Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson is a Professor of Conservation Biology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. Anne’s research focuses on insect ecology and the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services, especially in the forest.
In addition to her scientific research, Anne invests much of her time in communicating her work to wider audiences. She has won multiple awards for her teaching, presenting and writing about biology. Her first book Insektenes Planet / Extraordinary Insects was published in Norway in 2018 and became an international bestseller with translations into more than 20 languages. She also runs a science blog and is a regular guest on radio and TV.
Investigative Science Writer
David Epstein is the author of the #1 New York Times best seller Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, and of the best seller The Sports Gene.
He was previously a reporter at ProPublica, where his investigations spanned drug cartels to poor medical practices. Prior to that, David was a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, where he wrote or co-wrote many of the magazine’s most high-profile stories, including the 2009 revelation that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had used steroids.
David has master’s degrees in environmental science and journalism. He has worked as an ecology researcher in the Arctic, studied geology and astronomy in the Sonoran Desert, and blithely signed up to work on the D-deck of a seismic research vessel shortly after it had been attacked by pirates. He has benefitted from a winding career.
If you were at TEDxManchester 2019, Ged needs no introduction. He is the Mancunian barber on a mission to help make the world a better place one haircut at a time. Growing up in a tough neighbourhood outside of Manchester, Ged found happiness serving in the military. He went on to establish a successful barbershop in Sale but despite his successes, Ged wanted to create a bigger impact in the world around him. So, in 2015, Ged started offering free haircuts to the homeless around Manchester.
His work went on to be featured on BBC Three’s ‘Amazing Humans’ which went viral online. Ged set up the Skullfades Foundation and their activities have grown including provision of food, hygiene kits and addiction counselling.
In 2019 the story has developed even further with the October launch of the Skullfades community barber shop opening in Stretford Mall which is resourced entirely by formerly homeless, ex-military servicemen, former prisoners and care leavers.
Big Tech Investigator
James Bloodworth is a freelance writer and the author of the critically acclaimed book Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain, which was recognised by The Times as its Current Affairs Book of the Year for 2018. Guardian columnist Nick Cohen reviewed the book as “vital reading for all”.
His first book was The Myth of Meritocracy: Why Working-Class Kids Still Get Working-Class Jobs published in 2016. Previously James has written for The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, The Spectator and International Business Times.
James Wallman has been described as “the Malcolm Gladwell of today’s Experience Economy. He brings together the best of social science research with insights and stories relayed with wit and verve.”
He is the author of the best-selling book, Time And How To Spend It, published by Penguin in 2019 where he writes on why we feel we have so little time and science-based answers on dealing with these issues. Previously, James wrote Stuffocation published by Penguin in 2015 and now in 7 languages.
Outside of his writing, James runs the strategy, innovation, and futures consultancy The Future is Here. Recent clients include KPMG, HSBC, KFC, IDEO, and Facebook. His opinions have appeared in the New York Times, FT, Economist, and Wired. He has forecast the future since 2004.
He holds an MA in Classics from the University of Oxford; an MA in Journalism from the University of the Arts London; and a Diploma in Entrepreneurship from the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.
Friendly Neighbourhood Mathematician
Katie Steckles is a mathematician based in Manchester, who gives talks and workshops and writes about mathematics. She finished her PhD in 2011, and since then has talked about maths in schools, at science festivals, on BBC radio and TV, at music festivals, as part of theatre shows and on the internet. She currently lectures part-time at Sheffield Hallam University.
Rubber Duck Orchestra
Eastern European Musical Mashup
The 7 musicians of the Rubber Duck Orchestra have a unique and eclectic Eastern European sound weaving Balkan, Roma, Klezmer and Swing styles of sound. Drawing upon combined experiences and musical inﬂuences, including years spent in Bosnia, Palestine, East Africa, and deepest Manchester, the Rubber Duck Orchestra create music which runs riot between Ukrainian melodies, contemporary Serbian grooves and New Orleans Jazz.
Their unusual name dates back to their birth on a Barge on a Mancunian Canal seven years ago and since then they have entertained crowds throughout the UK with recent performances including The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room, WOMAD UK, Boomtown Fair Festival, Kendal Calling, Bristol’s The Invisible Circus, Birmingham’s Hot Club de Swing and a collaboration with Beatboxer Jason Singh for The Rubber Duck Beatbox Orchestra.
Entrepreneur, Academic, & Drone Warfare Critic
Salah Sharief is the founder and director of Wordsmiths, an online proofreading and editing company. He holds a PhD in law from the University of Leeds, where he researched the dehumanisation of drone warfare. Salah is also a community leader in Manchester wherein he mentors youth, gives workshops on productivity and time management, and lectures on spirituality and self-development.
A Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, Sarah has diversified from cosmology into agriculture and food research, motivated by the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2017, Sarah founded the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Food Network bringing together academic food research and industry with STFC capabilities across physics and the UK’s largest science facilities.
Sarah led the Take a Bite out of Climate Change exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in 2019 and leads the Greenhouse Gas and Dietary Choices Open Source Toolkit which brings together food and greenhouse gas emissions data to inform the public and policy makers.
Sarah is author of over 100 refereed publications which have over 9000 citations and has won multiple prestigious awards in the UK and Europe for her work. Sarah’s book Food and Climate Change – Without the Hot Air will be published in 2020 by UIT Cambridge.
Stacey Copeland has represented her country in two sports, football and boxing. As an amateur boxer Stacey won a European silver medal and has now turned professional; last year she made history when she fought in Zimbabwe and became the first ever British woman to win the Commonwealth title.
In 2017 Stacey founded the Pave The Way project to fight for a world in which gender is never a barrier to human potential. Stacey delivers talks in schools, communities, and businesses, and last year spoke at European Parliament and the United Nations about gender equality in sport.
Steve Bugeja is one of comedy’s most exciting rising stars. Since winning the BBC New Comedy Award in 2013, Steve has gone on to host the BBC Radio 4 series Economics with Subtitles, and has made numerous appearances on TV shows such as Love Island: Aftersun (ITV2), Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central (Comedy Central), Zoe Ball on Saturday (ITV1) and Dog Ate My Homework (CBBC). He’s even starred in a viral comedy video for Lucozade alongside England footballer Harry Kane.
Steve’s been a featured act for the past 5 years at the Edinburgh Fringe. His 2018 Edinburgh Fringe show ‘Almost’ was a massive hit and went on to become the foundation of his largest national tour. The ‘Almost’ tour followed his previous critically-acclaimed shows Summer Camp (2017), Unpronounceable (2016) and Day Release (2015).