• Supported by:
    Café of Ideas is supported by Hubspace - the hub of your online world
    Café of Ideas is supported by Mark McKergow / The Centre for Solutions Focus at Work
  • Led by:
    Café if Ideas is led by Pete Francomb - webby techy business guy
  • A member of:
    Café of Ideas is a member of Creative Bath - linking the creative industries in and around Bath

Main Content


Who wants some?


Thursday 30 September 2010


7pm - 10pm


Coexist, Second Floor, Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3QY, United Kingdom

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We all want happiness, of course. And yet, after thousands of years of culture - of philosophy, of religion, of science - we still don't seem to have much idea how to get it. We know, in theory, that money doesn't buy happiness - but most of us still want more of the stuff, and it still seems to be the primary measure of national success. Why is that? Something similar can probably be said of many of the other pleasures and comforts that we strive for. So what really does make a human being happy? Can we all be happy, or does the happiness of some depend on the exploitation of others? How can we organise our lives and our society for optimal happiness?

On The Panel We Had

Chris Johnstone, a specialist in the psychology of personal power. He worked for nearly twenty years as an addictions specialist in the NHS before focusing on teaching, training and writing. Addressing both personal and planetary issues, he organizes the annual Bristol Happiness Lectures (check out Chris's talk on YouTube) and produces the free newsletter The Great Turning Times. He is author of Find Your Power – a toolkit for resilience and positive change (Permanent Publications, May 2010).

Jewels Wingfield, who has developed her unique and pioneering work for over 20 years. She is well known in the UK for her cutting edge and sometimes controversial work that addresses both the collective and individual consciousness of humanity. She is passionate about helping people connect personal inner freedom with outer environmental issues. Her work addresses important subjects such as how to cultivate authentic happiness and 'What it is to truly Love' and the relevance of this for healing our world.

Liz Zeidler of Modoto and the Bristol Happy City Initiative. With degrees in Philosophy and International Development, Liz likes to combine a thoughtful approach to the world with action to enable and inspire positive change in it. Happy City exists to spread happiness and create caring, connected communities where we can make the change we want to happen and where we shift our focus from bad news, fear and consumption to celebrating and spreading success.

Miriam Akhtar, one of a handful of people in Europe to hold a degree in the science of happiness. She is a positive psychologist in practice and works as a coach and trainer. She co-presents The Happiness Training Plan and is currently writing Positive Psychology for Depression, Self-Help Strategies for Happiness (Duncan Baird Publishers, 2011). Miriam runs Positive Psychology Masterclasses for personal and professional development.

The Entertainment Was

The Blood Choir unplugged. This talented duo has triggered a lot of attention, with endorsements from Brett Sparks of The Handsome Family and Garth Hudson of The Band, and, with their full band, have occupied a number of opening slots for big name touring American groups - so you may not be able to catch them in such intimate surroundings for long!

Lucy and Lucy of Light Box, who will be delighting us with a couple of "mini workshops" (or should that be "playshops"). Light Box uses creative workshops to demonstrate simple techniques scientifically linked to improved mental well-being. Founded in 2009 by Bristol artist duo, Barfoot and Duggan, Light Box aims to familiarise people with their creative powers, so they might use them to achieve emotional resilience and fulfilment.

Food & Drink

Food was provided by The Canteen - seasonal, local, sustainably sourced and delicious - with both meat and vegetarian options. A fully licensed bar was also available.

A Big Thank You To

Bim for the sound, Robert at Eudaimon for the photos, Cori Bona for doing loads of stuff including designing and dressing the set and production managing the show, Tom Brereton-Downs of the PossibilityLab for videoing the event, all at Coexist for supporting the event, SuperMegaActionPlus for the video animation, and JR Ryan for the original concept

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The full Happiness panelAudience and panel in animated discussionRob and Chris of The Blood Choir playing musicLucy with flip chart giving happiness workshopPlate of delicious foodPete Francomb, Café of Ideas ChairAudience members watching intentlyChris Johnstone and Jewels Wingfiled on the panelGorgeous hot food ready to be servedPainted heart with the words


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