Resilience Reignited

2nd October 2021 - 9am to 5pm

At Technology Innovation Centre

Tickets for our 2021 Annual Ideas Conference with the theme of Resilience Reignited are on sale now and you can purchase yours here! Hurry though, tickets are limited, so don't wait - get one today!

Organiser's Note

Welcome to the TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde Annual Ideas Conference 2021!

We are thrilled to be hosting our flagship event in person this year and it is a pleasure to receive you all.

If the past 18 months have taught us anything…and they have taught us a lot…it is that resilience can come in many forms. From the emotional resilience, we have all had to demonstrate as we have navigated the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, to the social resilience we have collectively shown as we have witnessed numerous injustices played out on the global stage. We have also seen the physical resilience of communities around the world as they fight against the increasingly extreme environmental events precipitated by the climate emergency.

The world looks very different as we draw to the end of 2021 than it did as we entered the first of several lockdowns at the start of 2020. We also view the world now through a very different lens and that is why we felt compelled to highlight and pay tribute to this enduring attribute through our theme for this year’s conference, Resilience Reignited.

We are looking to the future, with an outstanding selection of talks from some of the world’s most exceptional innovators and change-makers. From how to tackle the climate crisis with actions not just words to the robotics that will be securing sustainability for generations to come; and from the art of gratitude to the materials shaping how we design our structures and increase their ability to endure in the increasingly challenging years ahead.

Each one of our speakers envisions a world where we can truly understand the lessons we have learned through our resilience over the past year and a half and how we can carve our futures with intention and humility, working with our communities both locally and globally. We hope that you find resonance with their inspirational messages and that you are compelled to take positive action in your own lives.


We would also like to take this opportunity to highlight another community that has had to steer through these uncertain months at a time when they are already facing some of the most stressful years of their lives, students.

Yet, as organisers of TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde, we have witnessed the strength of our student community and their commitment to ensuring that they strive towards the futures they had envisioned when they began their journey at the University of Strathclyde. We are proud of all of our members and of the resilience they have shown in planning an Annual Ideas Conference through lockdowns, government restrictions and personally challenging circumstances.

Not only have we managed to organise what is arguably our best conference yet, but we also won the prestigious ‘Society of the Year’ award at the Strathclyde Student’s Union’s Star Awards in April, an accolade we are exceptionally proud of. This year despite the odds, TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde has thrived. We have shown resilience and a determination to bring to you a memorable and thought-provoking Annual Ideas Conference and we hope you’ll agree it has been well worth the wait.

Very best wishes,
Sheik Abdul Malik & Maisie Keogh
Lead & Co-Organiser of TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde

Theme Description


“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”- Maya Angelou

The word resilience has numerous meanings, and we all connect with it in different ways, but most would agree that the general principles of resilience are optimism, adaptability and purpose. Resilience is the ability to respond to adversity, to take it in our stride and to rise from such life events with our sense of self and purpose remaining. Some people envision soaring mountains ready to be scaled accompanied by a sense of achievement and victory at overcoming great challenge. Others are inspired by the renewing energy of a flame and compelled to see the light in dark places.

This year, we have sought the answers to questions such as “How can we help to develop physically resilient structures as the climate crisis worsens?”, “How will businesses need to adapt as we enter an age where we are living more and more of our lives in the digital world?”, “Can we foster socially resilient communities by creating products that will make a real difference to their lives?” and “Can we instil in ourselves the courage and confidence to overcome failure and cement our emotional resilience in the years ahead?”

Whatever your personal connection to the word resilience, we want to take you on a journey as we explore some of these questions. These are not just abstract musings nor just simply ideas that we should perhaps begin thinking about in the years ahead. These are the difficult questions that we to take action on now. How can we build a resilience global community when almost 132 million of us will be living in extreme poverty by 2030 and where over 200 million will be displaced due to the climate crisis? What actions do we need to take to ensure we provide people with the tools to improve their emotional resilience when 13% of us are suffering from mental ill health? Our pursuit of knowledge and the answers to some of today’s most complex and multifaceted questions have led us to hosting a conference where some of the most accomplished speakers will share their interpretations of what it means to be resilient.

Here, inspirational ideas and thought-provoking stories will be shared, and we invite you to bring your unique perspectives with you, listening with an open mind and a willingness to learn. You will have the opportunity to have your assumptions challenged, to be inspired and emboldened to take action in your own lives, whether that is through activism for a cause that is important to you, to reignite your passion for your career or to making the changes you would like to see in the world. Our conference will help you to redefine your ideas on success and failure through the lens of resilience.

“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”- Nelson Mandela

Speakers for the Event

Philip Braat

The RT Hon The Lord Provost Councillor

Philip Braat is the Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant of Glasgow and is the elected member for the Anderston/City/Yorkhill ward.

He was first elected to represent the ward in 2007. During his tenure in office, Philip has held a variety of high-profile roles within the Council. During the last Administration, he held the post of City Treasurer of Glasgow City Council and Convener of Strathclyde Pension Fund, with ultimate political responsibility for all matters financial.  Between May 2017 and January 2019, he served as the Depute Lord Provost of Glasgow. 

Until the unification of the Single Police Service of Scotland on 1 April 2013, he was the Convener of Strathclyde Police Authority, the then largest Force in Scotland prior to 1 April.

In 2018, Philip was appointed Honorary Officer in the Royal Navy Reserves and has the rank of Captain.

Over the years, Philip has had many responsibilities within Glasgow City Council and has been a member of several committees and boards. He was Chair of the Anderston/City Area Committee, the Central & West Local Planning Partnership Board (LCPP) and the Central & West Local Housing Forum. Philip has been a member of various Council Committees, such as Development & Regeneration Services, Land & Environmental Services, Education and Social Work Services, as well as the Finance & Audit and the External Governance Scrutiny Committees.

He has served as Deputy Executive Member for Business and the Economy and, until March 2009, he also served as a member of the Licensing Board. Among others, Philip has been a Board Member of Glasgow Housing Association, the Kelvin Hall Sports Trust, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre Limited (SECC) and was the Council’s official representative to the United Nations Association Glasgow branch.

Philip also sat on the Glasgow Criminal Justice Authority and on the Board of the Legal Services Agency. He was Glasgow’s appointee to the Board of the West of Scotland Loans Fund and played a pivotal role in the formation of Business Loans Scotland.

Philip is a graduate of law from Glasgow University and obtained his Diploma of Legal Practice at the Glasgow Graduate School of Law. He has practised Commercial Property Law and is a Notary Public.  In November 2019, he was awarded a Postgraduate Master’s Degree (MSc) in History from the University of Strathclyde.

He has dual nationality (British/Belgian) and having lived in Belgium for many years, he is fluent in Flemish/Dutch.

Sir Jim McDonald

Principal and Vice Chancellor

Professor Sir Jim McDonald BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc, CEng is Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde.

“Taking a Systems Approach to the design, technologies and policies for a Decarbonised Energy Future”.

As yet, we do not have a talk description for the Principal.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald Co-chairs, with the First Minister of Scotland, the Scottish Government’s Energy Advisory Board.  He is Co-Chair of the Independent Glasgow Economic Leadership Board.  He currently holds several senior business appointments with organisations including the Weir Group plc, Scottish Power plc, the UK National Physical Laboratory and the UK Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.  Additionally, he Chairs or participates in several senior committees related to research, economic development and education. In the Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours List 2012, Professor McDonald was awarded a Knighthood for services to education, engineering and the economy.  He was elected President of the Royal Academy of Engineering in September 2019, through which he is a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology. He has held the Rolls-Royce Chair in Electrical Power Systems since 1993. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Physics, the Energy Institute and a Foreign Fellow of the Chinese Society of Electrical Engineering.

Barry Rowe

Head of Airbus Program Engineering

Barry Rowe, BSc (Hons), MEng, PG(Dip), MRAeS is Head of Airbus Program Engineering and Executive Champion DE&I at Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Ltd.

“Thank you for your difference and the innovation you make… Start with a difference”.

In today’s world, we hear a lot of talk about the ‘new normal’ for the post-pandemic era and the juxtaposition of the importance of embracing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. Is the “new normal” actually all-inclusive, all-seeing, all-embracing? Thinking about it, are these ideas even compatible? If we reset back to any ‘normal’, how do we actually continue to evolve, grow, and ‘break the mold’? We have a once in a generation opportunity to reset the clocks and do anything but the ‘old normal’ which can also lead to a more sustainable future for our children to enjoy. The big question is are we really ready to take the leap and enable an all-inclusive and diverse approach? Is it possible that true innovation and technology development relies on being different, accepting differences, thinking differently, and making a difference?

#startwithadifference #startwithsomethingnew #thankyouforyourdifference #innovation #technology

As part of Barry’s international remit, he leads a team accountable for the engineering of Airbus products, such as the best-selling A320 aircraft, A220, and A350. This also includes the newly launched state-of-the-art automated RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) composite Spoiler line. As engineering leader at Spirit Prestwick, Barry is a member of the Senior Leadership Council, responsible for operating one of Scotland’s biggest aerospace engineering companies. He is an advocate of technology and innovation, and recognizes the importance of our sustainable future, and represents Spirit on the ATI FlyZero Governance Advisory Board. Rowe joined Spirit directly from Airbus in Toulouse, where he previously worked as Head of Engineering for their Fuselage and Wing Products. Also serving for three years as a Senior Auditor at Airbus Group Corporate Headquarters, he has a rich history of Operations, Corporate, and Engineering management. Barry is a keen traveller and sport lover, he is married with twin daughters and lives in Ayr, Scotland, UK.

Dr. Emma Mellanie Morton


Emma Mellanie Morton is an Architect, within City Design at Glasgow City Council.

“Engage the world, change the world. The Future of the City.”

Climate change arguably poses the biggest challenge to children’s rights globally. The Glasgow Children’s Climate Charter will declare a duty of care to protect children against climate change and commit to a legacy of intergenerational equity. It is a declaration and promise to work in partnership with children to sustain a city that is restorative by intention and is regenerative by design. 

Emma’s philosophy is that great architecture should tread lightly on the environment, and she cares about both the architectural design aesthetic and the environmental impact of our buildings. She is concerned with how to sustain and reuse natural resources, which the city consumes and retains, so that we can better serve future generations. Emma is passionate about environmentally led design and her research interests lie in energy performance and holistic sustainable building design solutions for the city.

Miguel Dupret

Start-up Director & Consultant

Miguel Dupret is a start-up director and consultant for strategic operations. Miguel has comprehensive intercultural and international experiences, including renowned institutions like Harvard and Oxford universities. 

“Why students need to fail”

Our society is evolving at a breath-taking pace, where the history is written mainly by successes and leaves very little space for failure and rejection. Still, failure is a fundamental pillar of our lives and with the correct approach, it unlocks our full potential. University students and young adults can strongly benefit from this approach towards failure to achieve a very fulfilling life and career.

Miguel Dupret is a well experienced start-up director and strategic operations consultant, currently positioned as Associate Strategic Operations at Kearney and an Equity Investor and Board Member at MPD SME CAPITAL. Miguel has worked in director positions throughout Europe in cities including Geneva, London, and Milan for MPD PARTNERS alongside managerial positions throughout the world during his time at Sentient Blue Technologies S.r.l.

Miguel has developed vast and extensive knowledge in all fields of business and management across five educational institutions across the world. This began with learning International Project Management in Stuttgart, followed by an MSc in Aerospace Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal, and an MBA from Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration specialising in Project and Process Management. Miguel also underwent various Project Management qualifications following his MBA and completed a Strategic Finance Diploma from Oxford University – Said Business School and their Negotiation programme, with his most recent education coming from Harvard Business School’s Leading Professional Service Firms Executive Education in 2018.

Miguel’s professional and educational experience have taken him all over the world and helped shape his extraordinary career and the success within it, making him an amazing asset to our 2021 TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde Annual Ideas Conference speaker line-up.

Silverstre Taveria Pinho

Professor in Mechanics of Composites

Silvestre Taveira Pinho is a Professor in Mechanics of Composites at the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London in the UK.

“From crustaceans to airplanes: new light-weight materials inspired by nature”

The mantis shrimp is a formidable predator. At mealtime, it uses its club to hit the hard defensive shells of crabs and break them. How does it do it? In part, it evolved an intricate micro-structured material for its club. Other animals have evolved intricate micro-structured materials too, including lobsters, beetles, molluscs and many others. And it’s not just animals: plants such as bamboo, lotus and many others have evolved fantastic micro-structures too. It is therefore not surprising that scientists and engineers are looking carefully at these materials and trying to figure out if they can identify the underpinning principles that makes them outstanding and somehow replicate them in human-made advanced light-weight materials. What they are finding is that we can create an exciting array of diverse bio-inspired materials which over-perform traditional engineering materials for various applications.

In this talk, Silvestre discusses how mastering new materials has been a key to the progress and resilience of human civilization, why biological materials are amazing, and how scientists are currently taking inspiration from them for applications in aerospace, automotive and sport.

Silvestre teaches Structural Mechanics and Dynamics to Aeronautical Engineering. His research seeks to achieve more lightweight advanced aircraft structures so that aircraft spend less fuel. In particular, he develops numerical simulation models to aid in the design of aircraft structures and investigates how to take inspiration from nature to design even better materials to be used in aircraft.

Dr. Lorenzo Conti

Managing Director

Dr. Lorenzo Conti is Founder & Managing Director of Crover Ltd, an Edinburgh-based start-up which developed the world’s first ‘subterranean drone’ (i.e., a CROVER).

“To boldly go where no robot has gone before… below the surface!”

The human pursuit to explore new horizons has brought us to be able to build machines that can reach the seas and the skies, but we have somewhat forgotten to get past what is under our feet: solid granular surfaces.

The talk will provide an introduction to previous attempts to move through granular materials, ubiquitous systems like sand, grains and powders, and it will present the story and science behind the first feasible method for locomotion through such type of environments, including a LIVE demo of the CROVER robot.

Lorenzo is an Enterprise Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and holds a PhD in Engineering from The University of Edinburgh (UofE), where he worked on granular rheology (the study of how granular matter flows) and discovered the ‘CROVER effect’. Before that, he completed an MEng in Civil Engineering at UofE and worked on construction projects in Italy, Switzerland, Germany.

Sam Rogers

Design Lead and Jet Suit Test Pilot

Sam Rogers is Design Lead and a Jet Suit Test Pilot at Gravity Industries.

“How cinema inspires technology”.

How pursuing a passion for flight, cinematic storytelling, and 3D printing led to building rocket engines, becoming a designer and Test Pilot of the Gravity Jet Suit, and flying a hoverboard alongside the Back to the Future DeLorean.

Sam focuses on designing the Gravity Jet Suit. He is an expert in design optimised for metal 3D printing. His passion and expertise stems from growing up making pyrotechnics with his grandfather, building solid fuelled rocket motors, homemade camera stabilisers and radio-controlled aircraft. This led him to work on 3D printed rocket engines prior to joining Gravity. Sam also runs his company Quartermaster, focusing on design for 3D printing. He has a degree in Product Design and Technology (BSc) from Loughborough University.

Omar Esa

Singer/ Song-Writer

Omar Esa is an independent award-winning, chart topping International faith-based singer/songwriter (nasheed artist) from the United Kingdom.

“The day I cried”

Life is a journey of patience and resilience. Whilst on the path to be noticed, life has taken me through many highs and lows, but these challenges gave me answers to questions I never knew I had. 

Omar Esa was previously an RnB/Pop singer in 2011 and was inspired to change his path to share the beauty of faith with the world. His new journey began with a simple dream- to show the world the beauty of his religion Islam through his songs. Omar Esa is a strong advocate for voice only songs and has coined the phrase “Anything music can do, so can the voice – My voice is my instrument”.

His singles ‘Tera Pyaar – Your Love’ (2018), ‘Nikah’ (Marriage) (2019), ‘Ya Allah’ (2020) and ‘Spiderman’ (2021) have all hit the number 1 spot on the iTunes UK world chart. He regards his voice as a blessing from Lord and aims to use his songs to forward the wonderful messages of peace, love and unity throughout the whole world, Lord willing.

Damian Reily

CEO of Army Recruiting Group

Damian Riley is Chief Executive Officer of the Army Recruiting Group, a partnership between Capita plc and the British Army.

“Trauma, Regeneration and Transformation: Personal reflections on resilient leadership”

Following a critical accident, in which I suffered profound trauma and life-changing injuries, this talk focuses on my lived experience of rehabilitation and personal transformation. I have combined this with my professional experience in executive and change leadership, to offer reflections on what I have learnt about resilience and leadership. I outline seven practices, which I believe can help leaders be truly effective in leading organisational transformation.

Damian was previously Client Partner and Managing Director of Capita Education Services. Prior to joining Capita in 2016, Damian has a career background in management consultancy, and was a Director at PwC, with over 15 years’ experience working with public sector leaders on business transformation. Damian began his career in the UK Civil Service at the Audit Commission, as Private Secretary to Sir Andrew Foster.

A former rock climber and competitive triathlete, Damian was critically injured in a cycling accident in 2019. He is a spinal cord injury survivor, registered disabled, and is an advocate for disabled people in the workplace.

Damian is married with two children and lives in North London. He holds a first-class degree in Government & a master’s degree in Ideology and Discourse Analysis, from Essex University.

Her Highness AlSayyida Basma Al Said

Psychotherapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist

Her Highness AlSayyida Basma Al Said is a well-established Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist, owner and founder of the first mental health centre in Oman, Whispers of Serenity Clinic.

“What Will I Choose Today?”

Resilience – are we born with it or do we get it from the environment we live in? What is its psychological importance? These are some of the questions Her Highness AlSayyida Basma Al Said attempts to answer. Taking the audience on a journey she will explore the link between COVID & Resilience discussing its impact on our physical and emotional connections with others. She will touch on the importance of mindfulness and living in the present as well as highlighting the roles that kindness and gratitude have to play in the unprecedented times, we live in. We are all in this together.

Her Highness AlSayyida Basma Al Said is also a mental health consultant and psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience seeing and treating patients from a wide array of disorders. She holds a master’s degree in Health Counselling in 2008 from Curtin University of Technology in Australia. Sayyida Basma is a pioneer in mental health issues awareness and is renowned for dealing head on with taboo subjects in the Middle East such as abuse and eating disorders. She is one of the few psychotherapists in the Gulf to use techniques such Hypnotherapy as well as her most recently earned training of Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET) for PTSD from Harvard University.

She also has been featured and interviewed by prominent networks and media such as CNN Arabia, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar Arabia to name a few.

Awarded as International Social Responsibility Ambassador by The International Union for Social Responsibility (IUSR) in July this year and has been honoured as one of the 50 Omani women who have played a significant role in the country’s development.

Deborah Sass & THomas Reemer

Founders of Space Hero

Deborah and Thomas are the founder of the company Space Hero.

“Democratising Space – Media for the Space Age”.

Space Hero is the new frontier for the entertainment sector, offering the first-ever truly off-planet experience. We aim to reinvent the reality TV category by creating a multi-channel experience that offers the biggest prize ever, to the biggest audience possible. Space Hero is about opening space up to everyone – not only to astronauts and billionaires, but to communities, countries, and regionals that have zero access to Space! This is our way of truly democratising the access to Space.

Deborah started her media career working in advertising, radio and TV in Perth, Australia, then back in London soon after. She then moved her career to the digital music and film industry, first at Muze, then as an SVP at Macrovision, overseeing all their European Business. Moving to Los Angeles in 2007 she helped set up a digital entertainment consultancy practice and became a passionate champion for all things digital & entertainment. By 2014, now an experienced executive with a global outlook and a strong focus on tech, entertainment & raising money, she understood that there is more to happiness than success in business and first moved to Bali, then 2 years later to Ibiza, which she now calls home.

Thomas launched his first successful business, a hip-hop nightclub in his old neighbourhood, right after he finished studying history and politics at the Free University in Berlin. He went on to manage a pop band racking up 4 #1 hits in Germany.

By the late 90’s his thirst for knowledge took him and his young family to Liverpool, where he studied at the auspicious Music Business School set up by Sir Paul McCartney. From managing a club, then a band to starting Artists First, the first ecommerce site for independent artists, Thomas was fast establishing himself as a passionate & driven international music tech entrepreneur.

Kelvin Murray

Underwater & Polar Explorer and Expedition Leader

“Tougher than the rest? What I learned about resilience from expeditions.”

Kelvin shares his experiences and perspective on resilience gained from decades of exploration in extreme environments.  He aims to challenge some notions that resilience is about being tough, when perhaps we should consider a different definition.

Kelvin is an underwater and polar explorer and expedition leader. His decades of hard-won knowledge have been earned through complex missions on every continent and every ocean. In 2019, he participated in the Five Deeps Expedition, which took a manned submersible to the deepest reaches of the five oceans. Recently, Kelvin was Expedition Leader for the deepest manned dives in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Philippine Trench, and the exploration of the world’s deepest known shipwreck, the fabled USS Johnston, which rests at 6,460 metres.

Formerly with the British Antarctic Survey, he managed the UK’s scientific diving programme throughout the extreme environment of the Antarctic winter. Kelvin has led exploratory diving expeditions throughout Svalbard, the world’s largest fjord system in East Greenland and the Subantarctic wildlife paradise of South Georgia, altogether supervising several thousand polar dives.

Kelvin manages high-end private expeditions worldwide and is also a Special Consultant to Blue Abyss, a project to develop a world-class commercial astronaut training centre and underwater exploration facility.

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