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Our event is called TEDxStaffordshireUniversity where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxStaffordshireUniversity event, TED Talks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

2024 Speakers

Genelle Aldred

Genelle Aldred is a Senior Associate Director of Communications Training at Hill & Knowlton. Since 2007 she has worked for media organisations including ITN, ITV, the BBC, ITN Productions as a newsreader, journalist and producer.  

Genelle holds an MA in Broadcast Journalism from Staffordshire University. She is Deputy Chair of Women in Journalism and an ambassador for the Charity SANDS where she has held a spokesperson role since 2020. She is also a keen golfer and writes for Golf Monthly, GBQ and the R&A.   

Her book Communicate for Change: Creating Justice in a world of Bias was published in the autumn of 2021. Its focus is on how we get better at tough cultural conversations around social cohesion, diversity and inclusion.

Nikki Barrett

Former chef Nikki co-founded Affordable Food Stoke with her husband Duane in 2017 to reduce food waste and to find a way to use surplus food to feed families. 

In 2021 Affordable Food Stoke was awarded charitable status and its services include a foodbank, a social supermarket, community café and warm space. Nikki has been recognised among the top 100 most inspirational people in North Staffordshire. 

Affordable Food Stoke has also netted several awards including Staffordshire University Business Awards Charity Business of the Year and Team of the Year 2023, VAST Totally Stoked Biggest Impact Award 2024 and Stoke City Community Trust Community Champion 2024. 

Cris Cohen

Cris is an experienced chef with 30 years in the industry. In 2010 he became a teacher, teaching culinary arts to young people. Cris has continued to develop teaching and training to young people and adults through F E A S T E D. 

In October 2022, Cris began Chef’s Table, a dining experience in the heart of the Potteries. Just 10 people dine at Chef’s Table for 9 incredible courses every weekend. Chef’s Table is hidden away on the iconic Spode site in Stoke-on-Trent.  Cris weaves the narrative of the city’s history into his menus and experiments with storytelling through food.  

This year Cris has overseen the launch of a second dining experience called Stock and has other projects in the pipeline including a Chef Academy and a book called ’Stories from the Chef’s Table’. 

Andrew Edwards

Andrew Edwards graduated from Staffordshire University with a first-class honours degree in Design before moving to London to pursue a love of animation, working in film and TV. 

He turned to sculpture full time at Madame Tussauds before meeting Stoke statue sculptor Colin Melbourne. After joining him at Sir Henry Doulton Sculpture School, he became course leader in Figurative Sculpture at Stafford College.  

Andy’s big break into public art came with the acclaimed Sir Stanley Matthews triple statue.  Has since created and installed more than 50 bronze statues and public sculptures – including the iconic Liverpool Waterfront Beatles monument, officially the UK’s most visited and popular statue.

Professor Catherine Flick

Catherine Flick is a Professor of Ethics and Games Technology at Staffordshire University. She graduated from Sydney University, Australia, and worked in industry as a systems administrator and web programmer. She gained a PhD in Computer Ethics from Charles Sturt University, Australia, with a thesis on informed consent and ICT.   

Areas of research have involved online child protection, trusted computing, anonymous technologies and the darknet, cryptocurrencies, and she has a specific interest in the ethics in and of video games.  

Catherine is vice-chair of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Committee on Professional Ethics.  

She is currently working on projects relating to understanding video game play through big data.

Professor Claire Gwinnett

Claire is a Professor in Forensic and Environmental Science at Staffordshire University. Her expertise is in the analysis and interpretation of trace particulates for the purposes of investigating crime and understanding environmental pollutants.  

Awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship for her forensic fibre and microplastic work in 2018, she set up and leads the international Forensic Fibres and Microplastics Research Group which works with Government bodies, research establishments, charities and industry partners in 22 countries to provide global solutions to forensic science and environmental challenges.    

Claire was part of the team that first discovered microplastics being ingested by deep sea organisms and has worked on microplastic research on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Hudson and Mississippi Rivers in the US, farmland in Turkey, Weddell Sea in Antarctic and rivers and coastal areas around the UK (including investigating freshwater otter spraint (poo!).

Nathan Heaney

Nathan is a professional boxer from Stoke-on-Trent. It’s a sport he has competed in for over 23 years and recently he created history by becoming British Middleweight Champion.  

He graduated from Staffordshire University with a Sports Science degree and a Foundation Law degree with the intention of becoming a teacher. 

Although he taught for a time at Stafford College, he made his boxing comeback as a pro six years ago, earning himself the nickname “Hitman” for his hard-hitting style. 

Nathan has a significant local fanbase and makes it his mission to hand deliver tickets to his army of supporters. A diehard fan of his beloved Stoke City Football Club, his ambition is to target a world title fight at bet365 Stadium.  

He is also a passionate advocate for honest conversations around mental health – a subject very close to his heart.

Patryk Majewski

Patryk moved from Poland to the UK at the age of 10. After overcoming the challenges of adapting to living in a new country and learning a new language, he decided to pursue his passion for science and graduated with a Masters in Pharmacy at the University of East Anglia.   

Once registered as a pharmacist, he moved to Stoke-on-Trent to work as a clinical pharmacist at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM). He developed into an Advanced Specialist Pharmacist in Antimicrobial Stewardship and Critical Care and his role involves working within the infectious disease and ITU wards to support the medical and nursing teams. 

He is also part of the antimicrobial stewardship team which aims to support responsible use of antimicrobials across the entire Trust by developing guidelines, teaching sessions, and providing treatment advice.

Deborah McAndrew

Deborah McAndrew is an award-winning playwright and actor. She is co-founder and Joint Artistic Director of Claybody Theatre Company, based in Stoke-on-Trent. 

In her acting career Deborah has worked extensively in television, radio and theatre. She is perhaps best known to television viewers as Coronation Street regular Angie Freeman, having starred in the soap during the 1990s.  

Claybody Theatre shapes new and ambitious theatre and audio drama from the unique cultural heritage and contemporary lives of the people of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. 

In 2023, Claybody Theatre joined Arts Council England’s National Portfolio of Organisations that receive funding over three years, and also became a registered charity.  

Claybody presents its work in found spaces with links to communities and heritage, including Burslem School of Art, Fenton Town Hall, and Spode, where the company is now developing as a permanent venue for the city – named after its former use as a Dipping House.  

Sharanya Ranganatha Urs

Sharanya Ranganatha Urs is a 23-year-old Staffordshire University journalism graduate from India. Growing up in a conservative middle-class Hindu family has shaped her values and traditions, which she carries with pride.   

Beyond her academic pursuits, she has aspirations to work in media and communications and dreams of becoming a news presenter. Sharanya is driven by a desire to bring a fresh perspective, blending her cultural sensitivity with a global outlook to challenge stereotypes.  

All photographs attributed to Black Star Photography.