It’s fair to say that I do quite a bit of public speaking, it is something that I not only feel passionate about but also really enjoy. So when I was asked to speak as part of a TEDxCardiffUniversity event I knew it would be a fantastic opportunity to give a talk on this infamous stage.
TEDxCardiffUniversity (an independently organized TED event) focused on ‘The Power of Ideas’, exploring how ideas can change attitudes, lives, and ultimately the world. Bringing together seven alumni of Cardiff University speaking on a range of topics including the impact of design on our well-being, how collective action can help tackle period poverty, how nano-particles can solve problems, lessons about loneliness and the power of self-belief.
Rather than speak about my research directly, I wanted to use this opportunity to speak about my personal experiences of having family members affected by brain diseases, and how this inspired to become a research scientist. I also spoke about the complex ethical and moral dilemmas which are becoming increasingly prevalent as research, science and medicine evolves.
I used my family as a narrative and explored how I felt about my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis before talking about genetic risk of Alzheimer’s disease and asking the audience if they would want to know about their genetic status. If your individual and unique genetic information was sequenced, who should have access to it? How should it be stored? Should it be your responsibility to share your genetic status with your loved ones?
I must confess that knowing that the event would be live streamed and recorded and put on YouTube for the world to see certainly added to the pressure. But I really enjoyed taking part in this event. I want to say a big thank you to Sean Hoare and Louise Hartrey who organised the event alongside the volunteers and other speakers. The main thing that I will take away from the event is that all of the speakers were very different in terms of topic, content and style but they were all great, fabulously engaging and most of all inspiring.
You can catch up and listen to the great range of speakers via Cardiff University’s YouTube channel, the whole event was live streamed and is available to re-watch here.