TEDxLancasterU Conference 2021 – Theme: Connected


SCAN had the pleasure of attending this year’s TedxLancasterU Conference. The theme – Connected.

In total the conference covered 5 live speakers interspersed with videos from previously filmed Ted Talks around the globe. The speakers and their topics were as follows;

  • Becky Clissman: Using Legal Skills To Combat The Climate Crisis
  • Donald Robertson: How Stoicism Can Cure Anger
  • Professor Bill Sullivan: Our Second Brain: The Power of the Microbiome
  • The Salts: Music as a Tool for Transformative Change
  • Christopher Phillips: A World Without Fences: How Socrates Cafe Connects Us

The conference also drew on the talks delivered by Carl Safina where he discusses ‘What animals are thinking and feeling, and why it matters’ and Jill Bolte Taylor who discusses ‘My stroke of insight’; how her experience of a stroke gave her a unique and spiritual experience into her own brain.

Naturally given the events of the past year that are unfortunately still continuing, the theme and discussions created from this panel were not only wanted but needed. The pandemic has been an ultimate period of reflection globally, but also on an individual level, to examine how we treat ourselves and others, and outside of that how we continue to treat the planet and things within it. Each speaker and their talk left a lasting message for how we can leave our little corner of the world a little better than when we found it.

Becky Clissman’s talk was insightful into the legal goings-on regarding climate change. As a member of The Chancery Lane Project Steering Group and a Senior Editor at Practical Law Environment. Becky helps to develop TCLP’s strategy, participates in the management of the project, peer reviews the climate change clauses drafted by participants and builds relationships with law firms who want to partner with the project and improve their discourse regarding climate change, something that can be avoided by lawyers given their clients aversion to climate ‘jargon’ in their contracts.

‘How Stoicism Can Cure Anger’ was perhaps my favourite talk of the day. Welcomed by a warm Scottish accent, Donald Robertson discussed how anger does more hindrance than good in our daily lives and how to manage it in accordance with the stoics. Stoics believed that anger is the biggest psychological threat we face and where some believe anger is a great motivator, these emotions can be very destructive. Instead Robertson discusses how to align reason and emotion and how one influences the other according to the Stoic teachings.

Professor Bill Sullivan’s talk on the gut piqued people’s interests by inviting us to first consider ourselves as guinea pigs. Genetics play 40 percent role in political affiliation, a study in 2019 found.  A surprising study which suggests DNA plays a role in a person’s political leanings. Indiana University professor, researcher and author Bill Sullivan explains. – Why we like what we like: A scientist’s surprising findings – Your genes, your germs, and your environment all may influence your tastes in food—as well as partners and politics.

Next up was The Salts, a newly-formed indie folk band from California that draws from the classical, jazz, and fiddling styles of Erik Fauss, as well as Audrey Tambudzai’s background of Afro beats, LoFi, and Christian worship. Their talk encouraged the transformative change music can have and how we should engage more with the idea of actively listening to music which involves engaging mentally, contemplating how the music feels and most importantly, to enjoy it!

Finally, Christopher Phillips, co-founder and executive director of the global Socrates Cafe and Democracy Cafe movements, discussed how regularly discussing deep Philosophy has given him a great connection to people all over the world. His ‘Socrates Café’ was a spontaneous movement that encouraged connection and conversation based on Greek Philosophy in order for people to actually listen and open up to one another.

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