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Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Lynne Jones OBE, expedition paddler Jeff Allen and ‘Action Nan’ Pat Smith are the first speakers to be announced for this year’s TEDxTruro event on Friday 25 October. The theme is ‘Uncharted Waters’.

Dr Jones, a Fellow of Harvard University’s Center for Health and Human Rights, has worked in areas of conflict and disaster for the last 25 years. Her talk, ‘Giving the migrant child a voice’, tells the story of what it’s like to leave your home and your country.

“The migrant crisis in Europe and Central America has been described and discussed from many angles in the world’s media,” she says. “But one perspective has been missing, the voices of children themselves. What do they think and feel about their experiences, both past and present? What do they want to share with the wider world? What would they like us to understand?

“My talk will describe how I have tried to address that problem in the last three years by creating story telling workshops where migrant children can share any aspect of their lives in any medium they wish: photography, film, drawings, or dictated or written narratives. These workshops serve two functions: first, they are creative spaces where the children have fun and enjoy themselves. Secondly, they allow migrant children to communicate with us directly, unmediated by journalists or aid workers. The children decide what they want to show to others. 

“The results are inspiring. Again and again the children focus on love and beauty. They challenge all our stereotypes about how children cope with traumatic experiences, about what matters to them, about what it means to be a migrant. I hope this talk allows these migrant children to reach a wider audience and encourages others to work in a similar way and to make them welcome.”

Jeff Allen is a sea kayaker who loves the challenge of exploring remote coastal environments. He has circumnavigated Japan and South Georgia and undertaken an extended expedition to experience the rugged coastline of the Scandinavian Peninsula. His talk is entitled ‘Karma Waters’.

“Expedition sea kayaking is all about freedom, the freedom to explore remote coastlines self-supported, carrying all of your essential items with you and supplementing them as you go with fresh fish, food foraged along the shore and occasionally visiting areas that are inhabited so that you can re-supply yourself with stores as they run dry,” says Jeff. “To some, sea kayaking will be regarded as a sport, but to others, it is a life style – one that is free from the trappings of a society governed by the clock.”

Pat Smith is a 70-year-old grandmother who, in her fight against plastic pollution and climate change, has achieved national and international recognition for activities like her 52-week beach clean and founding the final straw campaign. Her talk will ask the question: ‘How can we inspire others?’

“Inspirational people don’t talk about themselves, they empower you and make you realise that you can play a part,” says Pat. “People who inspire us give us hope. They genuinely care about their cause and do something every day to solve the problem – even when others think they’re crazy.”

All three speakers are based in Cornwall.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the TEDxTruro day-long event has taken place. Independently organised by a team of volunteers and supported by local sponsors, it has become a popular and successful highlight of the Cornish calendar. 

Tickets are now available to buy on the website. Costing £50 each (plus £3 booking fee), the price includes refreshments and lunch. Numbers are limited so early booking is advised.