It’s not just because my friend and colleague Chris Dymond was the guiding hand behind the content that was presented at TEDxSheffield yesterday that I say it was an absolute triumph. It’s because it was, true to the tenets of TED, it was eclectic, entertaining and enlightening.
Chris told us from the start that the talks had no theme other than trying to make sense of the enormity of the change that is happening around us all the time. However, it seems that many in the audience didn’t believe him and tried to find their own themes. Most interestingly the themes that people saw were different.
I heard some talk of a theme of community and tribe. This was certainly present in David Cotterell’s talk about being a war artist in Afghanistan, Erica Packington’s story of how Roller Derby changed people’s lives and Sophie Maxwell’s incredible work with excluded young people at The Really NEETs College.
Others picked a common thread of listening through Fi Glover, Cathy Fitzgerald and Tony Phillip’s introductions to the BBC Radio 4 and British Library Listening Project, through Steve Coulson’s history of storytelling to Sophie Maxwell’s methodology of ‘matching and pacing’ to engage hard to reach youngsters and on to seeing and hearing a preview of British Sea Power’s soundtrack to the ‘From the Sea to the Land Beyond’ project that they will be performing live on the first day of DocFest.
There was an obvious common factor between Giuseppe Battaglia and Marco Viceconti of Sheffield based, Italian bio-scientists talking about the work they are doing to understand our bodies and how to fix them, but from very different perspectives. How these two had never met is beyond me.
I think there was just a theme of awesome stories that included James and Leila’s experience of the Happenstance project, Sophie’s answer to ‘What is £1.80 to you’ (the answer was that a £1.80 sandwich offered by an inspirational mentor to get her to sit down and talk changed her life forever) and Chella Quint’s hugely entertaining ‘Adventures in Menstruating’.
Every one of the speakers was incredible and inspiring and I would like to raise my hat to Chris Dymond and his co-producer Herb Kim (as well as the rest of the TEDxSheffield team) for a job well done!