Everything we learned at…TEDX Newcastle

There are millions of events every single day and here it SHARP we find it really difficult to know what’s actually worth our precious time. So we’re on a mission, we’re here to give you the facts, the ‘eureka!’ moments and let you know exactly what we learn from the stand-out events we attend. So next time when that eventbrite alert comes through, you’ll know exactly what to do.

TEDX Newcastle is one we’ve been looking forward to for a while, with an excellent panel of speakers lined up, some brilliant musical entertainment and an amazing venue in the Sage Gateshead, here’s the list of our favourite speakers, our highlights and what we found out.

Alfie Joey

BBC Breakfast Radio Host/ Cartoonist / Impressionist

Stand-Out Quote

“Very often we settle for the ordinary, instead of the extraordinary. Which is mad! If you want to do something, go and do it, it’s your life, it’s your story, don’t let anyone else write the script. Make it as fascinating and interesting as you can.”

What we learned:

  • Alfie Joey lived in a religious order for 15 years, who knew?!
  • He’s changed and adapted his career dependant on what he wanted to do to achieve his dreams, including training to be a catholic priest, teaching drama, becoming a comedian, hosting the BBC Newcastle breakfast show and also displaying his cartoonist work in two art galleries.
  • Changing careers and following your dreams is crucial. Make sure to use the support network around you and go for it.

Neil Woods

Former Detective Sergeant, Undercover Operative and Chairman of LEAP UK (Law Enforcement Action Partnership)

Stand-Out Quote

“I went to meet a gangster and I bought some heroin, then went to do some shoplifting, sell some stolen property, bought some crack cocaine and then at the end of the day I went back to my team.”

“We interviewed three generations of Liverpool gangsters, the first grew up and got into organised crime in the 1970’s, then got into the heroin explosion in the 1980’s, he was the right hand man of Curtis Warren, the first gangster that got on the Sunday Times Rich List. The second one we interviewed got into organised crime in the 1990’s, he got into it in the 90’s dance music boom when the door staff became gangsters. The third generation was a 16 year old that had escaped county lines drug dealing. County lines drug dealing is when children are exploited to transport and sell heroin between one city and another. Perhaps the most important question we asked was, as a young gangster how easy would it be for you to get a gun?

“The oldest one, he said: ‘Well as a kid I could have asked and I would have been taken to explain why I needed a gun, and they would have said no. They would have said why on earth do you want to draw attention to yourself and to us by using a gun, go and sort out your problems toe-to-toe.’

“The second gangster said: ‘Well we would have had stashes of weapons, but certainly young people we wouldn’t have let them anywhere near guns.’

“We asked the 16 year old, he said: ‘Well you’d have to give me a couple of hours. In fact the last time I needed a gun, the guy said I’d have to wait until the end of the day but I could have a hand grenade instead.’”

“We have gone from the prescription pad controlling the heroin market, to 15 year olds with hand grenades. It doesn’t have to be like this, we can go back to treating drugs as a health problem, instead of a criminal one.”

What we learned:

  • We need to start looking at national crime problems differently.
  • Heroin-use is getting worse, from 1,000 registered users back in the 1970’s to 350,000 users today.

Alanna Collen

Author of ‘10% Human’ and Gut Investigator

Stand-out quote

“Microbes.We know that there are hundred trillion of them living in us and on us, and most of them live in our guts, they are responsible for keeping us healthy, they protect us from our allergies, they stop us getting autoimmune diseases, they even control our mental health and our behaviour and importantly they seem to be involved in regulating our weights.”

What we learned:

  • We need to pay much more attention to what we’re putting into our body and how it affects our gut microbes.
  • Microbes transform the way they work dependant on what your body goes through. Eg. if you’re pregnant there’s no need to eat for two, your microbes change the way you store food.
  • Microbes choose the amount of energy to store as fat in your body.
  • Antibiotics work against gut microbes and can affect our weight.
  • What you feed your microbes does matter, by eating fibre rich foods, these travel straight to our large intestine and to your gut microbes allowing them to release their positive chemicals that can regulate weight gain and make you happier.

Elizabeth Clark

CEO and Chairman of Dream Agility and writer of ‘Flirting for Dummies’ for the popular book series

“The very first rule of flirting is eye contact. Don’t look at them for longer than four seconds, you’re either about to beat their brains out or leap into bed them. Then we need to be doing eyebrow flashing, it’s a very simple gesture just an up and down. When you flash they will instinctively eyebrow flash you back. So much happens before you get to the point of you speaking to someone. Everyone gets really stressed about the introduction or the chat-up line but so much happens before you actually speak to each other.”

What we learned:

  • You need to go at someone with a dry hand and match their grip when shaking hands.
  • Men have terrible peripheral vision, they start by looking at your face and then moving down. (You all know what we mean.)
  • Always make sure to accept and say thank you for a compliment, even if you feel a bit awkward.
  • If you need to check how your breath smells, lick the inside of your wrist, wave it round a bit and smell it.

Sugatra Mitra

Newcastle University’s Professor and Principal Investigator of Educational Technology. Winner of the Million-dollar TED Prize in 2013.

Key Quote

“So I learnt my first lesson in education, that the absence of a teacher could be a factor to assist learning.”

“We’ll take a classroom, put in four or five big screens with the internet on it, bring in 20 children and ask them a question, and they sort of rush around, you hear the same buzzing sound and then the answer pops up. You can make the questions harder and harder but the answer will come. We called it a self-organised learning environment.”

“Children in self-organised learning environments can learn anything by themselves. Back here in Gateshead there is a school called St Aidens, I took nine-year olds and asked ‘can anything be in two places at the same time?’ and they said ‘two places at the same time?’ so I said ‘go, take a look.’ It took them about 15 minutes and they came back and said ‘Sugatra have you ever heard about quantum entanglement?’”  

“All of our education is just in case. Everyone in this room has been taught how to solve a quadratic equation. Now if you met a quadratic equation all you’d have to say is ‘Alexa. Solve this for me.’”

“We need to prepare children to learn just in time rather than just in case. For a future where what we need to know is not quite evident anymore.”

What we learned:

  • In one of Sugatra’s first experiments he placed a computer in New Delhi and studied how children taught themselves how to surf the web without a teacher.
  • The absence of a teacher can assist learning.
  • But also positive encouragement can accelerate this and encourage children to learn.
  • Sugatra developed the School in the Cloud combining self-organised learning and the positive encouragement grandmother effect everywhere from India and Harlem to Killingworth.
  • If you allow children to safely search on the internet their reading and comprehension goes up dramatically as they improve their searching skills.
  • Sugatra proposes the internet should be introduced as a formal subject at school and also during examinations. It’s a subject that all of our children are going to need and will depend upon in future when they come across things they don’t know.

Nick Littlehales

Superstar Sleep Guru and Elite Sport Sleep Coach

Key Quote

“When the sun comes round and triggers you to wake, it’s not that you get more awake, as the day goes on, its actually you’re getting closer and closer to your next opportunity to take sleep. You’ll actually see a time between 1-3 which is the next human natural sleep period, maybe a siesta in other parts of the world, this is a moment when you should be going into a natural recovery period if we hadn’t invented light. There’s another one in evening between 5-7 when you’re actually designed to get some sleep.”

What we learned:

  • You must get a good relationship with the circadian rhythm. Have a google, up until the electric light bulb human’s slept from short phases more often rather than overnight.
  • It’s important and will make it much easier for you if you’re a night owl, to learn the importance of 90-minute periods and to wake at the end of a 90-minute period when you’re coming out of a deep sleep.
  • A consistent wake time is also important, that way you can make conscious decisions about what time you’re going to wake up and plan accordingly to your 90-minute period.
  • Your body’s recovery programme starts from the minute you wake up.
  • You can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. Lying in the foetal position is one of the most comfortable for recovery.

Special mentions to:

Stephen Westaby

Stephen has operated on over 11,000 patients becoming one of the world’s top heart surgeons. His work is ultimately pioneering as he described the process of trying to eliminate heart transplants through the use of technology, now creating cardiac pumps that can ultimately increase life-span and have a much higher survival rate. An extremely inspirational man.

Andrew Szydlo

If this man was your chemistry teacher, you would definitely pay attention. This man had the audience in the palm of his hand as he talked through his different experiments at full speed, causing explosions, bangs and enough fire to send the health and safety officer at the Sage on sick leave.

Ladies of Midnight Blue

Just ‘wow’ this was TEDX’s first musical performance of the day and they did not disappoint. The room was instantly filled with the infectious energy of Hannabiell Sanders and Yilis del Carmen Suriel along with the sounds of their trance drum rhythms. It was pretty hard not to leap out of your seat and join in.

Emer Maguire

The final performance of the day and an absolutely brilliant walk-through chords used in music and why some of us have complete left feet. We absolutely loved the #Instabae song she finished with.

Kirsty Henderson

If you weren’t following her talk closely it could be difficult to follow, but Kirsty’s life, passion and unbelievable experience to provide human development training really shone through. It’s definitely worth taking a look at her website and the free resources available: https://www.fiveringstraining.com

Olivia Remes

Great to hear from Olivia Remes about anxiety disorders and in particular loneliness and how to beat it. After listening, we’re going to be having a lot more chats when we’re out and about.

Stephen Purvis

All is not lost with Brexit and Stephen Purvis is sure the North East can gain from it. Really interesting talk about developing our own sustainable economy in the region along with an introduction to Policy North. Check it out here: http://www.policynorth.com

The event was hosted by the brilliant Herb Kim, who also gave the heads up that there may be another TEDX event next year. Fingers crossed for 2019! 

SharpLifeEverything we learned at…TEDX Newcastle

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