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Key Speakers


Bea Herbert

Bea is the Founder of States of Mind, a social enterprise that collaborates with young people to understand and address the underlying causes of their distress. Bea has spent her professional career working alongside young people in schools and communities to develop more person-centred and systemic models of support. Her most recent work has involved co-designing an early intervention programme with 6 colleges in Newham Borough and developing Selfology, an educational programme that places the power of psychology in young people’s hands to promote growth, self awareness and healing.

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Fabienne Vailes

Fabienne is an educator, author of The Flourishing Student and co-author of How to Grow a Grown up, wellbeing expert and parent of 2 boys aged 14.5 and 12. She will share her learning from 7 years of action research and hours of conversations on her Flourishing Education podcast in order to empower all to become flourishing lifelong learners.

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James Mannion

Dr James Mannion is the Director of Rethinking Education, an organisation dedicated to research-informed school improvement through learning to learn, practitioner inquiry and implementation science. James is also the host of the popular Rethinking Education podcast, which features long-form conversations with fascinating guests about how we might rethink, reform and re-create education so as to bring about a more harmonious, less hair-raising state of world affairs. For more information, visit

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Chris Bagley

Dr Chris Bagley is Director of Research at States of Mind and a lecturer, tutor and doctorate research supervisor at The Institute of Education, UCL. He is a teacher, Educational Psychologist and writer. As a practitioner, Chris has spent many years working with the most marginalised young people and families and in particular, those subject to school exclusion and the youth justice system. Chris co-delivers 'Participatory Action Research' projects, led by young people and supported by doctorate researchers at the Institute of Education with a focus on evaluating education systems and actioning change.

Twitter: @hiddendepths


Artemis Bear

Artemis D. Bear (they/them) is a parent, home educator, registered childminder, Forest School Leader and qualified teacher. An engineer by training, their background is in environmental policy but since becoming a parent, education has become the focus of their intellectual curiosity. Artemis founded and has been running The Garden, a self-directed and consent-based learning community for all school aged young people, since 2016. They also work for Phoenix Education Trust leading the Freedom to Learn programme and co-founded UBI Lab Bristol.

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An Even Better Arbourthorne Team

Arbourthorne Community Primary School prides itself as a family school, oriented to serving the wider community as well as achieving educational outcomes. The talk will include contributions from: Vanessa Langley, Headteacher (Arbourthorne Community Primary School); Rachel Newman, AEBA Coodinator (Growtheatre); parents and volunteers (the Arbourthorne Community); and Beth Perry, Learning Programme Lead (University of Sheffield).


Ian Cunningham

Dr Ian Cunningham. Former CEO of a business school. Now President of Strategic Developments International Ltd; Chair of Governors of SMLC; founder member of Primacy of Parents and Children in Education – Expert Association; dancer with the Three Score Dance Company; worker in metal; cyclist.

Buckminster Fuller said ‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’ So we created Self Managed Learning Community 20 years ago. The 60 students decide what they learn (there are literally no boundaries to what they can choose); how they learn and why they learn. There’s no curriculum, no enforced lessons, no formal teaching and no imposed timetable. Students (aged 9-16) are supported within a caring learning community in developing their abilities to love and to work.

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Hackney Young Voices

This past spring, PlaySpace invited young people aged 8-16 to take part in a series of play-based school sessions to explore their creative skills and collaborate as a group with professional creatives to develop real billboard artwork to be showcased during the Discover Young Hackney festival this August - and start their own personal portfolio. Meet some of the children and hear for yourself what impact this opportunity has had on them.

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Emma Soneson

Emma is a final year PhD student and Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry. Her research primarily focuses on how we can use public health approaches to reduce the onset and impact of mental health difficulties for children and young people. She is particularly interested in the role of schools in identifying and responding to mental health difficulties.

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Jaspar Khawaja

Jaspar is currently training to become an Educational Psychologist, completing a Doctorate in Professional Educational Child and Adolescent Psychology at UCL's Institute of Education. Prior to this, Jaspar worked in a secondary school with young people who had experienced trauma, and in a CAMHS inpatient unit for adolescents with mental health problems. Jaspar believes in promoting educational reform to meet the psychological needs of children and young people. He has undertaken university research in collaboration with States of Mind as part of the Breaking the Silence project, in order to do just that.

State of Mind's Student Leaders

Gabriel Perez Pineda and Joel Neelamkavil are student leaders of States of Minds's 'Breaking the Silence' project. They co-led participatory action research alongside UCL Institute of Education, with a focus on creating an alternative education evaluation framework called the "Review for Progress and Development".


Gabriel Perez Pineda


Joel Neelamkavil


Nykeda and Ava have spent time working together to research, understand and articulate meaningful campaigns for change in their schools and the education system, enhancing their activism through solidarity and collaboration.


Ava James

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Nykeda Bekoe-Amoako

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