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When TEDx came to Truro

The brilliant talks from Truro's sell-out, 2017 TEDx Conference are now online. Just in time for some serious Christmas binging.

Back in October I had the most brilliant day out at the Truro TEDx conference – but I thought I’d wait to tell you about it until the videos were out. And huzzah – they’ve just been released. Perfect timing for some catch-up Christmas viewing.

Now unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably watched a TED talk or two. “What’s your favourite TED talk?” is a frequent dinner party convo rounds ours.

If you’ve yet to discover TED, let me initiate you. But this comes with a warning, TED talks are highly addictive and it’s insanely easy to lose an hour you don’t have getting lost in the rabbit warren of videos you JUST. HAVE. TO. WATCH.

TedX Truro conference 2017

Photo by Verity Westcott photography

TED, whose tag line is ‘ideas worth spreading’, launched as a conference in the USA in 1984 but really it hit its stride in recent years, with TEDx events (like the one in Truro) happening all over the world, talks in 100+ languages and millions of viewers watching and sharing videos online every day. The conference in Truro is only in its second year but welcomed a sold-out audience of 300 back in October. The theme was ‘Beyond Barriers’ and talks covered topics from turtle conservation and robotics, to period poverty and dyslexia.

Mandy Reynolds, TEDxTruro curator and co-licensee said: “Our speakers each have an important story to share; from cutting edge research, to the most thought provoking personal experiences. All of our speakers lived up to the TED and TEDx promise of giving the ‘talk of their lives’. I’m excited for their stories to reach an even bigger audience now they are online.”

I was wowed, moved and tickled (no not literally!) by each of the speakers this year but the ones that particularly stood out looking back were…

TedX Truro conference 2017 Downside up Hayley

Photo by Verity Westcott photography

Award-winning blogger and super mum Hayley Goleniowska, who gave a tear-jerking, no-holes-barred account of the birth of her daughter Natty and how society’s attitudes to Down’s syndrome affected her. Not a dry eye! Have a read of Hayley’s blog, Downs Side Up.

Will Coleman Man Engine Inventor TedX Truro conference 2017

Photo by Verity Westcott photography

Will Coleman, the creator of the award-winning Man Engine, the giant mechanical puppet, which will tour Cornwall again next year talked with raw honesty about what the project cost him personally, both financially and in terms of his mental health. Such an amazing feat – get out and see it next year!

Susie Green, CEO Mermaids, TedX Truro conference 2017

Photo by Verity Westcott Photography

Susie Green the CEO of Mermaids, a charity that supports transgender children and young people and their families, shared the moving story of her daughter Jackie’s transition, highlighting the shocking rates of self harm and suicide among the transgender community.

Shawn Brown, dyslexia and neuro diversity, TedX Truro conference 2017

Photo by Verity Westcott photography

Shawn Brown, who talked about dyslexia, different ways of learning and creativity in kids. An inventor and winner of the UK’s young engineer of the year, Shawn’s dyslexia affects his memory and meant he struggled with exams. Shawn’s talk urged educators to embrace neuro-diversity, so that we don’t miss out on the next generation of inventors and innovators. Check out his brilliant YouTube channel Kids Invent Stuff.

Max Caddis and Bimini Love, young speakers TedX Truro conference 2017

Photos by Verity Westcott photography

And finally we were all blown away by the young speakers (both from Truro School). Fifteen-year-old Bimini Love talked about the issue of period poverty, explaining why she started her charity Street Cramps earlier this year, to help homeless women in Cornwall by providing them with sanitary products. While thirteen year old Max Caddis, who has dyslexia, created a fantastic video about his experiences of learning, which was shown on the day.

I think there were thirteen talks in all, with a few videos from ‘big TED’ and a haunting performance from local folk singer Kezia Barr, punctuated by tea breaks and lunch (included in the ticket price). I went by myself and naturally got chatting to the people sitting around me, but lots of people seemed to have come with friends, partners or colleagues. I would highly recommend booking tickets for next year’s conference – it’s such an inspiring way to spend the day, getting out of your normal routine to listen and reflect.

View the 2017 TEDxTruro talks here and to sign up to the TedxTruro mailing list, to make sure you don’t miss out next year, go to

All photography by Verity Westcott

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2 comments on “When TEDx came to Truro”

  • Hayley Goleniowkska - Downs Side Up January 3, 2018

    What an amazing day it was. Despite the nerves of being a speaker in the afternoon, I still laughed and cried my way through all the previous talks and learnt so very much from all the amazing presenters. Thank you so much for including me in your wonderful article.

    • sophiebaker January 3, 2018

      Ah – you were fabulous. I hope you had a lovely Christmas with your family. See you soon x


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