Category: Truth & Dare

TEDxWandsworth 2017 – looking back on an incredible day

00Truth & Dare

After a year of hard work – interviewing, organising and attending other TEDx events around the world – the big day was finally here.

On Saturday 25th November 2017, TEDxWandsworth kicked off at South Thames College on Wandsworth High Street for the third year running.

This year’s theme was ‘Truth and dare’, challenging the 16 speakers to talk honestly for 10 minutes about important issues or how daring they’d been in their own life decisions. We heard fascinating stories, emotional documentation and life struggles, along with fearful encounters and funny, happy memories.

These inspirational speeches left the TEDx delegates in various states from shock and disbelief to a sense of being overwhelmed, as well as the urge to laugh and cry tears of joy. You can find the full line up of speakers for TEDxWandsworth 2017 here.

Malav Sanghavi gives his talk at TEDxWandsworth 2017

Malav Sanghavi gives his talk at TEDxWandsworth 2017

Each session included a set from a musical act. Enchanting sounds flooded the auditorium with a powerful, upbeat performance from Melodic Gold, a band that met and continue to study at South Thames College.

In session two, Tom Morley’s vibrant and energetic performance included audience participation; Tom had everyone up on their feet, dancing and singing along to his African drums and chants.

Tom Morley

Tom Morley

After lunch, we were treated to an incredible performance from Rodney Branigan, a singer-songwriter from Amarillo, Texas. He’s been touring his ‘One Man, Two Guitar’ show – and we were over-the-moon to have him perform at TEDxWandsworth 2017.

Khiyo, a London-influenced Bengali band, gave us goose bumps with a haunting performance to open the last session of the day. Another two powerful speeches followed before the event came to a comedic end thanks to Emma Stroud and her mantra: laugh more, lose your inhibitions, #BeMoreBanana.

Emma Stroud

Emma Stroud

TEDxWandsworth finished with a bang. There was wine, beer, soft drinks and a vast amount of snacks, kindly provided by one of this year’s sponsors. As the wine flowed, the speakers – and all those involved with TEDxWandsworth 2017 – were finally able to reflect on an amazing achievement.

Amman and Kay would like to thank all the speakers, sponsors, delegates and, of course, the volunteers who made the event possible.

The TEDxWandsworth team enjoy a well-earned drink

The TEDxWandsworth team enjoy a well-earned drink

Until next year, Wandsworth.

Audience Pix-min

Here’s what to expect from TEDxWandsworth 2017

00Truth & Dare

TEDxWandsworth 2017 now just days away and excitement is starting to build. Our speakers are putting the finishing touches to their talks and the team is working hard to make the third TEDxWandsworth event one of the best yet. If you are one of the 150 delegates set to join us on Saturday 25th November, here is a sneak peak into what you can expect from the day.

1. Some daring truths

There’s a sense that having a difference of opinion is a bad thing. We’ve lost objectivity of what having a discussion is about. And, in some cases, truth has been suppressed – a minority voice in a maelstrom.

This year’s theme ‘Truth & Dare’ is about getting under the hood of those discussions, which is why we spent considerable effort seeking speakers who have something of true value to say. Our speakers have gone through a marathon process of mining their experiences and framing them against the essence of Truth & Dare, which is why we’re tackling subjects that you hear least about in mainstream media.

But it’s not all tough subjects.

Truth & Dare also looks outwards. We are examining why we travel to the stars; how do we clean the mess around our planet and why design must have a social conscience if we are to make our planet a better place for everyone. We’re looking at how the jobs of tomorrow start with changes we must all make today; why financial education is crucial for children if we are to create a stable society of tomorrow and why food community projects are not just about feeding people, but creating safe spaces where individuals who have been forgotten by society can meet, and break social isolation.

We are bringing new thinking. New Ideas. New Concepts. And presenting a new reality of a future that puts the emphasis on us – Humankind.

2. Four, phenomenal live performances

We are honoured to welcome four, exceptional performers join the line up for the day, each providing their own unique interpretations of ‘Truth & Dare’ through movement, music and lyrics.

We won’t ruin the surprise but expect to watch music played like you’ve never seen it before and to follow your imagination to different cultures, countries and sounds.

3. A dramatic stage

A TEDx stage is an art form. It must present the speakers in the best light, without detracting from their message and remain a thing of beauty in its own right.

For the second year running, stage designer Roberta Volpe has more than met this brief. Our stage for 2017 is skilful and subtle, with a quirky take on this year’s theme. Whether you are a staging aficionado or simply appreciate good design, we can’t wait for you to see it.

4. A chance to join in

We believe that the TEDx audience is as every much a part of the day as the speakers. That means you – and we want to hear your ideas. Between talks, delegates will have the chance to take part in audience engagement activities designed to spark discussion, foster relationships and push you to try something new. The emphasis is very much on fun, and whether it’s giving in to your inner child, road-testing some innovative technology or embracing your own creativity, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

5. A meeting of minds – and new friends

TEDxWandsworth not only brings people together but provides the opportunity to meet people that are every bit as curious as you. Expect to strike up conversations in the lunch queue. Expect to have your opinions affirmed, or gently countered. Expect to walk into a room full of strangers and leave with new friends. Participate as much as you can – don’t be shy. You’ll love your courage for being in a place full of interaction.  Sprinkle a bit of your own truth and dare.

6. A free lunch (turns out there is such a thing…)

Opening one’s mind to ideas can be hungry work. For this reason, all TEDxWandsworth delegates can enjoy a complimentary lunch, as well as snacks and refreshments throughout the day.

7. A tipple or two to round off the day

At the end of the day, all delegates are invited to a relaxed drinks reception where you can meet and mingle with the speakers and celebrate with the TEDxWandsworth team. We will no doubt be reminiscing over a hugley successful and inspiring day, and maybe even raising a glass to TEDxWandsworth 2018.


Article by Rosy Edwards

My mushroom burial suit-min

Wild, Wacky, Wonderful

00Truth & Dare

With TEDxWandsworth 2017 just over two weeks away, we’re getting into the true TED spirit with some of the most unusual, outrageous TED and TEDx talks of all time. From mushroom suits to hand towels and a kitchen sink symphony, get ready to be amazed.

1. The Call to Learn

What’s this talk about? Well it’s hard to say…there’s a chance speaker Clifford Stoll doesn’t know himself. He jumps around the stage a lot, decides on one-sided objects and Mobius loops (no, we’re not sure either) before moving on to his mother’s photo collection, then teaching 13-year olds how to measure the speed of light…

Hard to follow yet extremely entertaining, Stoll is intensely smart and no student of his is likely to forget him; watch this talk and you won’t either.

Watch here


2. Mark Applebaum: The mad scientist of music

This quirky talk is for anyone stuck in a creative rut. Applebaum is a composer who begins his talk by announcing that he is ‘bored with music’ before deconstructing Beethoven, playing a self-constructed instrument (made from doorstops and combs) and showing how he turned his music into visual art.

Funny, engaging and progressive, Applebaum proves that anyone can push beyond the boundaries of creative labels as he seeks to answer the question, ‘But is it music?’

Watch here


3. My mushroom burial suit

The concept of ecological burial may be familiar to TED viewers in 2017 but it was considered very strange when artist Jae Rhim Lee gave her TEDGlobal talk in 2011, and her mushroom suit – referred to by Lee as her ‘ninja pyjamas’ – were even stranger.

In just seven minutes, she describes how ‘in trying to preserve our dead bodies, we deny death, poison the living and further harm the environment’. Lee’s ‘mushroom suit’ might just be the ecological answer the world needs.

Watch here


4. How to use a paper towel

Think you know how to dry your hands? Think again. In this brief but brilliant talk, speaker Joe Smith demonstrates an innovative way of utilising a paper towel that will not only dry your hands but potentially save 571, 230,000 lbs of paper every year.

Watch here


5. Tom Thum: The orchestra in my mouth

Not all TED speakers, well…speak. Tom Thum is a beat boxer who uses the TEDxSydney stage to perform his extraordinary talent.

From a rendition of Michael Jackson’s Billie King to an impersonation of a sitar to a revolutionary ‘TEDx’ remix, this ‘talk’ will make you laugh and leave you in awe.

Watch here


Article by Rosy Edwards

Why we must share our stories of mental health

00Truth & Dare

TED and TEDx are changing the conversation about mental health, offering a platform for people to share their stories and there’s something in it for speaker and listener alike.

The cruel irony at the heart of many people’s mental health battle is that they need to talk most at the time they feel like talking the least.

Those who suffer are trapped looking inward, turning away from the world often out of shame and disconnection and fighting a war that is waged in the mind. It is a long and lonely endeavour, and it can make people reluctant to engage.

Such is the persistent stigma around mental health that people are equally reluctant to share their story. They fear for their professional life, or how friends and family might perceive them. They worry that they might be thought of as weak or incapable.

Considering that roughly 1 in 4 of us struggles with a mental problem every year, this is a position that needs to change – and fast.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock



TED and TEDx are at the forefront of the revolution, encouraging people with mental health problems to share their stories rather than stay quiet. It offers a platform for voices that have never before been heard. It reaches millions in countries around the world. Its emphasis is on the story over statistics, highlighting the people and the journeys, not just the labels.

TED recognises the importance of sharing stories about mental health; it understands the positive impact for the speaker and audience alike. Some of the most iconic, powerful stories around mental health have come from the TED and TEDx stages and each one reminds us why it is so vital that sufferers speak up.


Making sense

Mental health issues are fully immersive. They take up energy, time and focus and leave sufferers without the capacity to ‘think’ – people often describe the experience as being ‘plunged into darkness’ or ‘trapped in a fog’.

To move beyond suffering, we must first have space in our minds to make sense of what has happened, what is happening. Telling your story requires critical thinking  – considering a chronology, recalling facts. Said aloud, thoughts lose their subjectivity.  We can start to understand mental health within the context of our lives: when did it start, and what may have triggered the crisis? What helped? What hindered?

Once understood, we are better able to reflect. We start to process the feelings and consider their impact on life ahead – for many people, a mental health issue can be life-altering. Sharing is the beginning of healing.


Finding your voice

‘Finding your voice’ is more than just learning to tell your story aloud; it is about reclaiming ownership of your story. So often, people with mental health problems feel they are controlled by their illness – when we share our story, in our own words, with a loud voice, we resume power. We are in control.

Self-esteem is one of the earliest casualties for people struggling with a mental health problem. People tend to fear they aren’t as strong as those around them; they berate themselves for being weak (though nothing could be further from the truth) and blame themselves for feeling ‘down’.

Finding one’s voice is about re-building confidence. Your voice should be heard – you have an important story to tell.


Helping others

There are few more powerful words in our vocabulary than ‘me too’. By sharing our story, we include, we empower, we inform. We show people that they are not alone. We give them a voice of their own, and even if all they are able to say is ‘me too’, sometimes that is enough.

Stories are for everyone. They are accessible to those who are going through the same thing. They are relatable to those who do not understand what is happening to them. They capture the imagination of people who can only empathise, and offer care.

As a race, humans have been sharing stories for centuries. Today we are facing an epidemic of a silent but often fatal disease – there has never been a more important time to build a supportive community through the stories we share.


Moving forward

Having a mental health problem need not be a life long affliction. Many people move through and past periods of illness; others successfully manage their conditions throughout their lives, but in both scenarios, it is crucial that the conversation is on-going.

We must continue to talk about mental health in order to improve treatment. We must continue to share our stories to find inner resilience and connect with others. And we must listen, to show anyone battling a mental illness that they are important, and they are heard. Only then can we move forward together.

To learn about TED/TEDx speakers who have spoken about mental health issues visit:

Article by Rosy Edwards