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#MeetTheSpeaker – David Jubb

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A former theatre producer, David Jubb was named Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) in 2004. He trained at Bretton Hall, Bristol University and Central School of Speech and Drama, where he is a honourary fellow and he has been awarded an honourary doctorate from University of Roehampton. Here, he talks about everyday creativity, the power of direct performance and hiding out in the loo.

David Jubb, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Battersea Arts Centre (BAC)

 

How are you preparing for your TEDxWandsworth talk?

I am using ‘Scratch’ (a development process for ideas which we use at Battersea Arts Centre). In the summer, I did an outline plan and sought out feedback on the initial idea from various people, including the TEDxWandsworth team.

This autumn, I did a first full draft, again asking more people more questions and receiving more feedback. Now I am having some time away from the idea before going back to it later this month, hopefully with fresh perspective, to create a final draft.

Then comes the bit I am least looking forward to – trying to learn it. I’ve never known how people are so fluent when they deliver their 15-minute TED talks – I am guessing most people just learn the text they have put together, so I am going to have a go at that!

 

How did you come up with the idea for your talk?

By being given a deadline… then it was partly fear and partly excitement. I also have doubts about the whole ‘TED thing’ – this connects with the theme of what I want to explore, which is about our creativity and about taking action. I often find that a tension, difficulty or challenge is another good driver for coming up with an idea.

 

Why is art such a vital aspect of society?

We are all creative. We use our creativity every day to think stuff through, to look at something differently, to get stuff done. As a result, our world is full of billions of miniature works of art, created every day, by all of us. So art is an everyday component of our lives, it’s just about whether we choose to see it, and proactively tap into our own creativity to do stuff.

 

Your role at Battersea Arts Centre exposes you to a huge variety of art in different formats – do you have a favourite?

I am a big fan of live performance where the person performing has a live and direct relationship with the audience – whether that is playing an instrument, telling a story or dancing.

If that relationship is not direct, if there’s a pretense that the audience is invisible (as happens in a lot of live performance) then I don’t enjoy it as much and I’d rather watch TV or a film. But when everyone is in a room together, it’s an exciting energy with the possibility that anything might happen. I think this is why people often enjoy it when something goes wrong in live shows – because everyone knows it is a truly live moment in which something changes.

 

Who or what inspires you?

Change. Kate Tempest’s work. Ken Robinson’s ideas on creativity. Deli Ali’s creativity. My wife and my daughters. Small acts of kindness.

 

Would you describe yourself as an extrovert, or an introvert?

I’m an introverted extrovert. I enjoy the energy and potential of people being together. I am inspired by people all the time. But I have always been desperately shy and spend more time than I need to in the toilet.

 

How do you spend your down time?

With my family. Cuddling the dog. Re-organising things. Learning to grow things. Watching a box set.

 

What one thing would you like to know before you die?

Exactly when I started dying and what caused it – just for completeness. I am a hypochondriac.

 

What is your favourite TED or TEDx talk?

Do Schools Kill Creativity’ by Ken Robinson.

 

Happiness is…

The feeling that things are getting better not worse. Failing that, eating a chocolate raisin.

Don’t miss David and 15 other ‘Truth & Dare’ speakers at TEDxWandsworth on November 25th. Click here for limited tickets.

Interview by Rosy Edwards

#MeetTheSpeaker – Waney Squier

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Dr Waney Squier is a Consultant Neuropathologist to the Oxford John Radcliffe Hospitals Clinical lecturer at University of Oxford. Her specialism is in the pathology of the developing brain in the foetus and neonate. Other areas of interest are developmental causes of epilepsy and muscle pathology. Here, she talks about her passion for her work, sharing ideas and appreciating the present.

 

Waney Squier, Paediatric Neuropathologist. Photograph Courtesy of Ryan J-W Smith, 2017

 

How are you preparing for your TEDxWandsworth talk?

I am thinking, reading and talking, talking, talking. Talking to those who know and support my views and to those who don’t know anything about the subject. I hope this will hone my skills at presenting some pretty complex material.

How did you come up with the idea for your talk?

I spent 20 years as an expert medical witness and in 2010 I was reported to the GMC by the Police for challenging mainstream views on shaken baby syndrome. My talk is about silencing dissent and the effect it has had on delivering justice for parents and families.

What drew you into a career in medicine?

I was fascinated by biology, by how the human body works.

Medical issues and terminology can be quite complex. How will you make your talk accessible for the TEDxWandsworth audience?

Practice. My medical career has given me experience in discussing really difficult issues – severe illness, death and autopsy  – with parents. As an expert witness, I addressed juries and lawyers who need to have medicine and science clearly explained. I’ll use what I’ve learnt from those experiences which taught me a lot. But I still need to use my friends and family as sounding-boards to make sure I’m presenting things so that everyone can understand.

Who or what inspires you?

The sheer wonder of the complexity and orderliness of the brain’s development and its response to injury. These have kept me interested for 34 years, and there’s so much to learn.

Colleagues like John Plunkett, a brilliant American Forensic pathologist whose compassion and tenacity in explaining the problems with the shaken baby hypothesis has inspired hundreds of doctors and lawyers around the world.

The joy of seeing my two little granddaughters develop.

Would you describe yourself as an extrovert, or an introvert?

An extrovert, I suppose – I always want to discuss problems I’m working through. It’s important not to be in a silo when you’re working in a field like medicine, you have to pool research and exchange ideas and thinking to make progress. My personal life is similar – I have a huge circle of very dear friends and we talk about everything. Both coupled with a terrifying fear that I’m totally socially inept, of course.

How do you spend your down time?

In concerts, walking, cooking good food and tasting good wine with my friends.

What one thing would you like to know before you die?

I’d be at peace if I knew parents were no longer being wrongly accused of harming their babies based on the shaken baby hypothesis.

What is your favourite TED or TEDx talk?

Molly McGrath Tierney’s ‘Rethinking foster care’ at TEDxBaltimore

Happiness is…here and now: appreciate it!

Don’t miss Waney and 15 other ‘Truth & Dare’ speakers at TEDxWandsworth on November 25th. Click here for limited tickets.

Interview by Rosy Edwards

Interview: 5 Mins Focus with Curation Manager – Jackie Bennion

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Jackie Bennion is one of TEDxWandsworth’s latest recruits, having joined the leadership team this year to help with speaker curation and writing. Here she, shares her reasons for volunteering, the TED talks she is most likely to send to friends and why Mo Farrah has her admiration. 

 

Jackie Bennion, Curation & Editorial Content

 

What inspired you to get involved with TEDxWandsworth?

I spent a long time living in California as a journalist, surrounded by people and ideas that embody TED. I had come across TEDx events, and always appreciated the courage it takes to stand up and present your ideas to a room full of strangers.

It shows the best in human nature to want to share what you’ve learned and make sense of the world. I think if you do it for any other reason, the audience knows it. The wonder that makes up a good TED talk is becoming apparent as I work on the curation side of TEDx Wandsworth. I have more respect than ever for the speakers and the small teams who make TEDx happen all over the world.

 

How has your involvement benefited you?

I am only a few months into my first season but really enjoying it. The whole effort is centered around creativity – bringing out the best ideas and the best in people. I am inspired, and a little awed by the responsibility.

 

Which TED talks do you recommend to friends?

I’ve shared and viewed all sorts of TED talks, from biomimicry to procrastination to bitcoin. I’ll often read a book and then search to see if the author has done a TED talk.

I recently sent the Amy Cuddy talk to some friends. There is a moment in it where she chokes up and you do too – it’s that vulnerability of sharing your life experiences while turning them into helpful life lessons for others. The best talks come from a very human authentic place and if people can capture some of the humor in their (mis)adventures, even better.

 

What sums up happiness for you?

This is impossible to answer. It’s fleeting; grab it every moment you can.

 

What would your superpower be?

Some magic wand to clear up the political mess we’re in and make politicians (the world over) act as true public servants again – otherwise they’d sprout a giant nose like Pinocchio.

 

Which living person do you most admire, and why?

I can’t pick one person. I suppose people who excel, who make things look easy but behind what you see there is tremendous commitment and sacrifice and belief. I was awestruck by Mo Farrah this summer. There’s something about sporting excellence that tests every sort of agility.

 

What advice would you give to anyone considering volunteering for TEDxWandsworth?

Do it.

 

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event?

Seeing the speakers on stage and rooting for them all the way.

If you would like to volunteer with TEDxWandsworth, we are seeking to fill roles in graphic design & social media. Email: info@tedxwandsworth.com

Interview by Rosy Edwards

#MeetTheSpeaker – Paula Rowinska

00Truth & Dare

Paula Rowinska is a PhD student of Mathematics at Planet Earth Centre for Doctoral Training, at Imperial College, London. Her work focuses on climate change and how to make renewable energy more efficient. In 2017, her blog post ‘Blowing in the Wind’ was selected by Science Seeker as one of the best in the scientific field. Hear, she talks about mathematic stereotypes, how we can each do our (small) bit for the planet and why she never slows down.

Paula Rowinska, PhD Student, Imperial College London

 

How are you preparing for your TEDxWandsworth talk?

I am writing my talk, rewriting it and testing it on my friends and family. It’s really easy to forget that what’s exciting for a mathematician isn’t necessarily the most entertaining thing to talk about at a TEDx event.

How did you come up with the idea for your talk?

Coming up with ideas wasn’t a problem but picking the idea was very difficult…there are way too many cool concepts in maths to fit in 18 minutes.

There are still relatively few women studying mathematics, especially at your level – why do you think that is?

It’s a question I sometimes ask myself. It might be because the stereotypical mathematician is an old, bearded man, probably struggling with serious mental problems – which obviously isn’t the case.

How can we have a positive impact on ecology and sustainability at an individual level?

I’m afraid that having a positive impact isn’t really feasible; not having an excessively negative impact would be great. We should do whatever is acceptable for us, for example, cycle instead of driving, reduce meat consumption, stop buying bottled water… And, most importantly, spread awareness.

Who or what inspires you?

I don’t have to look far: fellow PhD students in maths department of Imperial College. What a group of smart, creative and hardworking people! I’m inspired by their successes as much as the way they deal with their struggles.

Would you describe yourself as an extrovert, or an introvert?

It’s easy to distinguish an extrovert mathematician from an introvert one: the extrovert one stares at someone else’s shoes. I sometimes even dare to look in people’s eyes, so I’m definitely extrovert…

How do you spend your down time?

Whenever I have a free minute, I always manage to find a new task for myself (such as preparing a TEDx talk), so that I don’t have down time again in the foreseeable future.

What one thing would you like to know before you die?

There’s one thing I know a lot about, but I still don’t fully understand it – the concept of infinity. I’d like to be able to say: “Yes, that’s exactly how it works and why it works this way”.

What is your favourite TED or TEDx talk?

More adventures in replying to spam’ and other talks by James Veitch always make me laugh. And think.

Happiness is…

Saying “yes” more often than “no”, so that we never regret not doing something.

Don’t miss Paula and 15 other ‘Truth & Dare’ speakers at TEDxWandsworth on November 25th. Click here for limited tickets.

Interview by Rosy Edwards