Vanessa Potter

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Vanessa Potter

Author, Speaker, Researcher

Vanessa is a meditation and wellbeing researcher, author and certified coach. She became an expert in contemplative practices after using mind-body tools to overcome the trauma of a serious illness that left her blind and paralysed. She subsequently spent a decade researching different mind-body modalities with neuroscientists, which resulted in multiple collaborations and a science-art EEG exhibition that allowed the public to see and hear their own mindful brainwaves converted into music and art. This led to her TEDx talk in Gent, Belgium.

Vanessa published her first book, “Patient H69: The Story of my Second Sight” (Bloomsbury), in 2017, which was a Times and BBC Focus best memoir. She subsequently published her second book, “Finding My Right Mind: One Woman’s Experiment to Put Meditation to the Test” (Trigger Publishing) in 2021. This Amazon best-seller narrates a remarkable three-year exploration, where scientists monitored her daily brain activity using EEG as she explored 12 different mind and body practices, from mindfulness to psychedelics.

In 2021, Vanessa co-founded ParkBathe, a green health project using urban forest bathing that now operates throughout southeast London and Lanarkshire. Vanessa and her team published a paper presenting ParkBathe as an accessible, effective health model that is now a community-led movement.

Vanessa has written for Mosaic Science, The Telegraph, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, and has been featured in The Washington Post, The Times, and CNN, along with many other publications. She has appeared on BBC Radio Four, BBC Shortcuts, and in countless podcasts and radio shows in the UK and USA.

Vanessa is a confident and engaging speaker and provides wellbeing talks, training and workshops for communities and organisations, providing accessible wellbeing that utilises mind-body practices and urban green spaces.

Testimonials

‘I am beyond happy that we chose to have Vanessa speak during the week that Johnson & Johnson UK celebrated International Day of Persons with Disability. Her story was truly inspirational and thought-provoking. The fact that her disability gave way to her second career gives hope to many who find themselves in similar positions. I particularly admired the persistence, resilience and curiosity that she had during such a challenging time. The feedback after the session has been extremely positive.” – Tara Bacarese-Hamilton, Johnson & Johnson UK.

“I have had the pleasure of being present at three talks by Vanessa Potter, including one she gave to the science group I convene. On each occasion, she engaged the audience with talks that were both insightful and enjoyable. She is particularly good at conveying science and, in particular, the scientific method to the non-specialist with infectious enthusiasm. I can’t wait for her to speak to my group again.” – Dr Grahame Danby CPhys MInstP, Associate Lecturer, Open University.

“Patient H69/Vanessa’s talk to year 11 MAGT students and A level Psychology students was thought-provoking, illuminating and inspiring. One year 13 student chose to study neuroscience at university as a direct result of the talk.” – Tim Heaton, Head of Psychology, Cheam High School.

“Vanessa Potter was invited to speak at one of our conferences for the Association of Retired Physiotherapists held in York. Vanessa spoke of her journey recovering from a serious illness which took her sight and mobility, describing the strange and interesting pathways enabling her sight to slowly return. Her talk, although personal, was never melodramatic and included humour and a brief scientific explanation highlighted with a presentation. Vanessa’s recovery has led her to explore our sensory system and she gave a fascinating insight from a layperson’s perspective. The talk was well tailored to an older audience.” – Judith Saunders, retired physiotherapist.

“Vanessa Potter was a guest speaker at a number of Bloomsbury events, including the Wilderness Festival. Speaking about her scientific investigations following her sight loss, her talks were always accessible and highly engaging. Audiences warmed to Vanessa’s energy, and there was often a lively Q&A afterwards.” – Jim Martin, Publisher, Bloomsbury Publishing.

“I really am so incredibly humbled by Vanessa’s powerful return to sight. It is an amazing achievement to embrace an illness with such raw passion and dedication to heal, let alone document this in such an articulate way. I think Vanessa’s strength is something we could all use in bucket loads on a daily basis. I feel honoured that she came to talk to us and shared her story. Thank you.” – Rachel D’Cruze, Managing Director, Sydenham Arts.

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