There mightn’t be much happening at Parliament Buildings, but that certainly wasn’t the case when 11 women recently took to a red dot in Stormont’s Great Hall to deliver their TEDx talks.

(In case you’re wondering, the ‘x’ means an independently-organised TED event. The Stormont event was organised by Eva Grossman of the Centre for Peacebuilding and Democracy).

The theme was on ‘How do you build bridges?’. As talks to restore power-sharing broke down in failure, the timing and venue were particularly poignant. Hailing from near and far, here’s what the 11 speakers (plus two musical acts) had to say on this most fitting of topics.


Women Building Bridges

Naomh McElhatton, entrepreneur, on how authenticity can help to bridge our virtual and social worlds: Keep it real.

Before the event Naomh chatted to Jamie Pow about the time she tweeted that she’d love to do a TED talk, but never thought it would ever happen. Catch the full interview here.

Clare Mulley, historical biographer, on how history is our bridge to the past: History is not the past. History is our relationship with the past.

Elizabeth Filippouli, social entrepreneur, on activating the bridges of the mind: ‘Nous’ [Greek for ‘intuitive apprehension’].

Rosemary Jenkinson, artist-in-residence at the Lyric Theatre, on the unquantifiable bridge-making potential offered by the arts: Compared to writing, living is merely a hobby.

Jayne Gallagher, people manager, on one (of five) bridges to thriving: If you go out running in the cold & dark, it’s amazing what the mind can do.

Jane Burgess, property developer and international equestrian, on the bridge between dreams and committing yourself to realising them: Smile with four cheeks!

Goldie Fawn, a musical project of Katie Richardson, brings together the musical genres of electronica and indie.

Maxine Mawhinney, international broadcaster, introduces the audience to a new word, Gephyrophobia [a fear of bridges], and discusses how its symptoms can be overcome.

If you want to know more about Maxine, from her career in journalism to her passion for promoting integrated education, can catch our interview with Maxine here.

Lyra McKee, freelance journalist, on starting conversations in the face of prejudice: I’m human, just like you.

Tina McKenzie, business leader, talked movingly about how one person’s chains can be another’s bridge to who they are: I’m a prisoner’s daughter and I’m not ashamed. Don’t be chained to anything.

Vanessa Wolff, professional storyteller, quotes Roald Dahl on the magical bridge between two worlds: Those who do not believe in magic will never find it.

Ana Matronic, artist and broadcaster, on the bridging possibilities offered by robot technologies: Embracing bionics can make us more human.

The Women in Business Choir brought things to a close with a motivational rendition of a Take That classic: If you stay by my side, we can rule the world.

Also published on Medium.