After the success of our first event in 2011, Women Shaping The Future, and our salon with CamCreative on the theme of Telling Stories, with TEDxGranta 2012: Alive & Kicking we are really hitting our stride.

Held at celebrated arts venue The Junction in Cambridge, the day offered an inspirational mix of live speakers, TED Talks and Ads Worth Spreading. We also offered conversation breaks for people to talk through the ideas presented on stage, workshops in the foyer to get people moving, and the chance to get up close to the real Wallace & Gromit. People also got to see the new device that’s got the tech community in a whirl, a Raspberry Pi.

Themes that ran through the day:

Empowerment through the teaching of skill
David Constantine from charity Motivation talked about people in wheelchairs regaining a sense of purpose and worth when they are able to work again. The FLACK Cambridge team highlighted the fact that the homeless lose their social currency. By being involved in the creation of the magazine, FLACK members regain their sense of purpose and learn new skills.

After an incredible blindfold kung fu demonstration, Ross Sargent discussed mindful movement as a way of using physical exercise to shape our mental state.

Opening new doors to knowledge
Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton gave us the story of the creation of one of the tech world’s hottest properties. Tim Minshall explored engineering as a creative process, and left the audience with a call to action to help encourage school children to consider becoming engineers – and to understand the breadth of scope of engineering.

Bringing things to life
Tim Morley discussed how Esperanto helps bring languages to life for children. He drew a great analogy between language and music in that we use a recorder when we first learn music, rather than diving straight into mastering the bassoon. Esperanto is the language equivalent of the recorder – accessible and leads on to other more complex learning.

Musician Shelley Katz demonstrated his Symphonova project live on stage for the first time ever and we had beatboxing, loops and bass from Gil Karpas.

Tim Hayward spoke about saving beloved Cambridge cake shop Fitzbillies. And Aardman’s Merlin Crossingham brought the real Wallace & Gromit with him all the way from Bristol as static exhibits to enhance his talk on how animators bring characters to life on screen. True VIP guests, they even had their own seat in the auditorium…

What’s next?

We’re now planning for our next event. In the meantime, if you would like to get in touch with TEDxGranta please contact us. You can also join us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Ross Sargent is the Co-Founder, MD, and Chief Instructor of Cambridge Kung Fu Ltd, a not-for-profit social enterprise which was established in 2007 (although Ross has been teaching Kung Fu in Cambridge since 2002).  The vision of Cambridge Kung Fu is to teach the fundamental benefits that can be achieved through intelligent martial arts and movement practise – utilising the physical body as the medium for learning some of life’s deep lessons!

Ross moved to Cambridge in 2001 to start a PhD at the University of Cambridge, having achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Imperial College London.  After six months of his PhD, he realised that his passion lay outside of the academic arena, in his long term hobby of Martial Arts training. With his principle passions as learning and sharing, Ross has since achieved the titles of ‘Sifu of Wing Chun Kung Fu’ and ‘Instructor of Circular Strength’ training, the movement system created by world renowned martial artist and fitness coach Scott Sonnon.

Ross Sargent explains Mindful Movement

Not only will Ross be giving us a demonstration of Blind fold ‘Chi Sau’ (translated as sticking hands) sparring (martial art sparring using every sense except sight), we will also welcome him to the stage to talk about human optimisation or, as his two year old self expressed it, “being the winnest”…

The human organism can be thought of as a collection of symbiotic systems that work together to produce the person that we are. Two of the systems in question are the Central Nervous System and Movement System – the myofasical matrix of connective tissue, muscle and bone that is responsible for us being able to move through space.

Ross will be explaining the profound effect that nurturing both of these systems has on us and, more specifically, how deepening the relationship between these two systems leads to the optimisation of our potential for success.

By clearly understanding how to train these component parts of our bodies in an incrementally progressive manner, we continually challenge & enhance ourselves in an intrinsic way, and optimise ourselves as a whole person.

If you’d like to try a little self-optimisation, Ross has generously agreed to run a workshop during one of our breakout sessions to help us start o regain ‘lost’ mobility. Being the best you can be is definitely an idea worth spreading, so come along to discover more about human potential.


democratising high-quality music

February 16, 2012

Montreal-born pianist Shelley Katz studied at the Conservatoire de Musique and the Julliard School. While based in New York, he performed as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist, and was the pianist for the New York Contemporary Ensemble under Skrowaczewski. Following his move to Europe, Shelley continued to give concerts, to pursue his interest in […]

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Learn how to Build the Future

February 8, 2012

Tim Minshall is a Senior Lecturer in Technology Management at the Institute for Manufacturing – a part of Cambridge University Engineering Department. He researches, teaches, and writes on technology enterprise and open innovation and, since 1998, has been involved in helping people get new technologies to market. He is a non-executive director of St. John’s […]

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Kirsten Lavers tells us how Cambridge homeless charity Flack sees potential, not problems

February 6, 2012

FLACK is an innovative charity and social enterprise working with homeless people in Cambridge. Two years ago, Kirsten Lavers was made redundant from her post as Editor of the Willow Walker, a quarterly magazine publishing the work of homeless people in the city. With the help and faith of the homeless community, she and her […]

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Aardman, animation and bringing Wallace & Gromit to life

January 31, 2012

Merlin Crossingham joined Aardman in 1995 through an animation training course run in conjunction with the University of the West of England, having already completing a degree in Film and Photography at the Newport Film School in 1994. As an animator at Aardman, Merlin initially worked on many TV commercials and Morph shorts, before taking […]

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Sensitive Soul

January 30, 2012

Gil Karpas is a soulful singer-songwriter, with all the multi-tracking, multi-instrumental, looping and performing finesse of a 21st Century troubadour. Described as “One smooth brother!!“ by BBC Introducing, Gil is now touring solo with his one man band of pedals, loopers, effects and tricks, all whilst simultaneously playing the guitar, the percussion, and singing his smooth, uplifting […]

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Linguistics Without Borders

January 24, 2012

Another fascinating new speaker has joined our ranks, TEDxers. Tim Morley will be taking to the stage in March to talk about an innovative programme for introducing young children to foreign language awareness — by using the constructed language of Esperanto to start them off. Tim works in a number of primary schools around Cambridgeshire, […]

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Affordable Pi – Hardware For Everyone

January 19, 2012

TEDx-ers, things are rushing along at a fantastic pace, and we have another fantastic speaker to announce: Eben Upton. If you own a smartphone, then you already have enough computing power to launch the original Apollo missions into space. However, that hardware costs around £150 and is generally locked away from your prying fingers, making […]

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Reviving a Cake Shop, Preserving History

January 17, 2012

Last year, Cantabrians and Cambridge University alumni were anguished to discover that a mainstay of our more recent culinary history was slated for the chopping board – Fitzbillies (celebrated cake shop and tea room) was on its last legs, and the future was looking bleak. Stephen Fry himself was sustained by Fitzbillie’s “Stickiest Chelsea Buns in […]

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