University showcases its first TEDx talks.

Posted on 29th May 2018

The University of Chester has published its first range of TEDx talks on YouTube. TEDx is a global programme of local, self-organised community based events under a brand licence from TED*.

TEDx1 – The staff and students at the University of Chester who worked behind the scenes on the TEDx talks.
TEDx1 – The staff and students at the University of Chester who worked behind the scenes on the TEDx talks.

TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. It is a non-profit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and are made available, free, on TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert and Sir Richard Branson.

The TEDxUoChester talks were organised by a team of students, and filmed in front of a live student audience, at the University’s Kingsway Campus.

A total of 11 speakers - both internal to the University and external speakers too - gave engaging, inspirational, insightful and thought provoking presentations to student attendees. The full programme can be found at:

Event Licensee, Adam Crane, who is the Employer Engagement Co-ordinator at the University, said: “TEDx was a fantastic, student led event which brought together many different topics to inspire and share ideas with our students. The event was a success and was enjoyed by all. We are extremely excited to see how well the films are already doing on YouTube – one, the Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, has already achieved over 6,000 views!”

The speakers were:

Lou Walker, whose TEDxUoChester talk explored the UK office cake culture - the popular phenomenon of supplying sweet treats for work colleagues to share during the working day. Lou is a researcher, speaker and writer who focusses on workplace health and wellbeing. With 16 years’ experience as a management training and development consultant, Lou felt she could make more of a difference to people’s work performance and quality of life in general by tackling obesity and physical inactivity. This led to an MSc in Obesity and Weight Management, at the University of Chester, where she conducted research into office cake culture.

Using her research results, Lou now works with organisations to start conversations among work colleagues to explore their own cake culture. The aim is to help people discuss and agree how to minimise cake consumption while retaining the social benefits of socialising with colleagues.

Hems de Winter is a former journalist and editor who founded the award-winning de Winter PR in 1989. He is now a mentor, lecturer, business coach and speaker, whose clients are spread across a range of significant SME businesses within the creative and other spheres of industry.

Hems’s TEDxUoChester talk asks whether it’s time to make a difference to our clients above our desire to grasp for short-term commercial gain? What if we invited clients to pay us what they thought our efforts were worth, or not even pay us until we’d delivered on our commitment to make a difference? Could that be the way to a truly sustainable business and a better way of life?

Chester-based photographer and film maker Sam Ryley is the co-founder of Tortoise magazine and Murmurations – the #makechester talks. Sam’s TEDx talk is about how he has learnt about a shared mission – responding to a need to make change, involving himself with other people and working together to make things happen. Sam is a Chester local and is focused on making a positive contribution to the city in which he lives.

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre (FADT) exists to support those in recovery from addiction to transform their lives and to share the recovery journey with the wider public, through dance, performance and creativity. The group performed ‘A dark night ends’ for their TEDxUoChester presentation.

Dr Christian Dunn is a lecturer and research scientist in Biological Sciences at Bangor University. He is a former journalist and editor, and has a lifelong passion for natural history. Christian’s TEDxUoChester talk is about the damage plastic waste is doing to our ecosystems and, in particular, our seas and oceans. It looks at some of the long-term issues with the use of plastic, which we are only just beginning to understand.

Christian was inspired to start tackling plastic waste after surfing on Anglesey and seeing the rubbish washed-up onto the beach. So, at the end of 2017, he launched the  #StrawFreeChester campaign, which aims to make Chester the first city in the UK to stop using plastic, single-use drinking straws. By talking about how #StrawFreeChester was conceived and run, the talk also looks to inspire others to start their own environmental campaigns; to stop talking and complaining and start doing and taking action.

In his TEDxUoChester presentation, ‘inventrepreneur’, Jonathan Quinn discusses his life as an opportunistic inventor and general problem solver with a key focus on the environment and simple solutions for everyday problems. If we can all make small changes eventually we can make big differences. Jonathan has over 25 years’ experience in the engineering and technology sector. He started his working life as an apprentice pipe fitter welder then went through mechanical to chemical process engineering and worked for major engineering houses for international blue chip clients and from design to completion on international engineering projects valued up to $150 million.

Communicator, researcher and strategist Clare Devaney is the founding Director of Citizen-i Ltd, a platform for citizen-led research and innovation, based in Manchester. She is co-founder of Impact Hub Manchester, an ideas lab, incubator and collaborative workspace for Greater Manchester’s social impact community, and co-founder of M4, a civic innovation platform which works with people as innovators in driving ‘whole-self’ growth and social change.

In a post-growth world, productivity (and by extension GDP) as a unit of measurement is becoming increasingly obsolete. Clare’s TEDxUoChester presents ‘A Fourth Way’ - a new system of economic measurement for 4.0 based on the unit of connectivity, exploring how we can assess and measure social connections, individual contribution to place and our collective – connected – contribution to global sustainability goals.

The Anonymous Professor  is a performance which forms part of an ongoing research project.  The speaker is a University Professor, researching provocative, pedagogical, performance artistry. The Professor is interested in the potential of human capacity when we organise with curiosity and the unknown, rather than a constant drive to pin down and be precise about knowledge. It is for these reasons that the Professor remains anonymous.

Laura Fearnall is the Co-Founder of The Source, a PR, Marketing and Digital Communications Agency based in Cheshire. Laura uses her TEDx talk to talk about ideas – which are an essential part of the creative industry, yet time and time again, individuals step into this exceptional world with decidedly unexceptional ideas, if any at all. Taking the time to look around you, absorbing what is going on in the world and seeking inspiration at every opportunity can make you stand out and truly make a difference, not only for a single organisation but the industry as a whole. In a millennial world where information is food, how can you turn that nourishment into something truly pioneering?

Dr Shelley Piasecka is a Senior Lecturer in the Performing Arts Department at the University of Chester and Senior Postgraduate Research Tutor for the School of Arts and Media. Her PhD with Manchester Metropolitan University examined the role of drama and creativity in the primary school curriculum. Shelley’s current academic research examines the role of drama and theatre in countering youth radicalisation in schools. Shelley’s TEDxUoChester presentation shows with a new study that theatre in education may offer more helpful ways of dealing with youth radicalisation and may go some way to facilitate open discussion with young people in schools on the subject of terrorism.

Professor Simon Piasecki is Head of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies at Liverpool Hope University, and together with his wife, Shelley, he is co-founder of the Piasecki and Piasecka Theatre Company. Simon’s TEDx talk explores whether as human beings we are instinctively altruistic, considering the observation that in any event of terrorism or disaster, the first thing that we see is people pick one and other up, in the face of danger and regardless of race, creed, class or age. The inspiration for the talk is a book by Adam Smith, published in 1759 and called The Theory of Moral Sentiments, far lesser known than his book The Wealth of Nations, which is a foundation stone of Capitalism. He tells us that human beings are essentially altruistic and that this 'loveliness' is crucial to our satisfaction and success as communities. Smith used various examples of theatre and literature and in this talk Professor Piasecki does the same, with various examples including the abandonment of trust and altruism in The Walking Dead. Recently Simon also played himself in Shane Meadows’s This is England 90’, having been the filmmaker’s tutor way back in 1990 itself.