x = independently organized TED event

Theme: In our hands?

This event occurred on
October 9, 2015
9:00am - 5:30pm BST
(UTC +1hr)
Devon, Devon
United Kingdom

Is our future really in our hands? TEDxTotnes looks at issues that challenge the way we live and asks if we can we really create a brighter future? With a line-up of award-winning and inspirational speakers all of whom have ideas they want to share, this day promises to raise questions, challenge current thinking and provoke reactions. See our website to revisit our wonderful talks delivered by passionate and engaging individuals.

The Barn Cinema
Dartington Hall
Devon, Devon, TQ9 6EL
United Kingdom
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Billy Bottle & Martine

Billy Bottle & Martine met studying music at university in 1999, lost touch, subsequently remet and now live on a farm near Ipplepen in Devon. Billy’s influences include the Canterbury scene, an obsession which led to the pair having a fruitful recording and gigging relationship in Japan and the UK with Caravan’s Dave Sinclair since 2008.

Kuki & The Bard

Kuki & The Bard

Adam Sayner and Eric Jong

Adam Sayner started his fascination with mushrooms whilst studying ecology at the University of Sussex. After graduating with a first class degree he started to grow mushrooms in the Totnes area for a living. Form this work sprang GroCycle CIC which pioneers growing mushrooms on coffee waste. After finishing a Masters in Business and Finance in his native country the Netherlands Eric pursued a corporate career with two major energy companies. After working in London for nearly 7 years both him and his wife made a life changing decision, sold up and went travelling. Their path eventually led to Schumacher College and this is where Adam and Eric teamed up to run GroCycle.

Benjamin Mee

Author, We Bought a Zoo, Owner, Dartmoor Zoo
Benjamin Mee is the author of We Bought A Zoo, CEO of Dartmoor Zoo, and a Journalist. He has an MSc in Science Journalism and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Plymouth University in 2013 in recognition for his passion for research and the communication of science. His areas of research interest include Animal Intelligence, Biophilia, The Aquatic Ape hypotheses and Entomophagy. Growing up Benjamin Mee had a turbulent relationship with the education system and was expelled from school. Then, after an encounter with a dolphin he became fascinated with the field of animal intelligence and never looked back. He decided to study Psychology at UCL before completing an MSc in Science Journalism at Imperial College. This led to a 15 year career in Journalism, both print and Broadcast. In 2004 his research interests took him and his family to France in order to write a book on the Evolution of of Humour in Man and Animals, and events led to him buying Dartmoor Zoo.

Caspar Walsh

Author, Journalist and Founder of Write to Freedom
Caspar Walsh has been involved in the British prison system since he was a child; as a visitor to his father, an inmate and finally, a highly regarded and skilled workshop facilitator. He writes regularly for the BBC and The Guardian on a life in the criminal justice system. In 2008 he founded the award winning charity Write to Freedom working with young men, supporting them in their ‘rite of passage’ into adulthood. His latest book, Tribe Warrior was written in collaboration with 100’s of serving prisoners and is a powerful exploration of dark, contemporary issues through the long lens of history. Caspar believes the answer to our current crisis in youth crime and addiction (and a global shortage in accountable, trustworthy leadership) can be healed through a unique mix nature connection, sharing personal stories and building resilient, accountable communities.

Claire & Rupert Callender

Ceremonial Undertakers
Claire and Ru Callender are self taught, award winning ceremonial undertakers and sextons who set up The Green Funeral Company in 2000. Their stripped back, naturalistic approach is informed by their own experiences of bereavement and the unsatisfactory funerals that followed, and their practice has unusual and diverse influences including the natural death movement, rave culture, Quakerism, hospices, punk, and crop circles. They aim to create rituals that are practical, satisfying and unique but feel profound and genuine, and their intentions can be summed up in three words: Honesty, appropriateness and participation. They have strong feelings about the funeral industry, particularly embalming, current cremation practice and design, family disempowerment, corporate takeovers, assembly line rituals, faux Victorian aesthetics, inappropriate religious services and exploitative and unnecessary prepayment schemes.

Emily Stewart

Travel Writer
Emily is from Denver, Colorado. From a young age, Emily inherited wanderlust from her hotel-hopping parents. Ever-energetic, she’s been pursuing hyper-local adventures since. She learned “hard skills” by paying her way through a degree in International Business at the University of Denver, earning certifications, grants, and recognition along the way (she’s a lifetime member of the World Trade Centers Association). She is certified in Travel Writing with Matador Network. After moving to Plymouth, UK, with a job in the cycling industry, she ditched her “big-kid income” to develop a social enterprise travel and relocation organization called BASEDtraveler Books & Media, with which she wrote her first book, Plymouth Primer: An Expat-Local’s Guide to Life in Plymouth, UK. Today she oversees a team of three writers and works with her colleagues (Writing and Legal Advisors) to maintain the coolest writing program in the world (she hopes).

Hugo Tagholm

Chief Executive
Hugo Tagholm became Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage in late 2008 and has overseen a sustained period of development, growth and impact for the organisation, which has galvanised its position as one of the UK’s most effective marine conservation charities. He has led the transition of the organisation from a single-issue campaign group to an environmental charity with extensive national and international influence. It is today recognized as one of the most influential enviro-surf NGOs in the world. It has a network of over 150,000 regular supporters, mobilises 15,000 community volunteers annually and has 60 regional chapters around the UK. Hugo has a longstanding history with SAS, first meeting its founders in 1991 when he entered the bodyboard category of the environmentally orientated ‘Surf To Save’ competition at Polzeath. He then became a paid-up member of the organisation and an active campaigner at water quality and climate change demos.

Jackie Juno

Poet and Grand Bard of Exeter
Jackie Juno is the current Grand Bard of Exeter (Caer Wyse) – and as far as she knows, the only female Grand Bard in it’s 200 year history. She has been a performer since the 1980’s and has appeared in various guises from Axminster to Amsterdam; from Arizona to Australia. And other places which don’t begin with A. She is a regular at festivals in the UK (including Glastonbury, Port Eliot and Tagore at Dartington), and has also performed in schools, churches, street markets, fayres, funerals and weddings. Jackie also writes scripts for film and live performance, short stories and song lyrics (she is lead singer with The Invisible Opera company of Tibet). She is author of several poetry collections: ‘Outspoken!’ ‘Dare’, ‘History’s Whispers’ and ‘This Much I Know’. She hosts ‘Outspoken!’ a monthly Poetry Open Mic night in Totnes and is creator of the mystical soap opera set in Totnes, Reincarnation Street.

Jon and Mat Price

Identical twin brothers Mat and Jon Price are both proud gay men. They grew up in a rural village knowing that not only were they different from the majority but their difference to many was an unacceptable part of themselves. They were told this by their church, by the media, by their teachers and by certain members of their family. These experiences were detrimental to their sense of well-being. They may not have had the words but from an early age they feared that an unchangeable part of who they were would divide a family and limit their opportunities, both in life and love. When they both came out at 19, they moved to the big cities and found people like them. Those messages from their childhood would often reappear, never truly fading. Recently they realised that as children they had internalised all those negative messages about being gay and had started to believe them. Together, Mat and Jon founded the project in June 2011.

Kath Maguire

Public Engagement Champion
Kath is an associate research fellow in public involvement with a National Institute for Health Research funded collaboration between the NHS and the universities of Exeter and Plymouth, PenCLAHRC. She is an unlikely academic, having left school at 16 without qualifications and becoming a single parent of a of a chronically ill child in her early twenties. While negotiating the support and care her child needed, she frequently found it difficult to get service providers and healthcare professionals take seriously her voice, and that of her child. While she became skilled at negotiating the gaps between health and social care provision, she witnessed many families with similar problems who were struggling. That is why, when her caring role ended, Kath returned to education to find a way to use what she had learned. She completed an access course and, after sitting an entrance exam, went on to study social and political sciences at Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge.

Matt Harvey

Poet and Lyricist
Poet and lyricist Matt Harvey has been a familiar voice on Radio 4 since 2001 when he co-wrote and co-starred in One Night Stanza. He served seven years as regular poet on Saturday Live, hosted two series of The Wondermentalist Cabaret, presented various documentaries and wrote and performed the adventures of superhero Empath Man. He is the author of The Hole in the Sum of my Parts, Where Earwigs Dare and Mindless Body Spineless Mind and two picture books for children, Shopping With Dad and Beastie and the Boys.

Pádraic Flood

Science Communicator and FameLab Winner 2014
Pádraic was born and bred in Dublin. From as far back as he can remember he has always been fascinated by plants. As a child he kept a collection of cacti and succulents and upon moving to a house with a larger garden started (with the help of his father) a vegetable garden and small tree nursery. His Grandfather used to take him to the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin cultivating his wonder for all things green. After finishing school he started a degree in general science in UCD, in his third year he decided to specialise in Botany and has never looked back. After the completion of his degree he spent a short period working in the Marine Institute studying phytoplankton (the plants of the sea) before moving to Wageningen in the Netherlands to begin a PhD in plant genetics, particularly focusing on photosynthesis, where light becomes life!

Rob Hopkins

Director of Totnes Community Development Society
Rob Hopkins is one of the UK’s most influential environmentalists. He is co-founder of Transition Network and Transition Town Totnes, and a founder of the Transition movement, once described by the BBC as “the biggest urban brainwave of the century”. In 2005, Rob moved to Devon and set up Transition Town Totnes – which he describes as a ‘make it up as we go along community-led effort’. Transition Town Totnes is now at the heart of the Totnes economy, creating new jobs, encouraging new enterprises and helping existing local businesses thrive. It has kicked off more than 40 local projects, ranging from bike mending and grafting trees to a community energy company with 500 members. Inspired by the example of Totnes, community projects started popping up around the world. So, in 2007, Rob formed the Transition Network to support, encourage, network and train the burgeoning number of Transition initiatives. There are now more than 1,000 Transition Initiatives in nearly 50 countries

Ryan Doyle

Chair of Local Heroes
Ryan Doyle is a serving Police Inspector and the Chairman and Founder of the charity LHDiversity, commonly known as “Local Heroes”. Ryan joined Thames Valley Police in 2003 aged 20 and, following his probationary period, specialised in Crime Investigation and Public Protection (specifically Domestic Abuse and Hate Crime). In 2007 Ryan transferred into Devon and Cornwall Police where he continued as a Detective Constable. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2008 and became a Detective Sergeant in 2009. However, in 2012 Ryan moved into the post of Diverse Communities Team Leader and it was here that he had the idea for Local Heroes after delivering a Transgender and Hate Crime awareness session to a group of Housing Association middle-managers. The idea was simple, workshops for young people led by local celebrities and heroes that would raise awareness of hate crime and the harmful effects of prejudice based bullying, inspire young people to celebrate diversity and empower them.

Samjhana Moon

Photographic Artist
Samjhana Moon is a photographic artist. She is also a visionary. Samjhana has taken her innate ability to capture the essence of people and places using the medium of photography into another dimension. She is passionate about redefining our cultural ideas of beauty and femininity by revealing the beauty inside every woman, irrespective of age, size or lifestyle. Since her first exhibition in 2009, Samjhana has helped hundreds of women say ‘YES’ to themselves. Revealing a person’s inner beauty can be transformational for the person involved. Her portrait gallery reveals not only the ability to make people feel at ease in front of the camera but also the rare gift of placing her subjects in natural settings that allows them to connect to their true and elemental selves. At the deepest level Samjhana’s work has supported women recovering from eating disorders and body dysmorphia.

Organizing team


Totnes, United Kingdom