The first speakers have been announced for the TEDxTruro 2017 event. They include published authors, an athlete, campaigners, distinguished scientists and ordinary people with a story to share.

TEDxTruro will take place on Friday, 27 October at Truro & Penwith College’s Truro campus. The event’s theme is ‘Beyond Barriers’, and each of the speakers will bring their own perspective – from discussing how music affects our brains and emotions to exploring diverse topics including resilience, inclusion and neurodiversity.

TEDxTruro curator and co-licensee Mandy Reynolds said: “TED is a global phenomenon, and if you have ever enjoyed watching TED and TEDx talks on-line, please come along and share this great day with us. I promise you will leave feeling inspired. The speakers we have announced today have all got fascinating stories to share. They will talk about difference and what connects us, examining ways we can transcend our restrictions and go beyond barriers.”

  • Duncan Williams’ research spans music and neuroscience. He will shed light on why people respond so deeply to certain pieces of music. Understanding what is happening in our brains when we listen to music is allowing Williams to develop new ways of interacting with music. His talk will leave the audience in awe of the power of music and the mind.
  • Joanna Grace is an international sensory engagement and inclusion specialist and founder of The Sensory Projects. Joanna’s book Sensory Stories for children and teens sells globally and Grace has a further six books due for publication in the coming year, including four sensory children’s books. Grace will talk about inclusion at TEDxTruro.
  • Shawn Brown is a dyslexic inventor and passionately believes that young people need to learn in ways that embrace the natural differences in their brains. From his experience building kids’ inventions and training organisations in dyslexia, Brown will explore how neurodiversity is linked to innovation, yet widely overlooked in our education system.
  • Professor Simon Jackson from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry will ask the TEDxTruro audience to think about the air we breathe and will share his work decoding the messages cells in our immune system send to barrier cells in our lungs, which could unlock new ways to diagnose and treat disease.
  • Laura Penhaul was the team leader of the Coxless Crew who set two world records in January 2016, when they undertook an epic nine month unsupported row across the Pacific. Penhaul will discuss resilience, drawing on her own experience, as well as others who have pushed themselves to achieve the seemingly impossible.

    Laura Penhaul
  • Hayley Goleniowska is founder of the award winning blog Downs Side Up. Goleniowska’s daughter Natty was the UK’s first Back to School model with a disability and is an amazing force for change. In a powerful talk that will challenge people’s perceptions of Downs Syndrome, Goleniowska will discuss fear: her own fear of the future when Natty was born and the barriers that Natty faces, which have ultimately made her stronger.
  • Fred McVitie will talk about the barrier of disgust, challenging the audience to think about why they find certain foods disgusting. Will the audience be up for their very own ‘Bushtucker Trial’ as Fred sets out the case for eating insects?