Science Writer & Author
Alanna Collen is a science writer, author of the successful ‘10% HUMAN: How your body’s microbes hold the key to health and happiness’, published in 2015 and available in 18 languages.
She has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Imperial College London and holds a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from UCL and the Zoological Society of London. During her scientific career, she has written for the Sunday Times Magazine and the Guardian and has appeared on numerous radio and television programmes, including BBC Radio 4’s Tribes of Science and Saturday Live, and BBC One’s adventure-wildlife show Lost Land of the Volcano. Alanna is a well-traveled zoologist, an expert in bat echolocation, and an accidental collector of tropical diseases.
She’s currently working on her second book ‘FATOLOGY: Why fat is not all about food’ and will be sharing for the first time its insights on stage.
Writer, Comic & Actor
Alfie Joey is the host of the BBC Newcastle breakfast radio show. But wait, there’s more: he’s also a writer, comic, actor, impressionist. And an artist/cartoonist. In May 2017 the North East Art Collective in Newcastle presented a gallery wall of his #AlfArt work and he is also on display at Spennymoor Town Hall. Born into a County Durham coal mining family, Alfie left the region to train to be a Catholic priest, becoming a brother in a religious order. After living a monastic life for 15 years, he decided to leave and become a comedian, squeezing in also a stint as a toy demonstrator in Harrods in between!
Andrew Z. Szydło is an internationally acclaimed chemistry teacher. But he’s definitely not the typical chemistry teacher you would expect…
He holds a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science from UCL, and is an expert on the history of alchemy (his 1994 book ‘Water Which Does Not Wet Hands’ is considered to be the standard reference work on the Polish alchemist Michael Sendivogius.)
But his polymath spirit extends further: he’s a violin, bugle and accordion player, as well as a professional photographer. Throughout the years Andrew has wowed audiences all around the world with his pyrotechnical approach to teaching and demonstrating chemical sciences on stage and has appeared many times on TV.
Tech Entrepreneur & Author
Elizabeth Clark is a multiple award winner entrepreneur and an accomplished international speaker. She is CEO and Chairman of Dream Agility, which she co-founded in 2015, a fast-growing ad-tech platform that improves retailers’ e-commerce performances. Elizabeth is also the best selling author: in 2009 she published ‘Flirting for Dummies’ for the popular book series of the same name.
Science Communicator & Singer/Songwriter
Emer Maguire is an award-winning science communicator, BBC radio presenter, and a singer-songwriter. In 2015 she was named the UK’s best science communicator winning the FameLab competition. In 2017, Emer won the International Science Stars competition as well to prove her first victory wasn’t just a fluke. She combines her love of science with music and comedy to be irresistibly winning with her audiences.
With topics ranging from “Why do we fall in love” to “The Mystery of Music (according to science)”, Emer inspires audiences to find science as captivating as she does. Emer is currently spreading her love for science and tech by presenting her BBC radio show, “Science and Stuff with Emer Maguire”.
When she’s not on the air, she’s performing at science festivals and events throughout the UK and Ireland.
Founder & Architect
When Architect Kirsty Henderson started building herself as an athlete, she realised one thing: she didn’t have a map. In Architecture every building she worked on had a blueprint, in her own personal development, she looked for the same.
With no apparent solution, she embarked upon an epic and committed journey through Eastern healing and training systems, world philosophies, psychology, and theologies, in the pursuit of creating her own. Today she uses her “mapping of the human system” as the fundamental framework for her work in mental and physical reprogramming and Human Development.
As Founder of the FRT Training & Research Institute, which trains the top organisations in the world in subjects of human resilience, wellbeing and development, and Founder of a number of not for profit organizations which specialise in helping people face life’s most difficult challenges, her Human System Architecture has been used to train tens of thousands of people worldwide.
Afro-Latin percussion & brass duet
Ladies of Midnight Blue are an Afro-Latin percussion & brass duet comprised of Hannabiell Sanders (Bass Trombone, African & Latin Percussion, Mbira) and Yilis del Carmen Suriel (African & Latin Percussion, Mbira). They create a powerful and upbeat fusion of trance drum rhythms that produce a melodic percussive sound by weaving combinations of percussion, brass, vocal chants, and mbira.
The Ladies of Midnight Blue have performed all over the world and in the last 10 years they have been workshop facilitators and guest artists for various projects and residencies. Their art and music workshops focus on community building and raising awareness concerning issues of inequality on all levels.
Chairman of LEAP UK & former Detective Sergeant
Neil Woods is a former Detective Sergeant and undercover operative and is now Chairman of LEAP UK, and a board member of LEAP in the USA. LEAP (Law Enforcement Action Partnership) is a U.N. accredited international organisation composed of law enforcement figures, military and policy influencers who campaign for evidence-based drug policy.
Having spent 23 years in Derbyshire Constabulary, Neil was on the frontlines as a drugs undercover operative over fourteen years. He also developed tactics and the training for other undercover officers. He later became a Detective Sergeant with Derbyshire CID whilst acting as a board member of the Drugs Expert Witness and Valuation Association (DEWVA). Neil is a regular in the media, discussing drugs and drug policy.
Nick works with a collection of the biggest stars and teams in international sport all focused on weaponising sleep as a critical competitive advantage as these athletes look to achieve the unending human goal of realising their peak performance.
Nick has been redefining and innovating a new human sleep approach for over 22 years. Nick’s fascinating journey to become the world’s leading Elite Sport Sleep Coach and his revolutionary R90 Technique is encapsulated in a book called SLEEP “The Myth of 8 hours the power of Naps and the New Plan to Recharge Your Body and Mind”. Published by Penguin Random House it has made him an International Best Selling Author with translations into 13 languages world-wide.
Olivia completed her Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on anxiety disorders and is using the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer study, one of the largest, European cohort studies looking at chronic diseases, mental health, and the way people live their lives. Her research has been featured by the BBC, Forbes magazine, and USA Today, and she has appeared on several radio shows and podcasts talking about anxiety and the impact that it can have on people’s lives. Olivia is the creator and host of The Cambridge Talk Show, a weekly radio show focusing on lifestyle matters and mental health.
Stephen Purvis is a technologist, philanthropist, investor and Chairman of the North East’s only dedicated policy think tank Policy North. In his early career he was a frontline military pilot serving in operational theatres around the globe.
After moving back to the North East, he founded a bespoke software business which was sold in 2016 in a deal valued at around £5m. Stephen is now CTO of Ocucon, an highly promising digital security startup that is disrupting the video surveillance industry, and an active growth-stage technology investor and has a diverse portfolio of North East technology interests.
His passion about the greater potential of North East has led him to found Policy North in 2016 to make the case for the region in Westminster and to drive innovation through social justice, education and a sustainable economy.
Professor Stephen Westaby is one of the world’s most prominent cardiac surgeons and author of Sunday Times bestseller ‘Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table”. During his incredible career, he’s operated on over 11,000 patients, becoming one of the world’s top and pioneering heart surgeons. He has achieved a plethora of medical firsts, fitting the UK’s first artificial heart pump. Stephen is now retired, after having undergone surgery himself on his operating hand, damaged from all the years of holding instruments, and is Calon Cardio’s director – a medical entreprise developing revolutionary cardiac pumps which could save thousands of lives by removing the need for heart transplants, changing heart surgery forever.
TED Prize Professor
Sugata Mitra is Newcastle University’s Professor and Principal Investigator of Educational Technology, and world-wide known expert of self-organising systems. A physicist by training, he has worked on Organic Semiconductors, Energy Storage Systems, Bots, Remote Presence, complex dynamical systems. Since 1999, the focus of his research has been on primary learning and the Internet.
Sugata has achieved international acclaims for his successful ‘Hole in the Wall’, ‘Self Organised Learning Environments’ (SOLEs) and ‘School in the Cloud’ experiments on unsupervised learning amongst groups of children.
He is a recipient of many awards, among them the million-dollar TED Prize in 2013, and has spoken extensively about ‘Minimally invasive education’ all over the world.