Linda Geddes is a Bristol-based journalist writing about the science of birth, death and everything in-between. Her first book, Bumpology, dealt with the birth part; her second, Chasing The Sun, explores the impact of sunlight on our bodies and minds. During her research, she spent a long weekend yard-sale shopping with the Old Order Amish, endured the Polar Night with the surprisingly cheerful residents of Arctic Norway, and stayed awake with bipolar patients on a Milanese psychiatric ward. She also persuaded her family to go cold turkey on artificial light to explore the impact on their sleep and well-being. Linda has a degree in cell biology and lives in Bristol.
Light bulbs, television, smart phones, shift work: these modern habits have dramatically altered our relationship with the 24-hour cycle of light and dark that we evolved under.
We spend 90 per cent of our lives indoors, where it’s often 15-500 times dimmer than outside, and keep the lights switched on long after sunset. Doing so may have important consequences for our sleep, alertness, mood, and recovery from illness.
Linda Geddes' TEDxBristol talk unpacks our complex and altered relationship with light and asks what would happen if we reverted to a more traditional way of living?
Aisha is a born and bred Bristolian. She studied law at the University of the West of England but switched to education in 2010. In September 2016 Aisha became City Academy’s Assistant Principal and Specialist Leader in Education for EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) and Community.
Recently Aisha presented a BBC documentary about the lack of black teachers in Bristol and collaborated with city partners to launch the ‘Bristol One Curriculum’. This aims to create a more equitable representation of black history, achievement and culture in Bristol, Britain and globally.
"Perhaps if you were my teacher, I wouldn’t be in prison today."
During a chance meeting whilst mentoring a young offender, Aisha Thomas, then a law graduate, realised that she had an important role to play in inspiring young minds. She decided to retrain as an educator and dedicate her life to improving the educational life chances of children in her community. She’s currently Assistant Principal at City Academy in Bristol, and one of only 26 out of 1346 black secondary school teachers in the city.
She says: “The impact of this is far-reaching and is about more than the person standing at the front of the classroom. It affects the attainment of the students and the adults that young people become once they leave school.”
Aisha’s TEDxBristol talk challenges us all to consider how our decisions and journeys could inspire the next generation - not just as teachers or mentors, but representatives from diverse backgrounds in all types of professions. Her strap line is simple '#RepresentationMatters’.
Born in 1948, the eldest of four children, Fi went to St Hilda’s College, Oxford on a full grant to study Modern Languages. Shortly afterwards she married Andrew, the young man she met while they were both taking part in a speaking competition on why the UK should join the Common Market. She won the competition and nearly 50 years later they are still together. During that time Fi worked as a librarian, raised two sons and gave her time to a wide variety of voluntary work, including running a Christian retreat house.
Fi’s environmental ‘lightbulb moment’ came while living in France in the early 2000s. It was during this time, when she was engaged in a period of deep spiritual reflection, walking the hills and studying the writing of Marion Woodman and Joanna Macy, she heard the trees screaming during the heatwave of 2003. Her mounting fear for the natural world and desire to speak out brought her back to Bristol, where she immediately threw herself into environmental activism. A dedicated member of ‘Grandparents for a Safe Earth’, over the last decade she has dressed up as a polar bear, a spider monkey and an orangutan, signed hundreds of petitions, lobbied her MP and occupied the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for six hours in June 2018. Since its launch in October 2018, Fi has been an active member of Extinction Rebellion.
How will you spend your retirement, whether it's 5 years from now or 50? Fi Radford is a septuagenarian challenging us all to rethink the role we must play to help solve some of the most complex and pernicious global problems that are being inherited by our grandchildren.
One of the earliest members of campaign group Grandparents for a Safe Earth, Fi has spent the last decade committed to environmental activism. This year, aged 70, Fi joined Extinction Rebellion on the streets of London. Previously a very law-abiding citizen, she was arrested in Oxford Circus, and continues to lead young and old in environmental actions across the country.
The word ‘retirement’ usually implies sitting back, relaxing and winding down from life’s battles - but her TEDxBristol talk challenges this assumption to the core, exploring instead all the wisdom, experience and agency that older generations can bring to critical problems.
Fi says. “Retirement is a time to rebel! If you were thinking of taking it easy - think again. Your children and grandchildren need you to join the movement to bring about urgent and far reaching action to combat the threat to their futures that is climate breakdown.”
Paul Wiseall is the UK Managing Director of DEATH.io, a Bristol-based start-up which is working to solve the problem of death and other end of life issues.
Growing up in a small village just outside Bristol, Paul devoured books like a dog on chips and expected to one day become an English teacher. But that all changed eight years ago when one of his closest friends died, which tipped Paul’s world on its head and set him on a new path.
Since then he’s been an original start-up member of Noddle, the UK's first free for life credit report, he’s run national campaigns aimed at helping people stay safe from cyber fraud and he even built websites in Italy for a bit.
Two years ago, Paul and a very cool chap called Tom Ilube, set up DEATH.io and the rest is history.
Other things to know about Paul… he’s recently gotten in to boxing, he isn’t a fan of fish and he’s got a belter of a story about the time he shared a whisky with the author Iain Banks.
What will your great, great, grandkids think about you when you’re dead? We live in an era when our online lives will almost certainly outlive us all. Every day we curate a version of our virtual self with photos, emails and Facebook comments, but what happens to your online life when you die?
Paul Wiseall is a man on a death mission - digital death that is - to help us navigate through the virtual space where so much of our lives (and deaths) exist, so that we can decide what or who we leave behind.
The issue is somewhat complex. Data privacy laws don’t apply once you die, our legal system isn’t ready to handle our virtual assets and society in general doesn’t know how to handle digital death.
Paul’s TEDxBristol talk argues that in a world of cyber fraud and fake news, we need to plan as much for our digital death as we do our physical one. Rather than leaving it to fate or Facebook, this talk explores how we can all take control of our unique digital story after our real world demise.
Dr Stephanie Campbell is CEO of Bristol-based OKKO Health, having previously enjoyed a senior background in academic research and in the NHS as an optometrist.
Stephanie founded OKKO Health driven by the need to deliver good quality eye care effectively to large populations, yet maintaining a person-centred approach. OKKO Health has developed smartphone software to allow patients at high risk of eye disease to monitor their own vision at home. By capturing interaction data from the touch screen, and using sensor technology to generate ‘big data’, they can build up a visual profile for an individual patient – generating digital biomarkers of eye disease.
Stephanie is also a South West Creative Technology Fellow exploring how we can use AI to create more space for compassion in healthcare and drive a patient-centred approach, “Humanistic AI”.
Stephanie Campbell is an eye specialist with a decade’s experience of working in hospitals. She recently founded a digital health company, driven by the need to deliver good quality and equitable eye care to large populations.
In 2014, a six-year-old patient of hers radically changed how she thought about testing people’s vision - and she’s been on a mission ever since to rethink how we approach health in the digital age.
She says, “I've always been inspired by my own patients, and I am a firm believer in listening carefully to those around you - we can learn vital lessons from the most unlikely of encounters.”
Stephanie’s TEDx talk explores the game-changing opportunities that are opening up to us in the AI healthcare revolution. The potential for life-saving innovations is huge, but there are also big questions that need answering.
How much do we want to know about our future health? And most importantly, how much do we want others to know?
Neciah hails from the sunny shores of St. Lucia but has spent the last 10 years in Bristol.
During this time, he gained a BEng and Ph.D. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Bristol.
His work in fluorescence technologies has gained recognition locally and internationally including several articles and talks.
In 2017, Neciah co-founded FluoretiQ Limited. Working at the interface of Engineering, Microbiology and Chemistry. FluoretiQ develops technology to rapidly identify the bacteria present in patient samples. In the long term, it could be used to determine which antibiotics would best treat the infection.
With his daughter newly enrolled into nursery, he looks forward to evenings of cuddles and being updated on her daily adventures.
As if global warming and plastic pollution were not enough, it seems that Millennials and Gen Z may also inherit a bacteria revolution; one that threatens to take us back to the pre-penicillin era.
Already 0.01% of the global population are killed each year by superbugs. In context that’s 700,000 people, - equivalent to the combined population of Bristol, Bath and Exeter! It’s expected that by 2050, superbug infections will kill more people than cancer.
But all is not lost - Neciah Dorh is a scientist leading a multi-disciplinary team of engineers, data scientists and microbiologists to create game-changing diagnostics which could mean that superbugs can be identified and blitzed in a fraction of the current time scales.
His talk will explore how this collaborative approach, plus the unlikely combination of sugar, light and urine could help tip the scales back in our favour.
Jasper (full name Hubert Thompson) was born in Jamaica but has lived in the UK for most of his adult life.
He has always tried to help those less fortunate than himself but in the last couple of years has become more and more aware of the increasing number of homeless people on the streets of Bristol.
In early 2017, he and his wife started handing out hot food to the homeless on a Sunday morning in the centre of Bristol, they were soon joined by many supportive volunteers. But Jasper felt there was more he could do.
Through contacts, he was offered an old mobile home, and a site to place it on. On the site was a shipping container which inspired him to start converting them into self-contained micro flats. Since then Help Bristol’s Homeless has converted 13 micro flats as well as a double decker bus. They have just moved onto a more permanent site.
Homelessness is one of those pernicious problems. People who find themselves on the streets get caught in a vicious cycle. To get off the streets you need a job. To get a job you need an address.
Philanthropist and ex-soldier Jasper Thompson has devoted the last two years of his life to trying to break that cycle, creating a simple, replicable and practical solution by converting shipping containers and a double-decker bus into safe havens while people get back on their feet.
His TEDxBristol talk charts the journey he’s been on to challenge attitudes to homelessness, create meaningful change and build a supportive and innovative community for people at their lowest ebb.
“Many complex factors can lead to homelessness, and while it is true that these issues need to be resolved to keep people off the street, I believe that the priority must be to get people into safe, stable and comfortable accommodation. From there, we can help them to improve their own lives and reach their potential.”