x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Courageous Creations

This event occurred on
November 21, 2015
1:30pm - 8:00pm GMT
(UTC +0hrs)
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
United Kingdom

Our education system and society breed consumers. They go to parties, read books, attend events, listen to music. But a brave few dare to put themselves out there. They risk rejection and ridicule by writing a poem and sharing it, creating a piece of music and playing it on a street corner, throwing a party for their friends and neighbours. They create technology, ideas, movements and organisations. They change the world.

But it’s scary to create. What if you make a piece of art and nobody appreciates it? What if you throw a party and nobody comes? What if you start a business and you don’t make any money? Whenever we put ourselves out there, we risk. We must display courage.

What happens when we do? When we dare to create despite fear? Even if you flop, you learn something valuable. You learn how incredibly difficult it is to create something that people like, or even how difficult it is to create something that YOU like.

That’s what we want to do with this year’s TEDxLeamingtonSpa – we want to show you what’s possible when you create. We’ll do this through stories of courageous creators from all walks of life.

The Royal Spa Centre
Newbold Terrace
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, CV324HN
United Kingdom
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.


Rhythmic Gymnasts
alienZoo was formed in 2002 by then arts students Ellen Watson and Zulieka Jeffries. It later became the practical research for an MA in Performing Arts. Initially being an examination between the relationship between sport and the arts, alienZoo has gone onto challenge theatrical performance with its unique blend of design elements, physical styles and practices. Since 2002 alienZoo have performed for variety of corporate clients from premiership football associations to international television networks. However, they truly thrive when delivering their independent theatrical productions. Whether, at London’s Udderbelly as part of ‘Circus Maximus’ or as a stand alone production at the Brighton Fringe Festival. alienZoo’s individual blend of rhythmic gymnastics, contemporary dance, acrobatics & contortion captures the audiences imagination regardless of age, gender or background.

Alan Heap

Founder, Purple Monster
Alan started his theatre career in community theatre, co-founding Taking Steps, based at the MAC in Birmingham. Following a stint in musical theatre in the West End, Alan joined Circus Burlesque, an all-human touring circus. He then formed a comedy double-act with Mick Wall which included four years of a BBC TV series ‘Dizzy Heights’. Alan also wrote, performed in and directed many music radio and television programmes, including the very popular Music Makers series. Following his successful career in theatre and television, Alan co-founded Purple Monster in 1995 and has developed his particular talent for connecting with audiences of all sizes into a world-class ability for facilitation. This October sees the 20th anniversary of Purple Monster, a company that specialises in employee engagement.

Andrew Barnabas

Andrew ‘Barn’ Barnabas is an award winning composer who’s written countless scores for games, film and TV. He started out as a games composer, having his first score published at the age of 17 in 1991 for the Commodore Amiga game ‘SWIV’ whilst still in school. Later that year he started ‘DENS Design’ a games music label with fellow Amiga composers around Europe whilst studying for a degree in music and once graduated moved to Cambridge in 1995 to become the first in-house composer for Millennium Interactive, largely because they’d built the best recording he’d ever seen (32-track Protools in 1995 for you audio folk). Paul ‘Bob’ Arnold joined in 1996, and in ’97 Millennium was bought by Sony. The pair ran the music and sound design department until 2001 where they left to form ‘Bob & Barn’, named after their amusing nicknames.

Angela Lamont

Director, Lunar Mission One
Angela Lamont originally worked as a software engineer, but by the ripe old age of 25, found herself touring the UK & Ireland to give the IEE Faraday Lecture, “7th Sense”. From there, she headed to the BBC to present over 200 radio & television programmes, primarily on BBC1 and Radio 4, including the BAFTA and RTS award-winning “It’ll Never Work?”. Right now she is headed for the Moon! Not quite literally, as it’s an un-manned mission, but she’s a founding team member of the British-originated Lunar Mission One. Lunar Mission One is a not-for-profit science mission to the Moon’s as-yet unexplored south pole, to drill deep to allow analysis of the geology and to answer some pretty fundamental questions about the birth of the Moon, the Earth and our whole solar system.

David Owen

Founder, Bristol Palestine Film Festival
David is an experienced consultant, researcher and project producer with expertise in pubic engagement, partnership development, impact measurement and organisational change. He has worked with a wide range of international businesses, national charities, universities, arts organisations, government bodies and community groups. He was formally Head of Research, Engagement and Impact for Exeter University Business School where he was responsible for supporting the Business School’s research portfolio including the development of corporate partnerships, fundraising and external communications. He is currently an associate with National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and a visiting Research Associate at the University of Bristol. In 2011 David founded the Bristol Palestine Film Festival, which engages 800 members of the public and showcases a range of compelling and thought-provoking films and artistic works by established and emerging artists.

Dr. Sean Holden

Artificial intelligence and music
Sean Holden is Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Cambridge University, where he teaches and researches Artificial Intelligence, specializing in machine learning and its applications in the biosciences. Additionally, he is Director of Studies in Computer Science at Trinity College Cambridge, and Advisor to the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and singer, having playing drums since the age of nine and picked up the bouzouki, guitar, Irish whistle and many other instruments since. He has performed on numerous critically-acclaimed recordings with the bands Underground Zerø and Cruel Folk. He was recently surprised to find he has an Erdös-Bacon-Sabbath number of 12.

Geoff Thompson

Screenwriter, playwright, author and martial artist
Geoff has written forty books, published in 21 languages. He is also the author of hundreds of articles appearing in national magazines and broadsheets, including The Times, GQ and FHM. He is also an award-winning playwright and screenwriter, including BAFTA-award-winning “Brown Paper Bag”. His work has been featured in 32 international film festivals. Geoff is also an internationally-recognised martial artist and has been called “The most influential martial artist in the world since Bruce Lee” by Black Belt Magazine USA.

Henry Morshead

Aerodynamics and automotive modelling
Henry Morshead (MA(RCA) AMRAeS) is a digital designer for the automotive industry, building early design models of new cars. His work includes modelling for Airbus, Citroen, Jaguar Land Rover, Infinity and Bentley. Henry graduated in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College, London and Vehicle Design from the Royal College of Art, London. He also works an illustrator specialising in cut-away artwork of vehicles and aircraft. Since 2011 he has been a sponsor and ambassador for the Bloodhound Supersonic Car project, a British engineering project which aims to build a vehicle capable of travelling at 1000mph – breaking the current record of 763mph.

Mary-Jess Leaverland

Whilst studying Mandarin Chinese in China, Mary-Jess won 民星唱翻天, a singing competition live on Chinese TV with a viewing audience of 70 million people that the UK press called ‘The Chinese X Factor’. Shortly after, she released her début album ‘Shine’ which won both ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Best Newcomer’ from classical-crossover.co.uk. Mary-Jess has sang to royalty in Windsor Castle and was chosen to sing the Downton Abbey theme tune. She even performed at the FA Cup Final in Wembley Stadium in front of a live audience of 90,000 people and a worldwide television audience of 300 million people. Mary-Jess was invited to Number 10 Downing Street where she was asked to become the next representative of The GREAT Britain Campaign, and now represents the UK in 144 countries around the world. She is also a ‘Leading Light’ of the UK–China Alumni Network, an initiative set up by the British Council in China to encourage links between the UK and China.

Natalie Griffith

Gaming industry ambassador
A lifelong passion for games has led to a 25-year career that’s included design, journalism and 15 years of in-house and agency PR and marketing. Taking in time at Codemasters, Official Nintendo Magazine Australia and Blitz Games Studios along the way, Natalie launched Press Space in 2013 to provide PR and marketing support, training and mentoring to indie developers and startups. Since then she’s worked with a wide array of lone devs and established teams, is the Event Director of award-winning games festival Backspace, and is a proud and active ambassador for disabled gamers’ charity SpecialEffect and educational organisation STEMnet, which focusses on encouraging young people into technology careers.

Neil Hughes

Author and comedian
Neil Hughes is a comedian, anxiety sufferer and the author of ‘Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life’, a unique combination of autobiographical confessions, humorous fantasy fiction, and a ‘how-to’ for living less anxiously and more happily. As well as speaking about mental health, he is currently working on developing a comedy show, writing his first novel and perfecting the art of the pasta bake.

Paula Hall

Sex addiction therapist
Paula Hall (UKCP Reg, BACP Acc, COSRT Acc, ATSAC) has been working in the field of Sex Addiction for over 10 years and is author of Understanding & Treating Sex Addiction (Routledge 2013). Sex Addiction – The Partners Perspective (Routledge 2015). She has also been published in a number of academic journals and within the professional press. Paula was a founder member of ATSAC and served as Chair for three years and is currently on the board of SASH. In addition to working with individuals and couples, she developed the Hall Recovery Course which is available around the UK and also under licence in Denmark and Holland and provides residential programmes for both people with addiction and partners. She has spoken at conferences in the UK, Europe and in the US on behalf of ESSM, UKCP, BACP, ATSAC, UKESAD and The International Sex Addiction Conference.

Phil Davis

Innovation consultant
Phil is Co-Founding Director of Impact Innovation which is a specialist business consultancy based in Leamington Spa. Impact Innovation develops brand new product and service propositions, creates amazing staff, patient and customer experiences to wrap around these propositions, and builds the capability within organisations so that they can deliver consistently – everyone, everywhere, every time. Phil passionately believes that through innovation you can create a positive impact on every aspect of your organisation’s performance. He is a driver of large scale change and organisational development, a creator of world class customer and patient experiences and a developer of Board and leadership teams. He has led the design and the implementation of large scale service transformation projects in a number of international organisations such as Tesco, Eurostar, Accor Hotels and more recently, with the NHS.

Roger Frampton

Functional movement expert and fashion model
Roger Frampton has been modelling for over a decade appearing in ad campaigns for Jean Paul Gaultier, Ralph Lauren & Aquascutum. With over 15 seasons of catwalks in Milan, New York, Paris & London Roger realised the importance of posture in exercise and created ‘The Frampton Method’. ‘The Frampton Method’ is a combination of bodyweight exercises based upon gymnastics, yoga and calisthenics with a pure focus on posture and technique. Roger has an education in Anatomy and Physiology, Functional Movement, Functional Performance and Functional Therapy. He also works alongside Ashtanga Yoga teachers and British Gymnastic coaches. Roger’s work has been published in The Sunday Times, Fashionisto, Attitude, Grazia and Esquire

Vikie Shanks

Author and mental health expert
Vikie Shanks is an inspirational and motivational speaker and speaks on a wide variety of mental health issues. Vikie is a mother of seven, six of her children are autistic, two have cerebal palsy and one has severe dyslexia. Her husband tragically committed suicide after suffering from mental health issues, leaving her to care for her children alone. Vikie is an an author, speaker, and expert in Autism and communication. She runs an Austism support group, is a two-time winner of the Pride of Warwick District “Carer of the Year” award and won “Bravest Woman” award from Best Magazine. Through her support her children have gone on to win athletic awards, excel in academics, and form all-girl vocal band Relative Blue.

Organizing team


Calgary, AB, Canada
  • Bhav Joshi
    Project Manager
  • Orla Murphy
  • Paula Palade
  • Sarah Coates
    Event Production
  • Kimberly Owen
  • Craig Spivey
    Graphic Designer