TedXLiverpool does Liverpool proud


I do love a good TedX and theres been some good ones this year. But I really like the ones which are more representative of the local area or local concerns. They tend to bring new people to the stage and new ideas, and you know how much I love diversity of ideas. TedXLiverpool is one such one TedX.

There is something about Liverpool… I can’t put my finger on it but everyone I know who is from there seems to absolutely love it. It does seem like a interesting place with a similar history to Bristol. There are other similarities like 2 football teams which seem to divide the city. The things I don’t really like is the transport links between Liverpool and Manchester. The last train back from Liverpool to Manchester seems to be 2320 and is the slowest train you’ve seen. Not only that the first train to Liverpool for TedXLiverpool was 8:10 which is shocking even for a Sunday. Anyhow the point is, I hardly get a chance to really experience Liverpool.

So enough grumbling about the transport (although I did get a ticket for my scooter too). Marie tried to convince me to sign up to TedXLiverpool during the last Thinking Digital and I kinda said maybe but as the line up grew and grew, it was having Adrian and Dan Hon both speaking which got me to plonk down the money for a early bird ticket. Although they were not talking together, having them both in the same venue was enough.

Myself and the Hon's

Later it was announced Sir Ken Roberson would be joining the TedXLiverpool line up and the tickets went overnight. I’ll be honest and say I was sitting pretty with my tickets confirmed. Don’t get me wrong the hearing Sir Ken talking was like having a double cherry on the top of a great cake. And I haven’t even started on the fantastic venue of the Everyman theater. Everything was lining up to be a special day.

Everything seemed smooth and before you knew it, Adrian Hon took to the floor. When I say floor I literary mean floor. The everyman theatre has a floor with the audience covering 3/4’s of it. There is no where to hide, no podium, just the speaker and some props. The space outside in the lobby area was long and had a nice long balcony. If I had not seen the Royal Exchange in Manchester, I would say it was one of the finest theaters I had seen.

So what about those speakers? Everybody was great but in my usual style he’s my favorite speakers.  Sir Ken Robinson , Graham Hughes, Adrian Hon, Homebaked Anfield, Nigel Ward, Dan Hon and Hayley Parkes.

Sir Ken Roberson

Sir Ken was incredible and although he never actually did a talk for 18mins. He was interviewed by Herb Kim on the sofa with a massive TEDdy (get it) sat next to him. Teddy was unfortunately right between myself and Sir Ken. However it was amazing to hear him answer questions about his famous TED talk. In the 3rd section of TEDxLiverpool, Sir Ken took over from Herb presenting and riffing between the last lot of speakers. Then just when you think it can’t be better, after Mike Southon. Sir Ken riff on the fly for about 5-10mins. I was scrabbling around my mind map making notes. Diversity of thoughts, amazement of life, belief in human endeavor, reliance on academic endeavor and much much more was talked about.

Graham Hughes

I have wrote about Graham so many times from when I first met him at Thinking Digital. He kind of inspired me to head to Tokyo and he’s now urging me to go visit him in Panama! Not sure I’ll be going but thanks for the offer all the same Graham and great to hear his story is continuing forward to somewhere specially.

TedXLiverpoolAdrian Hon

Adrian, started off proceedings with a sobering talk about cowardice and courage. The points he made were spot on, as a society were rubbish at encouraging people to be bold. He talked about the white feather which was a sign of cowardice in war times, and the time for pacifism. What about taking courage in everyday life? He then put this all in the scope of whats happening with the 5 stacks we are all using now. Asking the question, have you gotten off Facebook yet? What would it take personally to get off Facebook? Facebook was simply an example which really struck home. Great talk Adrian

Dan Hon

Dan ‘s Emphany in technology was similar to his brother’s talk. Although they were quite different on the face of it. Putting the humanity into technological solutions. The problems with algorithms and business models was highlighted front and centre throughout the talk. This is something I have been thinking about a lot. After the event I got a quick chance to talk to Dan and mention how I’ve been looking at online dating with a similar lens. Great talk Dan


Homebaked is one of those little gems which you come across once in a while. Just like a lot of the other community projects I mentioned before, they just fucking did it. Co-working space, bakery and a cornerstone of the local community. Connecting the local community with new people coming into the area. I mean wow! The homebaked story was amazing and got me thinking this approach is the solution to gentrification? What can I do to help this in my area?

Peter Kenslla

I was listening to Peter talking about his history and trying to establish a restaurant in the middle of the financial crisis. It was interesting but it dawned on me almost at the end of his talk. The restaurant he was talking about was Lunya. A place I went with Jody Appleton to on the first night of our talks on BBC Merseyside. Nice restaurant and I like the view that the more terrifying it is the
more you should do it.

TedXLiverpoolHayley Parks

So great hearing Hayley again, when shes playing the piano it seems to take her to another place. Simply memorising!

TedXLiverpoolJess Gillam

Jess was a late replacement for Ameila O’Connell. She played two different saxophones and really added a Jazzy tone to the everyman theatre. Great stuff and how young? Great future beckons.

Honestly it was a hard pick to my list. Every talk was great, the ones above struck a cord with me. Adrian McEwen, Nigel Ward and  Prof. Tom Solomon were all great and deserve a mention too. Gemma Bodinetz ‘s talk about the everyman was nice, as I had no idea about the Everyman’s history.

TedXLiverpool was really impressive, and once again shows what happen when you have a good range of people not just star after star.


Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at cubicgarden@mas.to, cubicgarden@twit.social and cubicgarden@blacktwitter.io

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