TEDxWandsworth 2015: Be the Change

The first TEDxWandsworth was a huge success, with thirteen inspiring talks and three performances.

Why small actions matter in the battle against climate change

Hermione Taylor
Founding Director, The DoNation

When Hermione decided to cycle from London to Morocco, she had no idea what impact it would have on her life – and the lives of those around her. She asked friends and family to support her by pledging to make small changes to their everyday habits, things like cycling to work, turning lights off, or composting food waste. These simple, health-boosting, carbon-saving actions were the start of something much greater, creating a domino effect of changes that could underpin the battle against climate change.

Domestic abuse: It’s time to stop suffering in silence

Marie Hanson
Founder, S.T.O.R.M.

Domestic abuse is no respecter of person, social class, colour or creed; this is the message that Marie Hanson brings to TED. She takes us through a moment of sheer terror when her abuser threatens to throw her baby out of the window. Forced to take refuge in her car with three small children, she has nowhere to turn. She eventually finds sanctuary in a shelter for women and discovers just how widespread the problem of domestic abuse is. Marie was eventually able to channel her own experience into support for other victims and their families and led to the foundation of her charity STORM.

Breaking the Boundaries of 3D Creation

Oluwaseyi Sosanya
Designer and Co-Founder, Gravity Sketch

Co-Founder of Gravity Sketch, Oluwaseyi Sosanya shares his interest in the future of human creation. His talk explores the blending of realities and how technology opens new experiences between the physical and virtual world. He touches on 3D creation and how devices like Oculus Rift and Google’s Magic Leap will open the possibility of exploring our creativity in a more intuitive way. Oluwaseyi will share insights into the creation of Gravity Sketch, a digital tool that has been built from the ground up with focus on touch input matched with virtual and augmented reality experiences.

How to improve global health with a lethal killer

Julian Ma
Hotung Chair of Molecular Immunology St George’s, University of London

Tobacco may have been responsible for the death of 1 in 10 adults worldwide. But in the new world of plant biotechnology, tobacco could provide answers to our increasing global health problems. Just over 25 years ago, a tobacco plant was genetically modified into a minifactory for producing monoclonal antibodies. Now, plant-derived monoclonal antibodies against infections, cancer and arthritis are being developed to try to bring affordable modern medicines to the poor in under-developed regions of the world. Prevention of HIV and rabies are our research focus, but tobacco-made antibodies were also used in 2014 to save people infected with Ebola virus. Tobacco, a mass killer? Think again.

Equipping a generation to take its place in the digital revolution

Jamie Lee Brett
Programme Executive – The Prince’s Trust

Jamie Lee Brett explores the human cost of aggressive digital expansion on a generation growing up in the digital age. He examines the causes of digital inequality and asks why existing social values and economic systems have not kept up with technological capabilities. He asks, how do we prepare a new generation to take their place in tomorrow’s digital economy?

How social interaction helps people with mental health difficulties

Hannah Reidy
Trainee Clinical Psychologist and Founder of SW18 Club

Hannah explores the links between social isolation and mental health through several lenses: from pioneering virtual reality research to on the ground innovative social interventions. She will discuss the proposed mechanisms that link social factors and mental health difficulties, and the research that this is based on. Hannah’s clinical experience and local community activities will help to bring to life examples of the importance of fostering social interaction amongst the people in our borough who experience isolation, and will help you to think of ideas of how you can join the cause.

Can mobility help us save the world?

Daniel Gurrola
Telecommunications Visionary

This talk explores how mobile technology is enabling individuals to communicate, influence and persuade each other to take action unbounded by time and geography. In analysing some of the technology trends, Daniel argues that individuals equipped with a mobile device have the power to get involved and engaged to address some of the big questions facing humankind. He argues that the principal reason for not making any real progress in addressing the big questions of our time is that the people are unengaged and uninformed. Daniel proposes some ideas to bring back the missing piece in this debate, us.

Engineering Serendipity – How to create more happy ‘accidents’

Daniel Doherty

Daniel doesn’t believe in fate, luck or destiny. But serendipity appeals to him greatly! He loves meeting people and learning about them, but really he wants to understand what makes them truly happy. Ideally, so he can introduce them to more of the same. Daniel is interested in how technology can change the world for the better and he’s questioning whether technology helps us to create more of these happy moments. What can we do to encourage serendipity to smile upon us more? Will more “pleasant surprises” naturally come our way if we feel connected to the local area and people?

For Whom Do I Write?

Robin Mukherjee

Do I write for my own self expression, or for the benefit of the audience? The first approach is generally associated with ‘art house’, the second with ‘populist’. At their extremes they run from the incomprehensible to the banal. But are these polarities in opposition to each other, or are we missing the point? Drawing inspiration from the ancient Eastern discourse on theatre, the Natya Shastra, this talk will endeavour to wrestle with the conundrum in search of practical solutions.

Finding the perfect in your imperfection

Solomon Ian-Sangala
Fashion Designer

Solomon was born with an imperfection, the term he uses to describe a congenital stutter. He endured the taunts and teasing of his classmates and treatments that didn’t work. Desperate to seek approval, he began to overcompensate, but this made matters worse. Then at the age of 14 Solomon had an epiphany. He needed to prove himself and especially to find a way to make his mother feel proud. What he achieved in three short years - Solomon is 17 - should be an inspiration not only for young people with a disability, but to anyone who believes the odds are stacked against them.

Sex & Drugs and Pest Control: exploiting plant defence to enhance pollination

Phil Stevenson
Professor of Plant Chemistry, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Immobility is a critical handicap for plants, particularly when it comes to defence and sexual reproduction: both fundamental functions for plant survival. Some plants use thorns or spikey leaves for defence but most deploy sophisticated plant-made chemical weapons that are distasteful or toxic to their enemies. Recent research has shown that plants use the same arsenal to enhance pollen transfer by drugging bees into being more devoted pollinators or filtering out the inefficient visitors by poisoning all but a few choice species. Can we employ these evolutionary plant adaptations to help overcome the problems of pollinator decline?

From the power of language to the language of power

Peter Garrard
Consultant Neurologist, St George’s Hospital Medical School

In this talk Peter describes his journey from classics to computational linguistics, by way of neuroscience. He explains how simple transformations of texts by a computer can expose unseen information reflecting a writer’s cognitive status, mental life, and even personality, at the time of composition. He refers to this approach as ‘cognitive archaeology’, and will illustrate its potential importance using examples of his own analyses and those of others whose work he has encountered along the way. He will outline past and future contributions of cognitive archaeology to literary scholarship, psychology, history, neurology and even politics.

Wildlife conservation and the art of letting go

Geraldine Morelli
Founder, Wild & Free

Africa stole her heart and its wildlife changed her life. Through volunteering in a wildlife rehabilitation centre in South Africa, Geraldine learned how we should treat and respect wild animals, precisely by accepting that they are wild and should not be domesticated even though they fascinate us. Wild animals are facing tough times and we may feel powerless in the face of their fast decline. She tells us how we can help conservationists and organisations on the ground by not interfering in their lives and especially by learning to let go.

Performance: Rembrandt of Rochester

Al Cowie

Although not actually grown up yet, Al spent his child- hood in the countryside amongst chickens, horses, dogs and a sister. “Growing up with horses teaches you about falling off”, says Al, a lesson which he experi- enced thousands of times. A Battersea resident for over 10 years, Al performs most nights of the week. Since taking up performing seven years ago, he has done it all; from clowning to cabaret.

Performance: Poi Dancer

Emma Tierney

When asked about TEDxWandsworth’s theme “Be the Change”, Emma says,“I hope my performance, which involves some element of object manipulation, will take the audience on a journey and together we will explore how change comes from individual actions. “I believe it is only you who can change the way you see things. We can’t control what happens, but we can change our attitude, which will make us feel better and see life differently.”

Performance: Be the Change

Khadija-Taj O’Connor-Parris

Khadija-Taj is an accomplished singer/ songwriter and is currently studying Music Performance at South Thames college. She entered and won the talent contest organised by the Creative Industries department on behalf of TEDxWandsworth and will be performing her piece entitled ‘Be the Change’. Khadia-Taj is from Anguilla, in the Caribbean, and while there performed with a Soca band and released her first album, and is currently working on her second.