Surbiton Pop! Talks | Independent School Surrey | Surbiton High School
POP Talks Banner
shape shield section

Surbiton Pop! Talks

As part of the School’s growing community outreach programme we are delighted to launch Surbiton POP! Talks – an exciting series of thought-provoking, fun and engaging, educational talks.

A dynamic evening of four specialist speakers curated around one central theme, followed by a live Q&A where you can put your thoughts and questions to the panel for some lively discussion.

Coming up…

POP! Talks: AI and Our Shifting Education

AI may not be taking over, but it’s certainly taking a part, in everything. So, perhaps we can stop the worrying and the denying and instead focus on who it’s most likely to affect, and what, and how.

Education as a sector is a slow-moving beast and not known to alter its course swiftly, but some things are surely going to change, going to have to change. Possibilities in the classroom are expanding like a new universe. But also what about beyond the classroom, what about career opportunities – what will emerge and what might become obsolete?

AI & Our Shifting Education focuses on beyond what tech is available for the changing classroom and into where our young learners are headed. Where might we steer them? What lies in the near future?



Revision Slam! :

Say it With Pride

Emma Smith smiling at camera

Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College Oxford, and the author of This Is Shakespeare (2019).

If you’re bored of Shakespeare, think again – thanks to Emma Smith, he is coming back to life.

Emma Smith is one of the world’s leading voices on Shakespeare. Her books are a knockout, approaching centuries old texts with a vital, urgent vibrancy that instantly render each play utterly relevant. To read ‘This is Shakespeare’ makes you want to re-read The Bard all over again, and – in the case of those who have never previously enjoyed reading Shakespeare – his work is at once demystified and yet made even more magical in context of our modern world.

Any student of Shakespeare – and that is every secondary school student in the country – could benefit from listening to the illuminating insights of Emma Smith. Much Ado, Twelfth Night, Othello, Romeo & Juliet – all can be laid bare by her unrivalled and unexpected readings.

Shivanee Ramlochan smiling at the camera

Shivanee Ramlochan, Poet, arts reporter, blogger, legend

Shivanee is an Indo-Trinidadian poet & deputy editor of The Caribbean Review of Books. She will talk about what it means to grow up as a gay girl in the Caribbean. [Spoiler alert: it’s tricky to say the least]

Hot off the plane from the Singapore Literature Festival, she will also discuss her upcoming work of non-fiction, Unkillable – an exploration of how a writer addresses and expresses their queer self through the dangerous, the provocative and the unashamedly taboo.

Dominic Leonard smiling at camera

Dominic Leonard, Poet, and something of a film buff

Dominic Leonard’s punchy pamphlets, love, bring myself (2019) and Dirt (2021) have been published by Broken Sleep: ‘A press where community action, inclusivity, and innovation are at the forefront.’

He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2019 and the Oxford Poetry Prize in 2022.

Dom is fascinated by how the edges of a form are what define a form. He will imaginatively explore limit and definition in poetry and films.

Christian Hegwell with mic in front of him

Christian Hewgill, Sports reporter & the unmistakable voice of BBC Newsbeat.

Christian is a presenter and reporter for radio and tv. Named as one of ’30 under 30 to watch’, he was nominated as Best New Presenter at the ARIAS (radio’s equivalent of the Oscars). News, sport, F1, football you name it! Chris will be discussing what it means to be a gay football fan and his role in establishing and promoting gay football fan clubs. A fascinating perspective with the World Cup starting in Qatar this week!

For the Love of Language - Speakers

Alicia Mason, Linguistics PhD Candidate, New York University

Many of my teenage years were spent trying to decide between a future in languages and a scientific career. After leaving Surbiton in 2015, I studied French and German at Cambridge University, and when I discovered linguistics on my year abroad in Paris, I delightedly realised I wouldn’t have to choose between language and science. A chance meeting with an American professor convinced me to apply to the US for postgraduate studies, and I’ve been working towards my Linguistics PhD at New York University since 2019. As an aspiring linguist and neuroscientist, I’ve conducted research on first and second language learning, language change, and how the brain processes speech sounds. I’m fascinated by how each and every one of us gains automatic, unconscious command of a system as intricate and subtle as the language(s) we speak.

When I’m not studying language in the lab, I enjoy working on perfecting my (still terrible) American accent, and my (even more terrible) puns.

Rosie Morris, Speech and Language Therapist

My name is Rosie and since leaving SHS in 2013, my love of languages has taken me all around the world and now into a career in speech and language therapy. I studied Spanish and French at Cambridge University and then went on to work as an English teacher in Argentina, China and Japan. I was then drawn to speech and language therapy as a chance to combine my interest in languages with my interest in helping people to overcome their challenges. I trained at UCL and I now work in the NHS with adults with a wide range of different communication disorders. This includes stroke survivors, people with voice disorders and people with progressive neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease.

Liana & Josef, British Sign Language Interpreter

I started out thinking that I would work in the media in some capacity, but after my degree, (a mixture of communication, media, linguistics and other stuff!), and a short stint working for Princess Productions, I found a BSL level 2 course and life was changed forever! I qualified in 2009 while working in London. I then worked down in Exeter in Devon and am now based in Bristol and live with my partner and 3 year old son. My work is varied and I can be found interpreting in work settings, at weddings, births, funerals and everything in between. I love the great outdoors and love going out in all weathers, as long as I have the right coat!

Hi! A little background about me. I love all things art and culture, Marvel comics, reading, food, films, coffee and travelling! Prior to settling down and having a family, I played rugby for 26 years and then became a water rower, participating in many regattas along the Thames and in other parts of the country. I am currently trying to stay fit and active by doing downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and running marathons. I currently serve as Board Director of British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) and I work for London Sport as their Senior Insight Officer, trying to get as many people in London to become more active.

Ben Pollard, Music Video Director

Benny P is a UK-based music video director who travels the world shooting, directing and editing videos for bands. He will talk about how we can use the language of video and visuals to tell a story without words.

Tick Tock Tech Talk - Speakers

Avye Couloute
Maker, Coder, Workshop Leader, Social Entrepreneur and Tech Advocate

Avye, now in Year 9, started coding and attending physical computing workshops at 7 years old. She is very active in the tech and maker community, and leads regular robotics workshops, both in-person and virtually.

Avye is enthusiastic about sharing her skills and experiences with others and is an Arm ambassador, part of the GenArm2Z program which enables young people to talk to tech leaders about how technology is being used and shaped for the future.

Three years ago, after repeatedly observing that the majority of the attendees at her workshops were boys, Avye decided to set up Girls into Coding (GIC). GIC offers girls aged 10-14 opportunities to explore coding, physical computing, robotics and 3D printing. Through GIC she aims to engage at least 1000 girls each year.

Avye has won multiple awards for her tech creations and for creating opportunities for girls to engage with STEM, including The Diana Legacy Award, The Tech Women100 Award, The FDM EveryWoman in Technology Award. The Coolest Project UK and recently a Tech4Good Award.

Avye believes that you are never too young for your ideas and your efforts to have value.

Edosa Odaro
Head of Data (AIG), Board of Governors (Harper Adams University), Non-Executive Director (Health Data Research UK)

Edosa is a cross-industry data and AI transformation leader who is particularly passionate about recombinant innovation: the art of combining disparate old ideas for resolving new challenges. He has led multiple initiatives responsible for delivering tangible 10 figure returns on investment through deep people, data and cloud transformations – employing his deep experience of recombinant innovation to push the boundaries of AI and data for resolving complex real-world problems.

Currently Head of Data at AIG, Edosa has over the years had the privilege of helping over 35 international organisations deliver significant impacts through analytic insights and intelligent interventions, including Barclays Group, AXA, Channel 4, The European Commission, Lloyds Banking Group and the HMRC. He also currently sits on the Boards of Harper Adams University and the UK’s national institute for health data science (HDR UK).

Edosa’s ability to solve problems is underpinned by his passion for a brand of inclusion underpinned by a ‘diversity-of-minds’ organisational capability combined with an endless thirst exposed by intellectual humility. He is a regular speaker, has been named a Financial Times Top 100 Most Influential Leader and is one of the UK’s 30 Most Influential Black Leaders in FinTech & Data.

Beyond the world of work, Edosa enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons – experiencing a variety of activities including: football, cycling, running and skiing.

Richard Stegmann
Senior Producer/DOP (Surround Vision)

Specialist Director of Photography & VR Producer with extensive 360 tech knowledge. A VR industry pioneer who has been pushing the boundaries of 360 production techniques for 8+ years. Calm professionalism has ensured delivery of ground-breaking projects under difficult situations – including NASCAR and Formula One where grip and cameras were pushed to the limit. With 27 years experience in broadcast Richard loves finding ways to bring ideas to life and problem solving. If you want the camera to move, talk to him.

Holly Harrison
Luxury, Fashion & Retail Brand Partnerships Manager (TikTok), IAA Social Committee (IAA UK)

Holly has been at TikTok for the last 18 months as a client-direct category expert dedicated to introducing the platform to and growing Fashion and Retail clients globally. She was previously in International Brand Partnerships, working with UK clients and agencies at Viacom (Channel 5, Paramount Pictures, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central) representing retail brands like Zalando and TK Maxx plus working with TikTok on the Europe Music Awards during her time there, which lead her to her current role. Before her Sales side career, she worked in Media Agencies on multiple global accounts, PR agencies like freuds and Condé Nast publisher, Glamour.

Today, Holly comes back after graduating Surbiton in 2012 to give you a glimpse into the joyful and creative world of TikTok.

Green Futures - Speakers

Alexandra Neill, Architect, Founder of ANA Studio

A former Surbiton High School student, Alexandra studied Architecture at the University of Manchester followed by the University of Westminster. After working at two award-winning practices in London, she embarked on setting up her own Architecture Practice, ANA Studio. Often green architecture is showcased on shiny new expensive buildings, but the reality of the UKs ‘Green Future’ in architecture is reusing exisiting stock, re-thinking buildings to work for today’s uses and re-creating the norm to challenge the nimbyism.

Natalie Craig, Environmental Researcher, Educator, Carer

Natalie left Surbiton High School in 2008 and spent the beginning of her professional career in the corporate world of marketing. After 5 years she set off to study a masters in Sustainable Development. Spending 6 months studying the climate crisis presented challenges that questioned her worldview and our collective future. She decided to commit to working on things that benefit all people and our planet. This has led her down a number of different ‘career paths’ and she looks forward to sharing her journey with Surbiton High School.

Tim Cheyne, Business Development, Argus Media

Most people accent that in the long term we need to stop using fossil fuels to avoid catastrophic climate change. But surely it can’t just be a matter of lifestyle changes like recycling more, flying less and eating less meat. We know instinctively that more fundamental, structural change is needed. But is this possible, and how? Tim will describe some of the work he is involved in to decarbonise industry and transportation through a move of renewable energy and a hydrogen-based energy system, and what this could mean for you in the future.

Hannah Rudd, Marine Conservationist

Hannah Rudd is founder of Leading Women in Marine Science – a website and online community that pulls together interviews from women at different stages of their careers, working across a variety of roles within marine science. It aims to not only improve their visibility, but also to inspire young girls that academia is not the only way to pursue their love for the ocean.

Mistaken Value of Creativity - Speakers

Holly Holding, Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Apprentice
Holly is in her 4th year on an Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering apprenticeship at Airbus. She studied at a small independent girls school in Surrey where she took A-levels in Maths, Further Maths, Biology and Physics. Her apprenticeship has enabled her to work in multiple areas of aircraft design and has taught her how to use a variety of design software and 3D modelling technology alongside gaining hands on experience. She thoroughly enjoys being able to work on new innovative projects that give her the freedom to be creative and also allow her to put her engineering theory into practice.
Paul Cavaciuti, Musician, Music Teacher and Therapist
Paul Cavaciuti is a professional musician, music teacher and therapist who has performed with many of the top names in British Jazz. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and of the Institute for Music and Health in New York, he is a former Head of Percussion at the Musician’s Institute (MI) London and Head of Music at Dutchess Day School in Upstate New York.
He currently teaches at the Applied Music Research Centre in Roehampton University and at Linden Lodge School, where he teaches drums and piano to children and young people with visual impairment. He also has a large private practice specialising in children and young people with Austitic Spectrum Condition.
Beth Lishmund, Voiceover Artist, Film Director, Creative Editor and Yoga Teacher
Beth is the Lead Voiceover for BBC Radio 1, a Film Director, Creative Editor…. and a Yoga Teacher! Walking the world exploring many different areas in the game of life, Beth believes creativity has no limits and is easily accessible through adopting ‘a positive mindset and truly believing in yourself’.
Dr Alison Baverstock, Professor of Publishing at Kingston University
Alison has had a varied life as a publisher, academic, reading champion, parent and military spouse – and is currently in the final stages of studying Theology for Ministry in Oxford. She is a firm believer that creativity and lateral thinking need to be encouraged within all activities, educational and social, for not only better problem-solving but also greater personal happiness. She is the author of ‘Is there a book in you?’ (Bloomsbury) and several co-authored titles on parenting (with Gill Hines, Hachette).

Enforced Evolution - Speakers

Dr Kate Robinson, Clinical Psychologist
As a Clinical Psychologist for over 20 years across the NHS and independent practice, she is passionate about building   emotional resilience and well-being for children and young people. Never has the importance of this been highlighted so   clearly as during the current pandemic. We are having to adapt quickly to clarify emerging needs and ways to meet that   need, alongside increasing demand. Dr Robinson specialises in supporting children and young people struggling with   anxiety, as well as whole school approaches to mental health.

Sophie Mayor, Resident Support Coordinator, Kingston Churches Action   on Homelessness

A former Surbiton High School student, Sophie manages a team of Support Workers with the aim of ending the cycle of   homelessness in the borough. Prior to the pandemic, Sophie ran an award-winning night shelter but as the country went   into lockdown, her role changed overnight to focus on getting all rough sleepers off the streets and into temporary   accommodation. Working on the front line during a pandemic has posed huge challenges as well as unexpected   opportunities.

Katie Adams, EMEA Brand Director A&F brands (Hollister Co & Abercrombie & Fitch)

Katie is a passionate omni-channel Marketing Leader with 16 years’ experience working on strategy & execution for brands   of all shapes and sizes – from high-profile globals brands such as Dove, Vaseline & Abercrombie & Fitch to local brands as   small and perfectly formed as PG Tips & Radox.

 Sophie Chessum, Senior Curator, National Trust

After a degree in Art History at UEA and Masters at the University of London, spells at Christie’s, the National Portrait Gallery   and Dulwich Picture Gallery, Sophie joined the National Trust. She has been curator there for a significant historic houses,   their interiors, settings and collections including Ham House, Petworth and modernist The Homewood. Sophie moved on to   lead a large team of conservation specialists for the Trust in Kent and East Sussex until 2015 when she took on a more   specialist role leading the curatorial and conservation response and future vision for Clandon Park – an 18th century   National Trust mansion in Surrey gutted by fire.

Inspiring Women Inspiring Everyone

Passion * Opportunity * Personality

Surbiton POP! Talks: a series of informative, fun and engaging talks created as part of our community outreach programme at Surbiton High School – aimed at students, teachers, parents, alumni and indeed anyone at all with a thirst for thinking and a curiosity for the world around us.

Join us on Tuesday 8 March as we celebrate International Women’s Day by hearing from three inspirational speakers, followed by a Q & A session:

Joanna Maiden – Entrepreneur and Founder of SOKO Kenya.

Rebecca Thompson – Entrepreneur and Founder of sustainable travel company: Ecosy Travel.

Leah Wilkinson– GB hockey player and Olympian.

POP! Talks is a not-for-profit initiative and any proceeds go towards local community projects.