Monthly As One Talks events bring people together to experience the inspirational stories from Cornwall’s most exceptional talents.
There’s something very special about sharing an evening with a room of people who have all come out to hear the inspirational stories of others. To experience an event which leaves you ending the day feeling inspired, thankful and empowered, is definitely a good use of a mid-week evening.
As One Talks started in January 2017, but have already become a regular treat for many. Once a month the founder, Alex, invites two talented individuals to take to the stage to tell the story of the path they have taken to get to where they are now. Each person has 20 slides and 20 seconds to talk about each slide (although this is a rule that is very loosely adhered to, if at all).
Before and after the talks everyone takes the opportunity to grab a drink, catch up with friends, bump into people they haven’t seen for a while and meet those who share similar interests. The Old Bakery ground floor plays host to the gathering – a large, low-ceilinged room brought to life with subtle but colourful lighting and filled with music and chatter.
Having been to the first and most recent (March) event, I am an advocate of the format despite having some initial reservations that it may tip the balance too much towards self-indulgence, leaving the audience with little more than a potted family history of someone they don’t know. I was wrong. The format works and for all the right reasons.
Here’s how the March event went down.
Up first was Ben Allen, a leading pop, abstract and graffiti artist.
Ben started by speaking about his love of Brighton and the inspiration it gave him as a child growing up there. He recalls hating being at school and recognises the love he has for his parents who have never forced him in a direction he didn’t want to go. With hat-tips to people and places which have inspired his work throughout, Ben paid particular credit to punk music and skateboarding: ‘they were a saviour for me’.
Always experimenting, Ben spoke about taking the opportunity to peel posters from a storm-battered Newquay billboard to integrate the papers into his work and reflected on his enjoyment of creating murals. Scattered throughout, the artist remarked that even though it is difficult not to be terribly hard on yourself, as long as it feels like it satisfies a part of your soul then you have succeeded. A brief Q&A revealed that Ben is using his art as a way to leave a legacy for his children who he wants to ensure are proud of the path he’s taken.
During the break, the room bursts into conversation again, as friends discuss Ben’s talk and how it relates to them.
Next up was James Otter, founder of Otter Surfboards
James creates surfboards from wood with an extremely high level of craftsmanship. His talk quickly saw him emotionally recounting his childhood, spending time with his grandfather who ‘personified what it was to love things’ and was a self-proclaimed ‘guardian of the land’. Crediting this great man, James ensures that his wood is sourced sustainably in a way that doesn’t see vast swathes of woodlands being cut down.
He feels a responsibility to take the wood, make something valuable and ensure it lasts as long as possible. Interspersed throughout his stories of personal ethos and outlook, James credited family members and close friends and did this with an emotion that had the whole room hooked. Particularly special was the moment James spoke of his sister’s constant belief in him and the self-confidence this has afforded. It was lovely to see him say this directly to her, tearing up a little.
To bring people together in this way is the product of an authentic mission to create an environment where speaking honestly about the journey of a person’s life connects, inspires and unites. At a time where ‘inspirational’ videos are commonplace online and with enough terrible news to make even the calmest person a little anxious, As One Talks provides a moment to stop, celebrate those speaking on stage about their approach and reflect on our own journeys. Add the shared experience of a very social event, a great selection of drinks at the bar and food available from The Shellfish Pig, As One Talks have the event pitched perfectly.
April’s As One Talks
The evening is totally free, but tickets must be booked in advanced via Eventbrite. Be sure to book quickly, tickets sell out each month ahead of the event – experience As One Talks once and you will be back for more.
This is a guest blog by Adam Rush. Adam is a freelance integrated marketing communications specialist working predominantly with leisure, events and experience businesses to connect with their audiences and increase bookings. Find out more at adamrush.co.uk.