Programme for the 2021 Conference
“Arts and culture, such as music, dance and theatre, can play an important role throughout life in supporting people to be healthier and happier. From community projects to arts therapies in clinical settings across the country, evidence-based arts interventions are making a positive difference to people’s health and wellbeing.” Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England



You can now see the Conference Schedule and biographies of all the speakers on Airmeet.

You can download a quick view PDF Programme, including titles of parallel sessions and times here.

Registration for the conference is via the Arts & Health South West website and you can book your ticket here.


Programme Overview


INEQUALITY - Monday 21st June 
Keynotes will be interspersed with 4 parallel session blocks (each parallel session block has a choice of 8 break-out sessions to choose from), as well as opportunities to network.
8:30 –10:30

1A1 Welcome: Alex Coulter, Director of Arts & Health South West 
Professor Richard Parish, Chair of the National Centre for Rural Health and Care

1A2 Opening Premiere: Cap O’Rushes: A commissioned new work by composer Cevanne-Horrocks Hopayian with Inclusive Ensembles in Portugal and UK
1A3-4 INEQUALITY: The Global Context

  • The Hon Carmel Sepuloni MP, Minister for Social Development & Employment, Minister for Disability Issues, Minister for ACC, and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, New Zealand
  • Culture is no excuse for Inequality: Professor Pascale Allotey (Malaysia), Director of the UN University Institute of Global Health

11:00 – 11:50  Parallel Session Block 1B

Take a look at the choice of 1B sessions HERE

12:00 – 12:30  1B9 Keynote: ‘‘Difficult Lives’’ from Ping Chong’s Undesirable Elements series.

Ping Chong, Theatre Director (New York) and Professor Hiromi Sakamoto (Japan).

Undesirable Elements is a series of community-specific interview-based theater works examining issues of culture and identity with people who are outsiders within their mainstream community. It's not a play or documentary-theater project performed by actors, but presented as a chamber piece of story-telling. In 2019, Ping Chong and Hiromi Sakamoto created a new version of the series entitled "Difficult Lives", in which everyone has some form of disability. It was presented in Tokyo and Osaka.

14:00 – 14:50 Parallel Session Block 1C 

Take a look at the choice of 1C sessions HERE 

15:10 – 16:00 Parallel Session Block 1D

Take a look at the choice of 1D sessions HERE

16:30 – 17:20 Parallel Session Block 1E

Take a look at the choice of 1E sessions HERE


18:00 – 19:00

Social Lounge

1F1 Open Space discussion following on from 1E8

Following panel discussion 1E8, join your peers in facilitated table discussions on the theme of learning and professional development for arts, health and wellbeing practitioners. Conversation prompts will cover practitioner qualities, skills, training content, self-care learning and external support, and practice guidelines. All conference participants can contribute to the parallel discussion on our virtual whiteboard.

19:30 – 20:00 1F2 Keynote Performance - Lady Nade

Modern Soul-Folk Americana Singer-Songwriter Lady Nade pours creativity into every song, often lavishing them with a recipe to match. Regardless of the pandemic Lady Nade has continued to use the power of her creativity and song writing to aid health and well-being. Artistically she found this ‘forced stillness’ gave her a prolific outpouring of words that has become her third album “Willing”, a collection of stories about love and friendship and songs that explore self and loneliness.

20:30 – 23:50 1G1 - 1G5 Welcome to Aotearoa / New Zealand Panel

  • Aotearoa Perspectives on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. Presenters in this session share and reflect on innovative approaches to arts, health and well-being that are embedded within, or respond closely to, Aotearoa New Zealand’s distinct cultural context. Facilitated by Te Taumata Toi a Iwi
  • Creativity as a pathway to adapting post-disaster – lessons from Ōtautahi/ Christchurch. The people of Ōtautahi/ Christchurch have experienced earthquakes, floods, fires and terrorist attacks in the last decade. Arts and creativity have been central to healing and growing the cultural identity of the city. Gapfiller, the All Right? Campaign, ŌtautahiCreativeSpaces, and Rekindle are innovative responses to disaster. Through film and conversation, local practitioners from these initiatives explore how the city’s recovery journeys have been supported through arts, and how their experience might be valuable to other populations.
  • Creating change: Realising the potential of Toi Rangatahi Youth Arts in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. This set of presentations provides insight into Aotearoa New Zealand’s rich body of youth arts practice, which draws from western, indigenous Māori and Pacific Island worldviews and creative practices. Presenters share research and examples of practice, reflecting on issues of culture, power, inequality and sustainability.


POWER - Tuesday 22nd June 

Keynotes will be interspersed with 5 parallel session blocks throughout the day (each parallel session block has a choice of 6-8 break-out sessions to choose from), as well as opportunities to network.


7:30- 8:00

2A1 Workshop: Singing for Wellbeing (in Zoom)

This session is a time for you to relax, breathe and sing. Starting with a vocal warm-up and harmony songs, Jess will teach each part and then put them together live, through the magic of loop pedal. Latency issues mean we can’t sing together so you will be muted whilst singing along. If you are nervous, this is a brilliant way of building your confidence – you can sing your heart out safe in the knowledge that only you can hear you! You can even just come along and listen if you wish to.

8:30 – 9:45

Daily Welcome

2A2 Keynote Performance: Sokerissa Dance (Japan)

The word “sokerissa” comes from Japanese “sore ike!”, meaning “step forward”. In 2005 Yuuki Aoki, a dancer and choreographer, brought together people who were living on the street to create a dance group, with the help of The Big Issue. They have been dancing on the street and stage ever since. The group has earned a reputation as a reintegration program for socially vulnerable people. Dances are choreographed by words and from memories of the individuals.

2A3 Keynote: Vic McEwan, Artist-in-Residence, Sydney Facial Nerve Clinic (Australia)

The New Normal: Negotiating Facial Paralysis

The layers of physical and emotional negotiation required by people experiencing facial paralysis as a result of Cancer, Bells Palsy, Tumours or trauma, are complex. The face, considered to be the centre of our identity, is no longer able to express emotion as expected.  This presentation will explore the initial 2 years of ongoing artist led research at the Sydney Facial Nerve Clinic, examining the negotiation between patients, clinicians and life.

10:00 – 10:50 Parallel Session Block 2B

Take a look at the choice of 2B sessions HERE

11:10 – 13:00

2C1 Morning Welcome Professor Helen Chatterjee, Professor of Biology, University College London

2C2- 2C4 Keynotes:

  • Gaining Ground – The Power of Creative Health. Rt Hon. Lord Howarth of Newport, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing and Chair of the National Centre for Creative Health (UK)

  • The Power of Partnerships: Arts Care Northern Ireland 1991-2021. Jenny Elliott, CEO of Arts Care and Roísín McDonough, CEO of Arts Council Northern Ireland.

    In this conversation, Jenny Elliot and Roísín McDonough will discuss how Arts Care was borne out of the policy context of the 90s in terms of health, politics and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. They will consider the importance of policies, networks and critical partnerships across sectors and how the partnership with Health and the Arts Council in Northern Ireland has developed.

  • Taru Koivisto, Director of Ministry of Social Affairs, Finland. Arts and Health Policy in Finland

2C5 Keynote Panel: Levelling Up: arts and health policy development in Europe.
Chaired by Nils Fietjen with Professor John Middleton, Pernille Weiss MEP, Taru Koivisto, and Dr Daisy Fancourt.

How can we integrate arts and cultural interventions into health systems? Nils Fietjen from the World Health Organisation, discusses European Policy with Dr Daisy Fancourt, co- author of the recent WHO evidence review; Pernille Weiss, Danish MEP; Professor John Middleton, President of the Association of European Schools of Public Health; and Taru Kovisto, Director of Ministry of Social Affairs, Finland.
14:00 – 14:50 Parallel Session Block 2D 

Take a look at the choice of 2D sessions HERE

15:10 – 16:00 Parallel Session Block 2E

Take a look at the choice of 2E sessions HERE

16:30 – 17:20 Parallel Session Block 2F

Take a look at the choice of 2F sessions HERE

17:45 – 18:30 2G1 Keynote - The Power of Imagination - Death and Dying

Dr Rachel Clarke (UK) and Dr Sunita Puri (USA) in conversation. Chair: Anna Ledgard, Arts Producer and End-of-Life Doula.

Dr Rachel Clarke and Dr Sunita Puri are two palliative care doctors whose widely published and highly respected work talks openly about death and dying from both professional and deeply personal perspectives. Their conversation will share their experiences of care at the end of life and explore the therapeutic power of story-telling and the imagination in palliative care, loss and grief.

18:40 - 19:40  Parallel Session Block 2H

Take a look at the choice of 2H sessions HERE




SUSTAINABILITY - Wednesday 23rd June 
Keynotes will be interspersed with 3 parallel session blocks (each parallel session block has a choice of 8 break-out sessions to choose from), as well as opportunities to network.
7:45 – 8:45 

3A1 Workshop: Dawn Chorus Choir (in Zoom)

This participatory workshop will celebrate, advocate and share the experience of singing for wellbeing online. The carefully curated online activities will increase awareness of the links between singing and wellbeing, opening participants to experiences that can improve their mental health. Through an experiential model, this workshop will emphasise why group singing should be considered a vital instrument in the conversation surrounding art for wellbeing. In the workshop, we will use examples to illustrate real-life applications, create context and deepen insight.

9:00 – 9:45

3A2 Daily Welcome

3A3 Keynote: Making Change Sustainable when Culture is Political
Mary Robson, Research Associate, Durham University, and Pradeep Narayanan, Director of Research, PRAXIS, Institute for participatory practices (India)
10:00 – 10:50 Parallel Session Block 3B

Take a look at the choice of 3B sessions HERE

11:30 – 12:20 Parallel Session Block 3C

Take a look at the choice of 3C sessions HERE

13:45 – 15:15

3D1 Post Lunch Welcome: Esmé Ward, Chair of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance

3D2-4 Keynotes:

  • SEDATIVE or STIMULANT: Consume by 24:06:2021. Dr Clive Parkinson, Convenor of the Manchester Institute for Arts, Health and Social Change.

    Part tone poem, part flight from the delirium of our troubled transient lives, and nourished by changes in his own health, Clive Parkinson will deep dive into the dizzying and toxic mix of inequalities, power and sustainability. From drug induced sleeplessness to heightened perceptions of the here and now, this keynote will navigate a fractured landscape populated by the dispossessed of the past and futures, envisioning an alchemy needed to achieve collective social change.

  • Arts in Medicine programs in developing countries: Nigeria’s Sustainability Model. Kunle Adewale, Artist and Director of Arts in Medicine (Nigeria)
  • Sew to Speak: Story cloths for healing with Common Threads Project.

    Dr Rachel Cohen, Executive Director, Common Threads (USA), Jamuna Maharjan Shresth (Nepal) and Amparo Peñaherrera (Ecuador) will speak about their work with women who have survived sexual violence, war and displacement. In a safe and supportive environment, women create story cloths to stitch the unspeakable. This practice is inspired by an ancient cultural practice and is validated by current neuro-scientific understandings of trauma. Common Threads Project builds capacity through training people in the communities where they work and Rachel is joined by local partners from Nepal and Ecuador to talk about their methodology.

15:30 - 16:20 Parallel Session Block 3E

Take a look at the choice of 3E sessions HERE


17:00 – 17:30 3F1 Keynote: Christopher Bailey, Arts and Health Lead, World Health Organisation 

What Matters Most: Arts, Science and the Magic 'What if?'
17:30 – 18:30 3F2 Closing Plenary Panel

Hopes for the Future