As a senior lecturer in healthcare leadership I have long been intrigued by power, influence and different models of leadership. Of the leadership quotes I have amassed, my favourite comes from The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu who explained: “The wicked leader is he whom the people despise. The good leader is he whom the people revere. The great leader is he of whom the people say, “We did it ourselves.”
We kicked off our post-lunch session with a performance from Tom Elliott, a magician and comedian.
After a taste of witty humour, light mockery and a little audience participation, Tom managed to make the audience laugh and smile, leaving four volunteers literally on the stage floor.
Natalie Cutler – Cut the Arts, Cut Humanity’s Growth
Natalie’s talk opened with a line that most people in the arts have heard before,
“When are you going to get a proper job?”
It’s a question that stings creatives in the side, one that devalues us instantly. Natalie went on to highlight how in the 21st century, creativity is defined by either fame, following or failure, meaning the perception of value for the arts has become narrow.
She talked of arts funding cuts and how 9 out of 10 schools have cut creative subjects. Heartbreaking to think of, but this also has a massive impact on our society. Cutting the arts has a ripple effect across all sectors. Without music, art, and drama, other subjects suffer too. Actors are used in training exercises, musical therapy, and much more.
“When you cut the arts, you cut humanity’s ability to grow.”
Richard Burrell – The Illusion of Rudeness – The Myth of Respect
Richard started his talk by picking apart the culturally British expectations to be well-mannered. He defined ‘rude’ by saying it was failure to meet expectations based on behaviour or etiquette, especially without reasonable excuse.
“By doing this, we inadvertently deny them the right to be different.”
He urges us not to turn kind deeds into anger by expecting gratitude. We don’t know the other person’s circumstances.
“Do kind deeds because they’re the right thing to do, not for recognition.”
Laura Caulfield – Using the Arts to Build Relationships and Reduce Crime
Laura asked us all to close our eyes and think of our favourite music, art, film, or book. This was to prove her point: “The arts make us feel something.” Using her personal story, she highlights how the arts are essential to our daily lives.
She suggests that modern punishment is ineffective and rehabilitation is the only way to successfully help people stop offending. Loneliness is a large factor in this as it affects both mental and physical health.
“Engage and participate with the arts and you will see yourself flourish… The arts can be a catalyst for positive personal change.”
Jaivant Patel – A performance
To close session 3, we were treated to a taster of one of Jaivant’s performance pieces. His blend of traditional themes and spiritual awareness underlie his performance with a South Asian LBGTQ+ lens.
A passionate performance with visual and auditory stimulation, Jaivant’s piece is one that will be remembered.
Hannah Taylor – Regeneration Through Culture: Building Spaces for Community Projects
Hannah’s talk was a hard-hitting look at the statistics and possibilities that can happen if we include arts in community development. Investing in people and community spaces makes regeneration possible.
“I believe in my community, not institutions.”
The message of community, of the power of collective, not individuals, is at the core of Hannah’s talk.
She reminds us that together as a community, we can do a lot for our city.
“There are over 100 empty spaces in Wolverhampton.”
Using art, community, and determination, we can revolutionise our environment and give people more access to spaces that are so desperately needed.
Nathan Coyle – Open Data, Smart Cities and Communities, Let’s Cut the Crap!
Nathan’s talk opened up with a definition of Smart Cities and Open Data. He briefly explained the difficulties in using and identifying these phrases, using techno-speak, as it’s not the language of the community that it serves.
His talk focused on how access to public services and support can be hindered by a lack of familiarity in the language used.
“We need less Silicon Valley and more Sandwell Valley”
Zoe Bennett – Mindset Gap. Get Out of Your Own Way
Zoe’s talk revealed an emotional, personal story of grief and the shock of dealing with such a raw set of events. She talked about her own response to heightened trauma and how to take a step back and control your responses. Emotional trauma does not discriminate: something she learned on her journey.
“Take the emotion out and put the passion in… Don’t react, respond.”
Passionately talking about finding inner strength to choose how to respond to difficult circumstances and situations, she encouraged the audience to seek justice and be brave.
“There is no shame in mental health. The only shame is with those who are judge-mental.”
To repeat her final words, be kind to yourself and get out of your own way.
Sunny Dhadley – Activating Lived Experience to Create Social Change
Sunny opened his talk with a personal tale of overcoming addiction and the struggles of accessing help and support. He posed a question to us all that he had asked himself in the height of his struggles
“What could someone like me do for the world?”
One of the things his talk centred on was the power of lived experience. We all have lived experience that can be used to improve our communities, Sunny activating his, to help others in his community.
The one thing we can learn from Sunny’s talk was that we all have knowledge and experience that is relevant to our community.
Session 2 ended with a dance performance from Jivan Kandola. The amazing fusion of Drake’s God’s Plan with Bhangra elements heightened the energy and enthusiasm of her performance. The audience were transfixed with the performance and entertained further with Jivan giving the hosts an impromptu dance lesson.
Welcome to TEDx Wolverhampton.
We’re here at the Light House and we’re finally open for all our ticket holders and guests.
Everyone here is incredibly excited to show you all the hard work that’s been put in to make today unique.
We’ve got 14 speakers and 9 performers here today all to cover our topic of Mind The Gap – Building Bridges.
We also have local community services and businesses set up in the courtyard, and refreshments available at the Lock Works Cafe & Bar. If you’re here on-site, head over and say hello!
If you need any help or have any questions – don’t hesitate to have a chat with one of our friendly volunteers here today. You’ll find them wearing TEDx Wolverhampton t-shirts, lanyards and name badges.
We’ll be posting on the blog updates and information for you all to keep up with today’s events.
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What are you excited for today? Leave us a comment below.
Wolverhampton and its Black Country environs are weird, borderless, off-kilter places and that is why I love them.