Deeyah Khan on

We are delighted that Deeyah Khan’s TEDxExeter 2016 talk has been chosen to feature on – an honour less than 1 per cent of TEDx talks achieve. It is the 7th talk from Exeter to be selected.

Building relationships is key to stopping the cycle of violence, says Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary film director, Deeyah Khan. Born in Norway to immigrant parents of Pashtun and Punjabi ancestry, she experienced many of the difficulties Muslim children growing up in European countries can face. Aged 17, she fled from Norway confused, lost and torn between cultures. She chose film and music as the language for her social activism, not a gun.

Deeyah’s first, award-winning film, Banaz, explored a so-called ‘honour killing’ in the UK. Her second film, the Bafta-nominated Jihad involved two years of interviews and filming with Islamic extremists, convicted terrorists and former jihadis. In her TEDxExeter talk “What we don’t know about Europe’s Muslim kids” she tells some of their stories and sheds light on the clash of cultures between Muslim parents who prioritise honour and their children’s desire for freedom. She argues that we need to understand what is happening to fight the pull to extremism.

Deeyah Khan’s talk will reach a much larger audience on 64,000 people have already watched the talk. Now it will attract a potential audience of millions around the world.

“I’m both delighted and honoured that my talk has been one of those selected to appear on,” says Deeyah Khan. “Radicalisation is the most pressing problem of our age. Each violent act by extremists creates an increasing cycle of hatred which tears our communities apart.

“Through the research and interviews I carried out in the development of my documentary Jihad, I believe that one of the most effective means of stopping the cycle of violence is through building relationships. This can be difficult when young people feel themselves to be growing up between cultures, and belonging in neither.

“I am pleased that TED has given me this opportunity to share some simple ideas of how we can all work together to stop the cycle of violence and bring our communities back together.”

Danny Dorling on

See the world anew and discover hope for the future says Danny Dorling as his TEDxExeter talk is featured on

We are delighted that Danny’s powerful talk has been featured on, the 6th talk from TEDxExeter to be featured on the main TED site.

“There are a huge number of good news stories in the world,” says Danny Dorling in his 2016 TEDxExeter talk: “Maps that show us who we are (not just where we are)”. And now his talk is on many more people around the world will hear about the constant, incremental changes for the better that rarely feature in the print and broadcast media.

Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, challenges us to examine some of our beliefs about the world and open our minds to a new, often unreported reality. Using beautiful and unfamiliar world maps created by Ben Hennig (and shown in colour for the first time) he shows us that in many ways life is slowly getting better and there’s much to be optimistic about, as long as we continue to connect with each other.

“I’m very glad TED has decided to feature the talk I gave at TEDxExeter,” said Danny. “In it I examine new ways of viewing the world, its future, and how we can be a little less afraid if we do not see other people as being our enemy as much as we currently do. We currently fear people from other countries too much, we fear that those in faraway places are taking ‘our jobs’, we fear what we do not know. But if we begin to see the world as a whole, as the place from which we all get our food, as the place that we all pollute, then as our global population begins to stabilise we can learn to become less fearful. Some people learn faster than others. The British Prime Minister, Teresa May, recently said that ‘if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere’. It is not her fault that she was taught geography at time before we could map all the citizens of the world and see that we are each just such a citizen.”

“I hope you watch the talk if only to see the weird and wonderful ways in which Benjamin Hennig has remapped the planet. Seeing the earth shaped in proportion to the amount of rain that falls, and how that changes over a year, shows the planet as a single entity that almost appears to have an annual heartbeat. Seeing all the humans of the world drawn on a single projection can help us realise that imagining all of humanity as one is not beyond the scope of our collective imaginations. Let’s see the world anew!”

Ben Hennig has also used this method of remapping the world to map the result of the US presidential election and show that not only did most voters who voted not vote for Trump (which people know), but also that an even larger majority of Americans live in areas which did not vote for Trump. See more on Ben’s website Views of the World.

Democrat areas are coloured blue on Ben’s map of the election result. On the traditional map it looks as if Trump had a great deal of support. On the map adjusted to correctly represent the number of people living in an area it is made clear that only a small minority of Americans supported him and that he has only won office due to the US voting system and because there is so much disaffection there (so many people don’t vote).

Danny’s TEDxExeter talk was based on a book he wrote with Carl Lee called ‘Geography’.

His new book A Better Politics can be downloaded as a PDF here. The book was timed for publication on the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s book ‘Utopia’ which is this month (‘Utopia’ was originally published in Latin in very late 1516).

You can find out more about Danny’s work at and @dannydorling.

Nominations to speak and perform at TEDxExeter 2017 are now open

Imagining the world anew
Danny Dorling – Imagining the world anew

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is a TEDx talk?

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

What is your big idea?

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

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

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

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

How do you become a TEDxExeter speaker or performer?

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

Never given a talk before?

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

How does it work?

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


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

1. What is the big idea?

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

2. Think local, act global

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

3. The right fit

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

4. Sell your idea, not your product.

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

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

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


TEDxExeter speaker calls for us to take a stand against terror and hate

Following the Orlando shooting on 12 June, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune condemned murderous hate and called for commentators to question how Islamist political ideology purveys hatred against many groups.

Writing in the Huffington Post, she says: “If a suspected Christian fundamentalist had carried out an attack like this, liberal commentators would rightly be questioning how the rhetoric of some homophobic Christian leaders might have fuelled the atrocity.


“As difficult as it is to do so appropriately in an atmosphere infused with discrimination against Muslims and terrifying Trumpism, if the Islamist inspiration of the Orlando murderer is confirmed, we will have to ask precisely the same questions. How has Islamist rhetoric inflamed homophobia and led to mass violence? Mateen’s armed, murderous hate is neither better nor worse because he was a Muslim. It is simply lamentable, to be condemned vociferously, should not be imputed to others who share his identity categories, but must be dissected, analyzed and fought mercilessly.”

Karima Bennoune, who is herself of Muslim heritage, spoke at TEDxExeter in 2014. In her talk, Your fatwa does not apply here, she told four powerful stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities — refusing to allow the faith they love to become a tool for crime, attacks and murder. These personal stories humanise one of the most overlooked human-rights struggles in the world.

Speaking about the Orlando shootings, she added: “we cannot be tolerant of intolerance either, whoever’s intolerance that may be. Tolerance of intolerance does not produce tolerance. We have to stand against the far right, whether Christian or Muslim, in the West or in Muslim majority contexts and without disappearing difficult realities behind politically correct platitudes.” 

To read her full article, click here.

Imagining the TEDxExeter 2016 livestream anew

The TEDxExeter 2016 livestream was watched by people from 69 countries all over the world during the course of the day. The top 25 countries included (among the usual Western suspects): India, Mauritius, PNG, Pakistan, and Libya. Riffing on the mapping presentation in his talk “Imagining the world anew”, Danny Dorling kindly passed on our request to his colleague Ben Hennig, who brilliantly produced the following for us.


The first map shows each country represented in the streaming data in an equal size, so that it is a highlight of where all the visitors in the world came from, but represented by an equal measure and not in any other proportion. All other countries basically disappear from this first map.


The second map includes the actual shares of stream usage from each country. In this one, the UK is most prominent because it took the major share.


The third map takes out all UK data (so these 86% share of streams from the UK) and gives a proportional picture of where else people streamed the event in an accurate relative representation.

Ideas from Exeter reach 69 countries at TEDxExeter this month


The fifth TEDxExeter conference was by far the biggest yet. The local audience doubled in size compared with last year and the day reached audiences online as far away as Mongolia, Colombia, Lithuania and Korea as well as the United States, India, Germany, and Saudi Arabia

The event was streamed live from Exeter Northcott Theatre to more than 30 public and private viewing party venues in Exeter and the surrounding area with more groups gathering to watch in London, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Mumbai. In total the livestream was viewed more than 3,000 times during the day. All the talks were filmed and high quality videos of all the talks will be available to view, free of charge, on TEDxExeter’s website by the end of May, joining films for the last four conferences which have already been viewed over six million times.

“The conference was the best yet, I cried and laughed in equal measure and overheard a wide range of fantastic conversations between the speakers, including some great inter-generational ones, which was a real highlight of the event,” said Emma Fielding, assistant principal at Exeter College.

“Had the most wonderful time at the brilliantly organised #TEDxExeter event at the Northcott theatre yesterday… Absolutely mind blowingly fabulous! Thank you @TEDxExeter. Speakers had us moved to tears & inspired to think & act. Wonderful!” said Exeter Natural Health Centre on Twitter.

From the USA, Gene said “What a fabulous TEDx you and your team have put on. I am so impressed and grateful to have been able to see the livestream. I trust you’ll give yourselves time to soak it all in, the incredible gift you’ve given us all. Congratulations!!!”

Words like “buzzing”, “inspirational”, “amazing” and “extraordinary” were being used liberally as audiences came together in the breaks. There was also plenty of emotion in the air as speakers told their stories, and shared how they have taken their experiences and used them to help others. Photographer Giles Duley received a standing ovation for his talk about what drove him to photograph refugees, and the remarkable compassion that makes his photographs so vivid.

Filmmaker Deeyah Khan also moved many as she called for Muslims in Europe to put the happiness of their children before so-called ‘honour’. “We can’t afford to give up on each other” she said, pointing out that terrorists want us to become like them, intolerant, hateful. “The Kryptonite for extremists is a society that loves and includes our kids.”

“Amazing @gilesduley talk at @TEDxExeter earlier, one of the most inspirational TED talks I’ve heard – stopped me in my tracks…” said Councillor John Harvey

“Finally broken by Deeyah Khan’s talk. Myself and a colleague sobbing. So powerful. Everyone should see this talk.” Boothebookworm

Laughter and amazement were also on the agenda. Anyone who hated maths at school will be surprised to hear that not only was Alan Smith’s talk on statistics popular, it was also funny. So was Totnes-based poet Matt Harvey who had the audience howling with laughter at his updated prune stone poem, starting: “Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor…”. Zia Nath left people mesmerised by her whirling Sufi dance.

Other talks had practical advice that people could use immediately. One business leader in the audience has already briefed his team on take-homes from two of the talks. Cormac Russell urged the audience to start with what’s strong, not what’s wrong, when trying to help people and build resilient communities. Exeter College student Abbie McGregor suggested replacing the ubiquitous SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) targets we all meet at work – and now are used in schools too – with a new acronym DREAM: dedicated, revolutionary, energising, ambitious and meaningful.

“At TEDxExeter, we believe passionately that ideas have the power to change attitudes, lives and ultimately the world,” said TEDxExeter licensee and curator, Claire Kennedy. “We are delighted that this year our speakers reached our biggest ever audience with their ideas, and look forward to hearing how our audience on the day and online turns inspiration into action.”

Live blog

After live blogging the last four years of amazing TEDxExeter talks, I’m having a year off this year for good(ish) behaviour. Instead of having to hear and process the talks intellectually, so I can get something down that makes sense and represents the content, I’m looking forward to having the space to experience them emotionally and spiritually.

We have the livestream during the event, so hundreds of people across the world will be tuning in to TEDxExeter, but I know that some have appreciated having the live blogs to refer back to in the hiatus before the videos are published. My apologies. I hope it will make the wait all the more worthwhile.

Guest blog: 11 things I wish I knew before attending my first ever TEDx

This guest blog was very kindly contributed by Juanita Wheeler, the Licensee of TEDxSouthBank in Brisbane, Australia. You can find out more on TEDxSouthBank’s website and Facebook page.


Over the last four years I have been involved with TEDxSouthBank in a variety of capacities. In my first year I was a participant in the audience. The second year I was an advocate (a volunteer dedicated to supporting new participants immerse themselves in the TEDx community). In 2014 I was a speaker, and most recently I have become the Licensee (organiser).

Being involved at different levels, in different capacities has taught me many things. These are the top 11 things I wish I knew before attending my first ever TEDx event.

1. Ditch any preconceived notions

There is a world of difference between watching the (inspiring, funny, heart-wrenching, empowering) TED talks online and attending a TEDx in person. Speakers who bring their A-game are absolutely captivating. They take you on a journey into the world as they experience it, providing you come prepared to travel. You will laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry. You will feel the high of their highs and the low of their lows. If you have notions of coming to passively watch a series of talks being delivered, throw that out the window. Come prepared to be taken on a journey, but free of preconceptions about what that journey might entail.

2. Don’t expect instant gratification

Attending a TEDx event can change your life. It changed mine. But it wasn’t instantaneous. It didn’t happen that day. Don’t come expecting that by 5pm your new life plan will be in place (don’t laugh, I’ve heard people say it). It is far more likely you will leave exhausted with a complicated mixture of emotions, and experiencing what I call ‘TEDx brain whiplash’. Over the course of a TEDx line-up you will likely be confronted by talks highlighting the best and worst of human attitudes and behaviours, the greatest good and the worst evil. You will see the heights to which human dedication and perseverance can climb, and the massive challenges that are still confronting humanity, waiting to be tackled. For some the experience is overwhelming and it can take a few days, weeks or even months to process it all and decide on a course of action. 

3. Leave isolating modern social norms at home

Even the most extroverted of us has become conditioned to refrain from striking up a conversation with a total stranger in a coffee queue. We would certainly never walk up and ask someone (pragmatically or existentially) why they are here and how they are looking to change the world. Leave this societal conditioning at home before you set out, because these are completely appropriate (even expected) behaviours at a TEDx event.

When you see someone alone, perhaps checking their phone (in earnest or because they are trying to hide their awkward aloneness), smile, walk over and strike up a conversation or else beckon them over with a welcoming wave. Time at TEDx is precious. The connections you make invaluable. Don’t waste a minute of it being the wallflower or digitally isolated modern human.

4. Have a quick contact handover tool

And speaking of connections, whether you’re attending a boutique, 300 participant TEDx event or one with a crowd of over 1000, there will rarely be enough time to connect with everyone you want to. Chances are you will be 30 seconds into meeting someone who you suddenly discover might be a perfect partner in your plans to change the world, when you are called back into formal talk sessions. Before they disappear into a sea of people you need to be able to give them your contact details quickly. Whether it is a business card or an electronic contact app you need something in place to handover your details quickly that doesn’t require you both to be on the same social media platform.

5. Embrace TEDx as a community not an event

When I left home to attend my first ever TEDx event I thought I was going to a single day event. I could not have been more wrong. Beyond the in-person event, an amazing online presence makes each independent TEDx a potential 365-day community. It allows connections made on the day to flourish and continue, and it provides a chance to connect with people you missed on the day, as well as alumni from previous years.

Members of a specific TEDx community can follow each other’s progress and support each other’s endeavours. Like any community you get back what you put in, but given the passionate, motivated and dedicated collection of people who form independent TEDx communities throughout the world, this is potentially the most supportive and well-connected community you will ever be a part of. So join the community, and engage online in the lead up to and beyond the in-person event. 

6. Be confident

If you are a passionate consumer of TED and TEDx Talks, if you are someone who is inspired by the ideas contained within them and are looking for, or currently developing your own idea to challenge the status quo and make the world better in your own small or large way, then you are precisely the type of person who should be attending a TEDx event.

So when you are in that room, engage with other participants and speakers with confidence. Your ideas, the contributions you have made to your chosen community to date, or the potential contributions you are poised to make are what TEDx events are all about. You are in that room for a purpose.

7. Earn it

We all know TED’s famous tagline: Ideas worth spreading. I have come to learn that the people who gain the most from the TEDx experience are those who appreciate the opportunity they have been given, and pay it forward by literally spreading the ideas they experience on the day throughout their own communities: through conversations, through social media, through actions.

Many TEDx events could sell out their tickets many times over, and as one attendee put it to me so eloquently: “I need to spread each of these ideas further and stronger than the other four people who could have been in my seat. That is how I earn it.”

8. Speakers are happy to discuss their ideas

Obviously every speaker is a unique individual, but it has been my experience that TEDx speakers are very happy to discuss their talks, which they have likely been working on for months, and which reflect an idea they are truly passionate about. So don’t be shy about approaching them in-between sessions, just be respectful and polite. (Please note speakers may not be keen to chat in the 30 minutes leading up to the delivery of their potentially-once-in-a-lifetime-TEDx talk, or to talk about something they did 10 years ago which has no relevance to the topic of their TED Talk.)

9. Don’t monopolise the speaker’s time

When you’ve been inspired by a speaker, and have summoned the (unnecessary) courage to go and speak to them, it is all too easy to fall into an in depth conversation to the extent you cross an invisible line and become that person monopolising their time. I know because I have been that person. If you are lucky you look around just in time to realise there are 20+ people circling you and the speaker, waiting for you to stop speaking long enough so they can jump into the conversation. If you aren’t lucky you remain completely oblivious and will probably head home never knowing you were that person (but everyone else will).

So, engage in conversations with speakers passionately, but be mindful of others wanting some of the speaker’s time as well. (NB: I would like to apologise to the 20+ people waiting to speak to Paul Verhoeven at TEDxSouthBankWomen 2013. I hope I pulled out in time for you to soak up some of his genius for yourselves.)

A great tip if you are looking to break into a group conversation with a speaker is to politely interject and ask the speaker if they would like a drink.  A young man did this very thing with me in 2014, returned promptly with a soft drink (for which I was incredibly grateful), and seamlessly became part of the group conversation. Well played.

10. The talks aren’t the best bit

People often look at me sceptically when I tell them that the talks aren’t the best bit about attending a TEDx event. Don’t get me wrong, the talks are outstanding, and nothing quite compares to the electricity in the room as you experience compelling oratory first hand. Like the moment when you and the person sitting next to you are both holding your breath, or wiping aside a tear at the same time.

But it is not just the talks. It is a day filled with the forging of meaningful connections with people who share a passion and dedication to making the world good. Not the sofa sitters of the world, but the people who make things happen.

11. Do not waste it

This last tip is probably the most important. And though I am loathe to come across all Dead Poets Society, carpe diem, seize the day evangelical, it must be said that if you have managed to secure a ticket to attend a TEDx event you have been given a chance to take a moment and rethink the world and your role in it. Do not waste it.

Exeter Living

TEDxExeter is prominently featured in the Spring 2016 issue of Exeter Living, on the front cover no less! See page 10 for this year’s theme and an introduction to Giles Duley, among other speakers, and pages 62-63 for a TEDxExeter-inspired selection of books.

EL p1p10 EL p62p63


We are also delighted that TEDxExeter is a finalist in the “Event” category of the Exeter Living Awards. We are up against some stiff opposition, including the Rugby World Cup 2015 Exeter and Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to attend the Awards ceremony, as it will be held on 14th April, the evening before TEDxExeter 2016, and will coincide with our speaker dinner. But maybe we will hear some good news during the pudding course!