. Matt was nominated for a PEA Award for the energy-inspired poems in The Element in the Room, written while Poet-in-Residence with RegenSW. His most recent book is Sit!, a collaboration with illustrator Claudia Schmid. He is a regular visitor to TEDxExeter.


Gulalai Ismail

Gulalai Ismail
was just 16 when she co-founded Aware Girls, in Pakistan, with her sister, Saba. Driven by a passion to challenge a culture of intolerance and extremism, Gulalai and Saba began running workshops in their home town to provide girls and young women with leadership skills to challenge oppression and fight for their rights to an education and equal opportunities.

Based in Peshawar, north-west Pakistan, Aware Girls has grown into an internationally renowned organisation that has trained, empowered and inspired hundreds of youth in Pakistan since 2002.

A winner of the 2009 Youth Action Net Fellowship, the 2014 International Humanist Award and the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Award for Asia, Gulalai was named as one of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers in 2013 and has been featured by the BBC, Guardian, Huffington Post and more. In November 2016, Aware Girls was awarded the Chirac Peace Prize in recognition of their exceptional peacebuilding work in Pakistan.


Howard Johns

Howard Johns works for a community-owned renewable energy revolution. He has founded and led an award winning solar business, a pioneering community-owned energy company and written a guide book to help others to do the same. He has campaigned on energy and climate issues from in treehouses and in parliament – and everywhere in between.

Author of Energy Revolution – Your guide to repowering the energy system, Howard is an energy engineer, entrepreneur, business leader and activist. Following his degree in energy technology and environment, he was a protested against, among other things, the digging of an open cast coal mine, and was evicted from a tree in the process.

Moving on from saying no to the problems, Howard set about building solutions, eventually founding a national solar energy company, and a locally owned renewable energy co-operative – the first one in the UK to build a solar energy project with a community share offer. At the same time he chaired the trade body representing the UK solar industry, finding himself campaigning on energy policy again in the process.

Howard is convinced we have all the technology and money we need to implement the right climate and energy solutions. Now it is time for lots of people to get involved in making it happen. He still works with his local community energy company Ovesco – to scale this project and increase its impact. He is also managing director of a business that manages hundreds of megawatts of solar power stations around the UK, as well as chairman of the positive climate change charity 10:10.


Karima Bennoune biography

Karima Bennoune BW

Karima Bennoune is a professor of international law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at the University of California–Davis School of Law. She grew up in Algeria and the United States and now lives in California.

In 2015, she was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. During her first year in post, she focused on the issue which will be the subject of her 2017 TEDxExeter talk – the intentional destruction of cultural heritage as a violation of human rights. She authored two reports, including one for the General Assembly that was endorsed by Maestro Placido Domingo. She also carried out related country missions to Cyprus, Serbia and Kosovo. As special rapporteur, she has worked hard to promote the recognition of cultural heritage as a human rights issue, taking this message to diverse gatherings organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNESCO, the Smithsonian Institution, NATO, and others and ultimately seeing this view endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council. During the second year of her term, her priority will be the impact of diverse forms of fundamentalism and extremism on cultural rights.

In her personal capacity, she is the author of Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, inspired by her father’s experiences in his native Algeria, and based on interviews with more than 300 people of Muslim heritage from more than 30 countries – including artists, museum directors, and cultural arts promoters – working against extremism and terror. The book won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2014, and was labelled one of the “books we should all be reading” by The Guardian. It was also the basis of her first TEDxExeter talk: When people of Muslim heritage confront fundamentalism which has been viewed nearly 1.4 million times.

She has appeared frequently on television and radio to discuss related issues, including on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox Business News, as well BBC Radio and National Public Radio, and has published widely in many leading academic journals, as well as in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian: Comment is Free, with Reuters and on the websites of the Huffington Post, Open Democracy and Al Jazeera English.

In 2016, she was honored by the International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law with its Rights and Leadership Award..




Kagemusha Taiko

Devon-based Kagemusha Taiko have toured in Japan as well as playing significant concerts in Europe and the USA, where they represented European taiko at the first World Taiko Concert in Los Angeles.  This performance at TEDx Exeter heralds a series of concerts to be played over the next few weeks, culminating in a headline performance at the 12th UK Taiko Festival, at the Exeter Northcott Theatre on 1st July.

Besides creating and performing original taiko work, Kagemusha Taiko deliver workshops in a wide range of situations, from special programmes for business leaders to access workshops for the general public, from workshops in mainstream schools to sessions for adults and young people with special needs. 

For the members of the group, taiko is more than just drumming. It’s a wonderful way to increase the global quotient of human happiness. Performers:  Jonathan Kirby, Lucy Thomas, Pippa Kirby, Oliver Kirby, Michael Brailey, George Howe, Esther Pike, Kate Montagne and Victoria Rowledge.



Kester Brewin

Kester Brewin teaches mathematics in South East London and is also an author and broadcaster. He has written and presented for BBC Radio 4, and spoke at TEDxExeter in 2013 on Mutiny! – his acclaimed work on pirate culture. His latest book Getting High – A savage journey to the heart of the dream of flight explores the human quest for altitude through the prism of the events of the 1960s. It has been praised by Simon Critchley, author of Bowie and Hans Jonas, professor of philosophy at the New School, New York, as ‘a beautiful meditation on flight, memory and meaning in a world still struggling to come to terms with the loss of the most high.’


Sponsors and Partners 2017

We are very grateful to our sponsors and partners whose support makes TEDxExeter possible. Please visit their websites and find out more about what they have to offer.

Find out how your company can benefit from sponsoring TEDxExeter. By supporting our events you help make TEDxExeter accessible to a wide cross section of our community, as well as increasing awareness and understanding of your brand.

Egremont Group logo

Egremont Group is proud to have been TEDxExeter’s first and longest sponsor. We are a management consultancy specialising in transforming business, whether that’s your whole business or a small but vital part of it. We come in, roll up our sleeves and get to work with your people, co-creating the change you need to see in your organisation. This year we are delighted to have been shortlisted for four management consultancy association (MCA) awards, which is testament to the enthusiasm, skill and dedication of our team.

Experience, insights and a passion for new ideas fuels our approach to change, which is why we are delighted to support and sponsor a hotbed of ideas at TEDxExeter. Over the past six years we have met lots of interesting people: speakers, participants and fellow sponsors. Some have become clients. We hope to see more of TEDxExeter’s 2016 talks up on the main TED website and eagerly look forward to this year’s event on the theme of Hope.

If you are curious to find out more about us, please visit

University of Exeter logo

The University of Exeter is is delighted to support TEDxExeter and this year’s theme: Hope. The University combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. With more than 21,000 students it is in the top 1 per cent of universities in the world and is first in the Russell Group for overall student satisfaction. Ranked 9th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 and 11th in the Guardian University Guide 2017, the University continues to build on its strengths in performance, education and research.

The University  launched its flagship Living Systems Institute in 2016, a world-class, interdisciplinary research community that will revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.  This is the beginning of the next successful chapter for the University which will see it continue to strive for excellence, defy boundaries by generating more world-leading research and create tomorrow’s leaders by providing an inspirational and supportive learning environment. Please visit for more information.

Event Exeter

Event Exeter represent the array of venues on the University of Exeter campuses, offering historical ambience at Reed Hall all the way through to technology rich spaces in the Forum building. Event Exeter offer venue spaces for all occasions – be it an exhibition, a gala dinner or even a wedding, alongside an award winning Event Management Service.

In the last academic year, the team successfully delivered over 2450 different events with more than 29,000 conference delegates visiting the local area. Through use of the University facilities, Event Exeter welcomed in excess of 4404 bed and breakfast guests to the Streatham Campus. Through the events on campus, Event Exeter are able to support the first-class teaching and research delivered by the University of Exeter. Any income generated through the use of the University’s event venues is reinvested into the campuses to further enhance the student, staff and visitor experience.

The influx of visitors to the area for these events in turn has a huge impact on the local economy through spend on transport, additional venues in the area, accommodation, food, drink and tourist attractions.


Stephens Scown is the UK Law Firm of the Year (British Legal Awards) and 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.

Please do get in touch to see how we can help you.
Telephone: 01392 210700


AnTech is an Exeter-based company motivated by ideas. We are committed to designing products and services that improve environmental sustainability within the oil and gas industry. We believe that the use of the world’s resources in an increasingly efficient way makes sound environmental and commercial sense and that innovative ideas are required to achieve that objective. We are proud to be a continuing sponsor of TEDxExeter which we feel encourages the dissemination of new ideas that help address the challenges we face in the world today. Find us at


LHC is an award-winning, multi-skilled design practice who provide an integrated approach to regeneration, masterplanning, architecture and landscape design.

The talented team, based in studios in Exeter and Plymouth, includes architects, urban designers, landscape architects, interior and graphic designers. Our design approach keeps the end-user at the heart of the process, without forgetting the practicalities of buildability, timescale and budget. We aim to design spaces which are functional, sustainable and practical – and which are also beautiful. We work on a wide variety of projects, always in a spirit of trust and mutual respect with clients and partners, and always strive to deliver the extraordinary.


Bishop Fleming is a vibrant and forward thinking firm of Top 40 accountants and business advisers.  Specialising in advising independently owned and managed businesses of all sizes, our ethos of building longstanding relationships with our clients ensures we provide the highest standards of pro-active advice, service and support on a personal and local level. Our award winning accountants and tax advisers are passionate about helping you make your business a success.

Our services include: virtual finance support and accounting software solutions; grant funding advice; VAT advice; business and personal tax including R&D Tax Credits and international trading; business strategy; succession planning; corporate finance; payroll and Auto Enrolment solutions.

Bishop Fleming is delighted to sponsor TEDxExeter 2016.


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, 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 support TEDxExeter.


SunGift Energy is an award-winning, sustainable energy specialist, based in the South West. With access to some of the world’s latest technology we can offer ‘best value’ sustainable energy solutions designed to suit a client’s property and budget. We also fit a whole range of energy technologies including solar PV, LED lighting, energy storage and biomass boilers.

We offer you an all-encompassing package that covers everything from a free initial introduction and survey to project management, job completion, commissioning and after sales service. This makes identifying the most appropriate energy solutions seamless, hassle-free, enjoyable, and simple-to-understand. It’s a complete sustainable energy experience.

Hotel du Vin Exeter

Welcome to Hotel du Vin Exeter, a “contemporary wonderland”, as Alastair Sawday dubbed it, in the heart of this sublime city. Take a step inside this iconic building, formerly an eye infirmary, where historic walled gardens and striking architecture create the backdrop for a truly special experience. As our newest property, this glorious Exeter hotel brims with charm and unique personality, distinct from our other hotels but equally impressive in its own right.

Hugo Dalton was inspired to mural our lounge wall, opening out onto the magical terrace and garden perfect for sketching faeries, writing novellas or simply sipping a glass of Pinot. If the weather doesn’t inspire you, a short meander through our library certainly will, whilst the call of the bar and bistro is sure to tempt you with its fantastic range of bottles and beautiful French-inspired menus. Finally nestled in our relaxing walled garden, The REN Spa is the perfect place to recharge your energies and enjoy a little piece of tranquillity in the city.


The spread of ideas in an uncertain world provides security and prosperity for all. The print trade has a noble history in facilitating the spread of ideas and new thinking so we are delighted to continue this tradition by supporting TedxExeter.

Stormpress is a business built on values of fairness, trust and integrity. 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.


First Sight Media is proud to be associated with TEDxExeter again for 2017. With over 20 years in the industry we are one of the UK’s most successful streaming and production companies. 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 speakers simultaneously with their presentation slides online.

We’ll take ownership of your production from start to finish, to communicate the essence of your brand with energy, so your customers engage with you and your team. Visit our website to see examples, and get in touch at or 0330 024 1080.

Bird - share your sun

Bird is a sunglasses brand with a difference; we make unique, stylish sunglasses using natural materials, and for every pair sold we donate a solar light to a family in rural Africa through our Share Your Sun partnership with Solar Aid. It’s business with a social purpose. As a Devon-based company, we’re delighted to support TEDxExeter and share its vision for changing the world through ideas and action. Follow us on social media via @shareyoursun.

The School Travel Consultancy

The School Travel Consultancy is probably the best kept secret in educational travel. We started life in 2006 and have been quietly shaking the tree of knowledge ever since. Innovative school expeditions, exceptional educational trips and a firm commitment to travel responsibly have connected us to a tribe of passionate teachers. Our unique approach has also won us recognition as the only UK schools tour operator to gain the coveted Travelife Partner status in recognition of our commitment to sustainable and ethical tourism. If you are intent on stretching the global horizons of young people then, to mis-quote Lionel Ritchie, “Hello… It is us you’re looking for!”


Luscombe has 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.


Here at Maven Consultancy we believe passionately that IT should work for you, not against you. Whatever the project, we are here to help you realise your vision. Part of our ethos is ensuring that you lack nothing, as we work in direct partnership with our clients to provide communication and support from day one.

Whether you need hardware installed, websites developed and created, remote support for your already existing devices or expert and professional consultancy we are able to help you – whatever your level of knowledge and experience.

We are delighted  and proud to partner with TEDxExeter as we both seek to provide the best possible stage for Hope to take root.


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.


Exeter College is an outstanding, thriving and growing college where we place teaching, learning and student success at the heart of what we do. We enjoy an excellent reputation and are judged as outstanding by Ofsted. In 2016, Exeter College was named the best college in the country, in a league table of colleges published by FE Week, an industry leading publication. This is the latest in a line of recent accolades awarded to the college, including being awarded the prestigious City & Guilds ‘UK Centre of the Year’ award.

We are really delighted to support TEDxExeter 2017 and that this year’s theme is one of Hope. We have tremendous aspirations for students and each year, expertly supported by our staff, their efforts result in excellent exam grades, exceptional training successes and brilliant music, art, sports and community achievements. We nurture, challenge and stretch our students through a relentless focus on excellent teaching, learning and assessment.
We look forward to what promises to be another inspiring and thought provoking TEDxExeter and warmly welcome the opportunities it will provide for our students and staff to explore their own hopes for the future as we work together with them to realise their ambitions.


‘Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ or something. This is where I am going now. My passion for photography surpasses any other I have had or have and continues to be a source of great happiness for me, the challenges, the creativity, the experimentation. I love it all and so therefore; I intend to never work a day in my life, even though I know I will be working very hard. Visit my website at Matt Round Photography.


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 City Council is delighted to support TEDxExeter 2017 through the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery: Home to a million thoughts.

One Voice Media

One Voice Media and PR is Exeter’s original PR, marketing, events and media buying consultancy.  With a twelve-strong team of talented and knowledgeable PR and marketing professionals, the company works for clients locally, regionally and nationally to deliver results for their businesses.  Creativity, communication and ideas are central to our work and we are proud to support TEDx Exeter, an event which inspires, challenges and creates change.  @onevoiceteam






















Introverted Leadership

Amongst the spate of celebrity deaths over Christmas was one that only slightly stippled the sea of press coverage. On Christmas Eve, the author Richard Adams died at the ripe old age of 96. He was best known for writing Watership Down, a tale of rabbits.

Not promising, but it is such a tale of rabbits. When I was a child I must have read it dozens of times, to the extent that it became a running joke with family friends. I still have my bruised and battered copy signed by Adams. But it is not a children’s book. The themes are of prophets and prophecy, politics and leadership, refugees seeking a new home, religion and story, freedom and well-being, dictatorship and social control, war and peace, human relationship with the rest of nature, and many others. These I can now understand, having recently reread it as an adult.

Why did I enjoy reading and rereading it so much? Partly because the setting was not far from my childhood home – I knew the country. Partly because it is a great story – *** SPOILER ALERT *** the good guys hoodwink the bad guys big league, and peace wins. And partly because it reflected an important part of my character back at me.

That’s only something I came to understand when I read an article by Susan Cain, following up on her TED talk on “The Power of Introverts”. Cain’s original message – that we introverts exist and have plenty to offer – was not new to me. I was very glad that she shared it, and that it has been heard and embraced by so many. The theme of her article, though, opened my eyes to what I value in leadership, what I see and experience as good leadership, and why Watership Down was perhaps so unusual and appealing.

If only I could find that article again! My memory of it was as a coherent and focused overview of introverted leadership, assuming that the basic message about introverts was already understood. If you find it, please send me the link!

It might have been this article in the NY Times, in which Cain quotes management guru quoted Peter Drucker: “The one and only personality trait the effective [leaders] I have encountered did have in common was something they did not have: They had little or no ‘charisma’ and little use either for the term or for what it signifies.” She also name-checked Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great”, who described the best leaders as “somewhat self-effacing individuals” possessing “a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will”.

Here is some other stuff she might have written, or I might have just made up based on my experience of small to reasonably large organisations:

  • The best leaders are not cheer leaders and tub-thumpers with big personalities
  • The best leaders do not jump in, make hasty decisions, act before thinking
  • The best leaders do not expect everyone to conform to their own point of view, style, and approach
  • The best leaders are not be in the faces of their staff all the time, relentlessly expecting team-building
  • The best leaders are more likely to be thinking, weighing up options, considering what is best for their people, and valuing each of them as individuals
  • The best leaders are less likely to lead from the front, to take all the responsibilities and glory to themselves
  • The best leaders are more likely to draw on others’ experience and skills; to bear the burden, yes, but to listen and delegate

So back to Watership Down. In the original cohort of rabbits, there were two potential leaders: Hazel and Bigwig. Bigwig was the extravert; always ready to jump in, say his bit, and preferably cuff his subordinate; the fighter seeking glory and honour, and willing to sacrifice himself for the cause. Hazel was the introvert; younger, less experienced, reticent; willing to listen to the weaker members of the group, and value everything that others have to offer; willing to try new things, to venture into the unknown both geographically and sociologically; to strategise and problem solve, rather than confront directly; to seek peace and cooperation, rather than war and empire building, but not afraid to fight where necessary; and to sacrifice himself to protect his own.

The genius of Adams in Watership Down is that Hazel is chosen as the leader. That is probably why I found it so appealing as an introverted and shy child, and why I think it should be first on the reading list of anyone on any management and leadership programme, whether in government, military, business, or third sector.

Clare Bryden, TEDxExeter Storyteller