About the show

‘What’s going on in his head?’ is a unique presentation about brain injury. Using my own powerful story it sheds light on ‘the hidden disability’ and reveals some amazing insights into our brains and how they can recover from injury.

The show could be presented at your event.

The talk lasts one hour and is suitable for those aged 14+

What do i need?

There are only very simple requirements to host the talk. No complex rider though if you want to provide huge baskets of fruit, wine and massage services feel free!

1 small table

digital projector via VGA


P.A via 3.5 mm jack plug


A stage allowing access to the audience is preferred

To enquire about bookings and costs get in touch here or call science made simple  +44(0) 2920 876 884

Read what people have said about the show here

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Good image of brain injury effects


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I was invited to speak at TedxUniversityof Reading. This is how it went http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/What-s-going-on-in-his-head-Jam

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Brain injury statistics

Headway have published new statistics showing increase in hospital admissions for brain injury. Head trauma saw 445 people a day admitted. Huge numbers!


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Wireless communication

This year I had the opportunity to take my science communication to a new media. After a series of successful talks about my traumatic brain injury I worked with a freelance producer to develop a related piece suitable for broadcast. We put together an idea based on 3 interwoven strands. My personal story and thoughts about what happened, the perceptions and actions of some of those involved in my case and a wider perspective from researchers working in the field of brain injury and rehabilitation. The idea was pitched to the BBC and a half hour programme was commissioned. Well 28 minutes and 45 seconds including introduction, and as I was to find, those extra seconds really count!

To put the piece together we sourced people to interview. I met and spoke with the police officer who saved my life, a crew from the air ambulance who flew me to hospital, my neurological consultant, a researcher in brain imaging and plasticity, a neuro-psychologist and a rehabilitation consultant.

A wonder of audio is that these three ‘voices’ can be made to sound slightly different. The listener knowing and recognising a change of perspective without having to be told.

Interviewing was a new experience for me, starting with people I had already met made it easier and some good advice from Toby Murcott my producer helped me develop a strategy. “Don’t write a list of questions, just think about what you want to talk about”

Each interview was really a discussion, with me asking often long questions and describing situations in the understanding that my part would probably be cut out. With only a short time to fill it was clear from the start that we would record much more material than we could use- in fact we had over 6 hours of audio to pick from.

Toby worked to draw out a narrative, broadly chronological which picked out the main themes we had agreed were important to feature, he cut sections from the interviews and I wrote links to join them into a coherent piece. The rough edit was stitched together in a studio in Brighton. With the help of a very talented sound engineer, wonderfully called Mike, we began to reduce around 35 minutes of interviews and links to the required length. Once you have seen this work done you will never trust the recorded speech of anyone ever again! Seamless edits join different parts of an interview, changing the order, missing words and getting the best sense from the material which has been gathered. Interestingly if you want to cut someone’s speech together it is best to make the edit In the middle of a word- a psychological trick, you are less likely to notice a cut as you have already guessed how the word ends and probably not actually listened to it carefully.

With the addition of some atmospheric music and the reluctant removal of some powerful words, which time couldn’t allow, the piece was finished. Except -it had to be cut further to create a slightly shorter version for broadcast on the World Service. Probably the hardest part of this whole process was that a lot of very interesting and informative material had to be lost. Probably an hour or so of ‘um’ and ‘er’ a bit of ‘let’s do that again’ but also a huge amount of insight ended up in the cutting room recycle bin.

Listening to the interviews and then hearing the finished programme I thought that we had made a powerful, informative and importantly, scientifically accurate piece. But unlike most of my work in science communication there was no feedback. No audience to clap or laugh or cry or boo. As a presenter I have always relied on the audience to help direct delivery, watching them, listening to them and changing the tone and pace of my speech in response. Having a good idea at the end of the session just how it had gone, good or not so good has been important. This time there was some delight in having finished but mostly uncertainty and nerves about how it would be received when broadcast. Not knowing even how many people would hear it but certainly more than I could have spoken to directly in a very long time.

The programme was  broadcast on 27th May 9p.m BBC radio 4 it is available via iplayer here Take a listen and see what you think.

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Why don’t people just get it?

A common difficulty after brain injury is that other people don’t realise the effects that it can have on an individual.

This is partly due to the ‘hidden’ nature of the injury but also the huge variation of outcomes. Learning to live with the new you after in jury is hard, it’s enormously frustrating not to be able to do the things that were easy before, whether that be something simple like using a screen or remembering your shopping list, or something big like walking. This frustration can be worsened by expectations of employers, schools, even families and friends who don;t understand the impact of the injury and that effects like fatigue can come on quickly and be hugely disabling.

Ive tried to pull together some resources that you might share with people to help them understand- but none will represent an individual case, just lay out the kinds of things which might be found.

Brainline.org is an american site which provides fact sheets and survivor stories. You can find their guide for employers here which gives some useful tips for dealing with typical problems B.I sufferers may experience.

The encephalitis society produced a guide for carers and parents of children with brain injury. “must try harder” is a useful guide to helping children back into school.

Headway the brain injury charity provide a number of fact sheets to help with getting back to work, information for carers and employers. find them here

The United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum also provides information and links on it’s website. Look here for guides to pass on

Maybe we need a template, let each individually persoanlise their own fact sheet. it’s not that you don’t understand brain injury. it’s that you don’t understand my brain injury.


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