TEDx Cardiff 2017 sold out in minutes when they went on sale earlier this year. But if you were one of the lucky 500 people who managed to bag tickets then you were in for a treat on Saturday, 22 April.

But wait – for the uninitiated – what is TED? Well, it began in 1984 in California, USA, as a conference with talks covering Technology, Entertainment and Design. Now TED is known worldwide for short, powerful talks covering all topics.

TEDx is like the baby sister (or brother!) of TED. TEDx supports independent organisers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community.

And thanks to organisers Claire Scantlebury and Neil Cocker, Cardiff is fortunate to have its own TEDx event. This was the biggest yet and took place at Tramshed Cardiff in Grangetown.

The theme of this year’s TEDx Cardiff was ‘Creating Legends’ and it was a day full of information and inspiration as 12 speakers – or rather performers, as there was one actor and two musicians in the line-up – took to the stage to share with the audience.

Host and scientist Neil Monteiro, guided us through the day. Starting with Chris Griffiths, entrepreneur and expert in innovation and creativity, talking about the importance of challenging our assumptions; playwright Lisa Parry on why science and the arts shouldn’t be divided, with the audience treated to an added bonus – a powerful, one-woman performance by Natalie Paisley taken from Lisa’s play on organ donation; then palliative care expert Dr Mark Taubert spoke about why language matters when you know you’re dying.

Then, after a 10-minute break – which gave us all time to bask in the incredible sunshine in Cardiff on Saturday – it was back for three more performances. First up was multi-tasking musician Mike Dennis who got a lot of love from the audience as he rapped lyrics and played the violin; then a duo familiar to many in Cardiff – Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn of the Hang Fire Smokehouse restaurant – explained how their love of American barbecue took them from pop-up to permanent and why they opted to open their restaurant in Barry; followed by entrepreneur Mark Leruste, host of The Unconventionalists podcast (which I love, do listen) busting the ‘cool entrepreneur’ myth, why you should find your quest – the thing that gives your life purpose and meaning – and why you don’t have to start your own business to do this.

After this came lunch. Then after lunch came Dilys Price OBE, an 84-year-old skydiver who stole the show. ‘It’s never too late’ was the name of her talk. With a shock of pink hair and wearing leather trousers she talked about how she discovered skydiving at the age of 54, and how it gives her the ultimate sense of freedom; followed by Professor Rene Lindstadt, Head of the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University, on why American politics should matter to us all across the world, then social and computer scientist Pete Burnap talked us through how to make the internet a safer place.

After another 10-minute break it was time for the last three talks of the day. Musician Danielle Lewis, aided just by her guitar and her beautiful voice treated us to a bilingual Welsh and English set; adventurer and extreme athlete Ash Dykes ran us through how he went from 17-year-old college student in north Wales to being the first person to walk the length of Madagascar.

TEDx Cardiff 2017 was brought to a close with a quiet but impactful talk from Professor Mary Heimann of Cardiff University on how democracies become dictatorships and why it’s up to us, the people, not to let this happen, by practising everyday humanity and kindness.

All of these talks were filmed so keep an eye on the TEDx Cardiff website for when they’re available to view. I’d highly recommend singing up to the TEDx Cardiff mailing list so you don’t miss out next time this event returns.

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