Gershon Dublon is a doctoral student and research assistant in the Responsive Environments Group at the MIT Media Lab, where he works on new tools for exploring and understanding dense sensor network data. Recently he has been thinking about ways sensor networks might become extensions of our nervous systems— networks of remote, distributed sensing prosthetics. In the past, he has worked on people-sensing as a post-graduate researcher at the Embedded Networks and Applications Lab at Yale University, and has helped develop algorithms for feature extraction and analysis of butterfly wing patterns.
Matej Peljhan is a photographer. A number of newspapers and blogs around the world noticed him after his Le Petit Prince series, where he photographed a boy with muscular dystrophy doing various things that he’ll never be able to do in real life (e.g. play basketball, climb stairs etc). Matej lost his right arm and eye when he was injured by some explosive devices scattered around in his village post WWII. He strives to bring photography as close as possible to people with special needs. He also set up a Institute of Photographic Therapy where he offers workshops and educates others in the field of photographic therapy.
Maria Saridaki is a Research Associate at the Laboratory of New Technologies of the Faculty of Communication & Media Studies of the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens and a Research Manager at Athens Plaython. Her research interest lies on Digital Games and New Multimedia Environments with a special interest on Serious Games as an educational, motivational and recreational tool for people with cognitive disabilities. She obtained a Masters Degree in Information Management from the University of Strathclyde and a Bachelor in Media and Communication Studies at the University of Athens. She has been organising workshops on Applied Gaming, Transmedia Storytelling and Digital Media awareness and she has also been involved, or is currently participating, in various EU and National projects as a researcher, game designer and project manager.
Kenneth Cukier is the Data Editor of The Economist. From 2007 to 2012 he was the Tokyo correspondent, and before that, the paper’s technology correspondent in London, where his work focused on innovation, intellectual property and Internet governance. Kenneth is also the co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger in 2013, which was a New York Times Bestseller and translated into 16 languages.
George Butler is an artist and illustrator specialising in travel and current affairs. His drawings, done in situ are in pen, ink and watercolour. In August 2012 George walked from Turkey across the border into Syria, where as an unofficial guest of the rebel Free Syrian Army he spent 4 days drawing the civil war damaged, small and empty town of Azaz. 6 months later he made a similar trip back to Syria to record the stories amongst the refugees and the field hospitals. These drawings were reproduced by the Times, the Guardian, Evening Standard, Der Spiegel, ARD television Germany, NPR (USA) and reported on the BBC World News, BBC World Service, CNN twice, Al Arabiya and Monocle Radio. However, his sense of adventure did not start here - since leaving Kingston university, drawing has taken George around the world, depicting the oil fields in Azerbaijan, soldiers in Afghanistan, reconstructive plastic surgery, G20 riots, the New York Fire Department and Asian Elephants.
Jim Bowes is the founder of GreenGraffiti®. After working in the communications industry for 25 years, he became interested in the issues surrounding sustainable development. Jim left the industry shortly afterwards, running GreenGraffiti® from his kitchen table and watching it grow into an international success in just four short years. GreenGraffiti® is one of a growing number of businesses that are demonstrating that they can do well by doing good. As a founding member of GreenAdsBlue, a water foundation set up by the creative industry for the creative industry, Jim continues to be involved in giving-back initiatives.
Christian Guy is the Managing Director at The Centre of Social Justice which is an independent think tank established in 2004 to seek effective solution to the poverty that blights parts of Britain. Under Christian’s tutelage it has gone on to be labelled the most influential think tank in the UK and has won Prospect Magazine UK Social Policy Think Tank of the Year 2013.
He has led work on a number of CSJ publications including editor of the 2011 first year report card on the Coalition Government, Building a Social Recovery, author of the 2010 reports The Forgotten Age and the Green Paper on Criminal Justice and Addiction. He also co-authored the 2009’s prison reform report Locked Up Potential with Jonathan Aitken. Christian is Assistant Director of Jonathan Aitken’s Westminster Forum. He has led in-depth work across a number of public policy themes including welfare reform, child poverty, criminal justice, older age and addiction.
Alison Benjamin along with her partner have traveled across Europe and North America investigating the plight of the honeybee, which is disappearing across the globe at an alarming rate. From commercial almond farmers in California to local honey cultivators in the English countryside, all suffer from lonely hives that are filled with baby bees where all the adults have disappeared. Alison is the Society Editor of the Guardian and co-founder of Urban Bees which is a social enterprise that is bringing bees to cities. She is an activist for the safety of bees and her mission is to promote sustainable and responsible urban beekeeping to a new generation of urban beekeepers through education and training.
Urban Bees was set up a few years ago by Alison Benjamin and her partner Brian McCallum who started beekeeping in west London in 2006 with one hive at the bottom of the garden. They wanted to share their passion for their new hobby with other urban dwellers. She is the co-author of Keeping Bees and Making Honey, A World without Bees and Bees in the City; an urban beekeepers' handbook.
Professor Martin Birchall co-led the pioneering research team which carried out the first transplant of a human windpipe reconstructed using stem cells. Starting out as a head and neck cancer surgeon, Martin spent many years working on conventional tissue transplantation. In 2008, Martin used tissue engineering techniques he and his team had been developing in pigs to partially reconstruct a new trachea (windpipe) for a patient using her own stem cells.
Again, in 2010, this team replaced the entire trachea in an 11 year old boy at Great Ormond Street. Although it is still early, both are doing well. Professor Birchall now runs a research programme looking at ways of applying stem cells and tissue engineering to the laryngeal disorders. Clinically, he specialises in voice and swallowing disorders, as one of four internationally renowned laryngologists at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital/Ear Institute. He was Morgan Stanley/Daily Telegraph Briton of the Year in 2008 (Science and Technology) and elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2010.
Kah Walla is the first woman to ever run for the Presidency of Cameroon. At 47, this entrepreneur, activist and political leader is internationally recognized for her expertise in management and her strong stance on Africa, its women and its youth. In 2008, Kah was featured by the World Bank among 7 women entrepreneurs working to improve the business environment in Africa. In 2011, Newsweek & The Daily Beast as well as New African, respectively cited her as one of 150 women and one of the 100 Africans who shake the world. Over 17 years, Kah Walla has developed STRATEGIES!, an African consulting firm which offers services in leadership and strategy respecting the highest international norms. For 22 years, Kah has developed solutions and policies with business, governments and civil society throughout Africa to foster sustainable economic growth and democratic governance.
Nic Marks is the founder of the Centre for Well-Being, a think tank at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). Investigating and promoting a balance between sustainable development and quality of life, Marks devised the “Happy Planet Index,” a global index of human well-being and environmental impact. His finding, that people in the wealthiest countries, who consume an extremely large amount of the world’s resources, do not come out on top in terms of well-being, raised questions as to the purpose of economic growth. He is a recognised economics expert in the field of well-being research and undertakes innovative research in the use of well-being indicators in public policy environments.
Jim Reeves is a London based designer and along with Martin Riddiford he has spent four years developing a light that would provide a viable alternative to kerosene and sun-powered lamps for developing nations. GravityLight™ works by harnessing the power of weight and gravity, it is easy to run, low-energy, battery free and also, cheaper than solar lighting. GravityLight’s creators are looking to test and begin mass-production on this innovative design, in the hopes of brightening peoples’ lives when it gets dark.
GravityLight™ is an important development because 60% of female, adult, non-smokers, are getting lung cancer from inhaling the fumes of commonly-used kerosene lamps. Designed specially for people in Africa and India with no access to mains electricity, the lamp generates enough energy for half an hour of light when holding weight for just a few seconds.
THePETEBOX is a solo performer, musician, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose pioneering live show has ignited audiences across the world. Breaking out as an award-winning beatboxer he soon redefined the genre through the use of his loop pedal, guitar and his otherworldly, multi-phonic voicebox. Witnessing THePETEBOX’s live show is like experiencing a magic trick, reveal on reveal, loop on loop, one man building up tracks that are as sonically massive and diverse as any full band setup or DJ set. Make no mistake though, this is no novelty act, this is a singular artist untouched by trends or fads, someone who is genuinely and fiercely independent who has tapped into an art form of true expression that connects directly with the hearts of a rapidly growing fan base. He possesses a primal talent and has transformed it into music that captures the imagination of people from all walks of life and from every corner of the world.
THePETEBOX’s versatility is reflected in the stunning variety of settings he has performed in, from clubnights world-wide to multiple Grand Prix, the major stages at festivals such as Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds, V-Fest, Bestival UK – Lake of Stars, Malawi – Woodstock, Poland to name but a few, private parties for the stars and sold out headline tours around the UK and Europe.
Kristina Cranfeld, born in Uzbekistan (formerly USSR) is a London based artist and filmmaker. She took her Bachelors degree at Goldsmiths and went on to obtain a Masters degree at the Royal College of Art. Her work is a combination of speculative narratives, performances and social experiments, which investigate and challenge societal and political systems and their impact on human lives.
Largely concerned with immigration and human identity, Kristina’s work is presented through films, installations, photographs and live performances. She continuously experiments with these mediums, finding unconventional techniques to tell and capture compelling visions. Through her work she explores how the creative disciplines can influence complex political issues and the future of policymaking, believing that there is space to engage and contribute to socio-economic matters affecting migrants. Her works were exhibited internationally and published by WeMakeMoneyNotArt and Blueprint, amongst other publications, and continue to be selected for screenings at a number of international films festivals, with her most recent film being added to the library collections of LADA.
Nga Chu, known to everyone as Nahji or MissChu and to those who get in her way, as ‘The Queen of Rice Paper Rolls’ is the founder and creative director of misschu. The enterprise is the fusion of an entire life experience. Her early experiences at school, when she was struggling to learn a new language and culture, have become a central focus of the interior and service design of misschu venues. The venues are tuckshops, the menus resemble school food ordering forms, the language is simple and playful, as heard in schoolyard banter. Nahji is the first to bring this comprehensive school nostalgia to a high-design hospitality experience. The outcome are friendly, chatty, fun and fast spaces.
Born in Luang Prahbang, Laos, in 1970, Nahji and her family escaped the Pathet Laos Regime in 1975. They sustained themselves on the meagre living conditions afforded by the various Thai refugee camps they inhabited over a four year period before the Chu family’s number came up and the Australian government made them one of the first Vietnamese/Laotian refugees to settle in Australia.
At 17 Zena was the youngest member of Operation Black Vote's MP Shadowing Scheme, campaigning for a boycott of Israeli Settlement foodstuffs in Westminster as well as Deputy Member of Youth Parliament. Part of her extensive community work includes running poetry workshops, and she was shortlisted for the London Mayor's Young Person Peace Prize. Zena founded and coordinates Warwick University's biggest spoken word collective 'Shoot from the Lip' - running poetry slam nights and was awarded funding from the Lord Rootes Memorial Fund. Media credits include BBC Arabic and the BBC World Service and she created and produced Operation Black Vote's Power of Poetry project.
Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought after violinists of her generation. Her ability to captivate audiences with her innate musicianship and dynamic presence, coupled with her wide appeal as a high profile advocate for classical music, has made her one of the most influential classical artists of today.
Winner of Best Female Artist at the 2012 Classical BRIT Awards, Nicola records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). Her most recent recording, The Silver Violin, is particularly renowned for its success in reaching No. 30 in the UK pop charts simultaneously to topping the classical charts for months.
Nicola enthralls and communicates to audiences with dynamic and energy-filled performances. And whilst she is a highly sought performer on the world platform, Nicola is also fiercely dedicated to music education. Through her work with such organisations as Sistema Scotland, she has helped to demonstrate the power that music can have in transforming the lives of young people.