On Thursday 14 October, Beechen Cliff School in Bath hosted an entirely student run, student led TEDx event. The event was inspired by the more widely known Ted Talks, where guest speakers perform and share their knowledge, skills or experiences with the community. All TEDx events are fully licenced, planned and coordinated independently on an individual basis but with the same format as Ted Talks.
Beechen Cliff’s event, titled ‘TEDxBeechenCliffSchool 2021’, was based around the theme of ‘Let’s Look Forward’, focusing on what students and young people have to look forward to in their futures. The past 18 months have been an immense source of uncertainty, stress and anxiety to young people across the country, yet the team at Beechen Cliff wanted to highlight that, despite Covid and everything they have all been through, their best days are still ahead of them and that young people can be optimistic about their futures.
TEDxBeechenCliffSchool was initially planned for July, but unfortunately had to be postponed at the last minute due to a severe increase in Covid cases and isolation periods across the local community. Whilst this was devastating for the team, who had been working on the organisation of the event since February, the change in Covid-19 regulations over the summer enabled them to expand their vision of what they wanted to achieve.
The change in government guidance meant that a live in-person audience of up to 100 attendees could attend, enabling the team to welcome more people from across the school and local community to participate in TEDxBeechenCliffSchool 2021. Alongside this, the team also ran a livestream on the Beechen Cliff YouTube channel, which allowed them to expand their outreach beyond the school, to create a positive community event for students and local people.
After a really challenging year, Toby Hawkins, the Event Coordinator, said:
“By running the event both physically and virtually, we were able to welcome vastly more people to celebrate everything we have to look forward to.
It was incredible to share the ideas and stories of our speakers with our local community in the hope of trying to bring people together after a time of such difficulty for so many.”
The team curated an incredible speaker line up covering a wide array of topics including social justice, to climate change, to societal progress, supporting their theme of ‘Let’s Look Forward’.
The speakers of TEDxBeechenCliffSchool 2021 and their talks included:
- Sophie Sullivan ‘A More Equal Society’
- Jasper Thompson ‘Helping Bristol’s Homeless’
- Klaus Riekemann ‘The Importance of Decisions’
- Dr Bill Wilkinson ‘The Challenge of Climate Change’
- Eddie Ilic ‘Eddie’s Street Cuts’
- Rupert Tobin ‘Freedom or Success’
The team were also joined by the Deputy Mayor of Bath, Councillor Dr Yukteshwar Kumar, and members of the Beechen Cliff community.
In total, the event garnered approximately 80 in-person attendees with a further average of 40 people watching the livestream throughout the evening. Attendees enjoyed drinks provided by the school’s PTA and an array of canapes, courtesy of the school chef.
As well as running the bar, the PTA also worked with the team to create a Beechen Cliff TEDx donations page on InvestMyCommunity. Whilst it was initially intended for the campaign to close on the Monday after the event, the team have since decided to extend the closing date to January 1st 2022.
“We decided to extend the donations deadline to further our ambition of ensuring that TEDxBeechenCliffSchool can become a truly sustainable super-curricular opportunity for future generations of students and to help lay the foundations for the new intake of Year 12 students to organise their own TEDx event at Beechen Cliff,” said Toby.
The feedback from the attendees of the event has been incredible to see, with a former Beechen Cliff student saying that the “excellent presenters kept me hooked!”, whilst others said “Impressive! Looking forward to the next one,” and “Congratulations to the team and speakers for pulling all of this together, this is a brilliant show!”.
The team would like to thank everyone who attended the event, either in-person or virtually, all those in the local community who supported them and members of staff from Beechen Cliff for their invaluable advice and guidance. They’d also like to wish the very best of luck to the next group of TEDxBeechenCliffSchool organisers and that they are very much ‘looking forward’ to the next event!
Ed: You can watch a recording of the livestream of the event here: