TEDxTotnes tomorrow!

TEDxExeter wishes TEDxTotnes all the best as they hold their first event tomorrow… and massive congratulations!!

The theme In our hands? looks great:

TEDxTotnes will focus on our future, questions whether it is in our hands. Talks will focus on community and some of the hidden issues that lie within it. It will also celebrate ideas and question what we can do to better our future, or whether, ultimately we can!

It’s featuring some great speakers, including TEDxExeter alumni Rob Hopkins, Jackie Juno, Matt Harvey. No wonder it sold out so early :-)

We noticed that the organiser asked on a TEDx organisers’ forum: Can anyone provide last minute tips before a first-time organizer’s event? We want to echo one of the responses: Take some time to enjoy the day as well. You worked hard for it!

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Visualising the UN Ozone Celebrations

TEDxExeter 2012 alumnus Antony Turner continues to be at the forefront of communicating environmental issues through his work with Carbon Visuals. Now they are turning their attention to ozone as well as carbon dioxide.

Today, 16th September, is International Ozone Day. Thirty years ago the first images of the ozone hole created a media storm, and helped convert the framework Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer into concrete targets in the Montreal Protocol. UNEP asked Carbon Visuals to create a digital campaign to communicate and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Convention.

Carbon Visuals described their approach: “Our view was that few people have an intuitive sense of what the ozone hole is like, where it is, how much ozone there is, or how deep the atmosphere is. So we have created a selection of visual images, animations and web-tools that help everyone from policymakers to children better understand these things.”

Find out more, play with, and watch their productions: UN ozone celebrations, Ozone interactives and The Ozone Song.

[Update/PS: The TEDxExeter Storyteller has written in the Church Times about the Vienna Convention as a model for climate negotiations.]

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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.

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Childhood and parenting in the digital age

At TEDxExeter 2014, Sonia Livingstone from the London School of Economics spoke about how children engage with the internet

Sonia’s talk is now featured in a free course from the Open University on Childhood in the Digital Age. The course discusses the potential benefits and limitations of technology in children’s lives and asks: Are social media changing the way that children form relationships? How is technology changing the way that children think, and how will it shape the classroom of the future? The course first ran in June, and is running again during August. It’s not too late to join, and there is another planned.

In May this year, the LSE launched a new blog on parenting and digital media. This gives parenting advocates, researchers and parents themselves easy access to the latest research on the subject, including the LSE’s own project on Parenting for a Digital Future.

The LSE has also launched a website on the back of explorations by EU Kids Online and UNICEF of whether and how children’s rights are being enhanced or undermined in the digital age. In February, they convened a meeting of international experts, and the resulting report “Researching Children’s Rights Globally in the Digital Age” addresses key concerns for youth users in the global North and global South as well as challenges facing research across cultures and countries. The website provides further material from the meeting, and links to many more relevant reports and initiatives.

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Prime numbers hit a million

First, Harry Baker is at the Edinburgh Fringe with his Sunshine Kid show THIS WEEK, until Saturday 29th August.

And second, his performance at TEDxExeter 2014 “A love poem for lonely prime numbers” on TED.com has just hit a million views. How they translate his wonderful wordplay, I don’t know, but the transcript is now also available in 14 languages.

More TED.com statistics:

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A big hand for Joel Gibbard!

Sorry for the bad pun, but we really want to celebrate the fact that Joel’s robotic hand for amputees has won the James Dyson Award.

Joel is the founder of the Open Hand Project, which makes robotic prosthetic hands more accessible to amputees, and its parent company Open Bionics, which 3D prints affordable superhero robotic hands.

He aims to start selling the prosthetics next year, intending to charge £2,000 for the device, including the cost of the fitting. This is roughly the same cost as the arms fitted with hooks currently on the market, whereas similar arms with controllable fingers are more like £20,000 to £60,000.

Furthermore, existing products take weeks or months to obtain. Joel can 3D-scan an amputee using a tablet equipped with a special sensor, 3D-print the parts in about 40 hours, and finally fit them together in a further two hours, giving them a custom-fitted socket and hand in less than two days.

We’ve got a bit of catching you up to do on Joel’s other news.

Back in May, he was at London’s 3D Print Show, as featured on the BBC News website. Watch the video from about 2:00.

And in October 2014, he was named British Young Design Engineer of the Year (pdf) at the British Engineering Excellence Awards. The Judges said: “A highly motivated, dedicated young engineer with multidisciplinary skills and an impressive record of achievement already.”

Many congratulations Joel!!

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Videos of TEDxExeter 2015 talks go live!

“Brilliant”, “thought-provoking”, “a feast of learning”, “you can hear people thinking”. These are some of the comments that were flying around the Twittersphere during April’s conference. With a line-up that was arguably the best yet, the day was full of ideas worth sharing.

If you didn’t manage to get a ticket, prepare to be moved, inspired, challenged and amused as talks from this year’s TEDxExeter conference go live online today for anyone to enjoy. If you were there on the day, you’ll know what we’re talking about. The talks are available alongside the TEDTalks we screened during the day on the website, and you can also view the Video playlist on Youtube.

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TEDxExeter 2015: Great Hall, team… and much more!

Images by Bethan Hellier from Macular Collective and by James Millar. More photos are available in the full set on Flickr. The images can be downloaded under Creative Commons, but they still require acknowledgement one of the following as appropriate: © Bethan Hellier/Macular Collective/TEDxExeter; © James Millar/TEDxExeter or Images by James Millar.

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Lessons from the livestreams

TEDxExeter was the first event we were able to livestream. We made high-definition live feeds available to events at specific locations, and the opportunity was seized upon enthusiastically by Exeter Library, the Police, several of our sponsors, many schools and other organisations in Exeter. There was also a public standard-definition feed available globally on our website.

The following is quite long, but we hope it will be useful and ideas-provoking for any organisations considering getting involved next year.

Who watched and where?

Exeter Library streamed the whole day to ticket holders, hosted by Rupa from TEDxExeter. This was the only livestream event open to the public. TEDxExeter provided Before I Die boards and pledge cards as used at the main event. Tickets were free, the capacity was 80, and all were taken. But experience shows that people tend not to value what is free, and unfortunately several did not turn up.

#TEDxExeter standing by at police HQ...

#TEDxExeter standing by at police HQ…

Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police held a joint event, streaming the whole day live to 100 senior managers at Middlemoor. They were very appreciative and found “real value to us in taking part”. They “clapped all the speakers” and “kept a good sized audience until the end despite many 2 hour journey times to travel on a Friday night”. They also used the Before I Die boards and pledge cards, and found they worked well even though “our culture is by nature not quick to partake in such activities”.

TEDxExeter alumnus Alberto Arribas arranged for the day to be streamed at the Met Office. Staff were able to pop in and out during the day, as work allowed.

Sponsors Southernhay House streamed the day at their hotels in Exeter and on Burgh Island. It was mainly watched by staff, but the story was “the abundance of ideas and energy in Exeter and Devon” so “streaming was a very good adjunct to the live stage and if it becomes part of the experience I think will enhance the brand and us as a city of ideas.”

St Peter’s School used the feed in classrooms, and set up a venue for parents and staff to drop in and watch. During the day, they reported: “Great stuff so far! 250 Year 10 GCSE English students in classes watching TEDxExeter. 50 visitors to our venue and other classes engaged across the school. Before I Die board has been filled 4 times and there’s post [pledge card] in the TED box!” They typically showed a talk then discussed it in class. For example, one teacher wrote “we discussed why free breakfasts are so important and they were really surprised that so many people they go to school with could be going hungry every day. I think it made them think about what they take for granted”. Another teacher said “the students and parents I chatted with clearly really valued this opportunity”. And the students cheered when St Peter’s was mentioned in the introduction to the day!

Teachers at Exeter College also used the talks in specific classes, engaging in the region of 200-400 students. They also set up a live lounge for watching in the afternoon.

In Exeter School, “There was ‘rotating’ audience watching the livestream in our sixth form common room throughout the day, and they [an estimate 30-40 viewers] appeared to be fully engaged and absorbed with many of the speakers and films.” A few teachers also used the talks in specific classes, with about 50 students.

St Loye’s Foundation were a late entry. They had a hub room for people to dip in and out, and some staff took the day off to watch from home, and were in email contact through the day. At at ony time, 5-10 people were in the hub, and 20-40 watched altogether. Although they loved the event, they “could have had better group viewing had we organised it in a less rushed manner at our end”.

The Civic Centre streamed the event in one room all day and invited people to dip in. They wanted to keep it simple and gauge interest, so this time did not use the Before I Die boards or pledge cards. They probably had somewhere between 10-30 people watching.

The standard definition feed was hosted on the website of our sponsor Websites Ahoy! as well as on the TEDxExeter website. We could not provide a feed on a website with advertising, so the Express & Echo provided a link to TEDxExeter.com. In total, the feed pages received 672 visitors during the day. Our feed provider, First Sight Media, reported viewers from 37 countries, including the US, Iraq, Nepal, India and Qatar.

How did it work technically?

The high-definition feed worked well in most locations, with few technical issues. St Peter’s and Exeter School reported brief buffering occasionally during the day, but the feed was otherwise smooth and excellent quality. The main exception was the Library, which used a wifi connection also available to the other Library users, and lost much of the first session to buffering. It improved when switched to standard definition, but the feed really needs a cable connection.

St Loye’s said “it all worked really well on our Big Screen!” Southernhay House also said it “worked fine on our TV”. Exeter School queried the lighting of the speakers, especially the hosts introducing the sessions, but recognised that “the ambient lighting in our chosen location was not perfect for such a projection”.

The Police “invested in hiring a big screen, projector and sound system and the experience was surprisingly true to being there. We utilised the breaks well and I used music and photo slide shows to keep some atmosphere in the room we served refreshments.”

St Peter’s added: “The interactive stuff was great too especially the chalk [Before I Die] board.”

Any other thoughts for next time?

The general view seemed to be that it was really good to get together to watch and discuss the talks, whether for the whole day or just to focus on one or two talks. But several thought they could make even more of the opportunity in the future.

For example, the Police said: “Having a group of just our staff worked really well to build relationships and create a pretty unique shared experience. That said we would happily consider having others in future… We are really keen to explore future options.”

St Peter’s thought it would “be great if we can make this an annual event and grow it with more time to plan it into our calendar.” Exeter School made a good point about how their staff needed more information in advance to assess whether it would be appropriate to use teaching time to watch each talk. But they now know that “there were many talks that staff would like to have used” and may well use the videos when they become available shortly.

St Loye’s joined up in the week of the event, so had little time to plan. In the future they would like to link up their different offices and in Exeter organise the day as a group activity similar to the events run in the library etc. They would make it a ‘St Loye’s listening experience’, and advertise it to attract more customers to the streaming.

And finally, Southernhay House suggested: “I think it’s a very fertile avenue and one that should be drip fed into coffee houses, hotels, clubs, SMEs [small businesses] specifically in Exeter.”

What did the punters think?

I collated the Twitter response to the main event at the Exeter Northcott Theatre elsewhere. Here’s the reaction to the livestream.

At Exeter Library…

@ExeterLibrary All ready to go at the Exeter Library live stream event of @TEDxExeter. We are thrilled to be hosting such an event.

@rupachilvers And we are watching from Exeter Library live steam with our wonderful #TEDxExeter guests. Looking forward to the day.

@lesley_hedgerow #TEDxExeter it’s all going well from Exeter library

@ExeterLibrary We’re back in situ for @TEDxExeter second half to begin. *waves* #TEDxExeter

The Police…

I spotted six Twitter accounts publishing some very interesting tweets about the event at Middlemoor.

@DC_Police We have #TEDxExeter being live streamed into police HQ today – ‘taking the long view’ – lots of thought provoking content

@DC_Police #TEDxExeter DCC Bill Skelly kicks off the event at police HQ – ‘now is the time to take the long view’ for policing UK

@nickcloke Shout out given to the 100+ police leaders from @dorsetpolice and @DC_Police taking part in #TEDxExeter. Exciting agenda #StrategicAlliance

@ACC_Operations #TEDxExeter D&C police breaking the mould and hosting a TED event. Interesting speakers on a range of issues .

@tanyacroft1 Looking forward to today’s live stream of #TEDxExeter. Hoping to be inspired!

@InspCostin At HQ waiting for #TEDxExeter to start. Looking forward to listening to some very inspiring speakers.

@nickcloke .@coolearth Some parallels for us in policing. How do we help empower communities to improve things for themselves long-term? #TEDxExeter

@DC_Police #TEDxExeter ‘taking the long view’ what does that lead to…kids arrive late, can’t concentrate & poor behaviour – hungry kids is not just!

@DC_Police #TEDxExeter Clive Stafford Smith says we should understand people & mental health to try & prevent things happening in the future – so true!

@DC_Police #TEDxExeter we need to prioritise & embed social & emotional learning into education-UK has seen 300% increase in self-harm in last 10 yrs!

@InspCostin At HQ #TEDxExeter event. Great quote ‘labels inhibit ability to create new identity and new narratives’. So true.

@RuralOfficers Great to meet our colleagues from Dorset police at the coffee break #TEDxExeter #police

@DC_Police #TEDxExeter amazing & inspirational talks – Jenny Sealey asks ‘why are deaf & disabled people considered second class citizens’ – yes, why?

@DC_Police #TEDxExeter Sara Hyde talks about prison-what is justice-are we willing to talk about lives behind people in prison

@RuralOfficers Have found today very inspirational, thank you.  Good luck to the London marathon Harry Baker #TEDxExeter

‏@tanyacroft1 Fantastic day – thank you to all the #TEDxExeter speakers – I need to digest it all over the weekend now!

@DC_Police the end of a fantastic day of inspirational talks- ‘taking the long view’ – together we CAN make a difference – thank you #TEDxExeter!

And a nice response from the Twittersphere…

@WolfClose @DC_Police how great to see that you are engaging with #TEDxExeter Are you working with relational justice? It’s eye opening set of talks

At St Peter’s School…

@PLHexeter Loved TEDxExeter today. @TEDxExeter can we use the Before I Die boards in Heavitree Pleasure Ground?

At St Loye’s Foundation…

‏@stloyes W were delighted to have been 1 of 5 organisations who had a live feed to the recent @TEDxExeter conference #Exeter

And on the interwebs…

@JhenArlo Production Team TEDxExeter! These guys are so professional! My mum and grands watched from St Lucia- clear as a bell!

@WolfClose #TEDxExeter we all have the power to influence education. We must find ways to do so. Powerful speakers. Thanks for the live stream.

@Alice_Hutchings Thought- provoking talks this morning from #TEDxExeter by livestream

@friendlyseagull @TEDxExeter Thank you for the live stream!

You’re welcome!

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Another million

Congratulations to Scilla Elworthy, whose talk on “Fighting with nonviolence” has now been watched more than 1 million times on TED.com!

“How do you deal with a bully without becoming a thug? In this wise and soulful talk, peace activist Scilla Elworthy maps out the skills we need — as nations and individuals — to fight extreme force without using force in return. To answer the question of why and how nonviolence works, she evokes historical heroes — Aung San Suu Kyi, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela — and the personal philosophies that powered their peaceful protests.”

Subtitles are available in 31 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Persian, several Far East and Southeast Asian, and many European languages.

Also, at the time of writing,

The videos of the talks at TEDxExeter are just being finalised before being uploaded. We hope they’ll be available in about a week.

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TEDxExeter 2015: Before I Die…

Images by James Millar. More photos are available in the full set on Flickr. The images can be downloaded under Creative Commons, but they still require acknowledgement using either of the following: © James Millar/TEDxExeter or Images by James Millar.

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It’s like falling off a blog

After four years of doing, it is a well-established traditional that I collate any blog posts reflecting on the day that I manage to find.

If you were moved by TEDxExeter to write a blog post, do it now! In previous years, people have been moved to start a blog. Go on…you know you want to!

If you have written a blog post, please tell us about it. Twitter works well. If you are one of the few that have written a post and told us about it – congratulations and thank you!

Your starters for 10

Carina Ripley enjoyed the refocusing of the day away from ‘me’ to how to make the world a better place.

Our photographer James Millar reflects on the privilege of meeting and photographing the exceptional people that were our speakers.

The pupils of Exeter School enjoyed many stand-out talks.


It’s not a blog post, but the Dean of Exeter Cathedral incorporated reflections on TEDxExeter in his sermon on the following Sunday [only available for 4 weeks], the 4th Sunday of Easter.

Cool Earth featured the talk by their own Matthew Owen on their website, with a little bit of annotation.

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Twitter twadition

Thanks everyone for tweeting before, during and after the event. Here is my traditional round-up of Tweflections on the day.

It was really, really good…

@ExeterCX A big thank you to @TEDxExeter for putting on a great programme, entertaining and massively informative. Many moving & inspiring stories.

@CarinaRipley #TEDxExeter was really, really good http://carinaripley.weebly.com/blog/tedxexeter

@jphedge Big thanks to @TEDxExeter team and speakers. One of those rare moments in life where the hype absolutely matches expectations.

@sethhonnor Thanks to @ClaireKennedy24 and all the @TEDxExeter volunteers for a brilliant day yesterday #IdeasWorthSpreading spinning around in my head.

@honeyscribe Had a day full to the brim with sparkling positivity @TEDxExeter huge thanks to @ClaireKennedy24 & the team for such an inspiring day.

@MrMattYoung Hey @TEDxExeter thank you. I laughed, I cried. I was inspired and I was annoyed. Awesome day #TEDxExeter #BeforeIDie

@Mr_John_Harvey_ .@TEDxExeter Thank you for an incredibly thought-provoking day… Brilliant – & often very moving – speakers… #TEDxExeter

@tricityvogue Feeling an emotional wreck after yesterday’s @TEDxExeter – so many brilliant ideas to absorb, so many powerful emotional journeys. Phew!

@thehallexeter We’re told everyday how greedy, violent and useless human beings are. @TEDxExeter reminds us how much humanity we really all do have.

@IAmEricMoeller Fantastic day at #TEDxExeter yesterday. Thank you to the great speakers and organising team.

@MURAND99 Wholeheartedly agree,  It was a thought provoking and well-organised day. Well done to all on the @TEDxExeter team.

@thehallexeter Congratulations to @ClaireKennedy24 and the entire @TEDxExeter team. Gets better every year. Videos of talks @ http://tedxexeter.com/ soon.

‏@vinesworks Inspiring, humbling, compassionate, thought provoking day @TEDxExeter.  thanks, what a great team ? @Devon_Hour

@chivpolis @TEDxExeter Thanks for a slick/professional and absorbing day. Very well done !

@Exeterlearning @SidcotSchool had a brilliant time @TEDxExeter

@MkMeghjee @TEDxExeter was so inspiring and thought provoking today. Totally worth missing a day of revision!

@Ju_Summerhayes Thank you @TEDxExeter for a wonderful day. Insightful, thought-provoking and great organisation. #tedxexeter

@danmcivor Great day @TEDxExeter Thanks to all who volunteered and organised it. Progressive veggie-only catering for 400 delegates too!

@sue_cade @TEDxExeter thank you for a stunning, thought-provoking programme and such brilliant speakers #greatday I’m so glad I came! #TEDxExeter

@WCKfood @TEDxExeter Thank you for a great day full of ideas. Excellent programme & v happy to round off with the amazing Harry Baker. #inspired

@Sarah_L_Vickery Thank you the amazing @TEDxExeter team,you provided a brilliant experience & I have again been inspired into action

@robjglover thank-you @TEDxExeter again for a brilliantly thought provoking day #tedxexeter now my brain is mush!

@benking01 Incredible day @TEDxExeter. Thank you to everyone involved. Imagine watching 20 @TEDTalks in a row. That! #TEDxExeter

@TEDxTotnes Wow! #TEDxExeter you can hear people thinking! Inspiring #TakingTheLongView

@WesNeary Having one of the most mentally stimulating work days in a long time watching #tedxexeter some difficult questions being addressed.

@Mr_John_Harvey_ Loving the #BeforeIDie boards at @TEDxExeter… #TEDxExeter #TEDx #Exeter

…because the speakers were really, really good…

@Mizz_Moneypenny Really enjoyed @TEDxExeter, so much to reflect upon from fab speakers. Harry Baker’s words sum it up “everyday(‘s) potentially adventurey”!

@sue_cade @kieronkirkland Enjoyed your two spots at @TEDxExeter on Friday, illuminating!

@Di_ITPR Fantastic day at @TEDxExeter yesterday – think my head and heart might explode! Stand-outs for me @ChetanBhatt1962 @MagicCarmel & DickMoore

@Ju_Summerhayes @TEDxExeter @ExeterNorthcott my favourite talk. She [Beth Barnes] was awesome. #TEDxExeter

@MartinKelman Peter Randall-Page’s paints hung either side of the @TEDxExeter stage. Taps into the beauty and complexity of life

@thehallexeter Thank you @harrybakerpoet for your @TEDxExeter performance. Born in London, educated in Bristol now owned by Exeter. You can never leave.

@MartinKelman @TEDxExeter after the first two sessions I told my wife that I was an emotional wreck, then Dick Moore started I was gone again More tissues

@lisychka @ChetanBhatt1962 I learned so much from you today. Thank you. #TEDxExeter

@MrMattYoung Hi @MagicCarmel I really enjoyed your talk today #TEDxExeter Your humour really struck a chord as does your purpose #inspired

@benking01 .@harrybakerpoet Really enjoyed your #westonsupernightmare performance at the end of #TEDxExeter today. Best wishes for the marathon!

@MrMattYoung Hi @MagicCarmel I really enjoyed your talk today #TEDxExeter Your humour really struck a chord as does your purpose #inspired

@ShinyShoeClaire Thanks @TEDxExeter for a great day. Brilliant talks by @MagicCarmel @CliveSSmith @GraeaeJennyS @harrybakerpoet @shellkryan #TEDxExeter #ff

@benking01 One speaker @TEDxExeter DID reference #TakingTheREALLYLongView! Peter Randall-Page – ‘Theme & Variation in #Nature and Culture’ #TEDxExeter

@ShinyShoeClaire Quote of the day & made me grin: imagine the fun you’re having. And then add the feeling of fleece. #TEDxExeter @harrybakerpoet

@pforphyllis Smiling and laughing the whole way throughout Harry Baker’s slam poetry. Such a talented and funny guy! Perfect end to #TEDxExeter

@paultrueman74 Astonishing performance by @sarakhyde. Powerful theatre, hardcore data crunching and a powerful vision. Make her PM. #tedxexeter

…and the speakers enjoyed it too…

@kieronkirkland Massive thanks to the @TEDxExeter team and especially @ClaireKennedy24 for inviting me to speak at such an amazing event! #TEDxExeter

@MagicCarmel @MrMattYoung Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. Felt honoured to get to talk about @magic_breakfast as part of today’s fab line up. @TEDxExeter

@harrybakerpoet Inspiring day of talks at @TEDxExeter – if anybody would like to sponsor the marathon effort my page is http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/LondonHarrython  #2DaysToGo

@isenseIRC Heading home after an inspiring day of talks to take action against the most pressing global problems #TedxExeter #takingthelongview

@sarakhyde Reapplying eye makeup after talk on 500,000 children who start the day hungry from @MagicCarmel. @RichardWatts01 – one for you? #TEDxExeter

…as did the sponsors…

@AnTech_Ltd We were so proud to sponsor @TEDxExeter! What a wonderful, thought provoking day, enjoyed by all! #TakingTheLongView

@WilkinsonGrant “@TEDxExeter: A HUGE thank you to the #TEDxExeter 2015 sponsors @WilkinsonGrant @StephensScown  @kidhelios & @StormpressExe ” A privilege

@ExeterCollege Pleasure! @TEDxExeter: A HUGE thank you to the #TEDxExeter sponsors @DPT_NHS @ExeterNorthcott @SunGiftSolar @dacors & @ExeterCollege

@WebsitesAhoy .@TEDxExeter Thank you to you too! A great day. @EgremontGroup @SouthernhayHome @AnTech_Ltd @jtmillarphoto

@jtmillarphoto A great day, many thanks to you too @TEDxExeter @EgremontGroup @SouthernhayHome @WebsitesAhoy @AnTech_Ltd @tricityvogue

@SouthernhayHome @TEDxExeter @EgremontGroup @WebsitesAhoy @AnTech_Ltd @jtmillarphoto It was real #fun, let’s do it #alloveragain! #2016 #keepintouch

@StephensScown @TEDxExeter truly inspirational stories.  We might need to grab some tissues before the next session starts #TEDxExeter

…not to mention the team, the volunteers and the tech guys

@DYGolden Brilliant, insightful day yesterday filming at @tedxexeter maculacollective https://instagram.com/p/15a4enrGf0/

@Tom_Coleman_ Pete doing his thing at @TEDxExeter yesterday. Great day with the @MaculaC team. #vasw 

@pforphyllis Got to know the core team & the volunteers of #TEDxExeter a bit better at the after-party. Glad to have worked with a group of inspiring ppl

@EdBird_EN @TEDxExeter What an awesome day, such a pleasure working alongside you all – especially this one… @sarahbird86 😉

@tricityvogue Massively inspired by @TEDxExeter today and hugely proud of the brilliant photography by @jtmillarphoto

@Exeterlearning @TEDxExeter loved every minute of it. Thank you for letting me play xx

@dr_hobson I had a fab time today volunteering. Looking forward to next year @TEDxExeter 

@tobit_e Another great #TEDxExeter, a real privilege to be part of, and to livesteam was awesome, albeit (speaking as a cameraman) slightly stressful

@MaculaC Successful day filming for @TEDxExeter today! Thanks for letting us work with you, we all really enjoyed it!

@Slanketlover I have just had the privilege to be part of something really special. An amazing day. #TEDxExeter

@firstsightmedia Some really interesting stuff going on at @TEDxExeter today! Check out our live stream via http://tedxexeter.com/livestream/ . #TEDxExeter

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TEDxExeter 2015: Speakers and Performers live

Images by James Millar. More photos are available in the full set on Flickr. The images can be downloaded under Creative Commons, but they still require acknowledgement using either of the following: © James Millar/TEDxExeter or Images by James Millar.

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TEDxExeter 2015: Sponsors

Images by James Millar. More photos are available in the full set on Flickr. The images can be downloaded under Creative Commons, but they still require acknowledgement using either of the following: © James Millar/TEDxExeter or Images by James Millar.

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TEDxExeter 2015: Speaker and Performer portraits

Images by James Millar. More photos are available in the full set on Flickr. The images can be downloaded under Creative Commons, but they still require acknowledgement using either of the following: © James Millar/TEDxExeter or Images by James Millar.

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They think it’s all over… it is now!

So that’s it.

There’s breaking news from the Cool Earth stand in the Great Hall, where delegates have saved 17 acres or 4,200 trees. We are looking for homes for the “Before I die…” boards which have also been in the Great Hall.

Claire is thanking the signers, who have worked incredibly hard. And there are many other thanks all round – design, photography, filming, production of postboxes, musician in the Great Hall, the Northcott, film crew, transcribers and translators, and especially volunteers – big clap!! And then I and the rest of the team had to pop down to the stage. The final big clap is due to Claire, our amazing organiser.

Thank you to everyone who came to the event, and who made it what it is. We hope the livestream viewers enjoyed it as much as we did, and we would be interested in hearing about your experiences.

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Harry Baker performance

Finally, we welcome Harry back. He starts with a haiku: “Went to Chinatown / There were too many bright lights / Asked them to dimsum.”

His first poem is dedicated to the pun-tastic Jason Doner Van in Bristol, and is about his first week at university and pole-dancing. Like last year, it’s impossible to blog. Yes, I’m a cop-out!

He grew up in London, and one of the best things about growing up in London is that everywhere else seems relatively friendly! He is studying in Bristol, which is also relatively close to the beach. So the next poem is called Weston-Super-Nightmare, about a university trip there in February.

He’s tired of telling people who ask that he is studying Maths and German, and then mumbling about doing something to do with poetry next. So now he wants to shout loud about how he will be doing something he loves and being adventurous with it, and like everyone today will be trying to make the world a little better. Because why not?

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TED Talk – Andrew Solomon

The final TED Talk, from Andrew Solomon, summarises many of our themes today. He is looking at how we can not so much find meaning as forge meaning in events. He survived his childhood of bullying for being gay through avoidance and endurance, and found these were important.

‘Forge meaning, build identity’ became his mantra. It doesn’t mean that we can’t still be mad as hell! It doesn’t make what is wrong right, but what is wrong precious. Identity politics applied, say, to gay people should help build both the identity of those people, and the understanding and embracing of that identity by others.

In his relationship, he has learnt not to focus on the reduction of pain, but the presence of joy. And he has learnt to look not for future bliss and joy, but joy in the present, however painful it is. And then to invite the world to share your joy.

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Peter Randall-Page talk

Peter Randall-PagePeter Randall-Page is next up. He very kindly allowed us to display some of his artwork on the stage this year.

He is speaking on theme and variation, commonly associated with music, but he is applying it to nature. It is ubiquitous but hardly noticed.

At 6, the Natural History Museum sent him a box of fossils. He was dyslexic, so learnt through means other than words. He found lots of patterns. Patterns in nature are generally created through opposing processes, and there is a limited book of patterns, which could be understood as driving the evolutionary process itself. Without an organising principle, what would randomness look like?

He is showing some wonderful images on screen. The latest are the Giant’s Causeway and a hornets nest. Both have hexagonal packing. Neither are perfect because geometry only exists in human imaginations. And yet we intuitively understand this. We enjoy the dangerous unpredictability of variation, and the common underlying theme.

Variation is not a singularity. In art it implies playfulness and expression. So Peter work often uses sequences in his work – e.g. images of walnut kernels – to build up expressions of qualities through comparison. As an aside, we seem to respond to bilateral symmetry, probably because our bodies are symmetrical.

The shape of pine cones and pineapples is to do with efficient packing, relating to the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio, and is very pleasing to the eye. Peter used this principle in his work ‘Seed’ for the Eden Project.

The underlying principles of the microscopic pattern generated by two chemicals that don’t mix reminded Peter of playful improvisational music. The phenomenon produces the camouflage patterns on zebra and mackerel. The resulting artwork – a combination of painted canvas and boulders – Peter called Rocks in my Bed, after the song by Duke Ellington.

Variation also implies an element of chance. So Peter often uses the random, e.g. a weathered boulder, and a structuring principle, e.g. an overlaid geometric net. Compare with fish-net tights, which help us to see and appreciate the form of the leg more clearly!

Fundamentally, Peter is interested in what makes us tick, and subconsciously tries to bring it out. He shows a piece using a random boulder and a continuous line – ref Paul Klee ‘taking a line for a walk’. Another is based on the Platonic solids, sculptured from a chaotic material.

Back to spirals, and an image of a galaxy, illustrating the different scales of theme and variation. We need both: theme without variation is monotonous; variation without theme is chaotic. Together they can create beauty in nature, music and art.

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Kieron Kirkland talk

Kieron KirklandKieron is back on the stage, and has just confounded us with another trick. We are [at least, I am] asking how. Kieron says we should ask why.

He is taking us back in our imaginations to Christmas past and the magic of Santa filling our stocking. Now he takes us back further to 19th century Algeria and a duel between a Frenchman and a local chieftain. The chieftain shoots first, and the Frenchman catches the bullet between his teeth. Then the Frenchman shoots at a wall, and blood oozes from it.

The secret of every magic trick is to create a unwilling suspension of disbelief. Why should we believe? If a magician just loses money, we get annoyed. If he (or she) sprinkles it with wiffle dust and makes it disappear we are more impressed. But good magicians will change the way we see the world, and the greatest how we see ourselves. It’s not about changing perceptions about things, but about why things happen.

For Kieron it started with finding out about the stories of 1st century St Thomas in India: how he trumped local magicians, explained the why, and told them how God’s power was also available to them.

Who had the power in the 1920s and 1930s? There were many alive/dead tricks, whereby magicians could pick who was which from a list of names. Magicians also passed on messages from dead people, and they were believed. Why? Because people were desperate to speak to their loved ones who had died during World War I.

On to Uri Geller… if you could choose a super-power, would it be spoon-bending?! But the why here is unexplored human potential. If spoon-bending is possible for one man, what are the implications for the rest of us? Today we have Derren Brown, who is playing back to us what science has uncovered recently about the mysteries of the human mind.

In a world where technology has become so complex it’s almost magical, Kieron wants us to think how magicians think. Magical whys don’t just exist. Become aware of them.

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Michelle Ryan talk

Michelle RyanIn the fourth session, we come back to ourselves. Michelle is describing how the opportunities for women have made incredible strides, but they [we!] continue to be under-represented in various sectors (surgery, science) and roles (senior management). Try googling CEO images, and you’ll find the first 80 are of men and the 81st is Barbie. [I found one woman at #50, but the point still stands.]

Some argue that women choose not to go into particular roles or sectors, often because of the hours required and the sacrifices that need to be made. Many women say this, and many do opt out before they hit the glass ceiling.

We need to look at these decisions, but also at what underlies these decisions. Why are women less ambitious? Is there something innate about the desire for a work-life balance that women might have? Michelle is presenting some recent research that may shed some light.

So first, are women less ambitious? At the beginning, no, but ambition erodes over time, for students, police officers and surgeons in training. Is it because of the biological clock? Probably not – students are in their late teens, police in their mid-20s and surgeons in their mid-30s. It is more likely to be exposure to male-dominated environments, and perceptions that those who have become successful ahead of them are very different from them. So they will have a lower possibility of success. Are women saying: that thing over there that you say I can’t have, I want it anyway? Or are they saying: I’m not interested anyway?

How one feels about the workplace is at least as important as the issue of time. Surgery involves long and unpredictable hours, being called out in the middle of the night. But so do nursing and midwifery, professions dominated by women.

Feeling similar to those who have been successful before you reinforces identity, that who you have to be at work is similar to who you are at home. It also makes you feel you can be successful in the future, and therefore that any sacrifices you make could be worth it.

One of the biggest differences between men and women in middle-management is that women are much less willing to make sacrifices, because they don’t expect those sacrifices to be rewarded or that the workplace be meritocratic.

The implications are first, that work-life balance is not just an issue for women. All types of people might feel that they don’t belong. So we have an explanation that work-life balance is about identity. Second, working part-time and from home are touted as solutions to work-life balance, but may ironically exacerbate this identity problem.

So we need to encourage the imagination and the view that success is possible.

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Sara Hyde talk

Sara HydeSara also has a background in theatre. She starts with, acts rather than tells, the story of Katie: a beautiful small baby, neglected; moved into foster care, moved again and again; at 12 babysits and is raped by the father, and then all his friends; she runs away, and gets involved in crack and crime; at 18 she stabs an old woman; she’s had juvenile sentences, now it’s adult prison.

What does justice look like for Katie? How many people do we know that have been to prison? Why is it that the answer is lots for some and none for others?

Who ends up in our prisons? Other human beings. Sara is sharing statistics of the men and women behind bars. For example, how many have been abused or suffered depression, or attempted suicide.

Katie was not a sick fish as a baby, but grew up in unhealthy water. We need to change the water.

In recent years, the ratio of prison officers to prisoners has fallen. There is overcrowding. We are moving towards the US model of commercialised prison, but we can’t afford it. The National Audit Office says that there is no correlation between crime rates and numbers in prison.

Is there another way? 97% of people in prison say they desire not to reoffend, but 58% do. At HMP Grendon, a therapeutic prison, the rate is closer to 20%. This is due to focusing on relationships, giving time and place for human beings to relate to other human beings, and having a relational approach to justice.

We do still need prisons, especially for perpetrators of violent crimes. But what does relational justice look like? The principles include: a person’s acts may be bad, but they are still human; we all mess up; we need space to practise life; a prisoner may become a tax-paying citizen in the future; people are not commodities; prison is not an industry; what if people who sent others to prison were accountable for them; inequality means people don’t get equal chances.

On the ground, this means: reduce the prison population; use community sentences; reduce prison sizes; high staff ratios; use restorative justice, de-othering the victim and de-monstering the perpetrator; train and pay officers properly.

It is more effective to reduce crime by reducing drug use and providing mental health care than to put people in prison. HMP Grendon costs more per prisoner, but the lower reoffending rates means that it saves overall.

So where might Katie be now? What can we do, human to human, before we find Katie in a prison cell?

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Jenny Sealey talk

Jenny SealeyJenny became deaf (with speech) at aged 7. Her mother said she could do whatever she wanted. Her careers officer said she could become a librarian! With Graeae, she works with some extraordinary deaf and disabled artists. She is showing a video of some of them as she continues to speak.

Disabled people are dependent on Access to Work and the Independent Living Fund. The first is one of the government’s best kept secrets. It helps disabled people into the workforce, so they can fulfil roles with equality, and come off benefits and pay taxes. The latter does what it says. But in 2012 Esther McVey announced out of the blue that it will be closed and passed to local authorities in June 2015. The pot is £23m, and per person the cost of £346 compares very favourably with the cost of care in residential homes [several thousand]. Jenny argues the closure breaches human rights.

When working on the Paralympics Opening Ceremony, Stephen Hawking said don’t look at your toes, look at the stars. He and many other deaf and disabled people (Beethoven, Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo) have contributed enormously to civilisation. They needed and received support. Jenny is running through a list of people who are struggling with accessing government support so they can fulfil their potential.

For example, a graduate in business studies had Access to Work for 6 hours a day, then when moved to another job was only given 3 hours a week, and had to leave the job… which also means that two signers lost their employment too.

Disability does not occur because someone has done something wrong. Yet disabled people are vilified and in some countries treated as beggars. It amazes some that there are disabled people on the stage. Many decisions seem to be the result of lack of empathy and understanding. For example, how do blind people use tablets with smooth screens? The Paralympics were glorious. Following it, Channel 4 asked Jenny to put some of her people forward to Undateables, which she found sickening.

So Jenny asks us to familiarise ourselves with Access to Work, and with the issues, and help disabled people in their efforts to give their great contributions to society.

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Kieron Kirkland performance

Kieron KirklandNow for something completely different…

Kieron asks us to think of a card. A member of the audience says Queen of Hearts. Wrong… it’s a birthday card, produced with a flourish from Kieron’s back pocket! The audience member says he will be 37 next birthday, and Kieron has invited him onto the red dot to read his birthday card… Happy 37th, and remember the Queen of Hearts because it will be important to you during the year.

Now five people are invited on to the dot to have their minds read. Kieron has unveiled his lie detector, a mechanical monkey. The five are randomly picking out Star Wars characters, and the monkey will detect who has Darth Vader.

It’s tempting to give up blogging now. I’m laughing too much! Two have just said “I have Darth Vader”, and the monkey clapped, and Kieron correctly guessed that both were lying. A third one has gone down. The last two caused problems, or the monkey is malfunctioning, but Kieron worked out who had Darth Vader in the end.

He’ll be speaking later. I’m looking forward to it.

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Beth Barnes talk

Beth BarnesNow we hear from Beth, who is a student at Exeter College. We wanted to hear what young people have to say and what they want, and Beth won a competition to speak today.

Beth is telling us about a system that allows us to direct our resources to what we think will do the most good: charitable giving. Increased transparency of governance mean it is possible to find charities who are doing great work, such as the Schistosomiasis (spelling?!) Society.

We are used to a world in which the most resources are invested in things that are not important. What if we directed our huge resources to solving global poverty? 10% given by 10% would generate $4 trillion. It would only take 5% of that to solve poverty, so Beth has given us a shopping list for the remaining 95%, with some left over to fund a mission to Mars!

Effective Altruism encourages and helps people to give well – via e.g. GiveWell, Giving What We Can websites. The latter asks people to give away 10% of their lifetime earnings. Wouldn’t it be good if everyone did this?!

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Dick Moore talk

Dick MooreThe focus in the third session is switching back again to the UK. First up is Dick Moore, a passionate advocate for mental health in children and teens.

“How are you?” he asks. Statistically, 26% of us will be suffering from a cold, 46% from an injury, and about 70 of 460 in the theatre from some emotional or mental health issue.

He is showing a photo of his family: Dick, his wife, and their four boys. Life was kind, with decent schools and university opportunities. Three of the four coped well with life’s ups and downs. The fourth, Barney, lacked confidence to be in a group of people. He had a serious relationship, which sadly ended. He tried to win her back, and became obsessive, to the point of saying life was not worth living without her. He was eventually sectioned, but he argued his way out. Dick gave him a letter saying that he was loved, but Barney didn’t read it. Later he took his own life.

Dick and the rest of the family were heart-broken. Eventually the storms gave way to some surprisingly silver linings. The relationship end wasn’t the underlying cause of Barney’s action. Just as diabetes is a physical condition, so depression is a mental condition that can’t just be ‘got over’. Barney killed himself because he wasn’t equipped to deal with the storms of life.

Dick doesn’t blame anyone in particular. But in the world we’ve become obsessed with hard evidence and measurements – perform better, look better, and be better. Young people are under more pressure than ever, and the outcome is occasionally emotional turmoil. The World Health Organization estimates a 300% increase in self-harm in the UK in the last 10 years.

If you were to work out in the gym for an hour, the release of endorphins makes you feel good. Self-harm leads to an immediate release of endorphins. Why haven’t we explained to young people how they can cope with pain without resorting to physical harm? Suicide among young men accounts for more deaths than AIDs, violent crime and road traffic accidents added together.

Worry, anxiety and stress are part of life. At what point do they become problems? Life is in three parts: sometimes fun, sometimes normal, and sometimes stormy. If we are lucky, the storms are short-lived squalls. Others experience longer-lived storms or even hurricanes.

How are we teaching children resilience? The New Economics Foundation suggests we can help young people be more connected through noticing the world around them, being physically active, engaging with new ideas, doing random acts of kindness. Dick argues we need more – a fundamental change in attitude, led by schools and universities.

We need to explore what and how we are teaching and assessing at every level. Prioritising mental health will have a direct and positive impact on academic performance. We need to embed social learning in all academic institutions, in every lesson, not as an appendage. Edutopia is working on this in the US.

Dick encourages anyone with influence to encourage this change, so that young people in the future can dance, rather than drown, in the rain.

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Celia McKeon talk

Celia McKeonCelia is asking us to clench our fists, tighter. How would it feel to clench it for ever? Now open your hand, stretch it out, and notice how that feels.

It wasn’t until she was 16 that Celia realised how important security could be. She was in a camp in Europe, and became friends with a Croatian girl. During the Balkan conflict, she wrote to her friend, but eventually lost contact. She was horrified that her friend was exposed to such experiences and insecurities. So she got involved in peace-building.

Time and again, she has learnt that peace and security are built by talking about the root causes, with an out-stretched hand and not a clenched fist.

In places like the UK not affected by such conflict, we can still ask what security means. Does it mean defence? Pictures of tanks and barbed-wire fences?

Sources of insecurity include patriarchy, militarised violence, climate change, concentration of power, financial insecurity. All cross boundaries, and require collective global solutions. So the 20th century requires us to build security with an out-stretched hand. Yet the global spend on defence is over $4 trillion dollars. There is something wrong.

Iraq and Afghanistan have been dubbed ‘strategic’ failures for Western governments. We are deploying drones, supposedly precision strikes, but more than 100 people have been killed when trying to kill one leader. Which has led to even higher resentment. Everyone has a clenched fist.

We are told there are no other options. But there are, from a different starting point, relying on building relationships, confronting inequalities, and recognising humanity. There are seven elements required, including: access to work, access to food, health protection, trust in communities, political participation.

Celia is sharing stories of how this has worked in practice: in the Philippines via a touring government commission; in northern Mali via many community organisers; in Northern Ireland via a touring citizens’ inquiry.

It is not a magic solution, but conversations and the willingness to listen are powerful. In the UK’s ‘war on terror’, we need the courage not to respond to a clenched fist with another clenched fist. How instead can we build basic security for everyone? Power – the UK elite are tied into global military sales – isn’t working. Let’s consider being vulnerable instead, where most break-throughs have come. The most transformative moments in peace processes around the world are when the risk is taken to build relationships… unclenching the fist and offering an out-stretched hand.

Celia later lived in Croatia for a while. War veterans from all sides are being brought together to talk and listen. So ask whether politician’s approaches are building true security, and recognise that we have the choice to harness creativity. In the end, our future is likely to depend on the kind of security we choose to believe in.

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Karima Bennoune video update

Karima Bennoune’s talk – sharing stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities – was a highlight of TEDxExeter 2014, and has now been featured on TED.com and watched by more than 1.25m people. She has recorded a video update for us.

She didn’t dream that the battle would be even harder now, against the ideology of IS. Has the West stood with the people within the Muslim countries that are fighting these fundamentalisms? They have continued to cosy up to the Gulf states. Meanwhile, the UK has become an exporter of jihadists. Karima’s contacts in the US are standing against fundamentalists in their own US cities. Her contacts in Algeria have been beaten for displaying a banner listing the names of women killed. The authorities are silencing their people.

Karima asks us to raise our voices in their support, and to continue to share her original TED Talk. One of her stories was about Amel, a women killed in Algiers for studying law. Amel’s mother died recently. There was little healing for her, where there is no justice and little opportunity for remembrance. But hope (which is the meaning of Amel) lives on when stories are shared.

Karima’s father wrote an open letter: “Your movement is the negation of reason, democracy, common sense and Islamic universal values. It is doomed to fail.” We need to work together to make this so.

Karima has felt much anger this year, at the atrocities and at the Western response. She has written a poem “Why I hate Islamic State”, a gut-wrenching conclusion.

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Chetan Bhatt talk

Chetan BhattOur next speaker is Chetan Bhatt from LSE. He’s commenting on how people generally try to pigeonhole him… as a Hindu Kenyan Asian. But also all sorts of people from his London background are part of him.

Questions about identity and origins are difficult – we might cheer and fight for them, but often we just assume we have them without thinking about it. But the responses are important socially and politically.

Often conflicts are based on old stories of origin and identity, myths which can be about nation, race, religion, caste, culture. Some say origin stories give people a sense of belonging, but Chetan sees them as adding to human misery, and dares us to refuse them. Instead we should develop a deeper sense of personhood, responsible to humanity as a whole; origin myths disguise global power and inequalities.

Tradition is not the same as history. They are often in conflict. Chetan tells two stories of growing up in London.

One is of his next door neighbour, who was National Front, racist and threatening, but today is a family friend, gentle and kind.

The other is of a quiet Hindu boy who became involved in Al Qaeda. He like others discarded his ‘impure’ past to become ‘authentic’… but it is using a forgery of the past, not returning to the past. Ordinary Muslim beliefs can never be pure enough, so are obliterated. The claim to tradition is at war with history.

Purity, certainty, authenticity – all lethal. Today’s main Hindu fundamentalist organisation has roots in Fascism, and has engaged for decades in violence against minorities. Fundamentalists see religion and culture as their sole property.

Chetan respects the right to have and express culture and religion, but not necessarily the content. There isno human right to not be offended. In a genuine democracy, people express different views, and change their views.

Why do we have pride in our nationality – an accident of birth? We live in a global world where goods and services are owned and provided internationally. There is no pure nation or culture. Culture is about many things, but often is what’s decided by the powers that be.

So Chetan asks: what about our identity? Each self is complex and messy, so why not value impurities and uncertainties? Why not be sceptical about origin myths? Be creative… He is showing a slide of a tin of haggis curry. Mmm… fusion cuisine!

Chetan tells the story of Dr Siddiqui, a Muslim fundamentalist. He was shattered by the story of a Pakistani girl who was raped and then exceuted for adultery, and reversed his position to work courageously against fundamentalism.

Ibn Rushd, a 12th century Muslim thinker, said that religious truth may conflict with rational truth, but the latter is still true. There are two distinct realms of truth, and they should be separated, i.e. secularism, or separation of church and state in the US, and laïcité in France. Ideas that shook his world, and ours.

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