Saturday 7th November 2020 @ The Internet

2020 – Ctrl + Alt + Delete


We had high hopes for TEDxWolverhampton 2020. After an amazing first event in 2019, we felt like we knew what we were doing. The 2019 event left the team on such a high that midway through our celebration meal we were already talking about ‘next year’.

2019 exceed our expectations. The speakers, the performers, the hosts, the audience, the feedback. We set about planning in October 2019.

Enter Covid-19.

By March 2020 it became clear that putting 100 people in a small theatre for a day was looking unlikely. But we weren’t going to let a global pandemic stop us!

Thanks to the dedication of the folks at our new venue The Arena Theatre and a tenacious TEDx team, we set about planning an alternative event. It wouldn’t be the same, but that was kind of the point. Our Ctrl + Alt + Delete theme, which had been decided before the pandemic, suddenly felt even more relevant – with people talking about the changes they wanted to see in a post-Covid world.

With the help of The Arena, social distancing measure & a lot of internet bandwidth, we were able to bring you TEDx Wolverhampton 2020 on 7th November – Ctrl + Alt + Delete…TEDx on t’internet!


2020 has been a challenging year for the world. TEDxWolverhampton is no exception.

This year’s TEDxWolverhampton was planned to be held at the Arena Theatre in April. Enter Covid-19.

We postponed to November 2020, hoping that the world might have returned to some sense of normality & we could get everyone together physically. By late summer it became clear that this wasn’t going to be possible, so we rolled out “plan B”.

Initially, the plan was be broadcast live online from the Arena with a limited audience. Enter local lockdown.

So we moved onto “plan C”, which was to just have the speakers, performers & hosts live from the Arena with the audience online. Enter a 4 week national lockdown!

“Plan D” arrived in October – several of the talks were pre-recorded live at the Arena, socially distanced, on the stage, with the TEDx sign and the famous red rug!

TEDx will be broadcast live online and include the talks recorded at the Arena, as well as talks recorded remotely by speakers.

We couldn’t have made this year’s event happen without the support of the Arena and their fantastic staff who provided us with their filming, editing & streaming skills, so THANK YOU!

Please support your local arts venues – we need them more than ever right now!


Our theme for TEDxWolverhampton 2020 is Ctrl+Alt+Del where we’ll be exploring ‘control’ within society, ‘alternative ways’ of thinking and ideas, approaches and concepts that have been or need deleting to enable us and our communities to grow.

Ctrl+Alt+Del, or the three-finger salute, is the commonly known combination of keys on a PC keyboard, used to re-boot the system.  However, it was never meant for public knowledge. In fact, it came about by mistake and was for computer developers’ fingers only!

Unfortunately, or fortunately, dependent on you point of view, the information was accidently included in IBM’s technical reference manual and released to the public. The rest, as they say, is history!

At TEDxWolverhampton 2020 we’re exploring ideas that challenge, turn long held and accepted norms on their heads, challenge the status quo and reset and reboot our thinking.

So, get ready to give the three-finger salute to your old ways of thinking and open your mind to ideas worth sharing!

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Meet the Speakers


Meet our speakers for TEDxWolverhampton 2020…

Mathilde Petford

This is a Family Matters

Born and bred in Wolverhampton, Mathilde Petford is an artist and activist, dedicated to creating and nurturing spaces for young people to tell their stories and to have their voices heard.

Mathilde is the Creative Practitioner at Beatfreeks, a Birmingham based arts activism organisation. She has facilitated on projects at a national level for global clients. Despite this, Mathilde remains dedicated to unheard young people through producing events around mental health and creativity, programming master classes and workshops and mentoring young people to get their own ideas off the ground.

Hesham Abdalla

Hexitime: Give an hour, Get a lot more back.

Hesham is a general paediatrician and Clinical lead for Quality Improvement in his NHS Trust, Walsall Healthcare. He has won national awards in patient-centred care patient safety and is a senior lecturer at Keele University in Management and Leadership.

His project to develop Hexitime, the Healthcare Skill Exchange Timebank won support from Q members at the Q Exchange 2018.

Iman Hussain

Unlocking the Lockdown

Iman graduated from the University of Wolverhampton where he discovered his love for technology, after seeing first-hand how revolutionary the digital age will be. He is now dedicating his time to make it as open, accessible and useful as possible.

At 15 Iman was diagnosed with autism, a condition which made it hard for him to communicate ideas and pushed him towards logic and reason. Luckily, Iman was surrounded by positive people who helped him see his autism as a superpower rather than a barrier and he relishes experiencing the world differently and having the opportunity to develop new ways of doing things.

Iman is passionate about educating and has spent the past 3 years teaching across 3 continents. Seeing the world through new eyes and experiencing new ideas is what drives him to achieve and help others

Joshua Bleasby

Data and Deception: The internet of things

Joshua Bleasby is a Geography, Urban Environments and Climate Change student at The University of Wolverhampton; bridging the gap between the natural and built environment through technology and urban design.

Laura Cotterill

Deconstruct the Digital: Paradigm to physical

Laura is a Wolverhampton based freelance makeup artist, working across film, TV, fashion and editorial. She is a lecturer in Specialist Hair and Media Makeup at University College Birmingham and, having completed a Masters in Education, has a keen interest in the learning opportunities technology can provide the 21st century learner.

Thea Roberts

Breaking the Selfish Cycle on Gender Diversity: Stop over fishing the female talent pool

Thea’s experience spans nearly 30 years in commercial leadership roles up to MD level, with responsibility for turnover in excess of £450M and teams over 100.

She has led and developed large teams for retail and
consumer packaged goods corporations, including Mars, Marks & Spencer, Waterstone’s and Essity.

Fascinated and motivated by facilitating positive change, and unlocking potential in individuals and teams, she started her own business as an Executive Coach, Mentor and Speaker in 2018.

Tom Llewellyn

Building Collective Resilience in the Wake of Disasters

Tom Llewellyn is a community organizer, consultant, and speaker who promotes people-powered solutions for the common good.

He’s the strategic partnerships director for Shareable.net, executive producer and host of the documentary and podcast series “The Response,” and the co-editor/author of 3 books including “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons” and “The Response: Building Collective Resilience in the Wake of Disasters”.


The Arena Theatre is a friendly 150 seat venue in the heart of Wolverhampton, providing innovative theatre experiences for everyone.


The Arena began life in 1976 in a disused gym in the basement of Wolverhampton Polytechnic, as part of the Drama and Performing Arts department. In addition to student performances, the theatre presented shows by local schools and community groups, as well as professional touring theatre companies and musicians.

With support from the Arts Council of England, the theatre was able to put on more events and open its doors to a much wider audience from outside the polytechnic, becoming a much-loved theatre that offered work reflecting Wolverhampton’s rich cultural diversity.

20 years later, however, the theatre had outgrown its cramped and inaccessible home, so with investment from the University of Wolverhampton and a grant from the National Lottery, an ambitious £2 million refurbishment began.

After 18 months of building work, the Arena Theatre re-opened in October 1999. With greatly improved facilities and access, the theatre was able to expand its programme of performances and events. We now host in excess of 200 public performances per year – in addition to a host of other special events. The work of culturally diverse artists continues to feature strongly in our programme of work and we have developed a reputation as one of the leading venues in the country for our support of Deaf and disabled artists.


Arena Theatre is supported using funding by Arts Council England and by the University of Wolverhampton.

Find out more at: www.wlv.ac.uk/arena-theatre

Getting here:

By car

The Arena Theatre is situated in the heart of Wolverhampton City Centre, directly behind the Wolverhampton Art Gallery and next to the University of Wolverhampton’s Wulfruna building. The theatre is completely accessible by road.

The nearby Broad Street car park is open 24 hours a day and costs £4.50 for 24-hour parking. Parking is £2 after 5.30pm.

If you don’t have change available, you can download the RingGo app directly to your smartphone. The code for Broad Street is 8035.

By train

Wolverhampton train station is a just a five-minute walk away from the Arena Theatre. See the map (link above) for directions.

Arena Photos: Drew White


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What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

Our event is called TEDxWolverhampton, where x = independently organized TED event.

At our event, TED Talks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.


Sat 20th July 2024, Arena Theatre

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This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.

Website by Alexander Media Creative

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