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The Do Lectures: a Glastonbury for the mind

Jaswinder Kaur

27th August, 2009

Once a year in rural Wales twenty 'doers' assemble in a small tent and tell their stories. The aim is to inspire the rest of us to go and do something positive.

These people act like cats eyes in the road. They show us the way forward

Picture this: a big tent in the middle of a field in rural Wales, a campfire and twenty speakers giving bite-size lectures on what inspired them to do and become who they are today. Throw in a series of workshops, music and locally sourced food and you have the Do lectures. It's like a Glastonbury for the mind.

David Hieatt, the co-founder of the Do lectures explains, 'People who do amazing things can inspire the rest of us to do amazing things too. These people act like cats eyes in the road. They show us the way forward.'

To be held from 3rd to 7th September this year in Fforest, West Wales, this annual event brings together innovators, entrepreneurs and campaigners who tell their story. The Do lectures seek to inspire people to just Do whatever it is they have wanted to do and to follow their passion or bring to fruition that idea that's been in their head all these years. Essentially it is a forum for Doers to tell their story, share ideas and to inspire.

The Do lectures were started by David and Claire Hieatt, the founders of the eco clothing brand Howies, in 2008. Asked why they are doing it now, Hieatt says, 'Well, we live in interesting times. Most of the important business models have yet to be written. Most of the "why didn't I think of that" answers for climate change have yet to be dreamt of. Most of the important scientific or technological breakthroughs are just doodles on someone's notepad. The Do lectures is a platform where sustainability and ideas come together to have their say, to tell their story.'

The inaugural Do lecture held last year saw 22 speakers including a forager, Yun Hider and a trails builder Dafydd Davies. This year twenty Doers from around the world will tell their story in 25 minutes. Doers include Paul Deegan, Mountaineer and ‘Everest's Dustman', Gerald Miles, the organic Farmer & GM activist who drove his tractor to parliament to protest about GM and Gregor MacLennan, campaigner for Amazonian peoples' rights.

Patrick Holden, Director of the Soil Association and resident of West Wales will also be speaking. ‘If we are going to achieve the kind of changes in our food systems that we need to make, we will require new models of communication. The Do Lectures are a perfect example of this. Change now happens from the bottom up, not like the past from the top down. Even if it is little by little, it's the revolution.'

Though the Do lectures cover a range of global issues from technology to sport, art and music, their special focus is on the environment. The site itself is eco-friendly. Hieatt explains that 'It's pretty low impact, we are using a reed bed toilet system. The music stage is made from straw bales and there are plans to solar power the entire site in the future. But it's a start.'

From a small tent in Wales, the ambitions of the founders of Do are big. Though physically only 85 people can be accommodated at the Do lectures, the lectures have been seen and heard by 100,000 people from 140 countries online. Hieatt says, 'Next year, our aim is to get 1 million people to watch the talks.'

Asked what he hopes participants can achieve from Do, Hieatt states it simply: 'To understand this: Ideas+Energy=Change.'

The Do Lectures, 3rd to 7th September 2009, Fforest,Wales.




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