Global foundation Ted x has left eager audience members with an array of inspirational ideas after a rousing return to Salford’s Lowry Theatre.
The innovative MediaCityUK – the country’s most successful post millennium arts project – provided the perfect backdrop to an event that brings people together with powerful talks.
The morning was eagerly compered by the irrepressible Jim Dickenson, offering light relief after heavier subject matters, and would not look out of place performing stand-up.
Opening the morning’s discussion with a brief history of the human race was historical archaeologist and Vice Chancellor of the University of Salford, Professor Martin Hall.
Professor Hall spoke of the need for modern human beings to realise their potential and pass on ideas to the next generation.
He cited Salford’s innovation with England’s first public park, first public library, first gas-lit street and the current development of carbon substance graphene in Manchester.
This warmed up the crowd nicely for Amnesty International human rights activist Salil Shetty to discuss his experience of colour.
Shetty mixed humour – almost performing the Gangnam Style and referring to the ‘50 shades of colour’ – with a touching relation of the way he has been treated due to his skin colour.
He culminated his talk by urging people in a privileged position to understand other people’s disadvantages, to avoid instability and conflict in the world.
Next on the roster was embryologist Sir Ian Wilmut, known around the world as the man to lead the team to first clone a mammal, the lamb named Dolly.
Sir Ian spoke passionately on his aim to make biologists think differently, and in particular, his work in stem-cell research in finding a cure for motor neurons disease.
Following on was Felicity Goodey, the woman who led the consortium which won the bid to relocate a major part of the BBC to the North and devised the concept of MediaCityUK.
The former BBC journalist spoke of our power as humans to invent the future against the odds, citing Salford’s regeneration as an example close to her heart.
In the half-hour break many of the audience went outside to wonder at these changes, with the Imperial War Museum and BBC buildings both in sight of the Lowry complex.
The next speaker – and my favourite of the day – was Debra Searle MBE, the woman who rowed from Tenerife to Barbados on her own in 2002.
With a mixture of humour – getting pursued by a sea turtle – and emotion Searle managed to captivate her audience.
She left us with the advice that helped her through her three month ordeal: “Choose you attitude in order to deal with changes that you would never expect.”
Thoroughly moved, we were then given a stimulating talk by one of the leading champions of entrepreneurship in Europe, Julie Meyer.
She encouraged those of us with fledgling ideas to not stress about finding the money, as capital will always follow the ideas.
The penultimate speaker of the morning session – which was now technically in the afternoon – was Professor Joseph Incandela, the spokesperson of the CMS Experiment at CERN.
Thankfully he accepted that we might not fully understand his talk on quantum field theory and the Higgs Particle, but the audience did their best.
Professor Incandela spoke on his involvement in the hadron collider experiment, a search for the genetic code of our universe.
As we struggled to get our heads round quarks and bosons, we were finally treated to some meditative music, courtesy of Italian Percussionist, Davide Swarup.
Swarup’s masterful playing of his ‘hang drum’ – an evolution of the steel pan invented in 2000 – beguiled the audience.
This was the perfect way to finish a morning that had riveted and inspired in equal measure, fans will be eager for a third Ted x Salford.