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Willis Newson, Bristol Heart Institute, Lifeboat atrium sculpture by Rob Blake and Jan Olins.


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AHSW 2015 Annual Conference & AGM

Tuesday 17 November 2015; 10am - 4pm
Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre, Buckfast, Devon, TQ11 0EG

BOOK NOW! Speakers, Workshops and Provocations in the beautiful surroundings of Buckfast Abbey.

Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre

Since the closure of our usual venue in Taunton, this year's conference will be held in the beautiful and tranquil surroundings of Buckfast Abbey at their purpose built conference centre. Even in November, the gardens and the Abbey are well worth visiting.


Arts&Health Month November 2015

This event is part of Arts & Health Month, an international initiative to draw attention to events, programs, projects related to arts & health.

To save waste, please download and print only what you need. We will have a few spare copies of the programme as well as the AGM papers available on the day.

Download conference programme

Download Speakers' Biographies

Download AGM agenda and M&A update

Download minutes of 2014 AGM

Download 2014/2015 Unaduited Financial Statements

In her workshop on arts-based social prescribing, Alex Coulter will refer to this review: Social Prescribing: A Review of Community Referral Schemes 

Download map and directions 


Keynote 1: Research on Wellbeing and the role of the Arts

Paul Dieppe, (Emeritus Professor of Health and Wellbeing at Exeter Medical School and AHSW Trustee) has been undertaking research on health, wellbeing and healing for the last 10 years. He will talk a little bit about some of his current research, and explain why is excited about the prospect of working more with arts and arts practitioners in the future.

Keynote 2: Good practice in Arts & Health work 

Debbie Geraghty, Chief Executive, Plymouth Music Zone, winners of AHSW Prize 2015

"The AHSW Prize 2015 recognised the diversity of our music delivery and the risks we had taken in extending it to new and quite challenging settings like domestic refuges and psychiatric units. Winning the AHSW Prize became about more than just enhancing our credibility, it was about feeling a vital part of a wider resonant body of work that we too are now seen as contributing to. The whole AHSW awards event and prize winning experience cemented our passion to build our work even further in the area of arts and health so we can have powerful impacts for people during their most vulnerable times. Having that First Prize Winner badge has certainly drawn the attention of other funders and that can't be underestimated. But for us personally the prize felt as if we were giving voice to some of those extraordinary people we have the joy of working with every day - and the unrestricted £5000 award meant we could do more of that work straight away. Ideal! All in all, I believe entering and winning the AHSW Prize 2015 was certainly one of the most valuable and meaningful award experiences we've ever had." 
Debbie Geraghty

Keynote 3: Making I Am Joan

Viv Gordon, Artistic Director, Mean Feet Dance, winner of the AHSW Individual Prize 2015

Viv will speak about the process of making I Am Joan and will share a short film specifically about the supervision process, that she is making for Strike A Light's arts and mental health event on 12 October.

I Am Joan is a one woman dance show. A hopeful comedy about a woman in recovery from trauma finding empowerment by connecting with various inspiring Joans. Such as Joan Collins, Joan Jett and Joan of Arc, all of whom embody elusive qualities of resilience and self-belief.

I Am Joan will be performed as part of the Strike A Light Festival are holding an Arts and Mental Health Day on October the 12th at Gloucester Guildhall. 


Workshop 1:
A participatory dance and movement workshop using text from I am Joan as a stimulus for creative group work with Viv Gordon, Artistic Director, Mean Feet Dance, winner of the AHSW Individual Prize 2015


Workshop 2:
Creative Engagement Techniques for needs analysis, future visioning and patient and public voice with Ruth Ben Tovim, Creative Director, Encounters Arts 

A practical interactive session sharing the range of successful creative engagement tools and techniques Encounters Arts have used across the region and nationally to reach and engage diverse communities in expressing experiences and identifying needs. Ruth will draw on recent creative consultation processes with Caring Town Totnes Exeter Engagement Hub and Ageing Well Torbay.


Workshop 3:

Creative and Credible: using evaluation to understand what counts and what matters for your project with
Jane Willis, Director, Willis Newson and Norma Daykin, Professor Emerita of Arts in Helath, University of West of England; Visiting Professor, Canterbury Christ Church University and University of Winchester

Creative & Credible aims to support arts and health organisations and practitioners to engage with evaluation creatively, to improve their practice, to strengthen the evidence base around the benefits and impacts of arts and health projects and to make well-informed spending decisions.

Workshop 4:
Arts-based social prescribing
with Alex Coulter, Director, AHSW and Thrisha Haldar, Artlift Director

Alex will talk about the national and regional picture and the recent review of social prescribing by Helen Chatterjee and Paul Camic, which you can access here, and Thrisha will give you an insight into the practicalities of delivering an arts on prescription programme.

Alex will refer to this review on social prescribing which you can download here:
Social Prescribing: A Review of Community Referral Schemes

This year each workshop will run twice. 

At the last two conferences we have been treated to 10-minute talks by members on subjects dear to their hearts, burning in their souls, or uppermost on their minds. No powerpoints, no reams of handouts, just passion. Below are this year's selection:

1) Yoga, Laughter, Creativity, Resilience - connect the dots in just 10 minutes - Joe Hoare 

2) Providing Inclusive Pathways - Jo Willis, Shallal

3) LifeMusic - Claire Tarling / Laura Cousins

4) Transgender Voice and Identity - Gillie Stoneham

5) Bom Dia! - Michele O'Brien/ Jenny Gordon
A musical journey to Portugal with Michele O’Brien and Jenny Gordon where we discover what happens when a government prioritises early years and the arts. 

6) The Bird That Brings the Rain - Alex Simson, StoryWell

There will be tables for you to put your leaflets on, or to display information about your organisation or your project. Please contact Jackie on info@ahsw.org.uk if you would like to book a table. 

This will take place during the conference and members are invited to attend. 

This year, three of the existing Trustees stand down by rotation: William Boa (Treasurer), Sarah Cobley and Martine Price. They are all prepared to stand for re-election. 

We are hoping to get the Mems & Arts formally amended which will include increasing the number of Trustees from 9 to 11.

We will contact members about the details of this in a few weeks but if anyone would like to nominate a potential Trustee, or stand themselves, please contact Sue Isherwood, Chair of AHSW, via info@ahsw.org.uk

Please don't be put off by the thought of venturing into darkest Devon, the conference centre is easy to find and parking is a doddle.

By road:
The conference centre is 2 minutes from the A38 between Exeter and Plymouth. There is ample free parking. 

Sat Nav: Northwood Lane, TQ11 0EG (this will take you to the car park)

*Please share transport if possible; it's nice to have someone to share the journey and chat about the conference on the way home - and it's better for the environment.*

The best rail stations are Newton Abbot or Totnes.


The journey between Newton Abbot and the conference centre takes 20 - 30 minutes so you would need to arrive at Newton Abbot by 9.30am.

From Newton Abbot:
Stover Taxis have 4, 6 and 8-seater minibuses. In a shared 8-seater minibus, the trip between Newton Abbott & Buckfast Abbey would cost about £2.50 per person each way. A normal taxi would cost about £25 and they may be in short supply as they will be on the school run at that time of day.

If you would like to book a place in a Stover minibus please phone Pete direct on 01364 641040 and he will co-ordinate*

From Totnes:
Badger Cabs 01803 840400; cost about £15 per 4 seater. Again, please phone them direct to organise this.


This year the fees are a little higher than in previous years which is largely because we got such a good deal at our previous venue, Lyngford House. The fees reflect the cost to AHSW and while we don't want to make a loss, we do not aim to make a massive profit either.


Sorry, all Concessions now taken.

We are offering 20 concessionary places at £50 and when they're gone they're gone so it's first come, first served.

We don't check up on you but trust that you won't opt for a concessionary place unless you really need one.


Don't forget that you can become a member for free and save yourself £10. 

Booking fees:

Concessions - late cancellation - 1 available£50.00 No longer available
Members - Early Bird£55.00 No longer available
Non-Members - Early Bird£65.00 No longer available
Members - Standard£65.00 No longer available
Non-Members - Standard£75.00 No longer available

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