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Arts and Health Australia

Plenary Presentations

Creative Ageing International

Dominic CampbellDominic Campbell

In this presentation experience gained developing Ireland’s Bealtaine Festival and supporting new strategies in Wales, Scotland and the Netherlands illustrates how creative celebration is becoming a tool to gently challenge, inform and transform individual and institutional understanding of ageing.

Might celebrating ageing improve our opportunity to live thoroughly into a great old age?


Cirque De-Stress: Promoting Public Mental Health Messaging Through Circus Arts

Dr Gary ChristensonDr. Gary Christenson

The performance arts provide a unique approach to grab student's attention, provide meaningful metaphors for dealing with stress and mental health issues, and provide an entertaining format promoting information retention. Building upon the early success of a simple exercise in feather balancing at a University event for incoming freshman, the University of Minnesota's Provost Committee on Student Mental Health's Creativity Committee produced a one day event , "Cirque De-Stress", in collaboration with multiple University departmental partners and Circus Mojo, a troop from Kentucky which regularly provides hospital performances.


Creative Ageing in the UK – Past, Present and Future

David CutlerDavid Cutler

Interest has never been higher in arts and older people in the UK but there remains severe challenges, especially at a time of deep cuts in public funding for the arts and for services to older people, while dealing with rising demands. This talk will look at what one funder, the Baring Foundation, has been attempting by way of catalysing work using quite modest resources.


Who's that sitting in Mary's chair?

Molly CarlileMolly Carlile

In order to ensure that practices and rituals around dying, death and grief in residential care are meaningful for residents, families, staff and organisations, a number of issues need to be addressed and policies and practice should align with a person centred approach to care both before and after death.


The 'FIVE' Project: Addressing Mental Health in Fifo Communities Through Arts Participation

David DoyleDavid Doyle, Andrea Lewis and Dr Peter Wright

Andrea LewisPeter Wright

This presentation will discuss the community arts and cultural development (CACD) model from a new project called FIVE. Run by DADAA in collaboration with Rio Tinto, the project addresses mental health issues in five different Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) communities around Western Australia. Topics covered will include strategic partnership approach, FIFO mental health needs and goals, and CACD processes used.


Engaging Elders in Creative Expression through Poetry

Gary GlaznerGary Glazner

The goal of the APP is to improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia by facilitating creative expression through poetry. Gary is the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project, (APP).

The National Endowment for the Arts listed the APP as a "best practice" for their 2006 Arts and Aging Initiative. APP received the 2012 MetLife Foundation, "Creativity and Aging in America Leadership Award" in the Community Engagement category.


A Whole of Government Ageing Strategy for NSW

Kathryn GreinerKathryn Greiner

Kathryn is the Chair of the NSW Ministerial Advisory Committee on Ageing (MACA), which is the official advisory body to the NSW Government on matters of interest to older people. The committee provides advice to Government, conducts consultations and seminars and publishes discussion papers on ageing issues. Policy advice and administrative support are provided by Secretariat staff based in the Office for Ageing, Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Department of Family and Community Services NSW.


Art is like Chocolate for the Brain (Dr Gene Cohen) - Active Ingredients for Successful Living in Later Life

Margret MeagherMargret Meagher

It was my privilege to meet psychiatrist and geriatrician Dr Gene Cohen in 2006 at the Society for the Arts in Healthcare conference in Chicago. Gene inspired my commitment to the specialist area of creative ageing, within the broader arts and health field. His well-known catchcry "Art is like chocolate for the brain" is an evocative reminder of the power of the arts to transform and regenerate people's lives.

Creative ageing is increasingly being seen as an effective and cost efficient means to combat the challenges that society is facing with an accelerating ageing population and extreme pressures on health and community services.


Aboriginal Design Can Transform Communities

Alison PageAlison Page

If good design is a process of making sound decisions to solve problems, then it would be a logical assumption that design has much to offer the Aboriginal communities in Australia. Through my work with Merrima Design over the last 15years and now as the Creative Director of the National Aboriginal Design Agency, I have seen the potential of design not only as a product but as a process to make a positive impact in communities. Design can transform communities, culturally, economically and socially.


EVIDENCE: Fiction-Non-Fiction?

Clive ParkinsonClive Parkinson

Building on his keynotes and conversations in Australia over the last five years, this presentation brings discussions in arts/health, full-circle for Clive Parkinson, who questions the thorny old issue of what constitutes evidence in arts/health practice. He asks, are Randomised Controlled Trials the most efficient way of understanding the potency of arts and cultural interventions and if so, on which models are we basing our investigations - and just who controls the research agenda? With foray's into the pharmaceutical, the spiritual and the absurd, this paper is a clarion call for honesty and integrity in our evolving arts/health community, that questions the dominance of prescriptive ideologies, whilst questioning what exactly constitutes authenticity.


Is There a Place for Humour and Mischief in Creative Ageing?

Dr Peter SpitzerDr. Peter Spitzer

The plenary will explore the use of humour in care delivery; review the evidence based science behind the appropriate use of humour in care delivery; survey current practice and some of the trends and innovations in the use of humour and play in healthcare; share audio-visual 'vignettes' that bring to life the use of humour and play in Hospitals and healthcare settings; and discuss the roles of humour and play in arts based healthcare.


Room for the Imagination: An Equal Arts' Project

Alice ThwaiteAlice Thwaite

“Now staff are much more willing to change, seeing people as individuals and moving away from the "bingo culture"

Alice, the Director of Equal Arts, will present on the key findings of the project which was evaluated by the Northumbria University. The theme for improved workforce training is a priority that runs across all the themes in the UK Dementia Strategy (Dept of Health 2009) and there has been increasing evidence that engagement of people with dementia in participatory arts can help improve cognitive functioning, communication, self esteem and enjoyment of life.


Critical Mass

Mike WhiteMike White

Since 2011, I have arranged three 'critical mass' gatherings of practitioners and researchers to explore community-based arts in health in a global context, identify key issues for international collaboration in both practice and research, and envision where the common ground lies for effective advocacy and community engagement in exchange programmes. When participants at these meetings were invited to explain what were the principles and values that informed their interest in community-based arts in health and their current lines of enquiry.


Arts and Health - A Role for Local Government

Erich WellerErich Weller

Erich's presentation, from a local government perspective, will focus on the importance of engagement and participation in arts and culture as contributors to community connection, inclusion and wellbeing.

The Community and Cultural Development team at Penrith City Council had identified that a new way of engagement was required if Council was to continue to build strong connections with community partners and residents. Through a number of team workshops the capacity was extended across all function areas to utilise arts and cultural initiatives to engage, stimulate and build connections, contribute to wellbeing, and provide opportunities for fun and enjoyment.


Fostering Dementia Friendly Communities

Leslie WilliamsLeslie Williams

As a Member of the Legislative Assembly, I was privileged to undertake a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Study Tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland during July 2013.

The focus of my visit was to investigate strategies utilized abroad to address the challenges facing all levels of government as a result of the increasing prevalence of dementia in our communities.

I have a particular interest in this subject as a Member of Parliament representing the electoral division of Port Macquarie, which has a high prevalence of dementia, and as the Co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Dementia.