Last Saturday in Bedford I was inspired by people, by places and by pants. The pants bit was completely unexpected.
I was in a room that was passionate about DIY, not shelf building but people committed to just getting on with doing it for themselves and making things happen. I was atTEDxBedford.
TEDx is a global phenomenon based on the concept of ‘ideas worth sharing’.
Our theme for Saturday was ‘Everyday Radicals’ although we were encouraged by ‘make do and mend’ activist, Jen Gale to think of ourselves as “a little less radical and a bit more everyday.” Why shouldn’t activism and passion be an everyday thing?
This was a day about personal action leading to change. From architect Cany Ash re-thinking and re-making public space through anti-architecture to illustrator David Litchfield’s reclaiming of his own creative time to make a drawing a day, which led to all kinds of changes in his life.
A common theme that came through was the importance of relationships built on respect and trust – whether it was Mark Kelly from Marillion talking about crowd funding their concert tour and CD or Dan Thompson, artist and community activist talking about his work with people and places.
I was taken with Dan’s notion of Place Shaking – and the role that the arts and artists can play in shaking up a place through exploring, getting lost, getting it wrong and through this creating new friendly networks and collaborations.
Everyday Radicals is the perfect theme for Bedford, our hometown is the home of non-conformatism. Bedford has always welcomed and supported new thinking, from John Howard’s prison reforms to Joanna Southcott’s Panacea Society via John Bunyan.
There was plenty here to inspire positive actions big and small. I have pledged to stop buying wasteful bags of salad and to attempt growing my own – thanks to seeds from gardener and forager Jane Perrone. I will also be getting new pants from Becky John.
Finally for your own little bit of TED inspiration, and for the stunning image of a mermaid in a wheelchair, watch artist Sue Austin talk about the relationship between creativity and an engaged citizenry in her work.