Watch Now - The poverty of misunderstanding: A Big Issue?

Watch our CEO Stephen Robertson speaking at the 4th TEDxCourtauldInstitute conference which set out to unravel the theme of Connections.

In this impassioned talk Stephen explores the bravery of Big Issue sellers in tackling their difficult situations. Stephen challenges prejudices and fears of homelessness and argues that everyone deserves a hand up.

Under Connections, The Courtauld Institute of Art will function as a point of intersection, a place that brings ideas and people together and creates a greater sense of understanding and belonging between them. Through this theme they aim to bring together speakers from various fields giving a diverse range of talks. We aspire to provide these thinkers and innovators with a platform to share their ideas in the spirit of TED.

Stephen Robertson has been CEO at the Big Issue Foundation since July 2007. His previous role was Director of Commercial Operations at Shelter, where he was responsible for a hundred charity stores, a mail-order business and a training business primarily focussed on Housing Professionals. During his thirteen years at Shelter, Stephen was also a member of the Management Team with cross-organisation responsibility for the strategic management of the charity. Stephen co-founded and chaired The Association of Charity Shops and also acts as Chair for the Board of Trustees of the Shoreditch Town Hall Trust. He is also the trustee of numerous charities such as London Pathway and TRAID.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at