x = independently organized TED event

Theme: HOPE

This event occurred on
April 21, 2017
12:00am - 12:00am BST
(UTC +1hr)
Exeter, Devon
United Kingdom

TEDxExeter: HOPE
8.30am - 5.15pm, Friday 21 April 2017
A day of inspiring talks, connection and action

“Critical thinking without hope is cynicism, but hope without critical thinking is naïveté.” Maria Popova

TEDxExeter is back for a 6th year. We’re bringing another exceptional group of speakers to Exeter to share their work, vision and hope with us.

We’ll gather over 900 people on the day to share inspiration and explore ways of turning hope into action to make a positive difference in our lives, our communities and ultimately our world.

Tickets will be released at 10am on Thursday 1 December at the Exeter Northcott Theatre.

“Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things you can know beforehand.” Rebecca Solnit

Come and join us – dreamers, thinkers, makers and doers – and be part of something special.

TEDxExeter: HOPE

The Exeter Nothcott Theatre
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Stocker Road
Exeter, Devon, EX4 4QB
United Kingdom
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Andrew Solomon

Writer, lecturer and Professor of Clinical Psychology
Andrew Solomon is a writer, lecturer and professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University. He is president of PEN American Center. He writes regularly for The New Yorker and the New York Times and is a renowned TED speaker. Andrew’s newest book, Far and Away: Reporting from the brink of change, seven continents, twenty five years was published in April, 2016. He is author of many previous books including Far From the Tree: Parents, children and the search for identity, which won the National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction, the Wellcome Prize and 22 other national awards. It tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. It was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback editions. An activist in LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts he lives with his husband and son in New York and London and is a dual national.

Christina Lamb

Author and Foreign Correspondent
Christina Lamb is one of Britain’s leading foreign correspondents and a bestselling author. She has reported from most of the world’s hotspots but her particular passions are Afghanistan and Pakistan. She has won numerous awards including five times being named Foreign Correspondent of the Year and Europe’s top war reporting prize, the Prix Bayeux. She was made an OBE in 2013. In 2016 she won the Foreign Press Association award for Feature of the Year for reporting on the Chibok girls in Nigeria and in 2015 Amnesty International’s Newspaper Journalist of the Year for reporting from inside Libyan detention centres. Currently Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Times of London, Christina has written eight books including the bestselling ‘I Am Malala’ and is on the board of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. Her latest books are ‘Farewell Kabul; From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World’ and ‘Nujeen; One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair.’

Gill Hayes

Mental Health Activist
A four month sabbatical in the French Alps in 2008 gave Gill Hayes and her family space and time to think about what was really important to them in life. As a result her husband sold his business and they relocated to Devon for a better quality of life for themselves and their children. Gill decided to retrain as a yoga teacher. However, ‘living the dream’ didn’t go quite according to plan and she became severely depressed. By sharing her story of recovery, Gill wishes to spread hope to others with depression, to challenge some of the beliefs around mental illness and to encourage us to all to play a role in the mental health revolution.

Gulalai Ismail

Human Rights Activist
Gulalai Ismail was just 16 when she co-founded Aware Girls, in Pakistan, with her sister, Saba. Driven by a passion to challenge a culture of intolerance and extremism, Gulalai and Saba began running workshops in their home town to provide girls and young women with leadership skills to challenge oppression and fight for their rights to an education and equal opportunities. Based in Peshawar, north-west Pakistan, Aware Girls has grown into an internationally renowned organisation that has trained, empowered and inspired hundreds of youth in Pakistan since 2002. A winner of the 2009 Youth Action Net Fellowship, the 2014 International Humanist Award and the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Award for Asia, Gulalai was named as one of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers in 2013 and has been featured by the BBC, Guardian, Huffington Post and more. In November 2016, Aware Girls was awarded the Chirac Peace Prize in recognition of their exceptional peacebuilding work in Pakistan.

Howard Johns

Energy Engineer, Entrepreneur, Business Leader & Activist
Howard Johns author of energy revolution is an energy engineer, entrepreneur, business leader and activist. Following completing a degree in energy technology and environment in the early 1990s, Howard became a protestor, about energy and climate change, trying to stop amongst other things the digging of an open cast coal mine, and being evicted from a tree in the process. Moving on from saying no to the problems, Howard set about building solutions, eventually founding Southern Solar a national solar energy company, and Ovesco a locally owned renewable energy cooperative. At the same time he chaired the trade body representing the UK solar industry, finding himself once again a campaigner around energy policy in the process. A believer in solutions, Howard is convinced we have all the technology and money we need to implement the climate and energy solutions we need. It is now time for lots of people to get involved with making it happen.

James Craig

James Craig is a second year student at Exeter College studying Maths, Chemistry and History. Having originally aspired to be a Doctor, a work experience placement at a Solicitor’s firm set him on a different path. Being interested in law and politics now for several years, he has applied to study Law at university after completion of his A-levels. He’s previously been Chair of his schools council, tutor rep and is currently the Diversity Officer of Exeter College’s Student Representative Committee. James believes in the power of communication and is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to talk at TEDx.

Jo & Toby Gorniak

Toby and Jo Gorniak are the cofounders of Street Factory CIC in Plymouth. They teach through the 10 elements of Hip Hop, genuine love and deep rooted trust that every young person can find their genius. Toby Gorniak is an award-winning hip hop artist, professional dancer, choreographer, educator and speaker. Jo Gorniak is a professional actress and performer. Toby and Jo will be joined on stage by Perry Johnson, Max Revell and Emmanuel Atangana Maze.

Kagemusha Taiko

Performing Arts Company
Devon-based Kagemusha Taiko have toured in Japan as well as playing significant concerts in Europe and the USA, where they represented European taiko at the first World Taiko Concert in Los Angeles. This performance at TEDx Exeter heralds a series of concerts to be played over the next few weeks, culminating in a headline performance at the 12th UK Taiko Festival, at the Exeter Northcott Theatre on 1st July. Besides creating and performing original taiko work, Kagemusha Taiko deliver workshops in a wide range of situations, from special programmes for business leaders to access workshops for the general public, from workshops in mainstream schools to sessions for adults and young people with special needs. For the group, taiko is more than just drumming. It’s a wonderful way to increase the global quotient of human happiness. Performers: Jonathan Kirby, Lucy Thomas, Pippa Kirby, Oliver Kirby, Michael Brailey, George Howe, Esther Pike, Kate Montagne and Victoria Rowledge.

Kester Brewin

Teacher, author and broadcaster
Kester Brewin teaches mathematics in South East London and is also an author and broadcaster. He has written and presented for BBC Radio 4, and spoke at TEDxExeter in 2013 on Mutiny! – his acclaimed work on pirate culture. His latest book 'Getting High – A savage journey to the heart of the dream of flight' explores the human quest for altitude through the prism of the events of the 1960s. It has been praised by Simon Critchley, author of Bowie and Hans Jonas, professor of philosophy at the New School, New York, as "a beautiful meditation on flight, memory and meaning in a world still struggling to come to terms with the loss of the most high."

Madhumita Murgia

European Technology Correspondent, Financial Times
Madhumita is a journalist, editor and speaker with expertise in the fields of science, health and technology. As the European Technology Correspondent at the Financial Times, she is passionate about how technology and science have disrupted and transformed all aspects of our lives. She was previously head of technology at the Telegraph, where she oversaw the publication’s tech coverage and has written award-winning longform features on data privacy, gene editing and other major tech trends for publications such as Wired, Newsweek and the BBC. Before journalism, Madhumita worked on an HIV vaccine at Oxford University.

Matt Harvey

Writer, poet, enemy of all that’s difficult and upsetting
Poet and lyricist Matt Harvey was first official Poet-in-Residence at the Wimbledon Championships (“brilliant” The New Yorker) and has been commissioned by – among others – the Science Museum, the Open University and the Energy Ombudsman. He has been a familiar voice on Radio 4 since 2001 when he co-wrote and co-starred in One Night Stanza. He also served seven years as regular poet on Saturday Live, hosted two series of The Wondermentalist Cabaret and wrote and performed the adventures of superhero Empath Man. Matt is the author of The Hole in the Sum of my Parts, Where Earwigs Dare and Mindless Body Spineless Mind. He currently writes a regular column, Qwerty Something, for Resurgence Magazine and was nominated for a PEA Award for the energy-inspired poems in The Element in the Room, written while Poet-in-Residence with RegenSW. His most recent book is Sit! is a collaboration with illustrator Claudia Schmid. He is a regular visitor to TEDxExeter.

Nujeen Mustafa

Refugee from Aleppo, Syria
Nujeen Mustafa is a young refugee from Aleppo, Syria. She has cerebral palsy and cannot walk but this did not stop her braving inconceivable odds to travel in her wheelchair from Syria in search of a new life. Her story is told in Christina Lamb’s best selling book 'Nujeen; One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair'. “She is our hero. Everyone must read her story. She will inspire you.’ Malala Yousafzai.

Rob Wilson

Chief Toaster & Social Entrepreneur
Rob has been involved with Toast Ale since its inception in early 2016, initially as an advisor and more recently as full time Chief Toaster. Toast Ale believe that if want to change the world, you have to throw a better party than those destroying it. Prior to Toast, Rob led Ashoka in the UK, supporting a global network of social entrepreneurs to scale system changing ideas and enterprises. Rob is an award winning serial social entrepreneur himself having founded a number of ventures over the years. He founded READ International in 2004; a Tanzanian student-volunteer-led development organisation which to date has provided over 1.5 million books to school children and created 100 school libraries. He co-founded Generation Change in 2012, a partnership of the UK’s leading youth social action organisations, and he also recently co-founded the youth-led campaign Undivided; a non-partisan campaign set up to get the best possible Brexit deal for young people.

Vik Mohan

GP and Medical Director
Dr Vik Mohan is a GP in Exeter, medical director at Blue Ventures Conservation, and the architect of Blue Ventures’ award-winning integrated health and conservation programme. While working with communities in Madagascar on Blue Ventures’ community-based marine conservation programme, Vik’s interest in community health led him to uncover a huge unmet need for health care, and sexual and reproductive health care in particular. Responding to this need he led the development of the region’s first sexual and reproductive health service and oversaw its integration into Blue Ventures’ activities to form an integrated population, health and environment programme. Vik has seen many benefits during nearly 10 years of working in this way including improved natural resource management, community resilience and improvements in maternal and child health. He now wants to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from this “whole system” approach to conservation and sustainable development.

Virginie Helias

Vice President of Global Sustainability at P&G
With 28 years of experience at Procter & Gamble in Brand Management and Innovation, Virginie has worked across multiple categories and global to local brand management expertise across several of P&G’s multi-billion dollar brands (Pantene, Ariel/Tide, Pampers). Prior to her current position, she was the Western Europe Franchise Leader for Ariel, one of P&G largest brands, where she turned Ariel into the leader in sustainability through the launch of the highly successful “Cool Clean/Turn to 30” campaign. In 2011, she recommended the creation of a new position: Global Sustainability Brand Director, working across all P&G business units and regions. Her mission was to embed sustainability into innovation, brand-building and everyday business practices. In 2016, she was promoted to Vice President of Global Sustainability, in recognition of the work she has led to make sustainability a core business strategy, an innovation driver and a catalyst for a more resilient organisation.

Organizing team


Exeter, United Kingdom
  • Andy Robertson
  • Clive Chilvers
  • Dominic Course
  • Ed Bird
  • Jon-Paul Hedge
  • Oriana Ascanio
  • Sara Gibbs
  • Sarah Bird
  • Sarah Bailey
  • Stacey Hedge
  • Tobit Emmens