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#TEDxCardiff 8th April 2011


It’s been some time since I blogged but yesterday I attended my first TEDx event, it won’t be my last.

I’ve seen some TED videos such as Ken Robinson’s landmark talk on creativity in education here so knew there would be some great thinking, ideas and achievements to witness.

The first speaker, Dr Kelly Page spoke about friendships and asked has Facebook changed the nature of friendship? She illustrated her talk with examples of friendships via Van Gogh’s letters, Lucille Ball and Viv Vance, and Steven Strogatz and the remarkable The Calculus of Friendship. She showed an amazing video of one of her student’s videos about her friend, compelling stuff. To finish, she left us with ‘it’s friendship counts, not friend count’. And you can actually get the t-shirt here.

Here’s a tweet from the moment- ‘Enact share celebrate = friendship. It’s the meaning not the media #tedxcdf

Tim Robertson spoke about some of the amazing art that prisoners have produced through the Koestler Trust. Illustrated with award winning art from offenders at prisons throughout the UK, many of the works provided thought-provoking insights into how life inside has been represented by art.

Solarference provided some stunning mucical concepts via their MspMAX-inspired software and laptop performance. Using snippets of sound captured by the software and resampled, they create sometimes trancy backbeats mixed with folk melodies, here and here are a couple of clips but I apologize for the poor audio, HTC Wildfire’s video camera a bit lacking, but you’ll get the idea of what these uber-creative musicians do.

Hans Rosling’s brilliant talk on washing machines was shown, watch it here. I tweeted ‘washing machines help you read’.

Clive Bates from the Welsh Assembly spoke about how climate-change targets can’t be agreed and how e.g. a carefully managed carbon tax might help. Maf Lewis and Rome Viharo gave an entertaining talk on ‘Is Google Concious’?

Kevin Chesters, Head of Strategy at Weiden & Kennedy(creators of the Cravendale cats with thumbs ad) rounded the first half up with a great talk on imagination in education, citing his own Eno And imaginary world from his childhood as an example. Arguing we should tailor education to children’s needs and stop stifling the creativity out of them, quoting Einstein’s ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’. Gove take heed.

The second session opened with Tori James, the first Welsh woman (and youngest British woman) to climb Everest. Her talk on the internal battles she faced, illness to overcome and the ‘I can’ mindset in reaching the summit was inspirational. ‘Success comes in cans, not in can’ts’.

Pete Lawrence ran through a great slideshow on the history of The Big Chill, how it was a good example of using social media and how festivals generate a sense of belonging and community, linking this to his upcoming project Pic-nic Village.

Warren Fauvel and Luke Khan demonstrated the award winning t-shirt/webcam project PlayAirGuitar. Have a go yourself!

Mark Chataway spoke powerfully about how anti-vaccine campaigners are way better at social media marketing than better informed health leaders. He gave us food for thought about choices to be made. ‘…even though there are great medical advantages we still choose disease’.

From the TED archives, we were shown this astonishing talk by Dr Anthony Atala http://www.ted.com/talks/anthony_atala_printing_a_human_kidney.html

To finish, author Alastair Reynolds spoke about how science fiction gives us tools to explore big ideas. He talked about space and if advanced civilisations from other planets get so advanced, do they annihilate themselves before they have chance to contact us? His talk reminded me of this great infographic on The Scale of the Universe.

It was a great event and I’ll definitely be attending TEDxBristol in September.

Thanks to Neil Cocker and Claire Scantlebury (whose dad I’ve played jazz with) for organising it all, great work.

PS. If you take a look around my pupils blogs HERE (use the links on the RHS) they’d love a positive comment from you.


One Response

  1. A good summary with useful links of a most thought-provoking and entertaining event.

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