x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Lifelong and lifewide learning

This event occurred on
March 8, 2011
6:30pm - 9:30pm GMT
(UTC +0hrs)
United Kingdom

As an agent for change in higher education learning and teaching, SCEPTrE has always prided itself on continuing the ethos and spirit of new, innovative and creative techniques throughout all elements of its work. This is why we are delighted to host an exciting TEDx event. Our intention is for the TEDx event to provide a forum for distinguished speakers to talk about the influence of lifewide learning in their own lives, to help us communicate the idea to people outside higher education and inspire others to explore the idea and use it to reflect on their own lives.

The Event
We are aiming to have around 4 presentations of 18 minutes each including the 2 compulsory TEDTalks videos and one song performed at the end of the event.

Inspiring stories of lifelong-lifewide journeys
There are few things more interesting or inspiring than someone sharing their life story and through that story coming to learn how they came to be the person they are. It is a privilege to witness how the pathways that people have taken through their life emerges from the experiences that make up their life.

We have both lifelong (the journey) and lifewide (the multiple and varied places and situations we occupy) dimensions to our life. While our lifelong journey is the synthesis of our life it is the lifewide dimension that we experience every day of our lives and provides the stepping stone to our future. These two dimensions connect our thoughts and feelings, our relationships, decisions and actions, and all that we achieve through space and time.

It is the idea of ‘lifewideness’ and its educational value while students are studying in higher education, that SCEPTrE’s believes is worth spreading through the TED way of disseminating ideas.

Lifewideness is a simple idea. It recognises that most people, no matter what their age or circumstances, simultaneously inhabit a number of different spaces - like work or education, running a home, being a member of a family, being involved in a club or society, travelling and taking holidays and looking after their own wellbeing mentally, physically and spiritually. We live out our lives in these different spaces and we have the freedom to choose which spaces we want to occupy. In these spaces we make decisions about what to be involved in, we meet and interact with different people, have different sorts of relationships, adopt different roles and identities, and think, behave and communicate in different ways. In these different spaces we encounter different sorts of challenges and problems, seize or miss opportunities, and aspire to live and achieve our ambitions. It is in these spaces that we create the meaning that is our lives.

‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In the space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.’
Stephen Covey The 8th Habit: from Effectiveness to Greatness, 2004: p4

Lifewide education explicitly recognises that people learn and develop through their lifewide experiences. It both promotes and values these forms of learning and personal development. By reframing our perception of what counts as learning and personal development in higher education, and developing the means to recognize and value the learning and development gained in a learner’s lifewide experiences, universities could enable learners to develop a deeper appreciation of how, what, when and why they are learning in the different parts of their lives. Heightened self-awareness is likely to help them become more effective at learning through their own experiences and this should be an essential outcome of any educational system that prepares people for the challenges of a complex, uncertain and ever changing world.

SCEPTrE, in collaboration with scholars, researchers, teachers, students and professionals from fields other than education, has tried to develop and apply the ideas of lifewide learning, lifewide development and lifewide education and we are finalising a book which consolidates this work. We felt that it would be both a fitting way to end our five year project and help disseminate our ideas further, to use the wonderful TEDx approach and we are grateful to TED for granting us our TEDx licence.

We are very fortunate to have found four people who are willing to turn our abstract ideas into real life stories and we hope that their stories will inspire others to appreciate even more the rich potential of the opportunities they have across their lives for making a difference to themselves and to others.

Professor Norman Jackson
Director SCEPTrE
Surrey Centre for Excellence in Professional Training and Education

University of Surrey
United Kingdom
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

John Cowan

John Cowan was born in Glasgow and was educated during the Second World War, in six different Scottish schools. As a child he suffered from poor eyesight. He had wanted to become a lawyer, or rather an advocate but that called for 4 years of study, and he was advised that his eyes would not last for more than 3 years. So he opted instead to study civil engineering, motivated by the prospect of designing and building useful things. After a successful career as a structural engineering designer he entered academia in1964 as a teacher and researcher in structural engineering. In 1982 he became the first Professor of Engineering Education in the UK, at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, where his educationally-oriented research and development concentrated on student-centred learning and the learning experience. On moving to the Open University in Scotland as Director in 1987 he encouraged innovative curriculum development and campaigned nationally for rigorous formative evaluation in higher education. His passion for and professional interest in student-centred learning now spans over 45 years. During that time he has placed an ever increasing emphasis on preparing students to exercise stewardship over their lifewide development while at University, and in lifelong learning thereafter. The practice of personal development planning in these developments is a central feature of enabling learners to take responsibility for and exercise stewardship over their own reflective and self-assessed development. He continues to share his wisdom with higher education teachers at Edinburgh Napier University and his collegial spirit is well known. In describing himself he says, “It’s best just to think of me as an active part-time teacher nowadays, with personal history to draw on and a willingness to share with some colleagues, if they want to innovate in areas where I have some experience.” During the last 2 years John has worked closely with the Surrey Centre for Excellence in Professional Training and Education to help develop and apply the concept of lifewide learning, development and education. John has inspired many higher education teachers. In reviewing this book ‘Becoming an Innovative Teacher’ Professor John Biggs wrote’"...a delightful and unusual reflective journey...the whole book is driven by a cycle of questions, examples, strategies and generalizations from the examples. In all, it is the clearest example of practise-what-you-preach that I have seen." This sums John up very well!

Sarah Campbell

Sarah Campbell represents the people that SCEPTrE has been working for – our students. What is more she is an excellent example of s o m e o n e w h o a p p r e c i a t e s t h e opportunities that life provides to develop herself as a whole person. Sarah came to Surrey in 2006 as a mature student having spent several years since leaving school working in the music industry. Sarah knows the Surrey educational experience very well, she studied psychology graduating with a first class honours degree in June 2010. While she was studying for her degree she undertook the year long professional training experience part of which was spent with SCEPTrE in 2008. During this time she undertook an important piece of research aimed at improving our understanding of ‘immersive experiences’ soon to be published in SCEPTrE’s ‘Learning for a Complex World’ book. This experiences caused her to reflect on her own life and in particular her own lifewide learning experience as a student. She has now embarked on a PhD in the Psychology Department at the University of Surrey and her personal story shows how her lifewide experiences have shaped her interests and determined the career pathway she has chosen.

Jim Al-Khalili

Jim Al-Khalili OBE was born and grew up in Baghdad until his family were forced to move to Britain when Saddam Hussein came to power. He fell in love with physics when he was a teenager and has spent much of his life immersed in sub-atomic particles. Jim came to study physics at the University of Surrey graduating with a BSc degree in 1986 and staying on to pursue a PhD in nuclear reaction theory, which he obtained in 1989. In that year he was awarded a Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) postdoctoral fellowship at University College London. He returned to Surrey in 1991, first as a research assistant then lecturer. In 1994, he was awarded an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Advanced Research Fellowship for five years, during which time he established himself as a leading expert on mathematical models of exotic atomic nuclei. He has published widely in his field. In 2004 he was chosen as one of twentyone "Faces of UK Science" on permanent exhibition in London’s National Portrait Gallery. In the last decade Jim has become a public figure through his work as a writer and broadcaster. He frequently appears on television and radio and also writes articles for the British press. He has also published a number of popular science books, which have so far been translated into 13 languages. In 2004, he co-presented the Channel 4 documentary The Riddle of Einstein's Brain but his big break as a presenter came in 2007 with Atom, a threepart series on BBC Four about the history of our understanding of the atom and atomic physics. This was followed by a special archive edition of BBC Horizon, The Big Bang. In early 2009, he presented the BBC Four three part series Science and Islam about the leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries. He has contributed to programmes ranging from Tomorrow's World, BBC Four’s Mind Games, The South Bank Show to BBC One’s Bang Goes the Theory. In 2010, he presented a new BBC Four, three part series called Chemistry: A Volatile History, on the history of chemistry, which was nominated for a BAFTA Award, as well as a documentary on chaos theory called The Secret Life of Chaos. He is also one of several presenters on Genius of Britain, five-part series for Channel 4, shown in 2010. Jim was a guest on Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs in February 2010. In 2007, he became the youngest recipient of the the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday medal for science communication. He continues to find time to carry out his research in nuclear physics and in the new field of quantum biology. Jim has been invited to bring to life the idea of lifelong – lifewide learning and personal development through his own life story as a scientist and communicator of scientific ideas.

Harvey Brough

Harvey Brough is one of the UK’s most accomplished musicians working as a performer, arranger, conductor, producer and composer across vast range of styles and influences and characterised by some wonderful and m e m o r a b l e collaborations. His professional career has spanned the musical fields of jazz, classical, choral, pop, world, medieval and early music, TV, theatre and film. Reading his biography is both exhilarating and exhausting. He started his musical life aged six, as a choirboy at Coventry Cathedral, singing Bach Cantatas and recording Benjamin Britten compositions by the time he was thirteen. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Lady Barbirolli and then at Clare College Cambridge where he had ‘four fabulous years in which I played, sang, conducted, nearly got thrown out, tried doing a little work, and finally scraped through to getting a degree.’ After University he formed a band – Harvey and the Wallbangers. ‘I loved being in a band and I loved performing music which appealed to anybody – we played anywhere that would have us, from prisons to the Royal Variety show (you can imagine where we got the best reaction). This took up six years of my life and it was great.’ Harvey and the Wallbangers recorded four albums on their own label and the Jazz CD with Simon Rattle, still available on EMI. For fifteen years Harvey worked closely with the Dankworth family, contributing big band and string arrangements to their concerts, also as Musical Director of Field of Blue with Jacqui Dankworth. Over these years he had the opportunity to work side by side with John Dankworth - an education in itself. He has also arranged songs for Big Band and Orchestra for the King of Thailand, recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. While still at Cambridge, Harvey sang in, and directed his own consort, whose members included many singers who are now well established. Cambridge University Consort of Voices were invited to give a concert in King's College Chapel to mark the opening of the West Road Music Faculty Concert Hall. As producer, arranger and composer Harvey has worked with the Brodsky, Duke and Elysian String Quartets. For ten years Harvey worked extensively in the pop business with top producers such as Simon Law, Jazzie B. etc - contributing string or brass arrangements to singles and albums by Soul II Soul, D Influence, Definition of Sound, Terry Hall and Salad and hundreds of others. Recently he has been working with Jerry Dammers, arranging for his Spatial AKA Orchestra. From 2006-2009 Harvey was musical director and producer for Natacha Atlas; they toured all over the world with their half western, half Arabic band - The Mazeeka Ensemble who recorded a highly acclaimed album under Harvey’s leadership. Ana Hina (Harmonia Mundi) had rave reviews all over the world for the disc and for the ensemble’s live performances. For many years Harvey co produced the majority of composer Jocelyn Pook’s music for Film and TV, including major releases - Merchant of Venice and Eyes Wide Shut, for which he co-composed the music for the orgy scene. They also collaborated on a ten-hour Series for BBC 2 In a Land of Plenty as composers and producers. Harvey has also provided many soundtracks to TV programmes in his own right - his credits include Citizens (Radio 4), The World About Us (BBC1), the Alexi Sayle series Paris (Channel 4), Wise Up (Channel 4), The Most Beautiful Dress in the World (Bookmark BBC2), Hildegard (Omnibus BBC1), Henry Moore (Omnibus BBC1) and The Glories of Islam (Channel 5). As You Like It (Radio 3) starring Helena Bonham Carter was broadcast on Shakespeare’s birthday in 2000 and a five part series - The Bayeux Tapestry (Radio 4) was broadcast in 2001. Harvey has also presented several radio series, a guide to vocal harmony - Doo Bop She Bop (Radio 2) and Dedications, programmes about Requiem in Blue and about Josquin’s Mille Regretz. His recent theatre work as Musical Director includes: Olivier, National Theatre - St Joan, War Horse dir. Marianne Elliott / Tom Morris Old Vic - the Bridge Project - Cherry Orchard and The Winter’s Tale, dir. Sam Mendes, with Rebecca Hall, Ethan Hawke, Sinead Cusack and Simon Russell-Beale. For the last 5 years Harvey has had a close partnership with renowned baroque singer, Clara Sanabras - initially performing medieval and early music, but increasingly as a duo - Retrospect, performing ancient and modern music. Their other band Clara and the Real Lowdown has released two CD’s in the last 2 years - Clara and the Real Lowdown (2008) and Hopetown House (2009) the latter consisting of Clara’s compositions and Harvey’s arrangements and production. It is as a composer over the last 10 years that Harvey has made sense of all these disparate influences, writing a series of major pieces that bring together in music things which are often kept apart: jazz and classical - young and old - professional and non professional - ancient and modern - plainsong and improvisation – modern words and ancient texts. In this latter area, he has had a close partnership for many years with the talented play write Lee Hall (Spoonface Steinberg, Billy Elliot, Pitman Painters). He is passionate about working with young people and with non-professional musicians and singers - many of his works reflect this passion and it is manifested in Requiem in Blue the subject of his contribute to SCEPTrE’s TEDx lifelong-lifewide learning event. He wrote Requiem in Blue after winning the first Andrew Milne prize (Arts Council England). The piece is for two choirs of all ages and his own ensemble, made up of musicians he has admired and worked with extensively. Requiem in Blue has been performed some 30 times all over the UK and in Europe and was finally released on CD in 2010. Harvey’s inspiring story about how this piece was created epitomises the way a talented musician can connect and draw inspiration from the relationships in his life to create a work of art.

Kai Jansen

Kai Jansen is a talented musician who has participated in a number of SCEPTrE’s events as a musician and songwriter in residence and turned some of our ideas like living in a complex world and being professional into memorable songs. He began learning guitar in Singapore and joined three Chinese brothers in 1965 for a Shadows-style group. ‘I first started writing songs with my sister way back in 1965. Needless to say the first tunes were pretty silly, a bit like the stuff that passes for 'pop' now, except that they market & sell it, and we were too embarrassed to bother, always looking for that original and very BIG tune (with words!)’ After returning to the U.K. in late 66 he took up classical lessons and played locally around Hampshire in as many folk clubs. From 1969, he spent 4 years at the City of Leeds College of Music and played all the folk clubs around. Practiced hours every day, sang in 2 choirs, formed a duo with guitar & lute teacher Roger Child, playing recitals in the Leeds and Manchester areas and with flautist Elaine Kershaw, performed in Leeds area local winebars for two or three years in the early 70's. His career has involved performing in concerts, clubs, TV, in restaurants and bars, private homes. In 2002 he performed at the Rugby Super-league Grand Final Event at Old Trafford, Manchester in front of 64,000 people – supporting Samantha Mumba in a 30-minute broadcast on SKY-TV. He spent 23 years as a street performer in Covent Garden ‘A lot of my musical education took place 'out-of-hours', and included hearing & seeing and being influenced by the likes of Pentangle, Tom Paxton & Julie Felix. Leeds being a thoroughly musical place in the late-60's/early 70's I was lucky enough to hear John Williams & Julian Bream together, and all the major classical orchestras of the of the day at the Leeds Town Hall. Other venues visited included The Grand Theatre (Spike Milligan & Wagner's 'Rheingold'), the Leeds University Union and Refectory Halls (John Martyn, Santana & Bob Marley) and at the local folk clubs the likes of the late-Jake Thackray.’ Kai has recorded four albums. He will conclude our TEDx event with a song that epitomises learning in a complex world.

Organizing team


  • Clare Dowding
    Centre Manager
  • Charlie Betts
    Lifewide Learning Award Coordinator
  • Susan Wood
    SCEPTrE Administrator