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Under the title ‘The Future Works!’, the University’s second TEDx* event took place at its Creative Campus, Kingsway. The event is held under licence at the University and was filmed in front of a live studio audience. It was managed by student, Alice Dunford, and overseen by Adam Crane, Careers and Employability’s Employer Engagement Co-ordinator and TEDx Licensee.

TEDxUoChester attracted over 85 students to listen to thought-provoking, impactful and eye-opening talks from a wide range of speakers from a variety of backgrounds and fields. Students heard from speakers who included an eco-warrior, a senior national public health official, an aspiring Doctoral student and a former BBC newsreader. Themes included: sustainability; education; infectious disease; hydrogen energy; mental health and virtual reality as a training tool.

The Future Works! was designed to bring the audience together to think about how they could impact positively upon our and their own futures. Whether this is through mindset, environmental sustainability, emerging technology or philosophy, the University’s ‘graduates of the future’ left the event feeling enthused by the awe-inspiring sharing of ideas and insights. It is the sharing of these ideas and insights that is fundamental to the TED principles.

Speakers at TEDxUoChester The Future Works! included:

Diana Mather (former BBC newsreader who moved from a successful career in broadcasting to offering training in etiquette and media coaching):
Social Intelligence vs Artificial Intelligence

Professor Paul Cosford CB (Director for Health Protection and Medical Director at Public Health England and honorary graduate of the University of Chester):
Infectious diseases, the future!

Dr King-Ho Leung (Lecturer in Theology and Philosophy at the University of Chester):
Uploading our souls online?

Steve Hilton (Entrepreneur):
How I learned to stop worrying and love AI

Mental health advocate Kate Oblie (from Chester-based performing arts company 2engage):
Resilience within mental health

Dr Christopher Lewis (Lecturer in Music at the University of Chester):
What does the future hold for classical music?

Alex Da Silva (Founder of the Happy as Larry Group):
A journey to your future self

Andrew Howard (former Headteacher and Educational Consultant):
The complexity of young people and the challenges of a 21st century education

Reace Edwards (PhD student):
Our journey to decarbonisation

Steve Hughes (Chester Supertrees project):
Why not just plant real trees instead?

Jack McGovern (outgoing Chester Students’ Union Vice President):
But what if everyone thought like that?

Professor Nigel John (Medical Graphics research group, Thornton Science Park):
Can virtual reality add value for training Paramedics?

Dr Chris Haslam, Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Chester, said: “The University is delighted to have held the second TEDxUoChester event. The event itself provides a fantastic platform to help inspire and share thought-provoking ideas to the graduates of the future! The speakers at this year’s event delivered talks on a wide range of topics that our students were then able to reflect positively upon. We very much look forward to running this event again in the future.”

Diane Appleton, Head of Careers and Employability at the University of Chester, said: “We were delighted to organise our second TEDx event, which really captured students’ interest. It was fantastic to witness so many students taking advantage of the opportunity to attend. Our brilliant, engaging speakers offered thought-provoking insights into the future, in a range of areas, and helped all of us in the audience to reflect on what it means for us as individuals and for society as a whole.”

Adam Crane, TEDxUoChester Licensee and Producer, added: "The recent TEDxUoChester event was a thrill to be a part of. The event was student-led by third year undergraduate Alice Dunford, who did a magnificent job in bringing it all together. As with our first event, the speakers excelled and really provided us with lots of food for thought. The event was incredibly popular, with over 300 students applying for tickets. It is very clear, The Future Works!"

Organiser, and student, Alice Dunford, said: "The Future Works! was very well received, with triple the number of applicants and double the amount of attendees, compared to last year’s event".
’The Future Works!’ epitomised the TED slogan - ‘ideas worth spreading’. Speakers offered thoughtful, informative, motivating and pragmatic responses to numerous topics derived from professional, academic and personal experiences.

"This year’s success is predominantly a result of TEDx Licensee Adam Crane’s tireless dedication to the event and engagement with the local community - whether that be academic or corporate. Undoubtedly, it also could not have been possible without the support of the University’s Careers and Employability Department, Catering Services, and our facilities and support staff.
I would like to give special thanks to Dr Chris Haslam for opening the event and to Diane Appleton, Head of Careers and Employability, for providing the motivation and resources which made the event possible. Here’s to February 2020!"

The University is planning to host another TEDx event next year and is currently in the process of applying for the required licence to enable us to do so.

Photographs of the day can be viewed on Flickr.

All videos can be watched on the TED YouTube channel.

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