TED x Youth @ Gandy street: Bridging the Gap
As Exeter’s first TED event had to move online this year, Elise Hamersley discusses the highlights of the various performances and talks given at the digital event.
Last Saturday Exeter’s first ever Ted event premiered, with 11 illuminating talks and 6 performances varying from slam poetry to local art. Ted x Youth @ Gandy Street was organised by a cohort of volunteers with several teams in place to curate and promote the event. The theme, Bridging the Gap, encouraged a wide variety of unique and diverse topics all of which followed a central concern of creating better understanding of our world and the challenges we face.
Owing to the unfortunate circumstances of the second Covid-19 lockdown this year, the event took place online via 3 collections broadcasted on their YouTube channel from noon onwards. Despite some technical difficulties, the team behind this Ted event adapted brilliantly given the unique and unexpected challenges of shifting a physical gathering online.
The first collection featured talks from Jess Nicholls, Lucy Willoughby and Harriet Earle. Nicholls is impressively young for her achievements as an environmental activist. Her talk covered the new age of digital activism emerging from the requirements of the pandemic. Although she expressed a preference for the effectiveness of in-person protest, Nicholls points out the benefits of digital activism in its accessibility for those who would be otherwise unable to attend physical gatherings. She is a beacon for the coming generation of change makers.
Nicholls points out the benefits of digital activism in its accessibility for those who would be otherwise unable to attend physical gatherings.
Lucy Willoughby, founder of the local ethical brand Good Things, shared her unique experiences in Costa Rica, Tanzania and Nepal. She addressed her encounters with plastic waste in her travels and made excellent points about the small changes we can make in our daily lives to help combat the climate crisis.
Harriet Earle Brown, a PhD student at the University of Exeter, gave a brilliant talk on her research into the gendered influences on homelessness and the need to recognise the factors that contribute to homeless women often becoming an unaccounted for statistic. She reminds us all that when donating to homeless shelters, take into account the needs of women by including sanitary products or female clothing.
For me, the highlight of the first collection was the fantastic performance by Charlie Balfour. Her song ‘Stay’, was written with her songwriting partner Shubha Shetty and, Balfour writes, “reflects our experiences after our senior year of boarding school was cut short and abruptly ended because of Covid-19”. Her delicate voice combined with the thoughtful lyrics worked fantastically with the theme of the event. ‘Stay’ expresses the lost voice of younger students who have missed out on a key part of their life this year.
Other performances from the first collection included a fun, mood-lifting dance performance from the South West’s Lindy Hoppers and a time lapse of a beautiful art piece by Sarah Trotter.
The second collection featured talks by Georgia Howell, Katie Lisle, Bryan Knight and Imogen Creasor. The performances within this collection included a fantastic spoken poetry performance by Antonia Raines about her home town Plymouth and the University of Exeter’s very own all male acapella group ‘Semitoned’, treated us to a few songs each from their own homes (credit to their editor for syncing all those clips)
When donating to homeless shelters, take into account the needs of women by including sanitary products or female clothing.
The highlight of the second collection was Bryan Knight’s talk about why we need to understand historical figures in terms of their complete personhood. Highly relevant to the current political climate, Knight brilliantly brought into focus the need to unravel the complexity of political figures. Knight is a London-based journalist who some students may remember conducted a BBC report on the Unlearn Collective earlier this year who aimed to stamp out racism at the university.
15 year old Georgia Howell is a Youth Parliament MP and her talk on overcoming self-doubt will resonate with many young people, as well as the younger selves of others. She makes poignant points about the need to be unafraid in our personal and wider life. Imogen Creasor’s talk about valuing your own experiences was another highlight of the second collection. She illustrates how your unique lived experience can be as equally valuable as any qualification.
The final collection featured talks from Connor Wright, Friedel Fink, Crystal Hollis and Justin McElroy, as well as a wonderful poetry performance by Harula Ladd to round off a thought-provoking event. Connor Wright delivered a stand out talk on the need for the public to engage in, and co-author, the AI landscape in the current age. Relating AI development to a novelistic narrative was particularly engaging.
Finally, Friedel Fink’s speech about the need to smash the menstrual taboo was highly relevant. Many women will relate to how Fink breaks down the negative external and self-imposed perceptions of periods as ‘dirty’.
Overall, this event was not one to be missed and hopefully there will be many of its kind coming to Exeter in the future.