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Arts and Health Australia

Speaker Profiles

Molly Carlile

Molly CarlileMolly Carlile is a registered nurse, counsellor and educator with an extensive clinical and management career in palliative care. She manages the largest palliative care consortium in Victoria and has held board positions on a range of health and peak bodies.

A recent Churchill Fellowship enabled Molly to travel to the US, UK and Ireland to explore arts and health promotion strategies tackling death and grief. While at home, Molly has just finished collaborating with playwright Alan Hopgood on Four Funerals in One Day (to be performed 11 November), and is completing a book about grief for adolescents.

In her pre-conference workshop, participants will be given an opportunity to practice compassionate communication techniques and develop a self-awareness checklist to facilitate their ongoing exploration of the concepts discussed.

For her plenary session, A safe space for scary conversations, Molly will outline ways in which the arts can create comfort when broaching terminal illness in a medical environment.

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)

Alison Clough

Alison CloughAlison Clough is an artist and founder of the arts and health charity, Pioneer Projects in northern England. She has collaborated with GPs, schools and social care professionals to address community health issues such as smoking, mental health and coronary heart disease, and in 1997 opened the drop-in facility Looking Well Centre on a shoe-string budget (she has since raised over £1 million).

As a 2008 recipient of Western Australia’s Healthway International Arts in Health Fellowship, she worked with indigenous communities, notably exploring issues around diabetes for the Western Desert Kidney Health Project.

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.

Sally will conduct a pre-conference sacred circle dance workshop on 10 November 2009.

Dr Cheryl Dileo

Dr Cheryl DileoDr Cheryl Dileo, a professor of music therapy, is director of Philadelphia’s Arts and Quality of Life Research Center at Temple University, America. Together with Center assistant director, Dr Joke Bradt, she will discuss seven Cochrane reviews she has co-authored on music and its effectiveness in healthcare. These ongoing studies cover: 1) Music for people with coronary heart disease, 2) Music therapy for acquired brain injury, 3) Music for pre-operative anxiety, 4) Music for anxiety reduction in mechanically ventilated patients, 5) Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients, 6) Dance therapy for improving psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients, and 7) Music therapy for symptom relief and support in end-of-life care.

Professor Ian Gibbins

Professor Ian GibbinsProfessor Ian Gibbins is head of Anatomy and Histology, Flinders University, South Australia. An expert in the microscopic structure and function of nerve cells that regulate and monitor the activity of the internal organs, he has had over 100 peer-reviewed articles or invited reviews and book chapters published in the international scientific literature. Ian is also a poet and musician, and regularly collaborates with artists and performers in public events that bring together science and art. He will talk about the fascinating neuroscience of language, music and movement.

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 she was an invited fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Durham, England.

Jill will discuss findings from the poetry project New Leaves for people experiencing life-threatening illness: how participants expressed the gamut of emotions, shared metaphors of illness and health, and the impact of writing on wellbeing.

Mary Grehan

Mary GrehanMary Grehan has been a pioneer in arts programs in Irish hospitals. Notably, she is arts director of the Republic’s first Centre of Arts and Health attached to a hospital. In 2005, Mary completed a Masters in Arts Health at the University of Central Lancashire, studying how art is perceived in hospitals versus galleries. She has published a number of articles in the field, and in 1994 became the first arts program curator at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin. She is also chair of Arts and Health Coordinators Ireland.

Mary will be talking about the landmark program at Waterford Healing Arts Trust’s Centre at Waterford Regional Hospital that opened earlier in the year. Her role is to oversee a multidisciplinary roster: art making sessions with patients, participatory music workshops and performances in wards and outpatient clinics, motivational activities for staff, professional development for artists in healthcare, innovative promotions and commissioning artworks. It is a hotbed for the arts and health movement in Ireland.

Alan Hopgood

Alan HopgoodMelbourne playwright, film maker and actor Alan Hopgood, AM, is well known to Australian audiences. Achievements include the screenplay for the film Alvin Purple, television acting roles in Bellbird, Prisoner and Neighbours and theatre productions such as The Carer which starred Bud Tingwell and was acclaimed for its sensitive treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

At the conference, Alan will present one of the six plays he has written about various health issues such as diabetes, prostate cancer and geriatric sex. Co-written with palliative care specialist Molly Carlile, the play Four Funerals in One Day, tackles the topical issue of euthanasia and will be followed by an open forum.

Ralph Kerle

Ralph KerleRalph Kerle is the executive chairman of the Creative Leadership Forum and founder of the Creative Skills Training Council, Asia Pacific. He is a globally respected consultant, presenter, program designer and writer on management innovation and creative leadership. He is currently completing his PhD in Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology.

Ralph will be facilitating the Arts and Health Salon, encouraging delegates to express their views, stories and to pinpoint recurring themes.

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. He has particular expertise in small group learning and GP wellbeing, and in recent times has developed programs exploring how creative writing can assist doctors prevent burnout and compassion fatigue. In addition to his presentation on the topic, he will also lead the writing workshop for clinicians: Beyond the patient record.

Dr Jeffrey Levine

Dr Jeffrey LevineDr Jeffrey Levine is a New York gerontologist and photographer. He has taken portraits of elders in his medical practice as a primary care physician and director of several nursing homes for the past 25 years. Many of these poignant images have been published and exhibited.

He is currently associate clinical professor of medicine at New York Medical College and holds a teaching affiliation with the Geriatrics Division at St Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. Jeffrey has a hospital-based wound-care practice, and has written and lectured extensively on this topic. He assisted in development of AMDA’s Clinical Practice Guideline for Pressure Ulcers.

This lecture weaves together themes of art and medicine, and concludes that geriatrics is the most humanistic of medical specialties. The talk raises questions about our system of medical education, training, and reimbursement which has led to the gap between needs of the growing elderly population and numbers of qualified caregivers.

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. In her four years in this position, she and her colleagues have won international respect for MoMA’s 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, including individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers, and has recently published a book on the subject. The success of the educational program Meet Me at MoMA, established in 2006 for people who are without full access to their memory, has led to the more expansive MoMA Alzheimer’s Project, which opens up the Museum’s resources on the disease to other cultural institutions.

Carrie has been a featured speaker at numerous conferences, including the National Alzheimer’s Association’s Dementia Care Conference (Chicago 2007) and Alzheimer’s Association of Israel national conference (Tel Aviv 2008).

She holds bachelor’s degrees in both English literature and fine art and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Art History at Hunter College in New York.

In Port Macquarie she will be presenting a plenary session The American Perspective, and conducting two pre-conference workshops in concert with Adriane Boag from the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, who runs a reciprocal program. One will offer a blueprint for any museum or art gallery considering a similar strategy, and the other will equip caregivers and museum professionals with methods of making art accessible to people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Brendan McPhillips

Brendan McPhillipsBrendan McPhillips is a psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney. He was originally a GP but found that people's lives and stories were far more interesting than their blood pressure and so retrained in the mid '90s with the Australian and NZ Association of Psychotherapy. He has had a long and passionate interest in improvisational theatre. He did a two year training in the mid '90s, and since 2000 has been a member of Out of the Box Theatre Company (previously Paperbag Playback). His other passion is the Italian language which he speaks slowly and badly.

Brendan will perform two theatre pieces at the conference entitled White and Orange.

Guy Noble

Guy NobleGuy Noble, arts curator at University College London Hospitals and chair of London Arts and Health Forum, has worked in arts in health for over 11 years. He has extensive experience in hospital visual arts programming, including the study of its impact on patients, medical students and staff, and is passionate about the role cultural organisations can play in health.

In a bid to improve patient wellbeing, boost staff morale and widen access to the arts, he recently commissioned works from the Slade School of Fine Art. The Tate Gallery director, Sir Nicholas Serota, says of the collaboration: "There are now many demonstrations of the way in which the presence of art in hospitals has a beneficial effect on patients and staff. These new commissions arising from a long association between UCLH and the Slade, mark a further development in bringing art into places where it can bring stimulation and delight."

He was also co-instigator of the research project, Heritage in Hospitals: exploring the potential of museum object handling as an enrichment activity for patients. Guy will discuss the research protocol, methodology and initial findings of this study to highlight the sheer potential of using museum collections within a healthcare environment.

Shanti Norris

Shanti NorrisShanti Norris is a co-founder and executive director of Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC, which provides workshops and away-from-home retreats for adults with cancer. Shanti runs the artist-in-residence program component in three of the city’s hospitals, as well as facilitates art sessions. She has an extensive background in complementary medicine, having taught meditation, yoga philosophy and stress reduction for over 35 years.

Over the course of 2005-6 the Center evaluated the impact its programs had in the care and treatment of patients, including its potential positive affect on the healing process. Shanti will share a summary of these findings, as well as her experiences of the Center’s healing arts gallery and collaborations with artists, a dance company and adults with cancer.

Alison Page

Alison PageAlison Page is an Aboriginal interior designer, artist, and recently appointed regional Aboriginal cultural development officer at Arts Mid North Coast NSW. In her new role, she will be responsible for implementing Foundation of our Future, a five-year strategy positioning the arts as a platform for long-term social, economic and environmental development of the region’s Aboriginal communities.

Alison is a regular panelist on ABC TV’s New Inventors program which showcases the best in Australian innovation and design. For 9 years, she ran a successful design practice in Coffs Harbour exploring links between cultural identity, art and the built environment. She has completed various projects in health, education, office design, exhibition design, cultural arts centres and public art.

Clive Parkinson

Clive ParkinsonClive Parkinson is director of Arts for Health at the Manchester Metropolitan University and works with Arts Council England and the Department of Health to better understand the health impact of creativity, culture and the arts. Clive has led the three-year research project Invest to Save: Arts in Health, a comprehensive survey of public health, from reducing obesity and numbers who smoke, through to improving sexual and mental health.

For his keynote presentation Clive will challenge delegates to be “more self-critical and ... [appreciate] that, the tabloid press positively relishes the opportunity to accuse health and social services of wasting money on the arts.”

This paper will investigate how the arts and health agenda might better communicate its story through the media, offering examples of media manipulation and impact, and develop a pro-active approach to working with the media.

Clive will also facilitate Show and Tell: Film, Sound and New Media Critical, providing an opportunity for delegates who use digital technologies (including in marketing material) to share their examples.

Susan Perlstein

Susan PerlsteinSusan Perlstein has been a catalyst in garnering Congressional support for healthy ageing initiatives in the USA. She is founder and director of education at the National Center for Creative Aging, Washington, and prior to that ran the highly successful Elders Share the Arts program in New York.

Susan has collaborated with psychiatrist Dr Gene Cohen on aging research, most notably, co-authoring the first study to quantify the impact of professional arts programming on life quality for people aged 65 years and over. The breakthrough paper is titled: The impact of professionally conducted cultural programs on the physical health, mental health, and social functioning of older adults (The Gerontologist, Vol. 45, No. 6, 726-734).

Creative ageing policy issues, programming and research will be addressed in Susan’s keynote presentation. And to hear more from Susan join her hands-on pre-conference workshop, Creative Ageing, and networking lunch.

Paula Terry

Paula TerryPaula Terry, director since 1979 of the AccessAbility Office at the National Endowment for the Arts, provides advocacy and technical assistance for arts programming aimed at older adults, individuals with disabilities and people in institutional care.

Paula’s office garnered critical public and private sector support for Dr Gene Cohen’s creative aging study, and developed key recommendations for the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.

Her keynote presentation will showcase best-practice arts and health programs in the United States, including work done in hospitals for adults and children, and community services.

Mike White

Mike WhiteMike White is research and development fellow in arts in health at Durham University, England, and British authority on art and community health. One of his most significant contributions has been to spearhead Gateshead's Angel of the North sculpture project, which became emblematic of the former-mining city’s economic and social revival. Mike recently authored Arts Development in Community Health: a Social Tonic and for his keynote presentation will consider why the subject has become a small-scale global phenomenon, the challenges it poses for evaluation, and lessons learnt from case studies.

Read an interview with Mike White, Focus Magazine July 2009 (PDF)

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.”

Naj will present a business case for professional arts and health programming, as well as conduct a pre-conference workshop on how to develop your own program.

Peter Wright

Peter WrightPeter Wright is a senior lecturer in Arts Education and Research Methods and academic chair of Research and Postgraduate Studies at Murdoch University in Western Australia. He is involved in numerous research projects, notably ones that explore the transformative effects of the performing arts on a community. One such study, which he will be discussing, explores the impact arts company Big Hart has made in remote regions of Tasmania with disenfranchised youth. Another initiative to be presented examines the work of Sydney's improvisational Playback Theatre for its healing and learning powers.

Department of Health and Ageing Aevum Living UNESCO  ObservatoryNational Ageing  Research Institute