x = independently organized TED event

Theme: The Complexity of Simple Things

This event occurred on
June 4, 2016
Bristol, Bristol, City of
United Kingdom

The first ever TEDxUniversityofBristol - "The Complexity of Simple Things" - took place on 4th June 2016. Follow us on Twitter @TEDxBristolUni or Facebook /TEDxBristolUni.
Bristol is one of the foremost UK cities for TEDx events. Check out some of the videos from our colleagues at TEDxBristol, who held the massively successful GreatXpectations event on 11th November 2015. Our friends at TEDxUWE held their first event on 23rd January 2016; their talks on The Innovative Attitude are available to watch too. Just have a look on the YouTube TEDx Talks channel.

Richmond Building
105 Queens Road
Bristol, Bristol, City of, BS8 1LN
United Kingdom
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Andy Levy

Professor of endocrinology
Andy Levy qualified in medicine from Nottingham University in 1981 and was awarded a PhD on the pathogenesis of pituitary tumours from the University of London in 1990. He has been a consultant in Bristol since 1993 and Professor of Endocrinology at Bristol University since 2006. He has major interests in medical device design (see VibraTip, VibraClip and Tube Anchor) and has developed the app ‘Speaking Clinically’ for iPhone and iPad. He has designed and built many training manikins to enhance clinical skills teaching and testing, and has developed a unique undergraduate assessment, the ‘Bristol Clinical Data Exam’. He continues to work in acute medicine and clinical endocrinology – but would much rather be in the shed.

Anna Turney

Paralympic skier
In 2006 Anna Turney broke her back snowboard racing, pushing herself at what she loved best. Determined not to be defeated, Anna decided to become a Paralympic Ski Racer. After 3 years training, Anna came 6th in the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics. Four years later she finished 4th, 6th and 8th for GB in Britain’s most successful Winter Paralympic Team in the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games. She has since decided to retire from ski racing to focus on her career in motivational speaking, youth work and media work.

Ben Sessa

Consultant psychiatrist in adult addictions
Ben Sessa is a consultant psychiatrist in adult addictions, working part-time at Addaction in Weston-Super-Mare and is senior research fellow at Bristol, Cardiff and Imperial College London Universities, where he is currently taking part of his time away from clinical medical practice to study towards a PhD in MDMA Psychotherapy. He is the author of two books exploring psychedelic medicine; The Psychedelic Renaissance (2012) and To Fathom Hell or Soar Angelic (2015) and is currently conducting research with Imperial College London and Cardiff universities studying the potential role for MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD and alcohol dependence syndrome. Dr Sessa is outspoken on lobbying for change in the current system by which drugs are classified in the UK, believing a more progressive policy of regulation would reduce the harms of recreational drug use. He is a co-founder and director of the UK’s premier international psychedelic conference, Breaking Convention.

David Nabarro

United Kingdom Special Adviser on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Since September 2014 David Nabarro has served as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola, providing strategic and policy direction for the international response. From 2005 to 2014 he was Senior Coordinator for Avian and Pandemic Influenza. From 2011 to 2015 he served as Coordinator of the Movement to Scale Up Nutrition and since 2009 he has been the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Food Security and Nutrition, a position he will continue to hold. He started his career in the United Kingdom National Health Service. He then worked in child health and nutrition programmes in Iraq, South Asia and East Africa. In 1990 he served as Chief Health and Population Adviser to the United Kingdom Overseas Development Administration, and in 1997 he became Director of Human Development in the Department for International Development. In 1999 he joined the World Health Organization (WHO) to lead the Roll Back Malaria initiative, and was appointed Executice Director in 2001.

Dominika Bijos

Biomedical researcher
Dominika Bijos is a biomedical researcher at the University of Bristol. After earning her BSc in Italy and MSc in the UK, she worked in research labs across Europe. From DNA in the cell nucleus she moved her research interests to the smooth muscle in the bladder. She is now writing up her PhD thesis, maintaining an international and interdisciplinary peer mentoring network and enjoys presenting research in comics and short presentations. She organises a yearly meeting for early career researchers in urology, where she promotes interactions, networking and mentoring.

Francesco D'Orazio

Researcher and product designer
Francesco D’Orazio is a researcher and product designer with a social science and digital media background. He specialises in futures research and in exploring the opportunities emerging at the intersection of social software, data science and audience behaviour. He has a PhD in Social Sciences and Digital Media (2004-2007) from Università degli Studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’. He is the Co-founder and Vice President of Product at audience intelligence firm Pulsar and Co-founder of the Visual Social Media Lab. His work focuses on designing systems and research frameworks that help analyze social data and extract insights from the web in real time using computational social science and data visualisation. Most of his research work on social data has been focusing on virality, social influence, content diffusion and audience insights.

Havi Carel

Professor of philosophy
Havi Carel grew up in Tel Aviv. She came to the UK in 1998 to study for her PhD, on the concept of death, which she completed in 2002, at the University of Essex, under the supervision of Simon Critchley. Havi was made Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol in 2014. Her research examines the experience of illness and of receiving healthcare. In 2014 she was awarded a Senior Investigator Award by the Wellcome Trust, for a five year project entitled ‘Life of Breath’ (with Prof Jane Macnaughton, Durham University). She recently completed a monograph for Oxford University Press, entitled Phenomenology of Illness (out in September 2016). Havi is the author of Illness (2008, 2013), shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize, and of Life and Death in Freud and Heidegger (2006). She is the co-editor of Health, Illness and Disease (2012) and of What Philosophy Is (2004). She uses film in teaching and has co-edited a volume entitled New Takes in Film-Philosophy (2010).

Irina Wang

Multi-disciplinary designer
Irina Wang grew up in Florida before moving to London for her undergraduate studies. In 2015 she graduated from Chelsea College of Arts with the Dean’s Award and was granted a Mead Fellowship for creating educational materials in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. She has remained in the UK under a work visa sponsored by Pentagram, the design studio in London where she works full-time as a graphic designer on Domenic Lippa’s team. The Mead grant has facilitated a recent exhibition in Holborn as well as her research trip to Alaska, where she met the Aleuts of Saint Paul Island to begin working on a key text for their endangered Unangam Tunuu language. Combining interests in typography, linguistics, literature, and anthropology, she continues designing for language revitalisation to aid native communities in resisting hegemony and monoculture. She is a serial wanderer and interdisciplinary dabbler, as she believes that design can be a wide-angle lens to view and affect the world.

James Ladyman

Professor of the philosophy of science
James Ladyman is Professor of the Philosophy of Science at the University of Bristol and Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of York. He has worked extensively in scientific realism, constructive empiricism and structural realism. In 1998 he made the the distinction between epistemic and ontic forms of structural realism and has defended the latter since. Professor Ladyman was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Philosophy and Ethics in 2005 was awarded the American Library Association’s Outstanding Academic Text Award. He has been the editor of the The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science and Honorary Secretary of The British Society for the Philosophy of Science. He is the author of Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, Understanding the Philosophy of Science and Arguing About Science.

Karoline Wiesner

Assistant professor in complexity sciences
Karoline Wiesner is Assistant Professor in complexity sciences in the School of Mathematics at the University of Bristol. Her research focus is on Shannon’s mathematical theory of communication applied to complex systems. Application areas include proteins, glass formers, and stem cells. She also study the mathematical and philosophical foundations of complex systems.

Lucy Berthoud

Spacecraft systems engineer
Lucy Berthoud is a Spacecraft Systems Engineer, with a PhD in Space Physics from ENSAE, Toulouse and a degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Bristol. She has worked in the Space Industry for twenty years on interplanetary spacecraft missions to Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon and comets. She currently works for Thales Alenia Space UK on a Mars Sample Return mission and also teaches Spacecraft design at the University of Bristol. Before that she was a visiting scientist at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston looking at planetary cratering and at the European Space Agency in Holland investigating space debris.

Raj Persaud

Consultant psychiatrist, writer and broadcaster
Raj Persaud is a Consultant Psychiatrist who has written and broadcast widely in the mainstream media besides working as an academic and clinical psychiatrist, achieving the senior post of NHS Consultant Psychiatrist at the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospitals from 1994-2008. He has won numerous academic distinctions including the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s Research Prize and Medal and holds amongst 8 degrees and diplomas including a First Class Honours degree in Psychology.

Richard Pettigrew

Professor of philosophy
Richard Pettigrew grew up in Edinburgh. Between 1999 and 2003, he read Mathematics and Philosophy at University of Oxford. After that, he moved to Bristol, reading for an MA in Philosophy (2003-4) and then a PhD in Mathematical Logic (2004-8). From 2008 until 2011, he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at University of Bristol; in 2011, he was appointed to a Lectureship there. In 2012, he was appointed to a Readership and, in 2014, he became Professor of Philosophy. Between 2014-5, he acted as Head of Department. Richard’s research has moved from the proof theory of set theory and bounded arithmetic through the philosophy of mathematics and modal logic to formal epistemology and the foundations of statistics and, most recently, into decision theory. In his future work, he hopes to focus on the decision theory of major like decisions, such as becoming a parent, choosing a career, or choosing to undergo risky medical treatment.

Will Whitehorn

Chairman of Speed Communications and ex-President of Virgin Galactic
William Whitehorn joined the Virgin Group in 1987, progressing his way through the ranks to eventually becoming Sir Richard Branson’s Special Adviser and ‘right hand man’. In his time at Virgin, he projected the Virgin brand into new ventures, including telecoms and financial services. He later became the President of Virgin Galactic, the company's spaceline business venture. Since leaving Virgin in 2011, Will went on to being non-executive director of Stagecoach Group plc., and then most recently appointed as Chairman of the British Government’s Transport Systems Catapult, developing new transport technology.

Organizing team


London, United Kingdom


United Kingdom
  • Ben Hudson
    Team member
  • Casey Shepheard
    Team member
  • Charlie Deeks
    Team member
  • Codor Khodr
  • Danny Coleman-Cooke
    Team member
  • Mae-Li Evans
  • Megan Randles
    Team member
  • Natalie Jester-Carter
    Team member
  • Nikki Ernst
    Team member
  • Oliver Daniel
  • Romy Gwilym
    Team member
  • Samuel Rogers
  • Savannah Simons
    Team member
  • Steve Gibbs
    Team member
  • Toby Young
  • Valmir Ismaili
    Team member
  • Yagneshwar Rajasagaran