Chris Rowe

 
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ABOUT CHRIS:
Chris is beyond excited to be involved again in the TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells experience. He is an all-purpose Creative, with a CV that covers touring Shakespeare in the US, hosting events for 3,500 Microsoft minions, presenting TV shows on Channel 5 and writing for BBC Radio 4 and 5.  Currently he is writing comedy on the internet under the guise of Kicking Around Football. In his spare time he can normally be found either playing football or laughing at it.

What does TEDx mean to you?
The most wonderful opportunity for people to just sit and breathe in ideas; to listen to other people’s passions and walk away fizzing with capability.

What do you hope the audience will feel after this year’s TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells event?
Fired up with a sense of what they can do that they didn’t know they could!

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
I’m a huge fan of Ken Robinson because I think our education system is so antiquated and needs new life breathing into it for our children and their children.  On a personal level though, my current favourite is by James Veitch because it appeals to my sense of humour and the more we take these people on, the better. 

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
My experience of the last TEDx was so positive and the people of Tunbridge Wells clearly love the idea of ideas and the chance to build new thinking within their community.

You can see more of Chris at TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells.

 

Rebecca Hirst

 
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ABOUT REBECCA:
Rebecca is Marketing Director at Samsung. She has a thing for technology and how it can enhance our lives. 

She’s also a certified health coach. She was fed up of seeing brilliant people burn out and was determined so do something about it. So after qualifying from nutrition school, she founded Glorious Wellness and set off on a mission as #TheHealthCoachtoHighFlyers. She's proof that the work / wellness blend IS possible.

What does TEDx mean to you?
 Brave thinking and brain expansion.

What do you hope the audience will feel after this year’s TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells event?
Inspired by the stories they've heard and to tell their own unique story.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
My own. Just kidding... Although I loved doing it. I loved last year's talk by Lance Corporal Cassidy Little.

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
It's all down to the mix of super talented people in and around Tunbridge Wells.

You can find Rebecca on Instagram and her website.

 

Rob Picazo

 
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ABOUT ROB:
Rob Picazo is a Rhythm & Blues singer and guitarist born in Madrid and based in the South East of England. He combines soulful vocals, relatable lyrics and bluesy melodies, all the while influenced by great Soul and Blues performers such as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and Dan Penn. Following a two month trip through the South of the US, filming a documentary about roots music, Rob has played in popular venues throughout Sussex, Kent and London, and opening for great artists such as Gwyn Ashton, Brooks Williams, Martin Harley and Dom Pipkin. His first album, Spanish Moss was released to acclaim on the 29th of September 2017.
 

What does TEDx mean to you?
TEDx presents an opportunity to showcase my music to a wider audience, and to engage with topics I haven’t yet explored, put across by enthusiastic and knowledgeable speakers. 

What do you hope the audience will feel after this year's TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells event?
I hope they feel that the speakers and entertainers have provided them with a wealth of interesting topics and material that they can continue to explore and research long after the event has ended.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Pokey LaFarge’s talk on evolving through preservation. As a musician who is passionate about the Blues, Soul and Rhythm & Blues of the 50s and 60s, it struck a chord with me and mirrored my feelings about preserving, studying and building on music from years gone by.

 
 

You can find Rob on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as his website. You can also see Rob perform live with a full band at Trinity Theatre on the 16th of February at 7:00PM.

 

This Is Us Youth Dance Company

 
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ABOUT THIS IS US YOUTH DANCE COMPANY:
This Is Us Youth Dance Company are an inclusive company that have been based at Bishops Down Primary for almost three years. 

Our Inclusive class is open to anybody who loves or wants to dance and be creative. We are delighted to have formed a well established group of dancers over that time.  Currently we are ages 6-14, we have children who have left Bishops Down and gone onto secondary school - these children now come back as senior dancers and nurture our younger dancers. We are also delighted to be giving Duke of Edinburgh students the opportunity to support this group of young people, broadening the next generations horizons of inclusive dance and the ‘I CAN’ attitude. Our classes are an hour and a half in length and can be filled with performance work, creative tasks, story telling and sensory activities.  

What does TEDx mean to you?
An opportunity for people to share fantastic thoughts and experiences.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx performance?
We hope that they leaving knowing more about inclusive dance and the benefits it can bring to everyone involved. 

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Beau Lotto and his talk on biases and pre conceptions and Ken Robinsons talk on Education’s relationship with creativity. 

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for TEDx and for you as a dance company?
Bringing the concept of TED to a local town that is relevant to that community is exciting for the people of Tunbridge Wells. Its a wonderful opportunity to hear about new ideas and be introduced to a different way of thinking.

You can find This Is Us on their website, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Sarah-Nada Arfa

 
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ABOUT SARAH:

Sarah-Nada Arfa is a Londoner like many others, a city worker by day, and a yoga teacher, bodyworker and coach by night. After growing up in North Africa, spending her high school years in France, and studying in London, Paris and Bruges, she lived and worked in various European countries, France, Belgium and finally Luxembourg where she discovered yoga . If you bump into Sarah she would always be happy to chat about how there is a yoga style for you, being happy and "doing the magic first", how a life-threatening accident was her wake up call and how breathing, meditation and yoga saved her life.

At TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells, Sarah will share the idea that anyone can turn their inner turmoil into inner peace in a few seconds and for free. She’ll even show us how.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
 Enlightening, soothing and handy  

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
Sharing with and empowering the public to unlock their own healing potential.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
Relaxed.

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
Overcoming my own limiting beliefs and negative chatter about no one wanting to be hearing what I want to talk about.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
DO IT!

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
I love Brené Brown talk on vulnerability as I found it ground breaking and funny.

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
I felt it was only natural for me to share my recipe for healing in the home of the Chalybeate Spring.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
JUST DO IT!

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
To be more mindful of their breathing

You can find Sarah on Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

Andrew Hammond

 
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ABOUT ANDREW:

Our children are more than the sum of their school grades. Behind every GCSE or SATs result lies a whole person with incalculable, untapped potential and myriad facets and capacities just waiting to be discovered.

The only limits on our potential are the self-prophesying myths peddled in school about our learning abilities, our intelligence and our capacity to make progress. What a child shows she knows in school is not an accurate measure of her lifelong learning ability or her human potential. Schools are for growing minds but nothing stifles growth like ranking or grading.

It’s not how smart you are that counts, it is how you are smart. Proficiency in the 3Rs of reading, remembering and regurgitating factual knowledge may get you an A*, but to thrive in adulthood you need deep-down-things that aren’t so easily measured – tacit knowledge gained through our senses, observations and social interactions. The good news is, we have all we need from an early age; and we need to redesign our schools so that our children can pursue their natural inclinations and in so doing find their self-worth.   

There is nothing in adulthood that an adventurous, untrammelled childhood cannot prepare you for. 

Andrew has spent twenty years teaching, leading and authoring in education. Still a headteacher, he continues to counter the calls for short-term, measurable outcomes with a cry for long-term gains in creativity, aspirational thinking and positive well-being. He is a champion of adventurous childhood and believes that the most secure adulthood is built on a childhood free from the pressures to prepare for being a grown up.

Shedding light on the ‘invisible curriculum’ in schools has been Andrew’s obsession throughout his teaching and writing career. He holds a BA (Hons) QTS and an MA in Creativity in Education. Currently studying for an Ed.D, he is focused on demonstrating how the ethos and culture of a school has the greatest impact on positive attitudes and behaviours for life.  

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Empowering, insightful, humorous (I hope). 

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
As a father of four children, I am tired of watching their potential be curbed and confined by the curriculum they are taught and the examinations they are herded through. There is more to my children – and all the children whom I teach – than that which is valued by our current education system.   

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
I hope that parents in the audience will feel empowered to ask their children’s teachers for a proper report on their learning performance, which reaches far beyond results, to attitudes, behaviours and skills for life. I want to tell children there is more to them than that which they are called upon to show in school. 

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
Trying to distil twenty years of teaching, writing and speaking into twelve minutes has been challenging but very elucidating for me. 

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
Just the one – to start a revolution in education that reclaims the value and purpose of childhood.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s talks on creativity and flow are inspirational. Kai-Fu Lee’s talk on artificial intelligence and what this means for humanity is worth watching too. 

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
I’ve worked in Tunbridge Wells before and I found it a vibrant and creative place, full of people who are not afraid to think big and ask questions. 

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
Do it. Public speaking is so enjoyable if you have something original to say. 

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
To widen the lens through which they view education and child development; to reclaim the importance and value of a creative childhood. 

You can find Andrew on Twitter and learn more about him on his website.

 

Pip Stewart

 
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ABOUT PIP:

Pip Stewart found herself in a relationship with a flesh-eating parasite, leishmaniasis, after a world-first, 2.5 month, paddling expedition through dense Amazon jungle.

Pip believes that: “Everyone, and everything, can teach you something.”  Through her work as a journalist, poet and presenter she advocates the power of listening to achieve genuine, meaningful connection to better understand yourself, others and the natural world around you. 

Pip has cycled halfway around the world (16,000km from Malaysia to London), and has a degree in Modern History and Politics from Oxford University, and a masters in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. 

Whilst she’s a big advocate of connection she wouldn’t, however, recommend getting involved with a flesh-eating parasite if it can be avoided.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Heartfelt, gory and meaningful.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
I want to raise awareness of a neglected tropical disease that is present in around 97 countries and affects around 1 billion people.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
I hope to show how in a global world we are more connected than ever. I hope that if a flesh-eating parasite can get under my skin it will get under the audiences' too (figuratively, not literally!)

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
Feeling well enough to deliver it! I had to cancel a talk in Brighton because it came too soon after my treatment and I was absolutely wiped out.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
I hope people will start talking about leishmaniasis and hope to get more media and resources to the issue.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Ze Frank: Are you human? I loved it because he cleverly showed how we are all connected by our shared humanity. It was funny, poignant and well delivered.

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
I'm hoping people will be intrigued to hear about a flesh eating parasite and will realise how lucky we are in the UK to have access to free and great medical care. I've sat in the audience of Ted at Tunbridge Wells and I've found that the audience have been highly engaged and passionate people. I'm excited (and terrified) to be standing on stage this time.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
If you have something that is under your skin and want to share with an audience, there's really no better platform. If, like me, you can get nervous public speaking I find focusing on the idea, the content I am trying to convey is much more productive than focusing on the terror - although this is easier said than done!

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
To understand that in a global world we need to focus on what connects us - our shared humanity.

You can find Pip on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

 

DARRYL EDWARDS

 
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ABOUT DARRYL:

For all its health benefits if exercise came in pill form, we would only be too eager to take our medicine. But is working-out as medicine too difficult a pill for the majority of us to swallow? By understanding that nature has hard-wired us to hate exercise, but encourages us to love movement, we can examine our attitudes to exercise. If working out isn’t working out, what should we do instead?

Darryl Edwards is a play advocate, movement coach and author of the April 2018 best-selling book Animal Moves. Darryl developed the Primal Play Method to make activity fun for children of all ages (4-to-94) while getting healthier, fitter and stronger in the process. He is most passionate about working with those who don’t really like to exercise! His work has been published in titles such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Elle Magazine, Top Santé and featured on the BBC documentaries Eat to Live Forever and Doctor In The House.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Playful, practical and powerful.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
I want people to have a life-long love affair with physical activity and movement.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
Inspired, energized and reconnected with their inner child.

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
Yes it was challenging - trying to find a title that would encapsulate my idea was tough, adding fun to a serious subject matter is difficult.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
To connect, to deliver a talk that will resonate and to present a challenge that inspires those listening to take action.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
I immediately connected with Bryan Stevenson’s talk. It made me not only consider my personal experiences of injustice but also the struggle that humanity continually has with this issue.

His ideas around our shared human identity mean we all have a part to play in promoting equality and eradicating injustice.

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
The tradition of TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells has seen a breadth of topics, discussed by a diverse range of individuals - while this continues to be the case there is a place for stories like mine.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
Be brave. Make sure you have an idea that you are passionate about - but also worth listening to. Strip the idea back to its core, build on it and appreciate any feedback you can to ensure it will make a difference to those who have the opportunity to listen to it.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
That people will fall in love with physical activity through play.

You can find Darryl on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

 

Naomi Murray and Sophie Lamb

 
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ABOUT NAOMI AND SOPHIE:
Medical herbalist Sophie Lamb and her sister Naomi Murray of well-being business Botanica Health in Rusthall, are daughters to Scotland’s longest practicing medical herbalist, Brian Lamb, and come from a long line of doctors dating back nearly 300 years.

From hedgerow to health, their childhood was punctuated by regular herb picking outings with their father and two other sisters in the Highlands of Scotland where the family lived. Early memories include making Coltsfoot syrup out of the honey smelling yellow flowers, being boot deep in a bog bean (extremely useful for rheumatic and muscular pain) and picking the delicate eyebright plant (used for hay fever) on sandy coastal paths. Through their talk, they will help us to view the landscape that herbal medicine has to offer in an age of science, the burden of degenerative disease and antibiotic resistance.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Insightful, instructive, empowering.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
To inspire the listener to have a wider and deeper view of their health care orders.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
A greater sense of awe for the medicinal plants.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
To encourage an interdisciplinary solution to chronic disease.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
What Makes a Good Life by Robert Waldinger. It was insightful, inspiring and heart warming.

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
Tunbridge Wells appears to us to be a place of ideas, mixed interests and openness to learning more, which is why we love it.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
To present an original idea in an engaging way.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
For them to take charge of their own health.

You can find Naomi on instagram and her facebook and Sophie on instagram and facebook.

 

Matthew Whitfield

 
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ABOUT MATTHEW:

Why are our listening skills so poor? What would we wish for if we could really listen? Why are we all so bad at remembering names? What are the 3 things do you need to know to become a "name ninja", and be that person known for being awesome at remembering everyones name? I will share 3 sure-fire techniques for doing just this, starting with introducing yourself properly, then listening and using a person's name when you are introduced.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Lively, engaging and thought-provoking.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
To share a skill I have perfected, and a skill that so, so many people struggle with in their own work and personal lives.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
Happier, confident and keen to try out the techniques I share.

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
Being careful to committing to the focus time essential for preparation and rehearse, rehearse , rehearse.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
To enjoy the whole process, to deliver for Royal Tunbridge Wells 'in spades', and walk away feeling really fab for having shared an idea with the TEDx community.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
In the early days of discovering TED, Simon Sinek talks were a favourite, but now it is more towards talks from complete unknowns like me, and from young people.

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
It is a very well organised and run event, and reaches out to a huge diverse audience, from the UK, London and throughout the SE, and often Europe too.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
When rehearsing, do it in front of people you love, people you fear, small groups, large groups, with peers and lastly people who are not experts in your field. Draw up a programme that start with working backwards from the rehearsal, to where you are now.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
To make a real effort to listen when someone tells you their name, and then to use it and remember it. So important to use a person's name and have the manners to remember it in the work place particularly if you are the Boss.

You can find Matthew on Twitter.

 

Adam Greenwood

 
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ABOUT ADAM:

Imagine a world where you truly believed that everybody agreed with you about everything. Imagine a world where people with different opinions to you on politics, religion, sport etc simply could not be seen or heard.

With algorithms deciding who we see, meet and hear online, this is becoming a reality. And it won’t be long until this reality moves into the real world…

Adam founded the award winning agency, Greenwood Campbell in 2009. Over the years Adam has spent his time running the agency and learning about the technology they use to transform and accelerate brands.

Adam pivoted the agency’s focus in 2017 after a tech pilgrimage to Silicon Valley where he saw that the future of digital was not web but AI, AR, voice and chatbots.

Since then he has had a voracious desire to learn and share his knowledge on AI.

Adam stopped using Facebook and Instagram in 2018.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Thought-provoking, inspirational, educational.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
TEDx is the ‘go-to’ platform for inquisitive people to learn new information. It would be an honour to share my knowledge and experiences with like-minded, curious individuals.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
Inspired to make a change, interested to learn more, enlightened. Empowered to take action.

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
I feel very passionately about the subject, so getting everything in my mind across in 12 minutes was the biggest challenge.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
I just want people, especially young people to realise that there are other points of view out there and they should listen to them without prejudice.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
I liked Simon Sinek's talk about the why. It really made sense to me - and made me think about how I should talk about my own business to customers and my own team.

 
 

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
If you believe in something passionately, if you have something to say about a subject in a way that hasn’t been said before, if you are comfortable speaking to an audience, if you believe in yourself, then go for it.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
I want people to challenge what they see and hear online and realise that there are always different outlooks to consider.

You can find Adam on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Max Thorpe and Chris Williams

 
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ABOUT MAX AND CHRIS:

What are the most important tools in the game of life? Max Thorpe and Chris Williams argue that grit – the ability to persevere through difficulty - and resilience - the ability to rise after you fall – are the critical and defining characteristics of personal growth and human progress. Drawing on their near-death experience when rowing across the Atlantic Ocean – regarded as the most dramatic and perilous sequence of events in ocean rowing history – they offer clarity on how just a few simple steps can help you discover and engage these traits, enabling you to create, innovate, endure, and achieve more than you ever thought was possible.

Max and Chris grew up just around the corner from each other in Tunbridge Wells and have been best friends for around 15 years. Max went to Sevenoaks School and Chris went to Judd School. Sport has been a huge part of their lives and their friendship was solidified playing alongside each other in several clubs and teams. After completing their degrees at University of Nottingham and University of Leeds respectively, they sought new competitive drive and new challenge. They decided this was to be an attempt to row across the Atlantic Ocean in 2017.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Adversity, grit, resilience.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
During our experience, we had to navigate through a relentless series of life-threatening moments. When the situation spiraled out of control, we were forced to change ourselves. We believe our experience has caused us to develop incredibly valuable characteristics for navigating life. Equipped with both the knowledge and experience of what these traits are, it was the realisation that they are not just essential but, most importantly, accessible to all, and this was our call to action on delivering this talk.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
Overall, we want the audience to feel inspired to challenge themselves more regularly, in turn actioning real personal growth.

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
The key challenges for us is that our experience is one of such intense psychological turbulence alongside it being a relatively fresh experience as well (10 months ago). There is plenty that can be drawn from our experience and it has taken time for us to be able to be comfortable with and clarify our own thoughts, vocalise those emotions and feelings, identify the true lessons we have learnt, before consolidating, and pinpointing a singular idea that encapsulates this experience in just 12 important minutes. Lastly, weaving the concise narrative through the talk to deliver maximum impact.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
To prove that our story and message offers a real opportunity for others to better themselves.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
David Blaine: How I Held My Breath for 17 Minutes – we are fascinated by the power of the mind in achieving what appear to be physical challenges. This talk epitomises what the body can achieve with a powerful mindset.

 
 

Ricardo Semler: How to Run a Company with (almost) No Rules – we have a passion for unlocking human potential across all aspects of life. Getting the most out of employees in business is often overlooked and Ricardo Semler sends a powerful message (with the evidence of success) about how radical employee-driven business models promoting transparency and trust can cause radical increases in performance. This is how we will run our companies in the future!

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
We believe Tunbridge Wells has a pride in its own citizens. The local community has always promoted a message of home-grown ideas and value. An event like this brings together some of those to encompass the productive, positive and inquisitive mind-set of the town.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
The majority of TED’s ‘ideas worth sharing’ draw their power from the experiences of their authors/speakers. The impact of recounting experiences is through storytelling. For this reason, we would say the most important thing to retain in a TED talk is authenticity. Don’t force a story to be relevant, don’t fabricate a story to gain traction, and definitely don’t fake anything. For the audience to believe, you have to believe. Your idea must already be such an integral part of your own psyche that it has come to define who you are. From this position, you will have all the ingredients to create an ‘idea worth spreading’.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
To better understand both the importance of building resilience and the way in which challenges can offer opportunity to do so. We would hope every member of the audience sets themselves a new challenge to take on in the 12 months following our talk. 

You can find Max on Instagram, Chris on Instagram, and the two of them together on Instagram.

 

John Mulford

 
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ABOUT JOHN:

Due to urbanisation, safety concerns and other factors, today’s children have less contact with nature than any generation before them. This comes with many consequences for both human health and conservation.

Drawing from his experiences of school science, environmental work and gardening, John will explain why the solution to this problem should start with plants. He believes that plants have the potential to demonstrate our intrinsic link with nature, to support wildlife, to foster a love of science and to unite communities. He will argue that every child should have a green space in their school where they can grow fruit, vegetables, trees and other plants while simultaneously learning about nutrition, wildlife and science.

John Mulford is a year 11 student at the Judd School. He’s heavily involved in science communication and conservation and has given talks at his school about topics ranging from wildlife gardening to biochemistry. John is also the student leader of the Young Scientists Journal at Judd, which organises talks, workshops and competitions to engage students in science.

In addition, he is involved in hands-on environmental work and gardening. He’s assisting environmental mitigation plans and garden design at his school and is the founding lead of Judd’s Eco Committee.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Provocative, ambitious, hopeful.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
I wanted to share my experience and knowledge about plants and science to inspire people, especially students, to reconsider their relationship with nature.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
I hope they feel encouraged to reconsider their relationship with nature, especially with plants and fungi. As a result, I hope that they are inspired to grow plants and fungi on their balconies, windowsills and gardens. 

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
It has been challenging at times balancing revision for my mock exams in January and preparation for the talk. I realised if I left my TEDx planning too late I wouldn’t be able to do it justice so I decided to prioritise it first and then focus on exams.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
Ideally, my talk will not just encourage people to think about their relationship with the natural world and the food they eat, but also inspire them, especially those in my generation, to grow plants and fungi and simultaneously grow as people. 

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Greg Gage: Electrical Experiments with Plants that Count and Communicate. This talk presents another dimension to the complexity and beauty of the plant world. 

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells has always chosen a wide range of topics and a diverse range of speakers. I doubt there are many event committees that would have selected a 15 year old speaker so I am extremely grateful to have this opportunity.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
Whoever you are, just go for it! I never thought I would be selected but here I am talking about a topic I love. 

 

Sarah Salway

 
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ABOUT SARAH:
Forget Sticks and Stones, it’s words that are powerful. As a writer and poet, Sarah’s material is the individual word: what each one tells us about our history, and also what we lose when we let certain ones – conker, holly, turnip – get taken out of our dictionaries. Her talk is a love letter to words – to their meanings, as well as how they taste in our mouths and sound in our ears.

Sarah Salway is a novelist, poet and writing tutor based in Kent. Her novels have been translated into several languages, and her poetry has appeared in many unusual places including financial newspapers, displayed in public parks and on postcards. She was the Canterbury Laureate, RLF Fellow at the LSE, and is currently writing her fourth novel.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Geeky, enlightening, playful.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
Curiosity, as well as wanting to be part of the TEDx movement and to share my love of words.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
I hope they are interested to look at the words they use a little deeper, and to have learned at least one thing they didn’t know before.

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
Length, but I love that!

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
To do it. And to inspire at least one person to pick up a dictionary and read it afterwards.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Hannah Brencher: Love Letters to Strangers – I use it with the writers I work with to make them think about our writing being used beyond a book or the page.

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
Having volunteered at our Oxfam Bookshop in Chapel Place and worked with many writers here, I know this is a town full of readers. I also live in Mount Sion, and was excited recently to see a plaque to H W Fowler, author of Fowler’s Modern English Usage appear just down the hill.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
I’ll tell you after!!!

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
That everyone takes note of the words they use, and also to remember the ones they particularly enjoy and love. 

You can find Sarah on Twitter, facebook, instagram, and her website.

 

Michelle Mae Raymond

 
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ABOUT MICHELLE:

When a crime hits the headlines, a light is shone on the perpetrator, their victim, and sometimes even the surrounding community. The motivations of the criminal, the suffering of their accuser, the reactions of neighbours and community leaders: these all receive publicity ensuring the world knows their story. What isn't so readily known is how all that publicity affects the perpetrator's family, and the forgotten victims of crime that it creates.

Michelle Raymond shares her story of the time she spent married to a man accused of some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, and how she became the indirect victim of his crimes through publicity and stigma. She was harassed by her community, her home was attacked, and she fell into a deep depression all the while trying to mitigate the emotional impact this had on her young daughter.

A decade has passed since then. Michelle has moved past the shame she felt for so long to become a successful entrepreneur with a supportive family, and no longer wears the label of "wife of a paeodophile". However, there are many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives and children who still wear these labels.

For every crime there is a sprawling network of hidden victims who will never have an opportunity to find vindication in court. Michelle's story is a striking reminder not to forget them.

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Courageous, inspiring and thought-provoking.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
I wanted people to see the other side of the effects of crime. The indirect victims that are often overlooked but still hurt deep.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
Wow.... I think they will be moved, but will be more consciously aware of how they approach people exercising patience and empathy. They'll be more aware of what they say and do.

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
It's a hard story to tell but needs to be told. I'm strong enough to deliver this in a respectful way that will leave attendees possibly wanting to hear more but will be enough for them to be empathetic to others.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
My personal goals are for people to be more tolerant and empathetic towards each other.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
My favourite TED talk of all time is the one delivered by Reshma Saujani - Teach girls bravery, not perfection

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
I know of a few other Tedx speakers who have delivered their speech at Tunbridge Wells and has come highly recommended. I think any of the Tedx area could benefit from hearing this, but Tunbridge Wells is my priority.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
My advice is to be open, transparent and respectful. It's not about self. It's not about selling, it not about promotion. It's about awareness, interest and opening up perspectives.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
I'd love to see more support given to the wives and children of convicted paedophiles. We have nothing to be ashamed of and we shouldn't hide away and fall into depression as I did and so many others before me. I'd love the stigma to be removed and for people to be respected for who they are and not be vilified for who they once loved.

You can find Michelle on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

 

Don Smith

 
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ABOUT DON:

After a twenty-five-year career as an award winning Creative Director in advertising, marketing and digital design, Don began a new career as an Inventor in 2016. His first invention, the 1nhaler, is a revolutionary, single dose, respiratory inhaler, designed to help millions of people globally to receive the medication and vaccinations they need, cheaply, conveniently and sustainably. 

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Inspiring, unconventional, entertaining.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
My brother spoke at TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells in 2016 and I wanted to follow on his theme of ‘creativity’ and move it onto ‘Invention’.

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
That they too can be inventors, and find the value in their own ideas.

Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
Just the challenge of conforming a lifetime of understanding into a short talk.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
Simply that others find value in my approach to life.

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Adam Grant on the surprising habits of original thinkers. Like my brother’s talk, it points out how creativity is misunderstood. 

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
Perhaps the town has an interested and interesting populous, who are open to new ideas.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
I think it’s about knowing you have value, or values that are worth sharing.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
That more people believe in their great ideas, and execute them to improve the world around us.

You can find Don on LinkedIn, Medium, and Twitter.

 

Sophie Sabbage

 
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ABOUT SOPHIE:

Living with ‘terminal’ cancer for over four years has transformed Sophie’s relationship with grief and loss. Her first book, The Cancer Whisperer, has been translated into twelve languages and her second book, Lifeshocks – And how to love them, is a Sunday Times bestseller. As an award-winning business consultant, dedicated patient activist and Senior Trainer with the More To Life Foundation, Sophie has been teaching people how to flourish in the face of adversity for over twenty years. She has a background in psychology, organisational change and English literature. She is also the very happily married mother of a turbo-charged eight-year-old daughter. 

Sophie believes that Loss is as inevitable as naked trees in winter. We are designed for it, but not prepared for it. We are taught to acquire and achieve, not to relinquish and let go. But what if we can win when we lose?

Her talk will redefine our relationship with loss. It will challenge prevailing definitions of grief and restore sorrow to its rightful purpose in our lives. It will illuminate what loss can give us, even as it takes away. 

What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Intimate. Uplifting. Surprising.

What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
My lung cancer diagnosis led me into a deep inquiry about the emotional dis-ease beneath physical disease. I discovered that, according to Chinese Medicine, grief is held in the lungs – a revelation that revolutionised my relationship with loss and resurrected me in significant ways. I want to share what I have discovered.  

What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
I hope they will feel lighter, more open and more willing to let their tears fall.

Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
We need a paradigm shift in the way we deal with loss, which includes failure and disappointment. We need to be expanded by it, not diminished. 

What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Maysoon Zayid, I got 99 problems – palsy is just one. I love her complete lack of victimisation. She is authentic, erudite, moving and hilarious. She blasts people’s assumptions and prejudices without defending or judging back. Much respect.

 
 

Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells seems to choose themes that touch the spirit as well as the mind. Its talks are very diverse. I looked at several TED events before applying to this one. As a local, I also know there is strong community interest in learning and development.

What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
Early days to answer this… but get very clear about the idea itself and how it adds value to society.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
To fall in love with grief.

You can learn more about Sophie on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.