In our first Being the Story we curated an amazing line up of 10 speakers, including a social entrepreneur, filmmaker, blogger, photojournalist and campaigner – people with lived experience of everything from poverty to war. Know someone who would be a great speaker? Suggest a future speaker to email@example.com
Documenting The Legacy of War
Giles Duley: Photographer, writer, storyteller
Award-winning photographer Giles will talk about how he tells the stories of the people he focuses his lens on, including refugees fleeing conflict in Syria. Giles’ photographs draw the viewer to the subject, creating intimacy and empathy. His stories encapsulate the strength of individuals who are fighting adversity. Giles lost both legs and an arm whilst photographing the US army in Afghanistan in 2011. He will discuss how he connects with the people he captures on film and aims to make their voices heard.
Turning Pain into Power through the Power of Love
Lorraine Jones: Pastor and community campaigner
What do you do when you’re faced with life changing challenges which invade your quality of life, environment and community? In a society where regeneration is implemented but it seems that only the structures and systems have changed. The People that count have been further disempowered the impact of youth violence has risen causing more pain in the community. In her talk Lorraine will share her quest of how she turns Pain into Power through the Power of Love.
My Journey to Europe
Hassan Akkad: Storyteller
Hassan will share his personal story of fleeing his home and job as an English teacher in Damascus, Syria to journey to Europe. He will share his experience of turning the camera on himself in the BBC2 documentary Exodus to record this life-risking journey that thousands of refugees have made. He has provided a voice for many unheard refugee stories and he’ll discuss the implications of this.
Telling my story to help others share theirs
Mandy Thomas: Author, artist, poet, justice advocate, media-commentator
Mandy will share her personal story of being in an abusive relationship and how this led her to campaign about domestic abuse. Through her voluntary work for Women’s Aid as a “survivor ambassador” and by speaking at conferences on the issue, Mandy has done so much to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Her experiences even informed the Radio 4 series ‘The Archers’’ recent high profile domestic abuse storyline.
Building on our Experience to Change the Future
Naveed and Samiya Parvez- Andiamo: Founders of Andiamo- revolutionising orthotics
Andiamo was founded after husband and wife Naveed and Samiya had their son Diamo in 2003. He had a difficult birth due to medical negligence leading to Cerebral Palsy and sadly passed away in March 2012. Andiamo will recount their journey so far; how their difficult personal experience spurred them on to advance this technology to ensure that no child anywhere in the world has to wait more than a week for their orthotics device.
My Beautiful Black Dog
Brigitte Aphrodite: Punk Poet, Musician, Writer, Theatre Maker and Feminist Showgirl
Brigitte Aphrodite is a Punk Poet, Musician, Writer, Theatre Maker and Feminist Showgirl. Brigitte will perform songs and poems from her critically acclaimed musical ‘My Beautiful Black Dog’ which tackles the complexity of our mental health and challenges the stigma that surrounds depression but it’s not depressing – it’s joyous, funny and hopeful. Brigitte has performed at Reading and Leeds Festival, Latitute, Bestival and sold out runs at the South Bank WOW festival and Hackney Showroom.
Dropping the P Bomb
Emma Lawton: Creative director, campaigner, writer
Three years ago, when the digital agency Emma works for as a creative director was redesigning the Parkinson’s UK website, she was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease herself. She was 29. Emma will share her personal story of how being diagnosed with Parkinson’s at a young age has changed her view of the condition.
Re-writing the Labels that Hold Us Back
Sam Smith: Social entrepreneur and youth advocate
Sam will share his own personal story of how he has overcome barriers from his tough background and rejected the labels given to him to become a successful social entrepreneur. He’ll challenge us to help support and empower future generations and give them to confidence to choose their own identity.
Why Jodie is Fighting for Equal Opportunities
Jodie Clark: Employment Officer, Advocate for Young People with Disabilities
Disabled people are four times as likely to be unemployed as the non-disabled. Many are not being given the opportunity to show what they have to offer facing barriers to finding employment. Jodie knows this from personal experience, she overcame these challenges and is now taking a stand to ensure young people with disabilities are given more equal employment opportunities. She won’t be stifled by systems; she reaches out directly to chief executives to bring about change for other young people like her.
A Mile in My Shoes
Empathy Museum: Experiential Arts Space
The Empathy Museum is the world’s first experiential arts space dedicated to helping us all look at the world through other people’s eyes. Their immersive exhibits explore how empathy can not only transform personal relationships but also help tackle global challenges and open up the public conversation around empathy at a time of increasing conflict. They’ll be bringing a selection of their brilliant stories and shoes from ‘A Mile in My Shoes’ to Conway Hall. You can delve into their interactive shoe shop and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes – literally. Their diverse collection of shoes and audio stories explore our shared humanity. From a sewage worker to a sex worker, a war veteran to a prison psychiatrist, you are invited to walk a mile in their shoes.
The Power of Stories to Make the Invisible Visible
Sue James: Lawyer and access to justice champion
A housing solicitor for 22 years, Sue believes there’s always a story beneath the story of the clients she works with. She runs a busy court housing duty scheme, providing last-minute help to people facing eviction or repossession. One of her client’s stories was incorporated into ‘The Invisible’, a play about legal aid, at the Shepherds Bush Theatre last year.
Singing Together Against Isolation
Micro Rainbow International’s Interfaith Choir: LGBTI Refugee and Asylum Seeker Choir
Micro Rainbow International is a not for profit NGO with a mission to tackle poverty and the effects of poverty amongst LGBTI communities world-wide. Micro Rainbow International’s Interfaith Choir will be performing at Being the Story. Formed just under two years ago as a creative tool to combat isolation and heal trauma – their priority was to have fun – singing was secondary. But they have gone from strength to strength and are now 30 strong. They have performed at the opening of the new TATE Modern building, the Royal Festival Hall with Guy Garvey and the UK Black Pride.
And for a taster for what our speakers will talk about…
Watch these videos from the Lightning Talks section of our partner event, the Social Media Exchange, to get an idea of what powerful stories you can expect at Being the Story.
When Johnny Benjamin talks, people stop and listen. He is a mental health campaigner, writer and presenter. At 20, he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and depression. During his recovery, Jonny started making YouTube videos about the condition that have been watched by thousands of people across the globe. Jonny now speaks publicly and in schools about living with mental illness. He has appeared on TV, radio and in print around the world to help educate and break stigma.
— Madeleine Sugden (@madlinsudn) February 8, 2016
— Beth Bridewell (@ohmyitsbetty) February 8, 2016
Rachel Warwick is the Founder and Director of MakeLunch, a national network of churches providing school holiday meals and activities for children and families who rely on free school meals during term time. But doing this work was not in her life plan. All that changed when she watched the BBC Documentary ‘Poor Kids’.
But here's a great example of turning anger into positive action that can help and change! @MakeLunch
— Seaneen Molloy-V (@ms_molly_vog) February 8, 2016
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