TEDxYouth@Bath held at The Forum in Bath was a day bustling with inspiration, igniting sparks in the generation of the future. As predicted by Imandeep Kaur from Birmingham’s Impact Hub, the ‘TED hangover’ was heavy the following day, but a shared passion for change was created and we want to keep that momentum going.

“I sorted my life out at the TEDx” is a pretty common statement”


Licensed by world-renowned talks organisers TED, the event was jam-packed with its famous motto ‘ideas worth spreading’. There were 23 amazing speakers, touching on topics from charitable apps to restorative justice, giving everyone some serious food for thought.

Charlotte Calkin, Co-organiser of TEDxYouth@Bath tells us, “This is our 4th event since 2011. I started it because I had attended a TED conference and I felt that it was aimed at the wrong audience and that the best audience would be 16-18 year olds who are about to leave full-time education.”

TEDxYouth@Bath has continually grown since 2011 and has seen huge triumphs in its time. Charlotte says, “I sorted my life out at the TEDx” is a pretty common statement!”

TEDx embraces the tech

The lineup included speakers who are pioneering in the tech for good scene.

ronan-finnegan-ordonateRonan Finnegan (pictured left) delivered a fantastic speech on his innovative app WAKEorDONATE. At just 19, Ronan founded his own company creating charitable apps to encourage people to incorporate donating into their everyday lives. WAKEorDONATE is designed to help shake that ‘I’ll just hit the snooze button’ habit with an altruistic twist – if you want to hit the snooze button you will have to donate money to charity for the privilege!

“I just fell in love with the whole concept of TED, I just love the idea of sharing knowledge”


Ronan recently won TalkTalk’s fundraising digital hero award, and he was shortlisted for the FutureSPARK award at the 2016 SPARKies, Charlotte even says, “I found Ronan through the SPARKies Awards.”

Joining Ronan from the tech scene was Jessica Ridgers from Bath-based Designability, a company that seeks to transform the lives of those with disabilities. We caught up with Jessica to find out more about Designability and why she took part in TEDx. “I knew I wanted to bridge that gap between insights from people in healthcare and design solution.” Jessica explains, “after university I tried to find work around health care and assistive technology. I came from this area [Bath] so I came back and found Designability. They just really fit the bill for me, they do the kind of thing that I love.”

“I think you can apply creativity to any industry”


Jessica welcomes TEDx with open arms, expressing how much she admires the conference, “I have been a huge fan of TED since I first listened to one about 6 or 7 years ago. I just fell in love with the whole concept of TED, I just love the idea of sharing knowledge.” She also shares Charlotte’s opinion about targeting young people, “I wish at the age of 16-19 I could have had that kind of inspiration.

“I wish I could have gone to a TEDxYouth conference back then, especially not knowing quite what I wanted to do in life. I think it teaches you that it’s okay to not have a plan, you can sort of combine interests for a role that works for you.”

charlotte-opening-tedxyouthbathJessica shared some sound advice with us, “I’ve heard so many times people saying they’re not creative and a lot of time that’s based on their ability to draw or be artistic and it’s not as simple as that. I think you can apply creativity to any industry and I hope that comes across in my talk.”

Talks from a virtual world

Another speaker challenging ideas was Ed Greig from Deloitte Digital. Ed actually began his talk in Virtual Reality (VR)! Whilst talking to us, he was also interacting with others globally, demonstrating just one way how VR can be a force of connection.

His talk was centred around the revolutionary ways we can manipulate VR technology to explore a multitude of possibilities that weren’t open to us before its creation. Ed described VR as having many unique selling points such as, “presence, focus and flexibility”, all of which make it much more than just a gaming experience.

“Something just clicked as you spoke”


Ed emphasised that VR can be educational, whether that be in medicine or training pilots. He called it ‘The Ultimate Empathy Machine’ as you can literally put yourself in someone else’s shoes, the power of which shouldn’t be underestimated.

VR can also be a distraction technique to reduce pain in surgeries where the patient is required to stay awake, as well as make physical therapies more interesting, therefore more effective. It has psychological benefits too, having helped some to overcome mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Throughout his speech, Ed stressed that we should “fall in love with the problem, not the solution” to promote innovation and not getting bogged down with just one way to resolve an issue.

Something for everyone

There were so many inspiring speeches, all of which contributed something really worthwhile. Jacob Dunne’s talk on restorative justice was particularly moving. Charlotte tells us, “Watching the student’s reaction to a talk like Jacob Dunne’s made me realise why I do it. Jacob spoke very bravely about how restorative justice helped him to rebuild his life after committing manslaughter and how he made terrible choices as a teenager. There were audience members in tears talking to him afterwards. A few said, “Something just clicked as you spoke.”

closing-tedxyouthbathOther inspiring speakers included Aimee Anasarl, the Executive Director from Translation without Borders. Aimee spoke about the importance of getting crucial medical information to people where most people speak a local language. The problem largely derives from the fact that in so many countries the ‘national language’ is not understood by the majority of inhabitants, meaning when information is sent no one can decode it. This is true even in places that have internet access as only 100 out of the estimated 300 languages spoken in the world are available on online translation devices.

Translation without Borders seeks to change this by translating information into local languages and sending it via voice notes, which in turn eradicates the issue of illiteracy. Aimee emphasised the relevance of this, “when people are empowered to make a change, that will change the world.”

Want to hear more? Charlotte assures us footage of all the speakers will be released, “All of the talks will be available online really soon.” Whether you missed the day or just want a reminder of all the things you learnt, “There is a topic for everyone! They will all be linked on our website.”

Thanks to Charlotte for taking the time to talk to us and for organising such a phenomenal event! Well done to all the speakers who made the day so amazing – you can see the full line-up at the TEDxYouth@Bath website. To stay tuned with the latest news follow @TEDxYouthBath on Twitter.