9th Annual International Arts and Health Conference

Monday 30 October – Wednesday 1 November 2017
Art Gallery of NSW, Domain Road, Sydney

View the 2017 Conference Program and Schedule:



Play, Stillness and Presence: the Aesthetics of Caring EncountersIn the absence of a cure for dementia, there is an increasing recognition of the need to address social isolation, depressed mood and quality of life in ageing populations. Playful Engagement was a three-year research project in Brisbane, Australia, exploring how applied theatre practitioners use play to facilitate dialogical relationships tailored to the needs of individual residents.

Professor Michael Balfour is the inaugural chair in Applied Theatre in the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at Griffith University. He is a theatre researcher and practitioner interested in the social and creative application of the arts in a range of contexts. He has a particular interest in theatre in conflict and peacebuilding, prison theatre, theatre and migration, and theatre with regard to mental health and returning military personnel and, most recently, creative ageing and dementia.


Holding Space: Veterans and Civilians Engage in Theatre – This presentation shares an initiative in which researchers in health and the arts (theatre and visual art) in Vancouver, Canada collaborated with eight military veterans to produce a theatre production Contact!Unload to promote men’s mental health. The play has been performed in Canada and the UK, reaching over two thousand people (military and non-military), including a private performance for Prince Harry, and will also be featured as part of the Cultural Program for the Invictus Games 2017. This presentation will highlight the impetus and key learnings from the three-year art project, looking specifically at the impact on the participating veterans, audiences and artists involved. See the new documentary on this project http://pwias.ubc.ca/videos/contact-unload-parliament-hill.

Performance, followed by a Q&A: About the Play – Unload is a one-act play that weaves compelling stories of Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan. The two-person play, featuring one veteran and one actor, maintains the essence of Contact!Unload which had six veterans and two actors. This version brings to the forefront the transition veterans face when returning from overseas service, juxtaposed with pathways towards recovery and healing, as well as the impact creating and performing theatre has on veterans, audiences, and artists.

Bringing Health Research to Life Workshop: Active and Creative Approaches – This hands-on workshop guides participants (of any experience) through a series of activities to engage in an artistic approach to share health research. Participants will be invited to consider some of the key affordances and tensions of translating research into an artistic form: ethics, verbatim, space, time, artistry and research positioning. The workshop will focus on the doing (on the floor) as the discoveries made while actively engaged allow new insights that might not have been visible during the research process. We will discuss and reflect on the process, exploring how this work might apply in various contexts. (Scheduled at another time to the performance)

George Belliveau is Professor of Theatre/Drama Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He focuses on research-based theatre and performed research. He has published five books. He is a professionally trained actor and has participated in over 100 theatre productions as an actor, director, or playwright. He is a member of Canada’s Royal Society of New Scholars.

Marv Westwood (facilitator) is Professor Emeritus of Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia, Canada. His research focuses on group-based approaches for counselling clients and men’s psychological health. He developed the UBC Veterans Transition Program to help promote recovery from war-related stress injuries, for which he received both the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals.

Phillip Lopresti (performer) is a military veteran and Officer Cadet with The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. He is also working on a Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Linda Hassall (panel member) is program director in Contemporary and Applied Theatre at Griffith University. She has 25 years experience as a director, award-winning playwright and dramaturge. Her research is practice-led and focuses on building performance around eco-critical and trauma landscapes. Her current research areas include both Performance and Climate Literacies, and Performance and Mental Health Literacy in young people. Linda was playwright director on the Australian Research Council-funded The Difficult Return with Professor Michael Balfour which used arts processes to support mental health literacies in returning servicemen and their families.


Songbirds: Ballads Behind Bars – Presenting the voices of people inside prisons via the songs written and recorded in prisons this year as part of the ‘Songbirds’ project, along with a discussion about the implementation of the project, and the role that the arts can play in incarcerated populations and, significantly, for people in the community on release.

Murray Cook is the co-ordinator of the Songbird program at the NSW Community Restorative Centre. Murray is a musician and teacher, with over 40 years experience in the music industry, touring locally and internationally with bands such as Midnight Oil, Mental as Anything and the Warumpi Band. He has also taught music at Long Bay Psychiatric Hospital for 21 years.


Musical Pathways: Creative and Resilient Ageing in and through Music – This session will focus on musical pathways as a source of life strengths that nurture resilient and creative later life. Using examples of intergenerational collaboration and the use of assistive digital music technologies, I will explore how creative musical social networks can support resilient ways of being, of belonging, and of becoming, and a continuing sense of citizenship.

Dr Andrea Creech is Professor of Didactique Instrumentale at the Faculty of Music, Université Laval, where she holds a Canada Research Chair in music in community. Her current research and teaching focuses on collaborative learning, music for social development, and creative ageing in and through music. Andrea has enjoyed an international orchestral and teaching career, led research including the Music for Life Project which won the Royal Society for Public Health’s award for research in Arts and Health, 2014, and is author of Active Ageing with Music. Andrea’s visit to Australia is supported by Griffith University. 


Creating a Culture of Opportunity for Arts in Health – This presentation considers the crucial role of leadership and organisational culture in the successful design and delivery of meaningful Arts in Health programs within a complex healthcare institution. Case studies involving Arts in Health solutions, developed with executive input and applied to child and youth mental health services, staff wellbeing and distraction in clinical environments, will be discussed.

Fionnagh Dougan has a long history of leading change in complex healthcare environments and a commitment to improving children’s health. She was appointed chief executive of Children’s Health Queensland in January 2015. She is also a former general manager of Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital and Child Health Services. Fionnagh began her career as a staff nurse in Edinburgh and has postgraduate qualifications in health management, an honours degree in communication, and has dual registration as both a mental health and general nurse.

Lynne Seear is manager of the Arts in Health program for Children’s Health Queensland, including the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. She is a senior curator, writer and arts manager with 30 years experience in the sector, including 16 years in management at the Queensland Art Gallery. For the past six years she has pursued specialist research in the importance of arts and culture within healthcare settings.



Mike White Memorial Lecture: A Restless Art: Community Art and Empowerment – Community art operates in a borderland between disciplines, values and social groups. This restless position enables it to make connections, including with health, and creates tensions that, if they are understood as resources, make it a vital, democratic and empowering practice. 

Francois comments: “I will draw on thinking in my new book, out next year.  I will make a key distinction between participatory art and community art. At the core of that is the idea of empowerment, which I associate with the second but not always with the first. It was Mike White who first drew my attention to the Marmott Review, and its thinking about empowerment.

Essentially, I want to make a case for the therapeutic value of non-therapeutic art experiences, rooted in the idea that it is because they are not intended to bring about a health outcome that they do.”

Artistry in Old Age – This presentation will explore how an artistic practice can change the experience of old age by helping people to retain a sense of agency. Drawing on conversations with artists aged between 60 and 90 for my book ‘Winter Fires’, I will offer a humanistic vision of how we can live creatively in later life. (Scheduled at another time)

François Matarasso has worked in community arts since 1981 as an artist, producer, researcher, writer and trainer. He has published influential work on the social outcomes of participation in the arts, and on the history, theory and practice of community art.  François works freelance with arts organisations, foundations and public bodies, and has experience of community-based cultural work in about 40 countries. Between 2011 and 2015, François produced five short books on undervalued aspects of the arts, including amateur theatre, artists in old age and rural communities, and art as a research method.  They are freely available as downloads from http://regularmarvels.com. His latest book, A Restless Art, will be published by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in January 2018.  (http://arestlessart.com)

François is a Trustee of the Baring Foundation UK and Chairs the Arts Committee.  The Baring Foundation is the world leader in philanthropic funding for creative ageing and is a longterm sponsor of the 9th International Arts and Health Conference. Francois’ visit to Australia is sponsored by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.


Music-based Caregiving (MBC): Development of an Arts and Health-based Program for Enhancing Quality in Dementia Care – MBC was developed in 14 nursing homes in 10 Norwegian communities, including residents with very fine dementia diagnosis (N = 604). This presentation will outline core findings from the PhD project Integrated Music in Nursing Homes and outline the steps in the evolution of MBC as a consistent musical approach.

Integrating an Arts-based Program in the Health Services: Experiences with a Five-year Implementation Program – This presentation will describe a teaching program for staff members, without previous musical training, which was evolved in Norway in 2000–2012, standardised in 2012-15, and presently implemented nationally. The teaching program has been tailored to enhance health and wellbeing, and ameliorate agitation, anxiety, depression, movement/motor symptoms, and other common disorders affecting the elderly. It teaches creative skills through arts professionals that enhance clinical skills.

Dr Audun Myskja is a Norwegian medical doctor, specialist in family medicine, author, musician, researcher and lecturer, supervisor of The National Competence Centre for Arts and Health and Care Sciences and Advisor to the Norwegian National Resource Center for Arts and Health. Dr Myskja has led numerous national and international projects using music, song and dance, individualised exercise, breathing, relaxation and meditation to enhance quality of care for dementia, Parkinson’s, ME and other vulnerable groups. He was awarded the Norwegian Medical Association’s Quality Prize for this work.


Positive Ageing through Participatory Art: the ‘Arts on Prescription’ Model – This describes the design, delivery and evaluation of a participatory arts program for community-dwelling older people in Sydney. The program targeted older people with a range of common health and wellness challenges and evidence showed the positive impact of participatory arts on those involved.

Associate Professor Roslyn Poulos is a public health physician and academic at the University of New South Wales. She both teaches and researches in the field of ageing and health. Most recently, in collaboration with colleagues from aged care provider HammondCare and UNSW Arts and Design, she has focussed on adding to the evidence base for the role of Arts in Health.


A National Educational Program in Music-based Environmental Treatment, with Integrated Use of Music, Song and Movement – The Ministry of Health in Norway is funding development and dissemination of an education program in music-based environmental treatment by integrated use of music, song and movement to employees in health care systems. Target groups are employees in health and care system in the municipalities. Cultural workers, scientists and students are other potential groups.

Vegar Rangul has a PhD in Public Health and General Practice, behavioral epidemiology. He is a specialist in physical activity epidemiology and has extensive experience in the use of large epidemiological data sets to resolve issues tied into the health effects of physical activity and its interaction with general health behaviour, and cardiovascular disease risk in particular. He is chairman of the Norwegian Centre of Arts and Health and project leader of the national educational program in music-based environmental treatment.


Creative to the Core – Creativity is the key to navigating a future defined by rapid social change, disruption and disconnection. Drawing on VicHealth’s extensive research and support for the arts as a medium for health promotion and illness prevention, this presentation will demonstrate that through the arts we can create the platforms, processes and tools for a healthier, more connected and respectful future.

Jim Rimmer is a passionate advocate for the power of the arts, and the community benefits generated by the creative sector. In a career of over 20 years, Jim has successfully delivered a range of project outcomes, engaged with a variety of disciplines, settings and objectives and explored new ways of working in rapidly changing environments. His focus is on the months and years behind the scenes of ‘opening nights’ – the business, project and communication plans, engagement and evaluation frameworks, the partnerships and relationships – the enabling factors. Jim is Senior Project Officer, Mental Wellbeing & Arts, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth).


Creating Reminiscence Theatre with Older People: Structure and Starting Out – This presentation will explore how ‘Age Exchange’ works with older people in care to create and devise theatre from reminiscence. We’ll look at starting points, structure, the principles and some of the exercises used to support the creative process.

David Savill originally trained as an actor in London in the 1980s. His passion and expertise is in the performance of memory, working with older people and intergenerational groups. David joined Age Exchange in 1998 and has almost 20 years experience, nationally and internationally, creating and directing reminiscence arts programs that enable individuals and communities to share life experience through visual and performance arts. He is credited with creating the concept of Reminiscence Arts to describe a specific organic link between memory and creative expression. David’s visit to Australia is supported by Griffith University. 


Barriers, Budgets and Baked Goods: Adventures in Creative Ageing with England’s Oldest Art Gallery – Michelle Weiner, an experienced specialist in the field of arts for older people, will walk you through her exciting journey of discovery as a long-standing partner and consultant with England’s first purpose-built public art gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery and its trail-blazing ‘Good Times’ program for older people.

Michelle Weiner is an artist and creative ageing consultant. She established her consultancy after six years directing community programs at Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, England. Michelle trained and worked as a theatre designer, has a Masters in Ceramic Design and has been facilitating creative workshops for over 10 years. She joined Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2010 as community coordinator for the award-winning “Good Times: Art for Older People” program. In 2011 she was promoted to community engagement manager and designs programs to enrich engagement with museums. Michelle’s visit to Australia is sponsored by the Baring Foundation UK. 


Member NSW Legislative Assembly; Parliamentary Secretary, Rural and Regional Health; Co-Founder, NSW Government Dementia Friendly Communities pilot program.



Art(ful) Futures – ‘Art(ful) Futures’ is a regional strategic partnership project aimed at mentoring mental health service users through the processes of establishing a sustainable art practice. This is being achieved through an intensive series of workshop sessions culminating in a public exhibition, and education/public programs supported by gallerists, artists and mental health workers.

Debbie Abraham has worked in the arts for over 30 years in galleries, NETS (National Exhibitions Touring Support) and as a designer. In 2000 she became gallery director at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery. She has been involved in the construction and fit-out of the new building (2001) and project management of the art education room’s construction (2008). She has strategically managed the gallery to ensure the budget, staffing and visitation has doubled and has overseen the development and presentation of 200 exhibitions and seven substantial CCD projects.

Alan Johnson is an occupational therapist at Morisset Hospital and a member of Arts in Recovery (AIR). Alan previously studied Art for the Community in London. He has worked in mental health since 2001 and was part of the ‘Stop the World I Want To Get Off’ project with Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery in partnership with Morisset Hospital, which allowed mental health workers to demonstrate the effectiveness of art as therapy and establish a yearly exhibition for clients. This has grown into the AIR, which provides monthly workshops and an annual exhibition.


Lost and Found: Revaluing Hong Kong’s Elderly – The Lost and Found Project aims to empower elderly in the community by revaluing their skills, giving them back a respected role within society, while bridging the gap between generations. It is social integration through art.

Liz Avern-Briers has a Masters in Art History and a post-graduate degree in Arts-Health Project Management and Research Design. In 2013 Liz and her husband Neil set up the charity Lizzie Bee Foundation dedicated to arts and health, with the belief that art can bring people together, enable social impact and enrich families and communities, and should be accessible to all. In the last four years, Lizzie Bee has involved over 2000 participants in community arts projects.


Musical Memories: A Museum Experience for People with Early-stage Dementia and Their Carers at the Grainger Museum – Sharing an innovative project combining live music and tactile museum experiences for people with early-stage dementia and their carers at the Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne. Workshops will be facilitated by Music Therapy and Medical students and will focus on the integration of object-based learning, well-being activities, musical experiences and social engagement, inspired by the Grainger Museum.

Danielle Barry is a final-year medical student at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney. She has a longstanding passion for music and composition which saw her complete Honours in Music Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2013 before tackling post-graduate medicine. In 2016, she undertook a Masters of Music Composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium with the goal of exploring the connection between the music and medical worlds.


Is It Possible to Create an Enterprise That Uses Images of Nature to Soothe People? Mindsettle works on the assumption that nature is inherently calming to humans and that viewing gentle images of nature will have positive benefits. By its nature, being an artist is a collaborative process. Here I reflect on the research and collaborative process involved in establishing Mindsettle as a self-funding enterprise.

Lisa Behan is interested in finding ways that art can enrich society. She is deeply concerned about the rise of anxiety in our hyper-connected world. Mindsettle is a creative collaboration with educators, psychologists, psychiatrists, film-makers and musicians that has application for schools, healthcare, aged care, workplaces and personal use.


Creative Journey Recovery – The objective of this program is to create a successful and sustainable model of arts engagement for people recovering from mental health, which can be evaluated and modelled. The aims encompass providing distraction, respite and inspiration for people recovering from mental illness by (a) valuing aesthetic experiences to support a holistic view of health – spiritual, mental and physical; (b) fostering a sense of belonging and of being valued in the community by reducing isolation; (c) creating an atmosphere of respect for the potential of people with mental health needs to recover; (d) allowing a space to experience, reflect and flourish; (e) encouraging aspirations and supporting abilities.

Adriane Boag is a program producer at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Adriane has worked in a variety of settings within the visual arts field, as a practising artist, an artist-run gallery director, in tertiary education and, for the past 10 years, as an educator and programs producer at the National Gallery of Australia. Adriane represents the gallery’s acclaimed Art and Dementia Program nationally and internationally as a speaker (TEDx Canberra 2016) and through the two-day Art and Dementia training workshop which has been delivered in over 25 galleries and museums nationally. Adriane has also provided creative leadership for projects including an intergenerational drawing program Draw Together.

Christopher Liscomb works with ACT Health.


Art Therapy in Dementia Support Groups – Dementia is confusing and an emotional journey for the person with dementia and the carer. Art therapy can help guide both through their emotions. The process can contribute to greater self-awareness, understanding and acceptance of the diagnosis, and nurture friendships and long-term relationships.

Jill Bond has worked in all areas of residential aged care, with organisations including Southern Cross Care, Retirement Living and ACH. She has a degree in Fine Arts and a Diploma in Community Services and Health, specialising in dementia. As a Dementia Link Worker for Alzheimer’s Australia South Australia, Jill facilitates creative art programs, workshops and support groups for people living with dementia.


The Pink Sari Melodies Song-writing Competition – The Pink Sari Project has increased breast screening in women from India and Sri Lanka in NSW by 17% and has won an international award for the best public sector campaign. This presentation will outline the theoretical foundations and some lessons learnt about running a community-based song writing competition and ways to add value and contribute to the communication aims of a health promotion campaign.

Three Years of Life-giving Stories – This session starts with storytelling performance from individuals who have lived experience of organ and tissue donation. Afterwards there will be a brief panel presentation that outlines the experiences of various stakeholders – a health campaign researcher, artist, people with lived experiences and the health service – about their involvement and the lessons they learnt from this project that won the 2016 National Multicultural Marketing Award.

Michael Camit is Acting Director and Manager of Social Marketing and Communication at the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS), a state-funded service to increase access for multicultural communities to health information and initiatives.www.mhcs.health.nsw gov.au. For the past 20 years he has been researching and developing award winning multicultural campaigns. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and is passionate about co-creating initiatives with diverse groups and researching social media to contribute to empowerment and health outcomes of migrant/ refugee communities. 

Kevin Bathman is a designer, storyteller, producer and social change advocate born in Kuala Lumpur and based in Sydney. He is interested in using creativity to address environmental, cultural and social justice issues. As a senior consultant with NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service, Kevin has worked on numerous multicultural health projects. In 2013, he co-founded an arts initiative called Carnival of the Bold. Since 2012, Kevin has researched the history, connections and cross-cultural stories of Chinese and Indian culture for his project ‘The Chindian Diaries’.

Lee Hubber (co-presenter for Pink Sari songwriting competition) started his career in the music industry in New Zealand managing bands, organising recordings and album releases and touring some of the biggest names in New Zealand and Australian music. He has been involved in media production since the late 1980s and worked extensively for community and public radio. Lee has extensive experience in multicultural and indigenous communications and is one half of the most experienced multi-language production team in Australia in Independent & General (I&G) which has won two AUSIT Awards.

Semaema Grace (co-presenter for Life Giving stories –workshop) is a vocalist and speaker based in Wollongong. Singing has been her passion since she was a little girl in Fiji. At the age of 13, Semaema was diagnosed with lupus, an auto immune disease. In 2013, Semaema performed in X Factor, where she had the opportunity to talk about organ donation. As a motivational speaker, Semaema speaks regularly at local schools to share her challenging journey with young people. Semaema is also involved in various community theatre groups in the Illawarra and has participated in shows such as Joseph, Leader of the Pack and Wizard of Oz. In 2012, Semaema sang at the Transplant Games in Newscastle. Semaema is currently on the waiting list for a kidney.

Leah Upcroft (co-presenter for Life Giving Stories – workshop). In her role as Manager Corporate, Stakeholder & Community Partnerships, NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, Leah Upcroft leads the growth and development of key strategic partnerships with government and community partners, and manages the corporate functions of the organisation. Leah has over 12 years experience in NSW Health and 17 years in government in various roles including management, public policy, service planning and project management. She has been involved in a range of strategic health areas including forensic mental health, drug and alcohol, homelessness, and now organ and tissue donation. She is committed to collaboration with stakeholders and finding innovative solutions to health challenges.


Words to Raise Me Up: Lessons in Personal Resilience, Empowerment and Purposeful Recovery through Poetry – Writing poetry was my instinctive creative response to debilitating depression and anxiety. It helped me express and contain intense emotion, self-reflect, problem-solve, heal, reclaim my sense of ‘self’ and my capacity for growth and personal transformation. In my poetry workshops, I allow participants a glimpse into my world, while gently guiding them into writing for joy, beauty and peace.

Nicki Cassimatis is an experienced language and pastoral care teacher and workshop facilitator with a passion for wellbeing following her mid-life battle with depression and anxiety. Since 2015 she has run numerous workshops independently and in collaboration with organisations such as MIFQ, AfterCare, Arafmi and the UQU Abilities Collective. She is currently a post-graduate student of mental health practice at the University of Queensland.


The Sensory Art Experience: a Qualitative Study Evaluating the Effects of a New Space on Mental Health and Wellbeing in the General Population – The sensory art space is a multisensory installation that stimulates the senses of sight, touch, sound and smell through the experience of art. The effects of the space on emotions and stress levels, and its perceived value and benefits were explored through in-depth qualitative interviews with university students and staff.

Bliss Cavanagh is a PhD candidate undertaking interdisciplinary research across Health Science and Fine Art. A multidisciplinary artist, she draws from her personal experience of living with Tourette syndrome to create sensory-based installations that offer therapeutic benefits. She was selected as a 2016 Young Social Pioneer by the Foundation for Young Australians and nominated for a NSW Young Achievers Award for her innovative and creative vision in sensory-art spaces and the impact it could have in bettering the mental health and wellbeing of young people in Australia.


How to Measure Your Impact on the Health and Wellbeing of your Audience – This presentation will outline a practical methodology for arts and cultural organisations to measure health and wellbeing outcomes relating to their activities. It will highlight the importance of linking an evaluation strategy to the organisation’s objectives, present useful tips for improving data collection practices and show how to report on health and wellbeing outcomes to a range of stakeholders.

Michael Chappell is the CEO of Culture Counts, a system for evaluating any investment or activity that has an economic or social impact for individuals and the community, including cultural centres, arts events, festivals and business precincts. A chartered management consultant, Michael spent five years working in market and property research before entering management consultancy in 1991. He has an extensive association in the Arts sector. He is chairman of PVI Collective, a West Australian Contemporary Arts organisation, and was previously chairman for West the Australian Ballet.


Applying Dutch Creative Thinking to the Australian Situation – The Centre of Healthy Ageing in the Netherlands is at the forefront of research and education in the field. Over three months we visited 10 of the centre’s Healthy Ageing and de Kunsten (Healthy Ageing and the Arts) projects. This presentation will describe a selection of unique projects and outline some common learnings and how they are applicable to servicing older people in the Australian community.

Alexandra Conroy is CEO of Reliant Healthcare, which provides consumer-directed and highly tailored community care. She holds a Bachelor of Economic and Social Sciences with a major in Art History, and a Bachelor of Laws, and is a solicitor in NSW. She was awarded NSW Young Manager of the Year in 2015 by the Australian Institute of Management. Her aim is that Reliant Healthcare will provide a platform for creative solutions for healthy ageing.

Susan Tredenick is a healthcare consultant with extensive experience in aged and community care. Operating in a range of fields, including not-for-profit, NGO and private organisations, she has a special interest in supporting people to be engaged with their health care management. With a background in nursing and management, she has recently completed her Health Management degree and will continue her work with Arts and Health.



Mindful Art Therapy: Developing a Practice – This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the practice of mindful art therapy. Participants will engage in two experiential activities to explore how mindfulness can be used to enhance and deepen therapeutic art intervention.

Barbara Davis PhD is the author of Mindful Art Therapy: a Foundation for Practice which bridges Eastern and Western paradigms. Over the past 25 years Dr Davis has divided her time between academic lecturing in psychology and counselling, mentoring, facilitating workshops and private practice. In 2000 she received the Glaxo Wellcome International prize, on behalf of the Jean Hailes Women’s Foundation, for innovative education using traditional art to inform indigenous health promotion in the west Kimberley region of Australia. She is founder of Art & Soul Connections™.


“Behind the Mask” Art Therapy in Dementia Support (workshop) and Creative Programs for People Living with Dementia and their Carers (presentation)

Jill Bond brings decades of experience in coordination in lifestyle and leisure having worked in all areas of residential aged care and retirement living. Jill is responsible for Art Therapy in Dementia Support Groups for Alzheimers Australia, SA.


Mosaic Wings: Exploring the Use of Mosaic Art in Aged Care – Drawing on several different projects, this presentation will demonstrate how the making of mosaics, particularly when there is a specific end goal, can enhance the quality of life of residents in aged care facilities. It will also guide participants through processes involved in implementing similar programs.

Christine de Brenni has enjoyed art and being creative since early childhood and worked for over 35 years as a pharmacist. Ten years ago she completed a Diploma in Transpersonal Art Therapy and has used this knowledge predominantly in the aged care setting. She works in a variety of media including pen, watercolour, acrylic, porcelain, silk and, most recently, mosaics. She has won various prizes, particularly for her botanical works. She is drawn to palliative care.


Something to Look Forward to – A candid conversation between 85-year-old June Hickey and 43-year-old Rosie Dennis about their working relationship and the impact this has had on June’s mental health for the past seven years. Joining them is Annette Tesoriero, an artist and Mental Health First Aid trainer who will facilitate the conversation.

Rosie Dennis is artistic director of Urban Theatre Projects. She creates work renowned for distinct beauty, universality and currency. Prior to joining UTP Rosie’s work was presented at more than 25 festivals across Central Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

June Hickey has lived in Minto for 35 years. She is a keen gardener and loves bush walking. June became an emerging artist at 75, when she met Rosie Dennis and performed in her first show, Driven To New Pastures for Sydney Festival in 2011. June is currently UTP’s rookie reporter with visual artist David Capra, interviewing artists about their artistic practice.

Annette Tesoriero is a lively and engaging trainer, an experienced business manager and workshop facilitator. Formal qualifications include a Masters in Management and a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment. She has a keen interest in the Arts and Health sector and has delivered the Mental Health First Aid Course to many arts workers who work in community settings.


Building Strength in Coming Together: Exploring Indigenous Tobacco Smoking with Health Staff Through Art – Creative arts is introduced via an interactive workshop to indigenous and non-indigenous health staff, working in indigenous tobacco control. Artworks analysed using the Four Frames (NSW Board of Studies) demonstrated optimism, strength of family and culture, smoking as a barrier, resilience, recovery and urgency. Contemporary challenges impacted on equity; staff expressed positives about their work and appreciated learning a new skill.

Gillian Gould is an associate professor focussed on improving tobacco-smoking risks for indigenous Australians. Over a decade, she co-developed strategies to tackle smoking with Aboriginal communities, and led a regional Indigenous Tobacco Control Initiative (2010-12). She is an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow and a Cancer Institute NSW ECR Fellow at University of Newcastle (UON). The fellowships will improve strategies for pregnant indigenous smokers. She has won numerous awards including an International Visiting Research Fellowship to visit the Mayo Clinic in 2017.


Arts Engagement to Promote Liveable Communities –This presentation will introduce a collaborative arts engagement project between the Art Gallery of New South Wales and researchers at the University of Technology Sydney. The project, funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, explores the impact of including art-making practices in Art Access programs for people living with dementia, and how these programs can be extended into communities.

Danielle Gullotta is curator at the Art Gallery of NSW and produced the access program under which almost 1000 people living with dementia can now attend the gallery annually and view artworks with program facilitators who have an in-depth knowledge of the artworks and have been given specialised training by Alzheimer’s Australia NSW. She won the Arts and Health Award for Excellence in Education and Research at the 8TH Annual International Arts and Health Conference, 2016.


Art as Part of a Three-pronged Approach to Smoking Cessation for Women Pregnant with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Baby – This paper will report on a complex intervention that uses art, case management support and tailored smoking-cessation advice to reduce barriers to smoking- cessation for women who are pregnant with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander baby.

Jillian Guy involved drama and visual arts in her classroom as a primary teacher before beginning her Doctorate of Philosophy, in which she investigated the educational life-worlds of Aboriginal Australian students. Jillian has recently moved to the Southern Queensland Centre of Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care, where she is researching a smoking cessation intervention.


Life is a Song: Using Songwriting for Good Mental Health and Community Connection – This is an autobiographical songwriting and community-building project by and for people with mental illness in regional and metropolitan Victoria. The project has had a profound impact on participants through the validation of their ‘voice’ and story through original songwriting and being part of a community where they are not? judged. In the process, they have gained self-confidence, self- esteem, experience belonging and complete acceptance within a community, as well as developing as artists and broadening their engagement with society. The presentation will include a 15-minute introduction and Q&A and one-hour songwriting workshop.

Phil Heuzenroeder is a community artist and community cultural development leader in Victoria, working with people with disability and those living with mental illness. Phil is the founding artistic and executive director of Wild at Heart Community Arts. He leads a creative team to provide opportunities for music, songwriting, singing, filmmaking, dance, event management workshops and performance events. Phil has led the Bipolar Bears since 2000. He recently completed a study tour of African American churches and communities in the USA, examining how gospel music unities highly marginalised communities.


Art from the Heart: an Innovative Art Project in a Drug Consumption Room – This presentation summarises the development of an art project and exhibition ‘Art from the heart’ in the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre over the past seven years. It encompasses the challenges and benefits of providing this type of service within such a setting, recent evaluation outcomes and key learnings for other professionals considering implementing a similar project.

Sarah Hiley has an MSc in Substance Misuse and over 14 years experience working with people who use drugs. Sarah works at the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre which she believes is a unique service to support people who inject drugs.


Finding Grace Under Pressure: Acting Skills and Verbatim Theatre as Tools for Culture Change in Clinical Work – Reporting on the Grace Under Pressure project of using performance skills workshops and, most recently, verbatim theatre, to help young clinicians build positive professional identities in the face of bullying, harassment and the near-universal experience of teaching by humiliation in clinical workplaces, and hence contribute to culture change in clinical care.

Claire Hooker is co-ordinator of the Health and Medical Humanities program at the University of Sydney. She and her research students and colleagues focus research on areas including the qualities and nuances of quotidian clinical communication, changing healthcare workplace cultures, ethical and theoretical frameworks for Arts and Health, the experiences, qualities, integrity and behaviour of doctors, and the qualities of illness experience.


Arts Therapy: What is it? – The presentation will explain arts therapy, the advantages, how it works, goals, where it’s found, history, professional training standards for arts therapists and the evidence base. It will also include a summary of art therapy in schools and how it may benefit teachers, students and parents.

Jennifer Jamieson is a registered art therapist who has worked extensively with young people, refugee children in schools, children in care and adults in mental health settings. She currently works in early psychosis at Headspace. Jennifer graduated from ECU with a Masters in Art Therapy. She has worked as a counsellor and/or art therapist in non-government organisations as well as locum positions in hospitals since graduating, and is a practicing performance artist.


Imagining the Writing Cure: Exploring Fiction Therapy – ‘The Writing Cure’ has always been associated with real-life events but new research suggests that writing fiction is also therapeutic. If so, fiction therapy could provide much-needed support for workers in industries where traditional help-seeking is stigmatised. This workshop explores fiction writing in the nexus between narrative therapy and art therapy, incorporating phenomenological contextualism.

Zacharey Jane is an award-winning writer of literary thrillers and children’s books. Her first novel The Lifeboat was shortlisted for the Barbara Jeffris Award and is published internationally; her children’s book Tobias Blow was on the 2011 NSW Premiere’s Reading List. She is also a full-time high school English teacher and a painter, and tour manager and chairperson for Writers On the Road – the Byron Writers Festival on tour.


Mockingbird: Understanding Post-natal Distress by Using Performance to Engage Audiences with Real Women’s Stories over Four Generations – Birthed from a conversation between two presenters at last year’s Arts and Health conference, ‘Mockingbird’ is a mental health black musical comedy that aims to build awareness and experience of what it was like for women admitted to mental health facilities with a diagnosis of psychosis or mania over the past 100 years.

Dr Diana Jefferies is a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Western Sydney. She is a registered nurse with 25 years clinical experience and has an academic background in the humanities, with a PhD in English. Her research program looks at historical and literary representations of mental illness to investigate the cultural background of stigma associated with mental health disorders after childbirth.

Lisa Brickell is the director of ‘Funny Business’ which promotes personal and organisational development through the performing arts. She trained in comedy, mask work and physical theatre in Paris and Italy. She also has an MA and a post-graduate Diploma in Drama. She has been involved in many projects which explore mental health and resilience through the arts, including working as a clown doctor in hospitals and aged care facilities.

Taimi Allan is the CEO of Changing Minds, an Auckland-based mental health consumer advocacy, research and information organisation. A leader in creative events and projects to increase mental health literacy, and reduce stigma and discrimination, Taimi is  a media spokesperson for the lived-experience perspective. (on video)



Evaluating the impact of LAUGH (Ludic Artefacts Using Gesture and Haptics). The LAUGH project is a design for dementia project using participatory and co-design approaches to create playful handheld devices to engage and bring in the moment pleasure to people living with advanced dementia. This presentation reports on the evaluation strategies employed throughout the project and the evaluation of the final design objects produced for people living with advanced dementia.

Gail Kenning is an artist and researcher. She uses mixed methodologies to explore social and cultural approaches to health with a particular focus on ageing, dementia and wellbeing and the evaluation of arts engagement projects. Gail is a researcher at the University of Technology Sydney and is involved in research around the globe. Her research interests include how creative activity can contribute to positive wellbeing for ageing and support people living with dementia, how technology can be used to support and facilitate engagement and interaction; and the use of mixed methodologies in research and evaluation of arts engagement projects.


Animation for Medical Education Workshop – A workshop for clinicians, community health and health promotion practitioners interested in using animation to help better inform patients. We will explore how to use animated films to guide and educate the public about specific health issues, saving time and money and giving greater understanding to patients.

Emma Lazenby has worked in the animation industry for over 18 years, including for the BBC, Disney, Aardman and Channel 4. In 2009, while planning to retrain as a midwife, Emma made ‘Mother of Many’, an animated film celebrating midwifery and childbirth. When this won a BAFTA, Emma realised that animated film was the perfect medium to educate people about medical issues. ForMed Films was formed in 2015 with Emma as director. Emma’s visit to Australia is sponsored by the Baring Foundation UK.


Exploring the Poetry of Pharmacy: an Australian Perspective – Pharmacy has a strong emphasis on communicating with patients, as well as an inherent poetry related to its lost past, complex present, and uncertain future. Despite this, few Australians write poetry specifically about pharmacy. I will discuss the inherent poetry of pharmacy before presenting examples of Australian pharmacy poems from the literature and from my own pen.

Dr Michael Leach is an Adjunct Research Associate at the School of Rural Health, Monash University as well as data and quality specialist at the Loddon Mallee Integrated Cancer Service, Bendigo. He holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy, a Graduate Certificate of Science (Applied Statistics), a Masters of Biostatistics and a PhD (Pharmacoepidemiology). Michael writes poetry to improve his empathy and communication skills as well as to share perceived poignancy and beauty with others.


Come Dine with Me – Understanding that every culture and nationality is unique, the ‘Come Dine with Me’ program was created to represent residents’ cultural identity through the dining experience. Staff found that areas of cultural inclusion could be further addressed by acknowledging and paying respect to the different nationalities of the residents in the home through dining.

Yoke Lim began work as a home carer before joining Shalom Baptist Dementia. After further study she joined the new Quong Tart Aged Care Team to set up the Leisure and Lifestyle department.

Agnes Mak has over 20 years experience in aged care in Australia. Since 2013, she has been the service manager at Quong Tart and was deputy manager from its commissioning in 2008. Quong Tart is a 63-bed Chinese specific ageing in place facility proving high, medium and low care.


The Impact of a Creative Arts Festival on Mental Health and Stigma Reduction in Young People – An evaluative survey was administered to participants at the Positive Mindset Creative Arts Festival, a competition and exhibition for school students in the Metro South Health region of Queensland. This promotion initiative uses creative arts to promote positive mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness and addiction issues in young people.

Adam Lo is an occupational therapist and mental health clinician working in the public Child and Youth Mental Health Service in Metro South Health, Qld. Adam uses group therapy, creative arts, family therapy and other psychotherapeutic approaches in his work with children, young people and their families. He also specialises in community development and education, the promotion of mental health, prevention of mental illness and early intervention programs and approaches.


Are Dancing, or Playing Instruments, Singing and/or Creating Theatre Good for Health? The aim was to examine whether people who actively engage in dancing or music, singing and creating theatre have better life satisfaction and mental health (encompassing both anxiety and depression) than those who do not participate in these activities on a regular basis. Data in the HUNT3 2006-8 study from Norway showed participating frequently in music, singing and theatre appears to increase mental health for women, but not men.

Bente Irene Løkken is a PhD fellow at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science at the Norwegian University of Science and technology (NTNU). She holds a Masters in Public Health and is currently lecturing at the Nord University in public health and health-related behaviour. Her PhD investigates how attendance in leisure-time cultural activities, both receptive and creative, affects aspects of health in the population – mortality, sickness, absence and use of health services. The project duration is four years, with completion at the end of 2019.


Playing a Musical Instrument for Healthy Ageing – Playing a musical instrument offers a range of cognitive, social and emotional benefits to the player. This submission details research studies that examine the health benefits of musical instrument playing through i) community arts organisations and ii) targeted health interventions for older adults across Western Sydney. Benefits are discussed for those of different experience profiles (novice to experienced).

Dr Jennifer MacRitchie is Research Theme Fellow in Health and Wellbeing at Western Sydney University. Her research focuses on the benefits of playing musical instruments in older age, for healthy adults, and those with a range of cognitive and motor impairments. Jennifer has a background in both electrical engineering and music, with past research examining the acquisition and development of motor skills in piano performance. Jennifer completed her doctoral work in Glasgow and had a postdoctoral position in Lugano, Switzerland.


Youth Theatre and Wellbeing: How the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) is Developing Resilience and Empathy in Young Australians. In 2016 Mission Australia found that one in four young Australians are in psychological distress. In 2017 ATYP commissioned arts researchers Patternmakers to conduct an impact evaluation of their work and explore the connections between youth theatre and mental health. Evidence showed that participation can help young people develop resilience and empathy.

Amy Maiden is general manager of the Australian Theatre for Young People and a board member of Theatre Network NSW. She is a firm advocate in the positive impacts of the arts on health and wellbeing. ATYP believes that an involvement in theatre builds better people, developing confidence, creativity and community.

Tandi Palmer Williams is insight director of Patternmakers, which was established to inform, inspire and empower creative professionals with data. Tandi is accredited as a qualified practising market researcher, is a participant in the Australia Council’s Arts Leaders Program and is an expert in research for innovation.

Brooke Boyce is Research Manager at Patternmakers.



Pass It On: Giving Older People Purpose through Skill-sharing Creativity – The Wild Rumpus ‘Pass it On’ project supported skilled seniors in Wollongong to teach fun, introductory classes to the community as part of a Skill-share Program. The project deeply empowered the older people, and showed the wider community a new way to value the knowledge and wisdom of our older community.

Caitlin Marshall is a social worker whose career has been shaped by early experience working with young women survivors of sexual assault and homelessness. That experience in direct crisis support, therapeutic intervention and group facilitation heavily utilised tools of creative arts and art therapy. Its results planted the seeds for the not-for-profit organisation Wild Rumpus, a creative social enterprise which she founded in 2013 with Lizzie Rose after close to 20 years working in community development and program co-ordination. It invites community members to share their creative and practical skills through skill-share classes.

Lizzie Rose is a sustainability practitioner and community education worker. Her focus on bringing people together to work on environmental projects and activities connects with her firm belief that connection to nature and the planet is vital for positive mental health and wellbeing. She has held roles at Greenpeace, MacArthur Centre for Sustainable Living, Birds in Backyards and numerous local government agencies and co-founded Wild Rumpus with Caitlin to unlock and connect people with practical, creative skills with people who want to learn them.


Recovery, Hope for the Future (Motivational), Courage/Resilience, Reflection, Patience, Partnership – This presentation will offer a focussed look at the commissioning process and resulting art produced for the new ACT Secure Mental Health Unit, Dhulwa, against the backdrop of an independent report into art in the Canberra Hospital.

Dr Jenny McFarlane is an art historian, curator and writer in the Canberra region. She has advised on public collections in the ACT for many years. Research interests include local visual arts practice and the connections between the visual arts and their community. She was appointed the inaugural Curator of Arts in Health in 2012.


Retaining Identity: Creativity and Caregiving – This presentation will discuss the methods, measures and results of a pilot study to test an art intervention for caregivers and persons with dementia. Building off current research, the study aims to better understand the feasibility and impact of visual art activities for persons with dementia and their family caregiver. Recommendations for future interventions will be highlighted.

Developing Intergenerational Arts Programming: Educating Young Artists to Work with Persons with Dementia – Intergenerational arts programming can provide numerous benefits for persons with dementia and young adults, including improved social interaction, and positive feelings of respect, compassion and joy. This presentation will share learning techniques and strategies to prepare young adults to successfully participate in intergenerational arts programming.

Anne Mondro is an artist and Associate Professor in the University of Michigan (UM) Stamps School of Art & Design. She designs courses, programming and research focused on creative ageing, and creates sculpture inspired by those experiences. In 2015 she completed the UM School of Social Work Advanced Clinical Dementia Practice certificate program and her course Memory, Ageing & Expressive Arts won the Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award in Creative Expression in 2015.


I’m New Here: Development and Implementation of a Sanford Meisner-based Drama Therapy Intervention in Refugee Communities – A presentation of an emergent drama therapy intervention utilising Sanford Meisner’s repetition exercise focusing specifically in ‘colonised Other’ communities. The presentation will include a systematic review of literature on the technique and its implementation to date and a brief experiential demonstration of the technique.

Mikel Moss is a current PhD candidate in Global Mental Health, a recent graduate of the Clinical Psychology program at Columbia University, and a former alternative training student in drama therapy. His focus is on the development of empirical, quantitative data-driven drama therapeutic techniques.


The Dunedin Hospital Art Collection: Humanising Clinical and Institutional Spaces – Dr Alan Clarke initiated the Dunedin Hospital Art Collection. This presentation examines how art transforms experience of institutional space and contributes to wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors. It also identifies issues for custodial care in an ever-changing work environment, where functionalism tends to overlook the significant role of the art collection.

Christine Mulligan MA BFA RCN is employed by The Healthcare Otago Charitable Trust to catalogue their extensive art collection in the Dunedin and Wakari Hospitals, New Zealand. A qualified architectural technician, Christine retrained as a Registered Comprehensive Nurse, graduating in 1985. After raising a family she retrained again, graduating with a Masters of Arts in Art History and Theory. Her unique background in art and nursing, and ability to read architectural plans, lets her negotiate the complex and sensitive healthcare environment.


Where Art Meets Science: Investigation and Evaluation of the Therapeutic Use of Art Therapy – This is an ongoing study investigating the capacity of art-making to work with violence in a locked hospital setting for suicidal and homicidal adolescents aged 12 – 17. Evaluations from young people and family members, as well as examples of their artworks will be shown, demonstrating the containing function of art-making. This will be contextualised and supported by recent neurobiological research on implicit (unconscious) memory and cognitive (conscious) brain function.

Frances Nielsen has worked professionally with images and art-making throughout her arts career, spanning 36 years. For the past twelve years she has focused on working with traumatised children and is more recently working five days a week at The Walker High Severity Adolescent Unit for suicidal and homicidal 12-17-year-olds.


Building Resiliency and Capacity through Creative Engagement: Art Therapy with Young Adults – When words aren’t enough … art therapy provides a unique form of engagement, allowing for capacity and resiliency-building through self-exploration. This is an overview of the new art therapy program within Mater Young Adult Service, drawing on program design, implementation and research initiatives. A case study demonstrates the benefits for individual clients and multidisciplinary teams.

Kate Palmer is an art therapist and social worker at the Mater Young Adult Service in Brisbane. Prior to January 2017, Kate was a social worker in the Paediatric Oncology and Paediatric Rehabilitation field. She is currently undertaking research to evaluate the efficacy of the art therapy programs being implemented at the Mater. Kate works across the young adult ward, seeing young people with chronic illness, in both the inpatient and outpatient setting, and also within the young adult drug and alcohol withdrawal service.


Never Too Late to Learn a New Skill: Weaving Resilience in an Aged Care Home – This presentation highlights the creative journey of an aged care home, especially focusing on two residents interacting with an unfamiliar art form – designing, learning the craft and making a handwoven tapestry. The project also explored multiple research methodologies used to interpret data in the field of creative research.

Ilona Pappnes Demecs is a multi-award-winning textile artist, registered nurse and midwife. She studied tapestry weaving in Europe in Bauhaus heritage workshops. Her art practice incorporates contemporary tapestry weaving with the development of individual techniques, also designing and implementing creative participatory art programs in the health discourse and aged care. Ilona is now doing her PhD on a large-scale participatory tapestry-weaving project in an aged care home.


How to Conduct an Arts on Prescription Program for Older People with Unmet Health and Wellness Needs This multidisciplinary interactive workshop will walk participants through each step in the process of developing, conducting and evaluating an arts on prescription program for older people with a range of health and wellness needs. The presenters have had ‘hands-on’ experience in an established ‘arts on prescription’ program. Each participant will receive a free printed user guide.

Professor Christopher Poulos is head of Research and Aged Care Clinical Services for HammondCare, one of Australia’s leading providers of aged care, dementia, palliative care and rehabilitation services. He is also conjoint Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales and has been a practicing rehabilitation physician for over 25 years. His current research interests also include restorative programs for older people, the use of the arts to promote health and wellbeing and the wellness needs of carers of people with dementia.

Associate Professor Roslyn Poulos is a public health physician and academic at the University of New South Wales. She both teaches and researches in the field of ageing and health. Most recently, in collaboration with colleagues from aged care provider HammondCare and UNSW Arts and Design, she has focussed on adding to the evidence base for the role of Arts in Health.

Michelle Heldon is a practicing Visual Artist based south of Sydney, Australia. Michelle holds a degree in Fine Arts with Honours from the National Art School and a diploma in Art Therapy. She has travelled overseas and worked on Art and Health community projects in Greenland, the UK, Finland and Iceland. Her passion is working with the older generation, in particular, people living with dementia, to creatively open new doors. She is currently on maternity leave from her roles as Arts Engagement Manager at HammondCare and the Art and Dementia Coordinator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. 

Annette Innis is a visual artist specialising in portraiture. After studying at the UNSW College of Fine Arts she went on to study Community Work eventually combining these two interests with her work for HammondCare’s Arts on Prescription Program as an Artist and Project Officer. Annette also teaches community life drawing classes and is passionate about the positive impact participatory art can have upon mental health.

Pete McDonald’s music performance background centres around a Jazz piano performance degree, and he spent many years practicing, gigging, teaching, recording and composing. After toiling that road, he decided to head back for further study, completing a Masters of Music Therapy, and now works full-time as a Registered Music Therapist. As well as his work for HammondCare, Pete has worked for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia, Anglicare (ARV), Giant Steps and several other special needs schools. He now runs his own business full-time, with a client focus including aged care, and children with disabilities.


InterGENERATE: Creative Ageing – Bankstown Arts Centre, in partnership with community groups and local residents, has piloted InterGENERATE, a unique creative ageing program that increases intercultural and intergenerational exchange. It is a proactive community engagement program focusing on oral histories and lived experiences of older people, exploring stories of place, identity, migration and belonging.

Vandana Ram has worked at local, state and federal levels in arts management and facilitation of cultural practice for 30 years. As both an arts manager and community-based artist she has initiated a vast range of cultural programs, mainly focusing on women and young people from culturally diverse backgrounds. She was instrumental in establishing the Bankstown Arts Centre in 2011 and gained the Minister’s Award for Women in Local Government in 2014.


Teaching Dance to Ageing Populations – Given the pace and scale of Australia’s ageing population, Ausdance Victoria forecasts increased demand for dance programs for seniors living independently and in aged care. However, the Australian Dance Industry is not prepared for this demand. This presentation draws on research data and asks, is it time for Australia to develop nationally recognised training programs for teaching seniors dance?

Aesthetics and Agency: the Art of Good Dance Programs for Seniors – This practical workshop explores two important aspects of creative dance programs for seniors: aesthetics and agency. It examines strategies for engaging older participants in dance programs in creative, stimulating, inclusive and respectful ways. This is followed by discussion on creative agency and the production of meaningful and provocative work, opening the floor to participants to share their own strategies for success.

Katrina Rank is Ausdance Victoria’s director of Education, Training and Life-long Learning. She is a practicing educator, choreographer and dance artist, contributing to national and international movement education programs, in schools, the community and across all ages and abilities. Katrina graduated from the Australian Ballet School in 1984 and performed professionally in Australia and the UK. She is a registered teacher and completed a PHD in Contemporary Arts (Dance) in 2001. Her current dance work focuses on Dance for Mature Bodies and Dance for Health.


Holding the Story: Digital Storytelling for Wellbeing – Older people in care, as well as within their own homes and communities, are frequently isolated, voiceless and invisible. Perceived as ‘useless’ their overall health and wellbeing can deteriorate, predisposing them to disease. ‘Holding the Story’ is a program designed to reconnect participants with their ‘self’ and to create joy and wellbeing based around storytelling as a co-creative process.

Michelle Royce was inspired by her work with older people, as communications co-ordinator at Sawtell Catholic Care of the Aged, to tell some of their stories in a children’s picture book ‘Lucas and Jack’. Published in 2014, this book led Michelle to further research the therapeutic applications of storytelling and, in particular, digital storytelling.


Whatchya Gunna Do? Immunisation music video – In consultation with Elders, students, Aboriginal medical services and Aboriginal education officers, it appears that there is a lack of awareness of vaccine-preventable diseases and immunisation in indigenous communities. High school students would be more likely to attend the school immunisation clinics if they had more information on vaccine-preventable diseases. Adolescents are more likely to respond to messages delivered via visual arts and social media.

Leanne Sanders is from the Tati Tati nations, with a strong connection to the Wirdajuri people in regional Australia. Leanne originally completed a Bachelor of Health Science Indigenous Mental Health and has 12 years experience working within Aboriginal communities. She is passionate about Aboriginal health and Closing the Gap. Leanne is the Aboriginal Immunisation Health Worker for Murrumbidgee and Southern NSW Local Health Districts.


The Dark Side of Creativity: Why We Need More Specialised Mental Health Practitioners Supporting Creative Practitioners towards Resilience – Vulnerability is identified as the site of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure AND the birthplace of creativity, love, connection and joy (Brown 2015). The arts have brought relief or insight into previous experiences of distress. But there are confronting instances where creative practitioners have been preoccupied with creativity to the exclusion and harm of human relationships.

Nurturing a Resilient Arts Practice in Creative Service to Self and Others – When arts practitioners experience unanticipated discomfort or harm (physically, psychologically, emotionally) in the process of working with creative practices in health care settings, it is unlikely they will attain their most effective therapeutic outcomes. Dr Seton has developed ethical guidelines and healthy, regenerative and embodied practices that show respect for individual embodied experiences (both artist and participants) while recognising the necessary value of risk-taking in creative arts exploration and expression.

Mark Seton is the director of Sense Connexion and an honorary Research Associate (Theatre and Performance Studies) at the University of Sydney. He received the 2009 Gilbert Spottiswood Churchill Fellowship and conducted a study tour of actor training healthcare practices in the UK. His research interests include the psychological wellbeing of performing artists and ethical teaching and research practices in higher education creative and performing arts.

CATHERINE SIMMONDS (Performers Kate Fiske, Ben Pearson, Kelly Baley, Jain Thompson & Sarah Sewell)

Listening To Voices – The arts collide with mental health and messages of hope and recovery in this powerful yet simple theatrical delivery. ‘Listening to Voices’ aims to highlight and explore diverse and alternative narratives for many experiences usually deemed mental illness (eg trauma). It utilises theatre as an innovative vehicle for creating social change and to contribute to the empowerment and recovery of people with lived experience of diagnosis.

Catherine Simmonds’ focus as an artistic director is the space between the ‘lived experiences’ of communities and the language of art. She was a lead actress with the IRAA theatre for 10 years and the founding director of the Brunswick Women’s Theatre. For more than two decades she has provided marginalised people with a creative space in which to ‘discover the need to speak and speak the unspoken’. Her work has addressed some of most pressing issues of our time, including intercultural and intergenerational relationships and public and private violence.


Createspace: Enhancing Wellbeing through Creativity for Young People within the Headspace Model – This presentation will provide a framework of ideas and experiences, exploring how creative expression has been used as a successful tool to facilitate and enhance the wellbeing of young people aged 12-25. We will investigate how creative expression can be used within a clinical context but also how it has been integrated within the Headspace model at Rockingham, in Western Australia.

Felicity Sivewright has worked in the Arts and Health-related fields since 2007 and is currently the clinical co-ordinator and Createspace program co-ordinator at Headspace Rockingham in Western Australia. In 2013 Felicity completed a Masters in Counselling and has since been combining her creative and counselling skills to help adults and young people explore how creativity can positively impact health and wellbeing.


Towards a Caring Practice: A Model to Promote Effective Arts-Health Practice – Unlike other professions affiliated with the field of Arts and Health, such as art therapy, arts-health practice currently lacks conceptual models to orient practitioners and guide practice. This presentation will identify the participant, well-being outcomes, the environment and the quality of the activities as the governing concern for arts-health practice.

Michael Tan Koon Boon is an artist, educator and researcher based in Singapore. His research interest lies at the intersection of art, design, health and wellbeing. Michael actively seeks to grow research and practice capabilities, engages stakeholders in the arts, design, health and social care sector to share and explore the potential of arts and design to improve experiences, services, and products related to health and wellbeing. Michael is currently Assistant Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University.


The Arts of Listening for Mental Health and Contemporary Performance Practice – By integrating a community-based contemporary performance practice development program with a community mental health literacy program, Bundanon Trust and Shoalhaven Health and Arts is bringing into focus the common attribute and art of ‘listening’.

Annette Tesoriero is a classically trained mezzo soprano and performance artist working in the contemporary performance arena. Combining her interest in health and her wide experience in the arts and arts management, she works under the banner of Shoalhaven Health and Arts, delivering high quality arts projects with community health outcomes. She has been engaged by the Bundanon Trust to co-direct, with Philip Channells, the inspirational creative ageing 60+Performance Project.


Artful Art and Dementia Art-making – This workshop will demonstrate studio and gallery-based activities where our artist educators will share their approaches to creative learning and discussion techniques that support people with dementia to engage with contemporary art. We will offer several examples art-making activities which respond to the ideas, materials or processes encountered in artworks.

Clare Thackway is the Artful Art and Dementia co-ordinator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Clare joined the MCA as an Artist Educator in 2016 and has co-ordinated and delivered various education and public programs. In 2012-13, she was curator and event co-ordinator of the national touring exhibition for Alzheimer’s Australia ‘Love, Loss and Laughter – Seeing Alzheimer’s Differently’.


Using Art and Creativity to Counter the Challenges of Hospitalised Adolescents and Build Resilience: the Starlight ‘Livewire’ Program – Starlight’s dedicated adolescent program ‘Livewire’ provides a space for young people to interact, helping to transform the hospital experience for them through ward-based arts activities and empowering creative workshops. Delivered in both adolescent wards and dedicated mental health units, this program aims to counter issues such as isolation and loss of control, through a range of creative initiatives.

Bridget Waters is the Arts in Health consultant at Starlight Children’s Foundation. This role has leveraged Bridget’s creative knowledge to create and implement a number of major, innovative arts projects in hospitals, focusing on Arts and Health outcomes to transform the experience of hospitalised children and teenagers. Bridget strongly believes that one of the best ways to empower young patients is through involving hospital staff and working alongside them. She sees this inclusive approach as integral to each arts project. She has over 15 years of industry experience..


Feeling whole: possibilities for medicine and the visual arts – The National Gallery of Australia has developed a partnership with ACT Health medical colleagues to deliver an Artmed program for trainee physicians tailored to a set of specific learning objectives and guided by a thematic focus for each year group. This partnership was inspired by the undergraduate Artmed collaboration with the ANU Medical School. The session will include observation exercises, art making and reflective opportunities, a focus on resilience skills, cultural awareness and a general discussion about how medical students and healthcare providers can benefit from an ongoing engagement with the visual arts.

Frances Wild is Education Producer at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Frances began her professional life as a registered nurse at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. Following a degree in Art History and Curatorship at the ANU, Frances joined the Education department of the NGA and since 2009 has been responsible for the Gallery’s artmed program which is a leader in medical humanities in Australia.


Linking Positive Psychology to Art: an Artist in Residency Case Study – This presentation will explore how positive psychology has influenced the art-making process of Sydney-based Celeste Wrona, during her recent artist in residency, titled ‘Renewal’. The residency occurred at the Ingham Institute in 2017 and focused on cutting-edge electron microscopy research that is allowing scientists to explore the behaviour of cancer cells at the sub-molecular level.

Celeste Wrona’s work brings together rich textures, vibrant colours and a deep appreciation of organic form and line. Her work, rather than critiquing the shortcomings of society, celebrates life as it unfolds before us and the environment in which we live. Celeste draws both on intrinsic and extrinsic sources of inspiration and subject matter, particularly the beauty and intricacies of organic forms both at a microscopic and macroscopic level. Underpinning her artistic approach is the relatively recent Positive Psychology movement, with its focus on the improving wellbeing.

Kristopher Wrona is a senior psychologist with the NSW Department of Education and oversees a team that provides counselling and assessment services to 14 schools including specialist education settings for students with complex mental health problems, autism and intellectual delay. Kris is currently working with Celeste to develop an art program for high school students that integrates the Visual Arts curriculum, positive psychology and the NSW Department of Education’s Wellbeing Framework.


My Journey, My Story: a Three-month Pilot Arts Project at John L Grove Rehabilitation Unit, Launceston General Hospital – This presentation provides an overview of a pilot arts project implemented at John L Grove Rehabilitation Unit of Launceston General Hospital between February and May 2017. It shares clients’ feedback and individual achievement as well as the overall project outcomes. Challenges experienced during the project are also discussed as a good learning opportunity for future projects in similar settings.

Hui-Yu Yao was born in Taipei, Taiwan and moved to Australia in 2005. She obtained her Bachelor of Social Work in 2010 and worked with refugees in Sydney before moving to Launceston in 2012. She has been a social worker at John L Grove Rehabilitation Unit of Launceston since late 2013 and won an award for her pilot project. She is particularly interested in issues relating to Australia’s health system and its ageing and diverse population. She recently completed a Master of Social Work and is currently undertaking a Diploma in Dementia Care.