Reflections on the day

I’m collating links to blog posts and photo collections here, so if you have written anything, please email or tweet the link. And please revisit occasionally to see if there are any additions.

From the blogosphere

Tobit Emmens has blogged on his role as production manager, and is especially interesting on observing the stresses and strains of performing, and the intensity of looking after the speakers.

Stephen Bateman, in his GreenWise blog post, particularly liked Polly Higgins’s talk, which he described as “truly earth shattering”, hopefully not literally!

Cathy Debenham, blogging on her Yougen site, found it “wonderful to spend last Friday being inspired by 20 amazing people who spend their time looking at how we can make the world a better place to live, rather than analysing the problems to death.”

Andy “GeekDad” Robertson said in his blog for Wired that: “Ideas rather than brands and personalities were the winners and that, I discovered, is both a rare and emotionally engaging experience.”

… and the Globe and Mail has blogged about Andy’s talk from the other side of the Atlantic.

Sue Read “spent the last two days wondering how I can condense a whole day of ideas and what I want to say into a blog post”, but managed to on her blog artbythesea.

Ben Emmens had “expected first class ‘brain fodder’ but hadn’t anticipated the spiritual dimension to the day”, so ben thinks… “Here’s to TEDxExeter 2013, and in the meantime, let’s not rest in our efforts to create a more sustainable world.”

Clare Bryden (that’s me, the storyteller!) has written a few posts based around TEDxExeter talks:
Science and heart, referring generally to TEDxExeter
Carbon irony, in response to Antony Turner’s talk
Totnes, twinned with Narnia
, questioning the assumptions lying behind Rob Hopkins’ use of this image
Games people play
, trying to get my head around Andy Robertson’s talk

Now how about this for an idea? Joey Lee from the Hub on the Green writes of a couple who watch one TED video in bed every morning.

During one of the breaks, Rashid Maxell shared a story on generosity.

Pictures worth a thousand words

Tobit’s time-lapse video gives a great sense of what was involved in the production set-up.

Behind-the-scenes photography from Benjamin “bart1eby” Borley.
… photos of the speaker rehearsals
faces of TEDxExeter, featuring the lovely Tom, Marieke, Sara, Varun, Alex, Jackie, Gabby, Tobit, Jhenna, Oriana, Claire, Greta, Jeanie and Tom from the team… but not me!
… and front-of-stage photos throughout the day

Action!

Let’s turn ideas into action – please sign this petition to Tim Cook CEO of Apple now! I’ve just signed, and I can see that other TEDxExeter-sters have too. Go on, what are you waiting for?

What other actions has yesterday inspired you to take? Maybe it’s too early, and you still need to take time to reflect on the day. In which case, don’t let daily life swamp you again that you forget to keep reflecting.

Or maybe Satish inspired you to find your inner leader, or Bandi to campaign on mobile phones, or Alistair to volunteer, or Jackie to write poetry, or Mike to live with enough, or Kevin and Hugh to connect more with your food, or or or or. Whatever it is – great! Let’s make a difference, together.

Tweflections on the day

A selection of tweets

@GeekDadGamer : The only framework I have to make sense of @TEDxExeter is a spiritual one. Not expected that, or the emotion.

@JohnWLewis : Superb #TEDxExeter event today. Substantial concerns about sustainability topped by @TEDchris catching people doing something right!

@TPiMBWAcademic : @BandiMbubi Amazing speech, absolutely deserved the standing ovation! pure inspiration! tears in my eyes #MakingTheDifference #TEDxExeter

@thomasinamiers : Ye gawds!!! #tedxexeter just too good. Music, dance, inspiration and transition towns. What more can you ask for???

@Chris5NA : If #robintransition put Totnes on the world map then #TEDxExeter has put Exeter on with a brilliantly organised & excellent event. Thanks

@anormanwalker : Am buzzing after an inspirational day. @TEDxExeter has given me more soul food than the last 10years worth of sermons! #letsdochurchlikethis

@KirstiAfS : Reflecting on an inspiring day at #TEDxExeter & what engaged me most: personal stories (especially from childhood ) + passion. And Taiko!

@Northumbrianman : Jackie Juno #TEDxexeter laughed till I cried; rhyming arses with catharsis pure genius

@trevorgardner59 : Brilliant day at #TEDxExeter – Challenging, enjoyable, disturbing, stimulating, and powerful. Much to consider and savour

@nickex5 : well done to @tobite and all involved in #tedxexeter for a fantastic day. Inspiring, provoking and funny!

@Boudicca77 : ” @TEDxExeter : Go @LilyLapenna just got them all dancing! #TEDxExeter ” wasn’t expecting to dance to Jessie J when I started this day, fun!

@ben_emmens : @GeekDadGamer really got us thinking today > now we’re seeing ‘gaming’ through a different lens! Thank you! #tedxexeter

… and this from a teacher at St Luke’s College, Exeter, who brought her students along for the day …

@MrsBoyson : What a fantastic day at #TEDxExeter , we have a some VERY inspired students, thank you!

Struggling to pick favourites

@YouGenUK : @alukeonlife So difficult to answer. Maybe Satish Kumar, Peter Cox, Lily Lapenna & Polly Higgins #TEDxExeter

@TPiMBWAcademic : #TEDxExeter An amazing day! really inspiring speakers @LilyLapenna, @PollyHiggins, Bandi Mbubi, Satish Kumar, @TonyJuniper in particular!

@Bunyipbeads : At #TEDxExeter today, my favourite was the guy from #lovelocalfood but the whole thing was inspirational.

@willdickson1 : At #tedxexeter listening to some great speakers #scillaelworthy #satishkumar @LilyLapenna #hughfearnleywhittingstall and #chrisanderson : )

@Harriet_UoE : #TEDxExeter I’m probably biased, but I think Peter Cox’s talk was best so far. His new approach to tackle #climatechange cld have big impact

Our speakers liked it too!

@LilyLapenna : Well done to our 2 amazing organisers @ClaireKennedy24 & @JeanieHoney Visionaries & true forces of nature. #TEDxExeter

@GeekDadGamer : @LilyLapenna @ClaireKennedy24 @JeanieHoney here here. Wonderfully run. I felt nurtured and supported as a speaker.

@dicksonmike : Truy energising and inspiring day at #TEDxExeter yesterday – superbly orgnaised, great speakers – roll on 2013?!

@BandiMbubi : @SaksExeter Thank you! Great to meet you and so many passionate people wanting to turn dreams into reality #TEDxExeter #sustainability #DRC

@TonyJuniper : http://yfrog.com/gydmxsdj TEDx Exeter packed out. Awesome event. Well done to Jeanie and Claire for putting on such a great event

And finally…

@GeekDadGamer : Behind the scenes insight and great reporting. @ClareBryden ‘s @TEDxExeter Blog is an exemplar.

Thanks Andy : -)

Speaker rehearsals

2.45 It’s the afternoon before the big day, and I’m wandering around Exeter University’s main campus between the Great Hall and the Northcott Theatre. The Northcott is the venue for the talks. The Great Hall is the break-out space for refreshments and networking, the sponsors’ stands, a book shop (hurrah!) and the TEDxExeter Creating Connections stand.

3.00 I’m sitting in on the speaker rehearsals in the Northcott, wondering how best to blog tomorrow. My laptop is from the steam age and only has wifi, but there’s no wifi in the Theatre, so I won’t be able to post during the sessions. I could post using 3G smartphone, but my typing will be illiterate. And I don’t want to steal the thunder of the tweeters, so I’ll aim to complement their soundbites with my beautifully crafted text 😉 Thankfully at least there are power points, so I don’t have to worry about batteries.

3.10 I’ve got to know well the first minute of Polly Higgin’s talk, as the audio-visual people are trying to sort out her microphone. She’s just been told to stop breathing so much.

3.15 There is a roving photographer, recording all the speakers as they get used to the space and practise their talk. Polly is continuing, but I’m trying not to listen to the content, as I want to listen in context tomorrow.

3.30 Everyone has disappeared, and Polly finishes with only me as an audience. Where’s the action gone? Ah, here comes Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

3.35 The stage dressing is very simple but effective, with the logo under the screen. One of Kagemusha Taiko’s great drums stands off to the left waiting for their mallets to bring it to life. The speakers have a podium and two screens at their feet showing their slides and a countdown clock, and there is a classic TEDx red circle. I wonder how many will stay within the circle, and how many will break out. A man has just come in with bits of podium. I think they’re rebuilding it as we go.

3.40 Hugh and Tobit are discussing Hugh’s slideshow – action shots of a successful mackerel fishing trip.

3.45 Now here’s Peter Cox, but he’s going to have to wait a wee while before he gets on.

4.00 Scilla Elworthy has arrived, but Peter hasn’t even got on yet. We’re running behind now.

4.05 Satish Kumar too. The backlog is building. Great photo opportunity of Satish, Scilla, Jeanie and Claire sitting in a row in the auditorium.

4.10 Peter Cox – blink and you miss him. But climate change scientists are so used to speaking with slides.

4.20 Mike Dickson has just asked whether anyone in the audience ever wanted to be Superman and rescue damsels in distress. Me, I’d prefer to be Superwoman and maybe rescue knights in distress – or maybe not depending how I feel on the day. Satish follows that up with a critique of the French revolution slogan. “Liberté egalité fraternité… but what about the sisterhood, the motherhood?” He says he’ll talk until the clock runs down, and then stop. Love him. And now Mike’s back with a slide of Brendan Routh as Superman, together with the soundtrack. Great juxtapositions.

4.35 A bit of a hiatus. Rob Hopkins managed to sneak in without me noticing, and Chris Anderson has arrived too. Scilla is next up, and has just complimented Jeanie on everything she and Claire have created here, and the positive atmosphere that is already in the theatre. Seconded! Round of applause for the introduction to her talk. Chris next.

4.45 As curator of TED, Chris knows everything about what makes a good TED talk, and he’s got some very slick slides. At the moment some of the screen is out of focus, but the audio-visual team assures him that it will be sorted out at the end of the session.

5.00 Rob’s done now, so only Tony Juniper to go, and he’s not arrived quite yet. Time for me to head off and test out the Wifi in the Great Hall. Hasta la vista.

The Last Planning Meeting

Speaker rehearsals – check

Advance presentations – need a prod

Stage dressing – check

Audio-visual techie stuff – check

…not forgetting the Count Down Clock – check

Travel and parking – check

Press – check

Sponsor stands – check

Printing – check

Team lanyards – check   yay! go team!

Registration – check

Creating Connections stand – check

Security – check

Filming and photography – check

Blogging and tweeting (bleeting?) – check

End of the day party – check!!

Wash-up meeting – check

Everything else – check check check

Less than two weeks, and counting

It’s getting so close now, and to whet your appetite, we’ve (drum roll……..) published the Programme.

The day is going to be fantastic. Jeanie and Claire have done a wonderful job in putting the Programme together, having to juggle all sorts of constraints and difficult decisions.

Starting with a draft list of speakers, their proposed titles, and performers, and an idea of the timings of start, finish and breaks, the main challenge is to give the day a coherent flow. Should the four sessions be themed? Or might there be an interesting way of juxtaposing subjects? Jeanie and Claire decided on the former. So then, what should these themes be? How can the talks and performances be combined to connect with each other, and keep the audience on the edge of their seats?

The timing is going to have to be ruthless. Talks are limited to 12,15,18 minutes, and some of the performances timed to the half-minute. What to do about the difficult ‘graveyard’ slot after lunch? How best to ensure everyone stays to the end? How can the TED Talks be squeezed in? And which TED Talks? There are so many possibilities, but they have to be the right length, and combine well with the live talks.

It’s really hard, when contacted late in the day by someone who would make a brilliant speaker on a fascinating subject, to say that the programme is so jam-packed that it would be impossible to shoe-horn them in. Especially when you’ve already realised that there isn’t room for a TED Talk on the oceans, which is such a vital area of concern.

We’re just going to have to run another TEDxExeter next year!

My featured TED2012 talk…

… is Susan Cain: The power of introverts. “In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.”

Being interconnected with others is important, but so is being connected within our selves, and solitude is the vital soil in which this grows. It will be important to take the time to reflect on what we hear at TEDxExeter, whether on the day or after. I was hoping that we might be able to find a room where delegates could withdraw for some quiet space, but it doesn’t look as though there will be one available. Instead, the Exeter University campus does have some lovely green space just 2 minutes from the Northcott Theatre, so (weather-permitting) both introverts and extraverts could take a reflective walk.

 

Susan Cain: The power of introverts

An event with integrity

Hello. My name is Clare Bryden and I am the new Storyteller for TEDxExeter. This is by some margin the coolest and most poetic job title I’ve ever had. I hope to do it justice.

Well, three months to go and we’re already sold out, so the focus needs to shift from marketing to putting on a great event. Last Thursday we had one of our regular planning meetings. Jeanie and Claire have done a formidable job as co-ordinators, and it was good to see the energy and commitment throughout the room, from Jackie volunteering to organise the registration, to Tobit updating us on the preparation for filming the talks and the buzz, to Caroline coolly announcing success with finding a company to run the bookstall.

The most impressive is the desire to run an event with integrity, holding to the subject of “Sustainability and our Interconnected World”. So we are banking with the Co-operative, and the food and drink will be vegetarian and sustainably sourced (we have asked for no bottled water). We discussed goodybags: one of our talks will be about what is enough, and we thought they would be just more ‘stuff’ – unnecessary and unsustainable.

Similarly, how do we distinguish members of the team, the speakers and performers from the delegates, and the delegates from the general public who may also be in the Northcott during the day? T-shirts for the team and and lanyards for all, again rejected as too much stuff, in favour of re-usable lanyards for the team (we want TEDxExeter to be a regular event, after all!) and simple stickers for delegates.

What of interconnectedness? Well, it is time for a refresh of the website content, so keep coming back. And Clive and Sara have been doing good work on the social networking front. Catch TEDxExeter on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, for more about our speakers, and snippets on sustainability and actions you can take.