TED X Warwick 2016: Unchartered Waters
Last to last Saturday, I witnessed one of the best events on campus—Ted X Warwick’s Annual Conference, Unchartered Waters, an event, which left me feeling an array of emotions from awe to sympathy to admiration and motivation. I listened to seventeen talks, all by different people from different backgrounds and different parts of the world, who had come all the way to Warwick to share their unique stories.
It was my first ever TED X event, so I was really looking forward to it and was highly motivated to wake up at 8 AM on a Saturday morning for it.
Words can’t express half as well how good a TED X Event is as you really need to be there to experience this magic. However, in this blog post, I will try my best to give you a taste of what the conference was like.
Choosing my favourite talks among the seventeen was a challenging and tedious task, as each was beautiful and enrapturing in its own way, but I tried my best to choose five of my favourite ones.
1. Jonathan Rossiter, the head of the Soft Robotics group at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, went on to talk about innovating a robot that’ll not only help to eliminate pollutants from the environment but also generate electricity along the way. This robot could be built by simple, household, biodegradable materials and could really be beneficial to the human race, if implemented quickly and efficiently.
2. Aissa Edon, a midwife in England, who suffered from female genital mutilation, (external removal of the female genitalia) a brutal practice that imposes patriarchal beliefs and tortures women, didn’t want other women to go through the same pain and misery that she was subjected to, and so was committed to make a difference and spread a message of hope. She did this by going out of her way and opening a ‘FGM Hope Clinic’ which she is proud to call herself an owner of now.
3. Cecilia Knapp, a writer, a performer rehearsed a beautiful, soul-stirring poem about mental health and depression. Few of her words which really stayed with me were, “in this world, we rarely open our eyes to the sky for help” and “it’s okay to be vulnerable.” She lost her older brother when she was young, and her words perfectly sum up the feelings of losing a loved one—“losing him was like finishing the last page of a book.” After losing him, she started to write as it helped to cope with her loss and hopes that her writing helps others cope with theirs too.
4. Robert Del Harris, a lecturer at Imperial College London, discussed the possibility of combatting depression through the use of magic mushrooms and LSD. He was quoted saying, “Depression affects more people than the population of the United States and the money spent on curing it is equivalent to the GDP of the Republic of Ireland.” Moreover, according to him, depression is the number one cause of absenteeism in the workplace and research shows that only 50% of patients respond to anti-depressants. Magic mushrooms and LSD have been used to treat patients and have shown significant results. On average, patients undergoing depression for over eighteen years, showed some signs of improvement after three years. He agrees that they aren’t “golden bullets that’ll help everyone”, but insists that they should not be solely dismissed for their mere psychedelic effects, but seen for the medical benefits they provide too.
5. Paul Stone discovered his lost passion for art when he started painting. Every Friday of the week, he would, on his way to work, leave a painting behind on the street for someone to discover. This started the trend, ‘Free Art Fridays’, where artists all over the world started exchanging their artworks by leaving them on the street. He was someone who was chasing his dreams, someone who was living in the moment and lastly living life to the fullest.
6. Redo, despite being born with several physical malformations, is a professional break dancer, whose incredible dance performance not only emotionally moved me and made me teary eyed, but also inspired me to believe in the impossible and follow my dreams.
So, these were the speakers I enjoyed listening to the most. All in all, it was a brilliant event. Even though the ticket cost twenty pounds, it was definitely worth it, and if I had to make this decision again, I would still choose to attend it, and not spend my Saturday in any other way. I hope my blog post hasn’t bored you but rather intrigued you and tempted you to attend TED X Warwick’s conference next year.
Thanks for reading and hope you have a lovely day x