TEDx Truro - Beyond Barriers

TEDx Truro – Beyond Barriers – Our Thoughts

Headforwards is proud to have sponsored this year’s TEDxTruro. For anybody who hasn’t heard of TED Talks, it is an organisation formed to help people share their views, insights, knowledge and personal stories to the world. TEDx was founded to reach a larger audience base by expanding to smaller communities. The x stands for independent and is run by a dedicated team of individuals from the local area.

Jeni, Marie and Jake attended this year’s event. The theme? Beyond Barriers. One of the greatest things about TEDx talks is the diversity of topics – while keeping to the theme, speakers from all walks of life took to the stage to share their stories with around 300 attendees.

Here are a few of our thoughts.


Shawn Brown – Neurodiversity – An untapped resource for future inventors

Shawn’s personal story of his fight against Dyslexia resonated with all of us. His talk led us on a journey from school to college and through university. As somebody who is dyslexic, he spoke out about the constant uphill struggle of completing exams and memory based tasks. He began to realise that his creative, innovative side was taking over. Shawn is helping others see how Neurodiversity is linked to innovation – something that is still a major oversight in the education system.

On top of training organisations to recognise and utilise neurodiversity within their workforces, he also runs an inventor's lab called Kids Invent Stuff. Children from all over the world send in their weird and wonderful blueprints for projects which Shawn makes into a reality. If you have 5 minutes spare, have a look at some of the inventions he has built so far.


Man Engine

Whilst all of the talks were amazing, Will Coleman’s frankness about his battle with depression was particularly inspiring to me.  He started with a miner’s hat on talking about The Man Engine and how it came to fruition. Animated and excited we heard about the amazing feat, strength and determination which got the project to completion when no one thought it was possible. Then he removed the hat and became a different person as he told us of the mounting debt, the loneliness and the lowest point where he considered whether to end it all.

After the massive high, from crowds of 24,000 people in Penzance (a town of only 20,000) came an even bigger low - Will, alone in a room with a pile of bills he couldn’t pay and no one to talk to or help him. He was open, honest and brave to share this with us all.  Hopefully it will inspire others who people may think have it all, would never feel down or give up and are always the happy go lucky person they portray. It is ok to be honest with people, it is ok to fail or to question how you will achieve something.  It is ok to say you put too much pressure on yourself, and it is ok to say you didn’t think you would make it through. Not everyone is able to get through those very dark times and people close often blame themselves for not recognising the signs.  Neither side should have to feel that pain. A very inspiring talk which ended with the hat back on and plans for another tour of the engine - and charging more for the public appearances this time around!

Barriers by definition cause separation and are the opposite to inclusion and diversity.  One of the most important things we should be focusing on in every aspect of our lives is overcoming and breaking down these barriers. Every talk at TEDx Truro cemented this belief, whilst also challenging me in the way I think about many things.


In Summary

We are really pleased to have sponsored this event and that 3 of us were able to attend. Quite often the thought of being away from the office for a whole day is quite stressful and when we first arrived we were all thinking about the things we needed to get done or should be doing. However, by the end of the first talk and certainly by the end of the day, we all felt that it was an incredibly valuable use of our time.
Every single speaker inspired us in some way - the courage to share such personal stories is something not everyone has, but I hope they realise the large effect sharing those experiences had on all of us.

As well as the speakers there on the day, we were also shown 4 previous TED talks, which are well worth a watch.

“Why you should know how much your coworkers get paid” was particularly interesting and something that maybe we should all be thinking about.

The links to these are below and we will share the talks from the day as soon as they are released.

Thank you to TEDxTruro for all of your hard work.


Streamed Talks

David Burkus – Why you should know how much your co-workers are paid

Juno Mac – The laws that sex workers really want

Jeanne Gang – Buildings that blend nature and city

Frans Lanting – Photos that give voice to the animals kingdom