TEDxArendal 2014 speakers and their talks

For TEDxArendal 2014 we aimed big – and scored! The event filled a 700 seat venue, and speaker Thomas Hellum made the TED front page with his slow-TV talk.

Rikke Soligard

Rikke Soligard is founder of “The Department of Enthusiasm” – a non-profit organization working to create dedicated and happy communities.

In her short presentation she will talk about how she gave up her job, and started working to improve her local community. She lists four factors she thinks is the key to success in making a change and creating a happy community.

Rikke suffers from all sorts of phobias, but is not afraid to fight for the things she believes in. In 2012 she walked miles outside her comfort zone and gave up her job as a longstanding manager of a large bookstore, for a non-paid job for The Department of Enthusiasm. The goal was to build a sustainable organization that would inspire, raise awareness, and engage residents and other stakeholders in such a way that it would give lasting and positive effects up on the local communities.

Kjetil Trædal Thorsen

As a founding partner of architecture and design studio Snøhetta, Thorsen is striving for a continuous state of creative reinvention. Collaborative processes are embedded within the complexities of each individual and will therefor always rely on the singular (person) in the plural (group) to become truly collaborative. The logical consequence of this assumption is that the most important project for “Snøhetta” (the architect firm) is “Snøhetta” itself.

Kjetil Trædal Thorsen has led several award winning design competitions for public buildings around the world. As head of the innovative team at Snøhetta, he has taken part in designing the 2007 Serpentine Gallery temporary Pavilion in London, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina library in Alexandria Egypt, the Oslo Opera House, and more.

Loveleen Brenna

Twenty years ago, Loveleen was living a life which was based on something else than her own values. She thought: “If I can not be true to myself, how can I be true to my sons and other people in my life, today or in the future?” She took steps and started to rewrite her story. Ending an arranged marriage, and taking charge of her own life – the story she tells today is quite a different one than it might have been. In this talk she focuses on peoples tendency to focus on the differences between cultures, as opposed to all the similarities.

Previous president of The National Parents Committee for primary and secondary school in Norway, and today a managing director of Seema AS, working with leadership development programs. Loveleen has functioned as an advisor and been on several different comittees for change, integration and education.

Christopher Fabian

In this insightful talk Christopher Fabian describes how technology used in disaster areas often is faced with limitations different from what we account for. How do we get around the limitations, and how do the local people contribute to create modern solutions that solve issues a modern and well-funded New York based company cannot?

Christopher believes that technology is not the end-product of innovation, but a principal driver of new ways of thinking about development problems. He is most proud of his work identifying, mentoring and promoting local leaders, designers and innovators around the world. Convinced that global, authentic, and humble engagement among academia, the private sector and civil society can create global change.

Christopher Fabian co-created and has co-lead UNICEF’s Innovation Unit in New York since 2007. He has taught and lectured at NYU, Columbia University, Harvard University and IIT Delhi among other universities. Prior to joining UNICEF in 2006, Christopher taught in Lebanon and launched start-ups in East Africa and Egypt. He holds degrees in Philosophy and in Media Studies. In 2013, he was recognized as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people.

Jimmy Nelson

“Searching for authenticity” is a set of 3 stories revolving around Jimmy Nelson’s encounters with rare indigenous tribes – and his attempts at capturing them with his old camera. Hear his enigmatic tale, and ponder the wisdom he shares with us, as he shares his tales of an eccentric Brit searching for authenticity.

Jimmy Nelson is a photographer who in 2009 embarked on his largest project to date: For three years he travelled and photographed over 30 indigenous tribes in Europe, Asia, South-America and the South-Pacific, using a 50 year old 4×5 in camera. In the mountains, the icy fields, the jungle, along the rivers and valleys, Jimmy Nelson found the last tribesmen and observed them. “Before They Pass Away” is the name of his project and stands as a testemony to his work. His stories, pictures and insight are all quickly becoming documentaries shared on TV.

Guy Lundy

Why has the narrative around Africa recently changed from continual disaster to excitement about the future? In his talk, Guy Lundy adresses the major trends affecting the future of Africa, and the opportunities and challenges presented by these trends. What must Africans do to make sure the future is bright? And why is this interesting to the rest of the world?

Guy is a qualified futurist and experienced scenario planner, with a Masters degree in Futures Studies. He is the author of two books about the future of South Africa.

Alexander Medin

Can yoga help people break away from a life of crime or drug addiction? As a long time Yoga-teacher Alexander helped heavy criminals and people with addictions master their lives, and cope. This talk will tell the some compelling stories of change, dignity and finding your way trough the anchient art of Yoga.

Alexander Medin has been a yoga instructor for 17 years. In 2012 he started yoga exercise for prisoners and later for drug addicts. Alexander used to be a boxer, and “Back in the ring” is a symbol of the classic boxer doing a comeback – something which requires effort and strength. It also symbolizes returning to the society as a resource and not as a burden. “I wanted them to find dignity again” Alexander says about the people he helps.

Thomas Hellum

Is it possible that there is a better recipe for entertainment than fast paced TV, quick editing and reality shows that are filled with staged drama? What if you took it to the other extreme? In this talk Hellum tells the history of slow-TV, from a courageous decision to air a unedited train ride where nothing happens… to a five and a half day journey with a coastal ship. And the result? Staggering! Learn more from Thomas in this humorous talk about TV habits.

Thomas Hellum is a project Manager, photographer and executive producer at NRK (the Norwegian government-owned radio and television public broadcasting company), where he has worked since 1992. He lives by the motto: “Life is best when it’s a bit strange”. He is a producer of documentaries and various infotainment programs, and one of the people behind a totally opposite direction in TV entertainment: “slow-TV”.

Silje Endresen Reme

Norway is one of the richest countries in the world, but has the highest sick absence in Europe. The statistics show that the majority of sick leaves are due to muscle- and skeleton afflictions and mildly mental sufferings. Silje has researched what actions can be done to help people come back to work, and offers a solution to a much debated topic – not only in Scandinavia, but all over the western world. Is forcing people with sufferings back to work the solution? Or is there a better alternative?

Silje Endresen Reme is a psychologist and PhD at the University of Bergen and lectures at Harvard School of Public Health. Her doctor’s degree is about understanding and treating chronical afflictions, with focus on actions for reducing sick leave due to these issues.

Asbjørn Rachlew

It was sheer luck that let an innocent man facing a jail sentence for murder to go free. Another man admitted to the crime – but before that, the innocent person had spent six months isolated, interrogated, becoming broken down and suicidal.

Later, police Superintendent Asbjørn Rachlew suggested a meeting between the man that had been falsely accused and the Detective responsible for the investigation, in front of 200 police officers. This session made an extraordinary impression on the audience. Suddenly “Stein Inge” (the accused), the Detective, and Asbjørn found themselves working together – traveling the world, talking about how innocent people often confess to crimes they did not commit.

As a viewer you should know that “Stein Inge” later took his own life, and that his son was attending the audience during this talk. When Asbjørn adresses the audience, it is the son he is talking to – and paying respects to – which is also an emotional thing, as “Stein Inge” had become Asbjørns close friend trough their work.

Asbjørn Rachlew is a police Superintendent, researcher, and a teacher who travels around the world, talking about police investigations and human rights. He has researched in depth what causes false confessions.

Sissel Rogne

A lot of women are pushing the boundaries of fertility, because in our new modern lives we might put careers first, or the traditional family has changed. How has science come around to help fertility issues, and how old can women be and still conceive children, with modern bio-technology? Sissel Rogne talks about the freezing of eggs, and how one might say that the future may consist of an “ice cold family planning”.

Rogne is director of the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board and adjunct professor at the Institute of Community Medicine at the University of Bergen. She has also been a Research Director and professor in gene technology at Norway’s Agriculture College, and was awarded The Academic Award in 2012. Sissel Rogne studied gene technology and returned to Norway as one of the pioneers in this field. She became a professor in 1992. She is now the Director General at the Norwegian University for Life Sciences and the University of Bergen.

Tomm Kristiansen

When the country of “South-Sudan” came about, the government wanted to install a modern democracy to build upon. But how do you create a new ruling system in a country where people are not intimately familiar with it? Tomm found himself in the strange situation as the only person – within a cabinet of 50 advisors – who had grown up in a Western democracy. Hear his tale on how to build a democracy – without democrats.

Tomm Kristiansen is an award winning Norwegian author and journalist, known for his work as foreign news correspondent for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). He worked as an adviser to Salva Kiir, the president of newly founded nation of South Sudan.

Tor Inge Garvik

Tor Inge Garvik leads an ambitious development team focusing on global health and innovation. The non-profit company Laerdal Global Health’s goal is to help save the lives of hundreds of thousands newborns and mothers every year. Working within strong global partnerships, they have made solutions available that dramatically improves survival at day of birth.

Watch Tor-Inge talk about the products and the innovation, and how a close cooperation with people in the field makes it all possible.

Tor Inge is an Industrial Designer with 14 years of experience with design in low resource settings. He leads an ambitious development team with studios in Norway and India. Tor Inge obtained his masters from the Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU). Before joining Laerdal in 2007, he worked as a designer for the Peter Opsvik design studio. He has also worked as a program manager for Design without Borders (Norwegian foundation for Design and Architecture) and with the Design for Sustainability group at TU Delft.

John Matherly

We live in a world that is ever more interconnected. Your light bulb can be smart. The lock on your door can be controlled by an app. Your car has wireless systems. But how are we opening up to a new kind of problems when a mass of small computers go online – all connected – without implementing an equal level of security? Hear John’s riveting talk about what the internet really consist of, and what problems might face us in the future bringing online millions of tiny devices that essentially are computers.

John Matherly is an Internet Cartographer and founder of Shodan, the world’s first search engine for Internet-connected devices. He is passionate about programming, solving problems and understanding how the world works. Before Shodan, John worked at the San Diego Supercomputer center, managing the world’s foremost protein data bank. He helped the Union Tribune newspaper manage their sports section, and worked on research to determine the 3D structure of proteins using deuterium mass spectrometry. John has completed a Bachelors degree in bioinformatics from the University of California San Diego.

Pål Brekke

History was written at the time of this talk (August 2014), when – for the first time in the history of mankind – a manmade object “met up” with a comet deep in space. After 10 years of travelling, the satellite would launch a small probe that would land on this comet and do its measures. The first ever pictures from a comet without a tail were taken. The event was a large one, especially for astronomers, and on short notice Pål Brekke accepted the challenge of delivering these exciting news at TEDxArendal. The pictures and music in the beginning were to set a mood for the topic.

Pål Brekke is a Norwegian solar physicist astrophysicist. He is an expert on the ultraviolet emissions and the dynamical aspects of the sun, measuring variations in solar UV radiation. He is a senior advisor at the Norwegian Spacecenter, and frequently works for ESA on various projects. He is also an avid blogger and lecturer.