Building Bridges not Walls

I’ve long been a fan of TED, and TEDx but this was the first time that someone who I consider a friend was giving one of the talks.

Educationalist and freelance Writer Ken Powell gave the talk at the most recent TEDx Whitehaven event earlier this year. His theme was ‘Why we need to embrace the Global Village’

Ken started his talk wearing a skirt. Which, to be honest, when he confided via Facebook that he was going to do this I was a little concerned. Was it just a gimmick? Would the message, or theme of his talk be over shadowed by his choice of apparel? Needless to say I needed have worried, and probably should have known better.

It was the perfect introduction to the talk and our notions of identity. Of a ‘them and us’ culture. Ken then went on to talk about his nerves about moving to a predominately Muslim area, given the media’s representation of the Muslim community as one of terror. As Ken found out truth and reality are very rarely the same, particularly when it comes to the reporting of newsworthy events.

The only depressing thing I found about Ken’s talk wasn’t the content but rather that such as discussion is still relevant in 2016. For those that don’t know part of my degree was studying the sociology of the media. At the time there was a lot of focus on Northern Ireland. Again it was ‘them and us’. In fact representations of ‘them and us’ has been prevalent in the media since someone first thought of creating a news sheet.

You’d have thought we’d have grown up a bit by now.

Sadly not.

At a time when international travel is so easy and when information about other countries and cultures is so accessible you’d have thought that we, as human beings, would at least be able to embrace the differences between cultures. To build bridges rather than build walls.

A few months ago Britain voted to leave the EU- another wall built.

In a matter of weeks America will vote in a new president. Should Trump win then sadly I see another wall being built, not just the one proposed between America and Mexico but between America and the rest of the World.

Anyway Ken’s talk is here, I really suggest you take a look.


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