If you are interested in speaking, presenting or performing at our festival please email Jo

Here were our wonderful 2017 speakers…

Liz Tyson

10.15 (cinema space)

Liz is an animal advocate with over a decade of experience working for animal protection and conservation. She acted as Director of the Captive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) from 2010 – 2015, after working in primate conservation in the UK and South America for various years previous. She worked for three years with the Palestinian Animal League – the only locally-run animal protection organisation in occupied Palestine. She now works as a consultant to the Born Free Foundation and Friends of Inti Wara Yassi – the sister charity of Bolivia’s leading conservation organisation.

In 2007, Liz co-founded UK registered charity, Entropika UK. Liz is a law graduate with a specialisation in Environmental Policy. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Essex, School of Law. Her research explores the efficacy of animal welfare legislation in the UK. She is an Associate Fellow of the Oxford Centre of Animal Ethics and sits on the board of trustees for primate conservation charity, Neotropical Primate Conservation – an organisation that she has been involved with since it was founded in 2007.

Liz will be speaking on:

“Hate Seaworld? It’s time to extend our concern to ALL captive wild animals”.

The 2013 release of the ground-breaking documentary, Blackfish, resulted in a global backlash against SeaWorld and their keeping and breeding of orcas (“killer” whales) in captivity.

Anti-captivity campaigners around the world hoped that the “Blackfish Effect” might become the tipping point for members of the public to begin to question the ethical and animal welfare consequences of keeping animals in zoos more generally. But in the years since the documentary’s release, concern and campaigning has focused very narrowly on the case of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) held captive, with SeaWorld being singled out as “the bad guy”.

Liz’s presentation explores the extent to which the practices at SeaWorld, which have been widely condemned, are rife within the wider zoo industry. It is argued that reasons to boycott SeaWorld are also reasons to boycott any other zoo.


Isobel (Issie) Hutchinson

10.50 (cinema space)

Isobel Hutchinson is Director of Animal Aid – an organisation that campaigns peacefully against all forms of animal abuse and promotes cruelty-free living. Isobel is an Oxford University graduate, who worked at Four Paws animal charity before joining Animal Aid in 2013. Since being at Animal Aid she has worked on the organisation’s farming, slaughter and anti-vivisection campaigns, before taking on the role of Director in September 2016.

Isobel will be speaking on: The Vegan Festival of Britain: Creating a Compassionate Future.


Trent Grassian

11.25 (cinema space)

Trent is a former SEN teacher turned researcher, who is now completing his PhD in Social Policy. He is working with UK and international campaigns to explore strategies and barriers to promoting sustainable, plant-based and vegan diets. He is also a passionate vegan activist and advocate.


Trent will be speaking on:

The Vegan Journey: How to help yourself and others go (and stay) vegan. What does research tell us the key areas are for successful transition to veganism? This talk uses my own research and existing research to give you the tools to not only stay vegan, but to help others do the same.


Mark Stanbridge

13.00 (back marquee)

Mark is a 7-8 years (mostly) raw straight-edge vegan.

After a lifetime of mental ill health and physical poor health he hit rock bottom. In a ‘meant-to-be’ moment he came across a video by the life-regenerator talking about the ills of consuming animals. He went vegan overnight and with a few bumps along the way has found his perfect balance.

In these years, he has soaked up much knowledge not just to help himself but others.

Mark is a yoga and music nut, and guitarist.

Currently he is working on getting his Holistic Health (helping people get emotionally, mentally, physically on track) Coaching company up and running he’s all over social media with a website in the works.

Mark is always open too working with like-minded companies & people.

You can reach him at: www.facebook.com/hirawstra8edge

Mark will be speaking on:

Vegan 101: combining a range of topics including a bit of vegan history, finding your perfect balance & making the connection, plus Mark will be sharing his knowledge on the mistakes he’s made along the way so you don’t have to!

So if you’re thinking about going vegan or just started, this is a talk for you or even if you’re a bit further along your journey, there could be something for you to resonate with.


Mandy Wallace, Animal Equality

13.35 (cinema space)

Mandy started campaigning for animals while still at school when she presented an anti-vivisection petition to her biology teacher and tried to get her to sign it. She has since and for many years been a voluntary campaigner for a number of animal causes, particularly farmed animal welfare. An enthusiastic and passionate supporter and volunteer for Animal Equality, Mandy is a member of the Brighton Animal Equality group. Since being involved with Animal Equality she has been impressed and inspired by the amount of public engagement they achieve with the use of their ground-breaking iAnimal virtual reality technology, showing the awful plight of factory farmed animals.

Mandy will be speaking on:

Animal Equality’s work and their recent investigations into the UK Dairy industry.


Rob Smith – ‘Rob the Vegan’

13.45 (back marquee)

Rob has been vegan, along with his family, for five years. He came from an ordinary caring family but was discouraged from being veggie when he was 11. He finally went veggie, and then quickly vegan, in 2011 after being invited to attend a live exports meeting and then a protest in Ramsgate. He is a committed vegan activist and campaigner. Rob knows that we are all on a journey and feels strongly that educating people about veganism in a friendly way, with love, is the only way forwards. He speaks plainly and from the heart.

Rob will speak on:

“Why would an East End man in his fifties go vegan? The journey so far…”


Richard Barnard and Carl Adams

Primal Roots – Nature’s Gym

14.10 (cinema space) and 14.45 (meet outside cinema entrance for walk to Abbot’s Mill site nearby for an immersive Primal Roots experience)

Richard is a director of Primal Roots, a local new social enterprise that uses nature as its gym and endeavours to work with isolated and disadvantaged groups and train and employ people from those groups.

Food is another element of the enterprise and is all plant based.

Richard also works as a manager for a local homeless charity.

Richard has been a vegan for 5 years (this time around as he was a child vegan) and is not only concerned with animal rights but the health and spiritual benefits of the vegan diet. He considers his veganism as an important part of his religious calling and is interested in the much-neglected area of Christianity and veganism. He also belongs to a new monastic community and lives under a rule of life that includes his diet.

Inspired by the social enterprise movement and the sense of purpose it holds, Carl cofounded Primal Roots Community Interest Company; a for-profit for-purpose holistic wellbeing lifestyle primer that provides a highly accessible, action-based roadmap to recovery for the homeless and/or those wishing to overcome substance and alcohol misuse.

With a robust course of training, and healthy lifestyle tools, Primal Roots gives practical advice and guidance on how to achieve and sustain a long-term and vibrant balance of body mind and spirit –a sustainable wellness solution that works within the constraints of modern life –but takes place in the most primal location: Kent’s ancient woodlands.

Primal Roots helps those who join them hit reset and begin the process of stepping away from a potentially harmful way of life or step into recovery, by reconnecting them to natural movement and a plant-based diet; through a fitness and nutritional training programme that can lead to employment with Primal Roots as a genuine social enterprise. In short, those who are experiencing homelessness; overcoming substance and alcohol misuse or people diverted from crime now, will become the personal trainers and mentors of those who wish to do so, in the future.

Carl’s personal journey from overweight publican to social entrepreneur and plant-based ultra-runner was launched from an extended round the world back-packing trip that instilled a belief that a life worth living begins at the end of your comfort zone. Carl’s progression as a runner from 5k to 100 miles, (in one day) coincided with a transition to an entirely plant-based diet after he read Scott Jurek’s memoir Eat and Run; testing and proving the theory that such a lifestyle enables an athlete to run faster, further and recover quicker.

As a runner, Carl is dedicated to a plant-based diet because it leads to optimal performance. As a social entrepreneur, he and his colleagues are helping people repair their bodies and step into recovery. If a plant-based diet can help move a person from 5k to 100 miles in one day, the reparative and endurance properties it brings cannot be ignored; therefore, it is introduced, (never dictated) as a tool of recovery through the Primal Roots programme. Recovery and Endurance go hand in hand, in the sport of running and the game of life.


Food for Life:

14.35 (short films on nutrition – cinema space) and 15.30 (back marquee – cookery demo)

Food for Life: How to kickstart your health. Food for Life is an award-winning Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

(www.PCRM.org) programme designed by physicians, nurses, and registered dietitians that offers cancer, diabetes, weight management, employee wellness, and kids classes that focus on the lifesaving effects of healthful (vegan) eating. Each class includes information about how certain foods and nutrients work to promote health, along with cooking demonstrations of simple and nutritious recipes that can be recreated easily at home.

In the cinema you will be able to watch nutritional lectures by Dr. Neal Barnard:

Kickstart your health, an introduction (15mins) Understanding type 2 diabetes (10mins) How foods fight cancer (20mins)

After this, in the back marquee, London-based Food for Life instructor; Farrah Rainfly (www.lifeafterhummus.com) will show you how to breakdown complex scientific nutritional information into simple, easy, nutritious and affordable meals that are also delicious.