Ideas Worth Shouting About in 2016

by Mel Rodrigues

Ideas Worth Shouting About in 2016

If like me, you feel 2016 didn’t get off to the greatest start (floods, refugees, Donald Trump, and the deaths of national icons such as David Bowie and Alan Rickman), then you’re probably in need of some reasons to be cheerful in this multi-faceted, multi-confusing and ever changing world we live in.

I got that well needed injection of pure-positivity last weekend, when I attended TEDxTeen 2016 at the O2 in London, and spent the day listening to the unjaded, uncensored and sometimes unrelenting views of the under 18’s. Far from being a snap-chat fest about spots and selfies, these young people had mature heads on their shoulders, and a vision of the future that transcended some of the difficult headlines of late.

Take Meltem Avcil, a former child detainee, she’s now a 22 year old award-winning human rights activist, doing important work to stop children’s detention. Check out her #SETHERFREE campaign and the waves she’s making to help women, who have not committed any crimes, be treated with compassion rather than like criminals.

Equally arresting was the TEDxTeen talk from Mariah Idrissi, the world’s first Muslim model in a hijab for H&M. Instead of just talking about equality – this young woman wore it on her sleeve/head – taking to the catwalks and causing a stir in the fashion world with high neck jewellery and savvy scarves that inspire rather than scare.

Coming up on the weekend is another TEDx event, closer to home this time, that promises to pack a punch. TEDxUWE , themed “The Innovative Attitude” will welcome 5 times Paralympian James Brown to the stage, as he prepares for his trip to RIO 2016, as well as speakers from the worlds of youth enterprise, medicine, sustainability and start-ups. I’m particularly looking forward to Poku Osei’s talk about how he supports aspiring young people from Bristol's ethnically diverse and disadvantaged inner city communities, to pursue their passions and dreams.

So we might have lost a few greats in recent times – people who changed our worldview and enriched our culture through words, stories and ideas. But I think Ziggy Stardust would be made up and banging his drum about the new generation of diverse characters and personalities who have taken up the call to action. Who knows what chaos they will create in 2016!

Mel Rodrigues curated TEDxBristol 2015 and is leading the team to bring Bristol another thought-provoking and ideas packed event in 2016.