x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Power of Us

This event occurred on
June 11, 2016
8:30am - 6:30pm BST
(UTC +1hr)
Birmingham, Birmingham
United Kingdom

TEDxBrum 2016
Saturday 11th June 2016

There is no ‘us and them’ any more, it’s just us.

All of us.

Birmingham is an ‘us’ – one of incredible institutions, organisations, people, projects and ideas happening across the city – but how might we pioneer a better city together?

Locally and globally, we are now interconnected in more ways than we can imagine. Together, we have the power to do more than ever before. It’s time to break down the walls and connect across public, private and civic sectors in order to build a city we can be proud of.

Join us for 2016’s biggest, brightest and boldest ever TEDxBrum event, where we'll explore how we can share skills, ideas and resources to unleash the #PowerOfUs.

Town Hall, Birmingham
Victoria Square
Birmingham, Birmingham, B3 3DQ
United Kingdom
See more ­T­E­Dx­Brum events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.


A Squared are a polyvocal spoken word duo based in Birmingham, consisting of Aliyah Denton and Aliyah Holder. Two stylistically different poets whose artistic vision is often in sync, their work focuses on themes of empowerment, identity and social commentary. A Squared's first public performance was for BBC 1xtra's Scratchbeat in 2014 in support of Suli Breaks and George the Poet. They have since worked on Apple and Snakes Level UP season 3, featured in Rifco Arts production Mummy Ji, performed at HLF/Beatfreeks Routes to Roots expo and become part of the Ten Letters cast - a poetic theatre piece on the stories of Birmingham that is currently in development to be toured next year. A Squared are also currently working on a project of their own to be released later this summer. Twitter: @a2thesquared

Beatbox Quartet

The Beatbox Quartet is a collection of Birmingham-based beatboxers and vocal artists. Ed Geater, Mickel Morris, Rory McGhie & Charlie Geater began their collaboration in early 2015 as a platform to meet and share techniques. With skills spanning many genres and instruments, the Beatbox Quartet blend humour and musicality to produce explosive high energy compositions. Rory is no stranger to TEDxBrum, hosting our DIY event back in 2014. Mickel is director of Beatfreeks, and Charlie is an independent photographer. With ‘Barriers EP’ the start of an exciting journey as a signed artist, 2016 has already been a year of real growth for Ed Geater. They are coming together at TEDxBrum 2016 for their debut performance, and will be sharing original content created especially for #PowerOfUs.Twitter: @EdGeater | @Mickel_70 | @RoryMcGhie | @C_M_G_PHOTO


Fresh from releasing her latest single Back Up Plan, Midlands teen Mahalia is one of 2016’s most exciting new artists. As a child growing up in Leicester - where she lived until moving to Birmingham two years ago - Mahalia’s mum would drive her to and from school to the sounds of Etta James, Floetry, Aaliyah and Tweet. In 2014, she supported Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sandé on their respective UK tours, and performed with Labrinth and Rizzle Kicks at the Royal Albert Hall for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Earlier this year Mahalia also went into the studio with Rudimental, resulting in the title track from their #1 album, We The Generation. With a debut album of her own set for later this year, she is most definitely one to watch. Website: Twitter: @MahaliaMusic

The People's Orchestra

The People’s Orchestra is an independent charity and one of the UK’s leading community orchestras, encompassing a committed and talented blend of amateur and professional musicians. With a varied repertoire of classical and popular pieces from film, TV, etc, their performances attract a high percentage of new audiences who have never seen an orchestra play live before. Through a successful ‘Steps to Work’ programme, The People's Orchestra has also been able to help 120 local people into paid employment in a range of areas such as administration, finance, design, marketing, and event management, and were a Charity of the Year finalist 2015 in the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Awards. Website: Twitter: @ThePeoplesOrch

Adnan Sharif

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Dr Adnan Sharif is a Consultant Nephrologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham with a special interest in renal transplantation. He qualified at the University of Edinburgh Medical School in 2002 and completed his specialist registrar training in Renal Medicine in the West Midlands. He is the Secretary of the non-government organisation Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) which campaigns against illegal and unethical organ procurement around the globe. DAFOH’s decade-long efforts to raise awareness of this issue have been recognised with a nomination for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr Sharif also sits on the steering committee of Give a Kidney, a registered charity in the UK that promotes altruistic living kidney donation. In addition he raises awareness of organ donation amongst ethnic minority communities and is a member of the National BAME Transplantation Alliance (NBTA). Website: Twitter: @AdnanSharif1979

Alberto Vecchio

Gravitational Waves
Alberto Vecchio is a Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham. During his PhD, he became fascinated by the idea that one could map colliding black holes throughout the Universe and one day, observe the infant Universe itself using a form of radiation that at the time no one had been able to capture - Gravitational Waves. Alberto’s career has been spent working with colleagues around the world on gravitational wave observations and experiments, such as LIGO - the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, and pulsar timing arrays. Within the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Alberto has been leading the group responsible for developing the techniques to tease out the physical properties of binary systems of compact objects from the data. He is also part of the team that has directly detected gravitational waves and discovered the first binary black hole. Website: Twitter: @UoBobservatory

Alistair Cory

Gensler, UK
Alistair Cory is the Design Business Leader for the UK Regional Markets at Gensler. An integrated architecture, design, planning and consulting firm, Gensler operates in 27 practice areas under the market banners of work, community and lifestyle. Alistair manages the Birmingham design office, which recently opened in the Custard Factory in Digbeth. As a qualified architect, project manager and business leader, Alistair has a considerable amount of experience across a broad range of sectors - from leisure and healthcare to education and science - working to produce intelligent and innovative places, buildings and interiors. Website: Twitter: @AlistairCory | @GenslerUK

Amy Martin

Director, Impact Hub Birmingham / FAMALAM
Amy Martin is a creative producer with a decade of experience in designing and delivering arts and innovation programmes across the country. Her work involves children and young people as co-constructors, co-producers and leaders. Amy is a BOM (Birmingham Open Media) Fellow and part of the Innovate UK / Arts Council England funded arts & technology pilot at Near Now in Nottingham. Her project F A M A L A M explores parenting and play in the 21st Century, with a specific focus on #RadicalChildcare an initiative to explore, imagine and invest in bold new possibilities for the future of childcare. Website: Twitter: @amyrozelmartin | @__famalam

Andreas Freise

Gravitational Waves
Andreas Freise is a Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Birmingham. He has a leading role in the design and construction of gravitational wave detectors and has chaired optical design working groups of the international projects Advanced Virgo and the Einstein Telescope. Andreas is passionate about teaching in a research-focused University and is keen to motivate and inspire by making scientific research more widely accessible. He strongly believes that involving open-minded students in his own work helps him generate new ideas and drives his research projects. Andreas enjoys exploring new paths for public engagement, for example as a co-founder of the not-for-profit Laser Labs and founder of the LIGO Magazine. Website: Twitter: @gwoptics | @LaserLabsGames

Anisa Haghdadi

CEO, BeatFreeks
Anisa Haghdadi is the founder and CEO of BeatFreeks, a creative youth engagement agency based in the heart of Birmingham. At the age of 23, Anisa was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to education and young people, and has recently received a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship to develop Doink; a do and think tank which collects and communicates data creatively to help people make better decisions. Living by the mantra passion, purpose, people, Anisa is committed to redefining the culture of enterprise so that business and social are seen as inextricable. Website: Twitter: @AnisaHaghdadi | @beatfreeks

Anthony Painter

Anthony Painter is the Director of Policy and Strategy at the Royal Society of Arts. Leading the RSA’s Development Team - which includes design, international, behaviour change, and the RSA’s policy work and consultancy offer - he focuses on the impact of new technology on the economy and society, as well as reform to welfare, public services, and a range of public institutions. Anthony has previously directed the Independent Review of the Police Federation and worked with Google, the BBC and the Metropolitan Police. He is the author of three books, and his latest report is entitled, 'Creative Citizen, Creative State: the principled and pragmatic case for a Universal Basic Income'. Website: Twitter: @anthonypainter | @theRSAorg

Craig Pinkney

Criminologist, Real Action UK
Craig Pinkney is a Criminologist, Urban Youth Specialist, Lecturer and Director of Real Action UK - a charitable outreach organisation based in Birmingham who specialise in working with disaffected youth. Notable projects include: ‘Don’t Get Gassed’ a national anti-knife crime campaign which has over 50,000 views on Youtube. Craig is well-known for working with some of the cities most challenging young people, potentially high-risk offenders, victims of gang violence and youth who are deemed as hard to reach. Through mentoring, discussion, advocacy, sport, media, film and faith-based interventions, he believes giving a platform to young people will raise attainment and promote positive social change. Craig also lectures full time at University College Birmingham, specialising in youth violence, urban street gangs, extremism, trauma and black men’s desistance, and is part of the EU Gangs Project. Website: Twitter: @RealActionUK | @EUGANGSproject

Devita Davison

Detroit Food Lab
Devita Davison is the Director of FoodLab Detroit, a non-profit organisation that works to provide entrepreneurs with the technical assistance, workshops, resources and skills they need to start and grow strong businesses. With a lack of representation of low-income entrepreneurs of colour in the food industry, FoodLab is working hard to acknowledge and address barriers to participation, build power and resilience, and promote environmental sustainability through civic engagement. Devita was previously the Community Kitchen Managing Director for Detroit Kitchen Connect; a network of shared, commercial kitchen spaces that provides community resources and an array of industry-specific services. Combining her passion for culinary arts with activism and entrepreneurship, Devita has worked with the Brooklyn Food Coalition, facilitated workshops for the WKKF Foundation, spoken at the Just Food Conference, Netroots Nation, TEDxDetroit and the BALLE conference. Website:

Jayne Hardy

Founder & CEO, Blurt Foundation
Jayne Hardy is the founder and CEO of The Blurt Foundation. Losing most of her twenties to depression, at the height of her illness she was unable to work, leave the house or undertake the most basic acts of self care. Jayne founded Blurt to prevent others from feeling isolated as she had done. Having experienced the powerful connections that could be fostered via social media she deliberately focused Blurt’s activities online, providing interim support for those struggling with depression and challenging the stigma around mental health. Her most recent campaign #WhatYouDontSee trended on twitter for 4 hours on Monday 18th April as part of Depression Awareness Week. The hashtag has been used over 100,000 times on facebook and a Buzzfeed article about the campaign has been read over 750,000 times. #WhatYouDontSee also gained support from the Mental Health Shadow Minister Luciana Berger, MP Johnny Mercer, and celebrities including rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson.

Jon Sterckx

Jon skilfully brings percussion from across the globe together with 21st century music technology to create a unique blend of rhythmic soundscapes, bouncy world rhythms & high energy drumming. Tabla, darbuka, frame drums, cajon, vocal percussion and vocal sculpture are all played, sampled, mixed & crafted together live on stage in a synthesis of traditional musicianship and live electronics.His solo live sampling project, Drumscapes, has had audiences on their feet at events across the UK, including at WOMAD, Larmer Tree and Beautiful Days festivals, at Cardiff, Glasgow & Belfast Melas and at many other cultural events across the UK. Website: Twitter: @jonsterckx

Lauren Currie

Red Jotter
Lauren Currie is a Scottish designer and entrepreneur. She makes, thinks, writes and speaks about design, social change, education, and entrepreneurship all over the world. She co-founded Snook, Scotland's leading service design and social innovation agency which using design to make public services better. She spent the last year designing and leading Hyper Island’s new MA in Experience Design. Management Today recently named Lauren as one of the UK’s top 35 business women under 35, while ELLE UK featured her as one of their 30 women under 30 who are changing the world. Lauren now lives in London and splits her time between The Good Lab - changing the way people raise money for good causes - and leading #upfront, highlighting the lack of diversity of conference platforms around the world. A leading networker and popular speaker and teacher, she also works with her own clients offering consultancy and advice. Website: Twitter: @redjotter

Nafeesa Hamid

Nafeesa Hamid is a poet, spoken word artist, playwright and creative producer. Born in Pakistan, Nafeesa grew up in Birmingham, studied in Derby and joined the Mouthy Poets collective in Nottingham. She has been writing and performing for about 4 years, focusing on issues such as mental health, domestic violence, gender, identity and culture. Nafeesa has worked with Apples and Snakes, BMAG, mac birmingham, Derby Theatre and Beatfreeks. She has featured at Level Up, Hit The Ode, Poetry Is Dead Good and Outspoken. Her work has been selected for publication in the Saqi Anthology Muslim Women in the UK: An Anthology of Voices 2016. She is also the founder and co-manager of Twisted Tongues and TT Scribble Sessions. Website: Nafeesa Hamid on Hiive Twitter: @NafeesaHamid

Neeraj Lal

Clinical Research Fellow
Neeraj Lal is a Clinical Research Fellow who is currently completing his Cancer Research UK funded PhD at the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Centre at the University of Birmingham. During his surgical training he became interested in understanding the biology behind bowel cancer, particularly the role of the immune system. Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, has been receiving considerable attention as an emerging treatment option in a range of different cancer types. With surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy remaining the mainstay of bowel cancer treatment, Neeraj’s research is focused on understanding immunity in patients with bowel cancer and how we can bring effective immunotherapies to this highly common cancer type. Website: Twitter: @CIIC_UoB

Sacha Romanovitch

CEO, Grant Thornton
Sacha Romanovitch is the CEO of Grant Thornton UK LLP, becoming the first female to be elected as CEO of a major accountancy firm. Her leadership is based on establishing a common purpose and liberating people to achieve it, with a focus on creating sustainable value for clients, people and broader society. As a qualified coach and NLP practitioner, Sacha is chair of the patron group for Access Accountancy, an industry-wide social mobility initiative that aims to provide equal access to the profession for talented and ambitious young people from all backgrounds. She also sits on the UK National Advisory Board to the Global Social Impact Investment Steering Group. Outside of work, Sacha loves to travel with her family. Website: Twitter: @romanovsun | @GrantThorton

Simon Parker

Director, NLGN
Simon Parker is the Director of the New Local Government Network and is a leading voice on decentralisation and democracy, with his work being described as ‘making public policy fun’. Having worked alongside many of the UK’s leading councils, Simon champions new approaches to urban governance and public service delivery. He started his career as a journalist at The Guardian, and has since held senior positions at Demos and the Institute for Government. His book ‘Taking Power Back: Putting People in Charge of Politics’, addresses a key issue of our time - where should power and governance lie in our democracy? In offering policy recommendations and practical ideas for giving power away, Simon creates a new kind of politics focused on unleashing society’s creative potential. Website: Twitter: @SimonFParker | @NLGNthinktank

Simon Willis

Simon Willis is European Managing Director of; the world's leading social enterprise helping ordinary people to achieve social change, with 140 million users and growing fast. Nearly every hour, across 196 countries, a petition on achieves victory. Simon has also been CEO of The Young Foundation, run a global social innovation group for Cisco and worked for the British government in various roles including Head of Financial crime. Simon grew up in Australia and has lived in Brixton for the last 25 years with his wife, four children, one dog and one cat. Website: Twitter: @simonpwillis | @Change

Suriya Aisha

Suriya Aisha is a writer, theatre maker, workshop facilitator and creative producer who is passionate about equal opportunities and representation. Her ongoing project STAMP works with young people with additional needs in partnership with the Next Generation team at mac birmingham. She has also launched a peer and social support network - UNMUTED, for young people of colour who identify as LGBTQI. Suriya continues to develop herself as a performance artist, focusing on spoken word and theatre. She has performed alongside Meera Syal at Theatre Royal Stratford East and previously featured as part of the ‘Late at Tate’ exhibition ‘Visibly, Invisible’ curated by Saira Awan. As a member of the REP Foundry in 2014, Suriya initiated ‘Dark Room’ - a theatrical exploration of the relationship between culture, gender and mental health, and was recently accepted onto The Royal Court Theatre’s Live Lunch writers programme where she explored themes of culture and family through her play ‘Nine Nigh

Victoria Yaneva

Autism & PhD
Victoria Yaneva is currently completing her PhD in Computational Linguistics at the University of Wolverhampton, exploring how texts and the web can be made accessible to people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). With a background in psychology, Victoria’s research focuses on the intersection between language comprehension in people with developmental disorders and language assistance solutions for these populations. As a result, she is developing AUTOR, a web app which helps experts and non-experts to write accessible content for readers with autism; one of the core characteristics of autism being atypical communication which can affect education, employability and social inclusion. Victoria is also an Autism Advisor at Autism West Midlands in Birmingham, working with newly-diagnosed adults on the spectrum, and works alongside the Walsall Befriending Service.

Vidya Patel

Vidya Patel is a Kathak Dancer from Birmingham learning under the tutelage of Sujata Banerjee. After graduating from the Centre of Advanced Training at DanceXchange, Vidya recently represented the South Asian Category in the Grand Finals of BBC Young Dancer. She has performed at the Sadler’s Wells Gala at the Renaissance Hotel, UK Welcomes Modi at Wembley Station and the prestigious BBC Dance Proms. As part of the Sujata Banerjee Dance Company, Vidya also toured three cities in India, starting with the Vasant Utsav festival at the Kamani Auditorium Delhi. Most recently Vidya was invited to join Richard Alston Dance Company for Alston's latest piece set to Scarlatti's sonatas, An Italian in Madrid, which premiered at Sadler's Wells in March. Website: Twitter: @VidyaPatel96

Organizing team


Solihull, United Kingdom
  • Andrew Lightheart
    Team member
  • Anneka Deva
    Team member
  • Joyjit Sarkar