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Speaker Profiles

Professor David Ames

David AmesProfessor Ames is the Director of the National Ageing Research Institute and Professor of Ageing and health at the University of Melbourne.

David Ames main research interests are new drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease, early detection of Alzheimer's disease, and the care of the depressed elderly. He is Chief Investigator on a $3 million 3 year Alzheimer study funded by CSIRO 2006-9 (AIBL). David Ames has co-edited over 15 books, written or co-written over 30 book chapters, over 130 papers in peer reviewed journals and over 120 other non-peer reviewed scientific articles and reviews.

He is a member of the Medical & Scientific Advisory Panel of Alzheimer's Disease International and is Editor of the Peer Reviewed Journal International Psychogeriatrics (2003-2011). Opera is a passion and he has been known to call into MoMA when in New York.

Adriane Boag

Adriane BoagAdriane Boag is the National Gallery of Australia’s youth and community programs manager. Since 2007, in partnership with Alzheimer’s Australia, Adriane has been responsible for an interactive artwork tour for people living with dementia. The project’s success, which included a positive evaluation by clinical psychologist Dr Mike Bird, earned the NGA government funding this year to train regional health and arts professionals to implement their own outreach dementia programs, encompassing Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Ballarat Regional Art Gallery and Port Macquarie Regional Art Gallery.

In Melbourne, Adriane will conduct a pre-conference workshop in concert with Carrie McGee from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, who will present on the Art and Alzheimer's program Meet me at MoMA. The workshop will offer a blueprint for any museum or art gallery considering a similar strategy and equip museum professionals with methods of making art accessible to people with Alzeimer’s disease and their carers.

Carrie’s plenary session will argue that cultural institutions are in a unique position to make an impact on health and wellbeing, and will present this in light of MoMA’s history, with especial focus on programs for young people.

Molly Carlile

Molly CarlileMolly Carlile, healthcare professional, educator and author, was the recipient of the 2009 Arts and Health Australia Award for Excellence in the category of Health Promotion. A registered nurse and counsellor, Molly has had an extensive clinical and management career in palliative care and she currently runs the largest palliative care consortium in Victoria.

Molly's presentation will explore the applicability of contemporary storytelling to engage teenagers in conversations about death, grief and loss before they are faced with a significant death in their family, social or school communities. Using her new book for teens, Sometimes Life Sucks as a framework, Molly will explore the importance of language and how we can use language constructively to inform and empower young people. The presentation will encourage audience members to get young people talking in a way that supports and nurtures them as well as normalising death and grief as an integral part of a human existence

Dr Gary Christenson

Dr Gary ChristensonDr Gary Christenson is director of Mental Health at Boynton Health Service and associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is chair of Boynton’s Art Committee, artistic director of the Center for Art and Medicine in the Medical School, co-chair of the Midwest Art in Healthcare network, and chair of the local host conference committee for the Society for the Arts in Healthcare’s annual conference to be held in 2010.

Gary is a self-taught artist and member the American Physicians Art Association. He is also a collector of miniature Japanese woodblock prints and has previously served as president of the Minneapolis Japanese print club and as a member of the steering committee of the Asian Arts Council at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

His plenary session will review successful low-cost arts programs addressing mental illnesses on a large university campus, and how these can be adapted to other healthcare settings.

Read an interview with Dr Christenson, Focus Magazine August 2009 (PDF)

David Crosbie

David CrosbieAs CEO of the Mental Health Council of Australia, David Crosbie leads a peak national organisation that is driving mental health reform across Australia. Previously David was CEO of the national peak body for the alcohol and other drugs field, and CEO of Odyssey House Victoria - one of Australia’s largest drug treatment agencies.

For over 20 years David has played a key role in national policy development through his advocacy in various forums including several key national advisory committees. Amongst his current commitments he serves on: the Community Response Task Group to the Global Financial Crises, the National Advisory Council on Mental Health, the Australian National Council on Drugs, the National Compact Expert Reference Group (Co-Chair), and the Boards of Nonprofit Australia and the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation.

David has a very diverse background having taught in prison, lectured at university, played in successful rock bands, and spent most of his working life advocating for the marginalised.

Sally Denman

Sally DenmanSally Denman coordinates for the 1200-bed psychiatric Napa State Hospital, Napa, California, its mental health arts program serving adult, children and senior patients. In addition to design and implementation, Sally trains and supervises artists-in-residence, contract artists and guest artists, and has a special interest in sacred circle dance workshops. She also acts as a consultant on behalf of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare.

Bruce Esplin

Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, Victorian State Government

Commissioner EsplinBruce Esplin was appointed Victoria's first Emergency Services Commissioner in June 2000. This role, unique in Australia, is responsible for providing independent advice to government relating to emergency issues and ensuring a coordinated approach to emergency management in Victoria.

Following the Victorian fires in 2009, the arts played a key role in delivering support to artists and communities and has been instrumental in the recovery process. RAV's At The Coalface is a documentary film by Verity Higgins and David Brown of the work by Marilyn Gourley and impact of arts projects in these communities.

 He works directly with communities to ensure they have the appropriate opportunity to contribute to the planning and policy of the way emergencies are managed. Bruce maintains an ongoing, passionate commitment to the emergency management sector and holds a vision for progressive emergency management arrangements where communities are not passive recipients of services, but active participants in their own safety planning and decision making.

Dr Anne Marie Freybourg

Dr Anne Marie Freybourg Dr Anne Marie Freybourg has worked as an independent curator and theoretician in the fields of film, fine arts and museology since 1982. She has lectured in art academies, galleries and universities in Europe.

Dr Freybourg was the founder in 1988 and Director until 2001, of the ground breaking "Goldrausch Kunstlerinnenprojekt" for German women artists. Her research has been focussed on the impact on museum and gallery collections on the role of contemporary donors and dealers.

Anne Marie Freybourg now directs an innovative arts program, which she conceived in 2003 for the DRK Hospitals Berlin, which are, along with the Charité Hospitals, the largest clinical complex in Berlin. The DRK Hospitals are convinced that a modern, holistic approach to health should incorporate the emotional impact and intensity of high art. The intention of the program is to help the patients in their process of healing and sense of well-being. A particular focus is also directed towards the employees, especially the nurses and doctors, to provide them with support in their stressful and emotionally exhausting job by drawing on the intense energy available in the close proximity to the arts.

Dr Jill Gordon

Assoc. Professor Jill GordonDr Jill Gordon is associate professor at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, University of Sydney, founder of the Medical Humanities Association of Australia and New Zealand, and a GP specialising in psychotherapy. At the university Jill initiated Australia’s first postgraduate degree in medical humanities, which allows students to study subjects relevant to arts and health. She has also been involved in innovative medical education at the University of Newcastle and has a special interest in students’ professional development. In 2008 Jill was an invited fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Durham, England.

Jill was the recipient of the Arts and Health Australia 2009 Award for Excellence in the Medical Humanities.

Professor Denise Grocke

Professor Denise GrockeProfessor Denise Grocke is the Head of Music Therapy and Director of the National Music Therapy Research Unit (NaMTRU), established in 1999 following a very successful International Music Medicine Conference. She is currently involved in two research projects, both investigating the effect of music therapy on the lives of people with severe and enduring mental illness.

Professor Grocke has co-authored a book on Receptive Music Therapy (2007), and co-edited two books, one on Music Medicine (1999), and the other on Guided Imagery and Music (2002). A survey of music therapy training programs which resulted from a world-wide survey was published in 1996. She is co-author of two Cochrane Reviews (with colleagues at Temple University, Philadelphia, USA), and has initiated collaborative agreements with a consortium of nine Universities (in Europe, UK, USA and Australia) that offer PhD programs in music.

Alan Hopgood

Alan HopgoodAlan Hopgood has been one of Australia's leading playwrights since 1963, when the first of his successful plays for the Melbourne Theatre Company And The Big Men Fly was presented. He followed this in 1964 with The Golden Legion Of Cleaning Women and in 1966, the first play in the world on the Vietnam war, Private Yuk Objects.

Then followed a career in film and television, winning Awgie awards for The Cheerful Cuckold and The Bush Bunch and writing several feature films including Alvin Purple and the documentaries The Prophecies Of Nostradamus and The Fountain Of Youth.

In March 2000, his play The Carer starring Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, premiered in Melbourne before two tours of Australia. It was highly praised for its sensitive treatment of Alzheimer's disease and its warmth and humour. Since then, Alan has written several plays addressing health issues, ranging from diabetes to geriatric sex and is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars.

Dr Eugen Koh

Dr Eugen KohEugen Koh is Director of the Dax Centre, Chief Curator of the Cunningham Dax Collection and Senior Lecturer in Art and Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne. He is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Head of Psychotherapy Training at St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, and a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in private practice. He also has an art practice with a special interest in painting.

His paper explores the many different ways art may promote mental health and well-being. This illustrated presentation begins by considering at a community level, how art is a universal activity and experience that could enable us to bridge divides and promote greater understanding across sub-cultural groups and increase social inclusion.

Dr Hilton Koppe

Dr Hilton KoppeDr Hilton Koppe is a GP in Lennox Head, northern NSW, and senior medical educator with North Coast NSW GP Training. Hilton has particular expertise in small group learning and GP wellbeing, and has developed programs exploring how creative writing can assist healthcare professionals prevent burnout and compassion fatigue, which can occur from managing emotionally draining situations in clinical practice and community health settings. Through several workshop presentations, Hilton Koppe will address these and related issues such as breaking bad news, support for colleagues, boundary issues and surviving the ups and downs of clinical practice.

Corbett Lyon

Corbett LyonCorbett Lyon co-founded the Melbourne architecture firm Lyons in 1996 and has been involved in the design of major commercial, cultural, healthcare, research and urban design projects.

His qualifications include a Bachelor of Architecture (First Class Hons) University of Melbourne, 1979, Master of Architecture University of Pennsylvania, 1980. Corbett Lyon worked with Venturi Rauch and Scott Brown (1980-81) in Philadelphia and New York. In 2007 Corbett was appointed a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne and in 2009 a Visiting Professor in Architectural Design in the University's School of Design.

Corbett is one of Australia's leading collectors and commentators on contemporary Australian art and has participated in numerous forums on contemporary art and architecture in Australia and overseas.

One of Corbett Lyon's current projects, as a principal of Brisbane based architecture firm Conrad Gargett Lyons, is the designer of the new Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane which includes an integrated arts and health program.

Carrie McGee

Carrie McGeeCarrie McGee is an educator in Community and Access Programs in the Department of Education at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. MoMA has won international respect for its unique efforts to make the Museum's extensive resources, collection and programs accessible to marginalised communities.

Carrie develops programs for audiences with special needs and disabilities. Often in collaboration with community and health care organizations, these programs serve diverse audiences including individuals with physical, developmental, or learning disabilities; hospitalized children and adults; homebound individuals; blind and partially sighted visitors; teenage parents; individuals who have been incarcerated; cancer survivors; individuals with mental illness; and people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

MoMA's programs are founded on the belief that engagement with art can impact health and healing, and the understanding that cultural institutions have a unique opportunity in their capacity to facilitate that engagement. Carrie's keynote address will discuss the development and outcomes of MoMA’s Community Access Programs, including the world-renown MoMA Alzheimer’s Project, in order to validate the notion that high quality arts programming positively impacts the physical, intellectual, and emotional lives of those who participate.

Professor Patrick McGorry AO

Patrick McGorry AOArts and Health Australia is honoured that Professor McGorry will be the special guest at the official opening of the 2010 conference The Art of Good Health and Wellbeing.

Australian of the Year 2010, Patrick McGorry OA is Professor of Youth Mental Health University of Melbourne, Executive Director Orygen Youth Health Research Centre and founding board member of headspace, National Youth Mental Health Foundation. Professor McGorry is a world-leading researcher in the area of early psychosis and youth mental health, and has played an integral role in the development of effective treatments for young people with emerging mental disorders, notably psychotic and severe mood disorders.

Orygen Youth Health (OYH) is Australia's largest youth mental health organisation, based in Parkville, Victoria.  It comprises a world-renown research centre and a clinical service targeting the needs of young people with emerging serious mental illness.  Orygen Youth Health's early psychosis service, (EPPIC), was founded by Professor McGorry in 1992, and has been hugely influential internationally.

Prof. McGorry has published over 300 papers and book chapters, edited five books, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Early Intervention in Psychiatry.  Prof McGorry has also played a major role in mental health reform in Australia as a key adviser to the Because mental health matters: Victorian Mental Health Reform Strategy 2009-19. More recently he has been invited to attend the US/Canada Policy think tank on youth mental health.

With an emphasis on early intervention and a commitment to educating the community to the early signs of mental illness, Prof McGorry's 27-year contribution has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people with emerging serious mental illness the world over. Patrick McGorry was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medicine and to mental health in the Queen's Birthday Honours June 2010.

Clive Parkinson

Clive ParkinsonOne of the leaders in the arts and health movement in the UK, Clive Parkinson has written and presented widely around the arts and health agenda sharing his hands-on experience as a practicing artist and his strategic understanding of the field through research and development. He has worked for the National Heath Service as an artist in a hospital for adults with learning difficulties and as a senior mental health promotion specialist; and within the cultural sector was development director for Arts for Health Cornwall. As current Director of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University, his work focuses on public health, well-being and community assets. He is currently working with the Asia Europe Foundation on multi-sector pandemic planning and response, and is keen to bridge the arts and public health sectors.

Clive's keynote presentation will explore the relationship between the arts, mental health and people's aspirations to wellbeing, asking the question: "Are we in danger of pathologising every aspect of our lives; and whilst we are offered magic-bullets in our obsessive pursuit of wellbeing, isn't there a danger that we are blunting our experience of being human? We are told that the arts offer a sure-fire route to happiness; but is that what were after and are the arts being used as sugar to coat the bitter pill of medication?"

Following the popularity of the conference film festival, Show and Tell 2009, Clive will present Show and Tell 2010: Ageing and Imagination, exploring, through film, sound and new media, the arts focus on the needs and aspirations of an aging population, particularly the possibilities of flourishing whilst experiencing dementia.


Mary Robson

Mary Robson

Mary Robson works as an artist, social educator and arts/health consultant in the UK and beyond.  Her abiding interests in people and shared experience mean that she uses the arts and creativity to make connections and create networks, help expose choices and latent talents, encourage mutual understanding, enhance the quality of communication and encourage thinking, learning and reflection.

Her current portfolio of projects includes "Roots and Wings", an arts/social and emotional development project in Chickenley Primary School in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, now in its seventh year. The art room there is an epicentre of emotional health and wellbeing in the school and its surrounding community. Ideas of ritual help ease the transition for children between primary and secondary school, and make the school a centre for community-building activities. 

Outwith of Chickenley, Mary helps develop events such as lantern processions, carnivals and workshops with individuals and communities, to nurture cultural change.

Mary is the Associate for Arts in Health and Education at the Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Durham. Along with Mike White, she has developed Common Knowledge, a series of workforce development programmes bringing together those working in health, the arts, education and the voluntary sector. 

She is an experienced facilitator and trainer, especially interested in focused conversations and reflective practice. 

She recently completed a three-year Fellowship from Nesta (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), to explore the concept of the artist as social pedagogue in schools and communities.

Visit Mary Robson Arts in Health and Education

Mike White

Mike WhiteMike White is Research and Development Fellow in Arts in Health, Centre for Medical Humanities and St Chad's College,University of Durham, England, and a leading authority on the arts and community health. One of his most significant contributions was spearheading Gateshead's Angel of the North sculpture project, which became emblematic of the former-mining city's economic and social revival. Mike is the author of Arts Development in Community Health: a Social Tonic.

Mike White will co-present with Mary Robson on the topic The means to flourish – arts in community health and education, which will focus on long-term arts in health programs in the North of England, based in primary education settings, that have modelled social living and developed emotional health in otherwise disadvantaged and stressed communities. Mike and Mary will present the factors and principles that make for good practice, and for success and failure in arts in community health programs. They will consider emergent theories on the causes of health inequalities and the down-to-earth narratives of the programs and show how collective creativity may generate effective health literacy. The aims of this work are for children to develop creative ways to flourish and reflect on experience, to generate cultural change in community, and to produce the resources for a journey of hope.

Mike White's CV (PDF)

Naj Wikoff

Naj WikoffNaj Wikoff is president emeritus of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare in America, Fulbright Senior Specialist and head of New York's Creative Healing Connections: retreats for women living with cancer and other chronic diseases. His published work includes the monographs Cultures of Care, The Arts in Times of Trauma, and Arts in Medicine: Linking Culture to Care.

Healthcare is an incredibly challenging budget-driven environment and could be perceived to be at odds with the sentiment of the humanities, says Naj, but "the arts are proving to be a cost effective method of helping to relax patients, reduce the experience of pain, reduce stress and encourage behaviour change."

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