A conference at Queen Margaret University (QMU) has heard from a range of speakers discussing how to contribute to the community in a person-centred way.
The theme of the TEDx event was Our Transgenerational World, with the audience challenged to think about responding to individual differences, ages and abilities, and about how to bridge the transitions across all stages of life.
Event organisers encouraged delegates to consider the promotion of dignity and sense of self-worth, the importance of personal and social interaction, and the support offered by intergenerational relationships.
TED is a non-profit global organisation bringing together the world’s leading thinkers and doers to share ideas that matter.
It started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago but has spread to include a programme of local, self-organised events aimed at created a forum for ideas within a community under the TEDx banner.
The talks are a maximum of 18 minutes long and are filmed, with videos uploaded and made available online.
The event at the QMU campus on April 21 was the second time the university has hosted a TEDx gathering, with the programme including a mix of guest speakers and TEDTalks videos.
The conference heard first from Kate Skinner, former chair of Camphill Scotland, who discussed social pedagogy – a relationship-based approach to working with people, commonly known as head, heart and hands.
Other speakers included former MSP Jim Mather who looked at transgenerational equity in the workplace and Petra Biberbach, chief executive of Planning Aid for Scotland, who discussed bridging the gaps and how the challenge for all citizens is being more active in finding out about place.
Megan Dickson, a PhD student in the centre for person-centred practice research at QMU, spoke to delegates about her research focusing on how people who are deaf experience acute hospital care. Megan invited the audience to understand deafhood as a distinct way of being in the world.
Her talk was followed by Thilo Kroll, professor of Health Systems Management at University College Dublin, who investigated how to move from care spaces to caring systems.
Actor Matthew McVarish, of River City and CBeebies fame, then took to the stage to inform the audience of his campaign against the sexual abuse of children which saw him walk 10,000 miles to visit every European capital on foot to raise awareness.
He talked through his journey, in which he met various politicians and representatives of child protection organisations, as well as discussing how his campaign, the Road to Change, catalysed legislative reform in eight countries
Matthew ended his talk with a simple message for anyone who wanted to make a change in the world. “You actually can,” he said.
After lunch, the first speaker was Ewan Aitken, chief executive of charity Cyrenians, who explored the journey from exclusion to inclusion which focused on the importance of relationships.
He was followed by Professor Jan Dewing, stepping up at the last minute to fill an unexpected slot in the schedule, discussing conversations around menstruation.
The final talk was from Chris Pointon, co-founder of the Hello My Name Is campaign set up by his late wife Dr Kate Granger.
Chris talked about his wife’s experience as a patient with a terminal cancer diagnosis and how the #hellomynameis movement was started. He said his wife had observed how staff in hospital had not introduced themselves while delivering care.
The campaign started on social media in August 2013 and she saw it as more than just an introduction but as a human connection and a means of building trust in difficult relationships.
As Chris told the audience: “Four words can make a huge difference.”
Before Dr Granger died last year at the age of 34, more than £250,000 had been raised for charity trough the campaign and Chris has vowed to continue the work.
The event was then brought to a close by the Musselburgh Clark Community Choir – a group of people of all ages brought together by their passion for music.
At the start of the event, Professor Brendan McCormack, head of the division of nursing at QMU, told the audience to check under their seats for a golden envelope. The lucky winners found a £10 note inside and an instruction to use the money to carry out a random act of kindness to make a difference in someone’s day in the next week. QNIS has decided to donate their £10 to the suspended coffee scheme at Social Bite – in which customers can pay in advance for a coffee and a local homeless person can go into the shop to claim it.