World renowned TEDx is back to inspire the town

    Tunbridge Wells TEDx 2015
    Tunbridge Wells TEDx 2015

    One of the world’s most renowned creative conferences will be making its way to Tunbridge Wells for the second time following its sell-out success last year.

    TEDx Tunbridge Wells aims to show the ‘hidden side’ of the community, with over 150 people making submissions to speak at the event, which has risen in popularity across the globe.

    On Saturday, nearly 300 people will gather at Trinity Theatre to hear 17 speakers talk on topics as diverse as being a war hero to film scores and the plight of refugees.

    The objective of the event is to ‘inspire’ people and help them to view the world in a different way.

    But it is also a way to showcase and celebrate some of the creative talent that can be found in abundance in Tunbridge Wells and help project a positive image of the town.

    “People still think of ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ but we are not like that any more,” said Nick Adams, who chairs the organisation committee for TEDx in the town.

    “We want to show people that Tunbridge Wells is not disgusted, far from it.”

    Mr Adams works closely with Dan Foreman, who had secured a licence to run a TEDx event in the town from the main franchise.

    TED, which grants the licences, stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It was founded under the slogan, ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’, and has been running for 32 years.

    With an emphasis on creativity and technology, the organisation has strong links with Silicon Valley and people pay thousands of pounds to attend their major events.

    Speakers have included Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Bono, the founders of Google and several Nobel Prize winners.

    However, the TEDx franchise model allows anywhere which fulfils the right criteria to host their own events under the brand.

    Licences are free but the organisations must always be non-profit and are staffed and organised entirely by volunteers.

    Dan Foreman Nick Adams
    Organisers Dan Foreman (L) and Nick Adams (R)

    “The purpose of these events is to encourage people to think a little differently,” Mr Adams says.

    “Hopefully people come away after listening to the speakers feeling a little more inspired, a bit more professional at what they do and a more informed person.”

    The speakers at TEDx Tunbridge Wells are drawn from all over the world, with one individual making the journey from New Zeeland just to attend the event.

    However, around half are local, with the youngest speaker being just ten years old. The speeches from last year’s event have been viewed on YouTube more than 25,000 times.

    Mr Adams, who currently works at Yoyo Design, said he was drawn to supporting TEDx Tunbridge Wells due to his own background in the creative industries.

    “Before I came to Tunbridge Wells I worked in London, Leeds and abroad. TED has been a big influence on the industry.

    “There was one job where each Friday morning we would watch a TED conference video.

    “Tunbridge Wells will benefit, too, as it has one of the highest concentrations of creative industries per head in the country.

    “We want to bring the world to Tunbridge Wells but also to show the wider world what Tunbridge Wells is all about.”


    Danny Kruger
    Chairman of Only Connect, London’s creative criminal justice charity.

    Graham Hadfield
    A Tunbridge Wells-based composer for film and television.

    Natalie Sisson
    Bestselling author of the Suitcase Entrepreneur.

    Amanda Dicker
    Founder and Concept Director at the multi-award – winning The Chapel hair salons.

    Dr Christine Bailey
    Marketing Director, EMEA & Russia at Cisco Systems.

    Hanna Sorrell
    Founder of the Wells Angels Women’s Institute

    Caner Veli
    Founder of award-winning product Liquiproof and winner of Dragons’ Den investment.

    Emily Raj
    Tunbridge Wells Year 12 student studying the International Baccalaureate Careers Programme.

    Edward Foreman
    Does what all ten-year-old boys do – plays games, sports, gets up to mischief.

    Nick Hammond
    A Creativity Trainer, innovator and founder of The Creative Filter.

    Diane Young
    Co-founder and MD of The Drum, a magazine specializing in the marketing and media sector.

    Mysterious caped crusader who was seen gliding around the streets of town on an electric unicycle.

    Glenn Smith
    Has spent the last 20 years creating campaigns for some of the world’s best known brands.

    Simon Harmer
    A war hero and double amputee, Simon Harmer lost both legs on October 26, 2009 in Afghanistan.

    Rafael dos Santos
    Recently featured in the Sunday Times as one of the ‘Top 100 Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs in the UK’

    Jaz O’Hara
    Quit her job to work full time in a humanitarian capacity after a visit to the Calais ‘Jungle’.

    Funke Abimbola
    Currently the most senior black lawyer working within the UK.