CDAN Conference Report 2014



CDAN’s third annual conference held at Oxford Town Hall on 8 April 2014 was attended by 150 delegates, who came together to discuss the benefits of creativity on for the health and wellbeing of people with dementia and their carers.

Artists, arts organisations, cultural institutions, professionals and care staff from the statutory, voluntary and commercial sector including health, social care, academics and people with dementia and their carers, participated in  workshops, engaged with presentations by leaders in the field, visited exhibition stands and networked. Conference delegates positively evaluated conference and particularly enthused about:

  • David Cutler, Director of the Baring Foundation for “able and knowledgeable” chairmanship.
  • John Killick, a poet, who led a ‘Poetry in Dementia’ workshop full of “practical, useful ideas to take away”. He was praised as “a master of his craft and art under whose skilled warmth all human plants will flourish”.
  • Sebastian Crutch, Principal Research Associate at the Institute of Neurology, UCL, and Senior Research Fellow at Alzheimer’s Research UK, who gave a “clear, highly informative, engaging” key note lecture on ‘Creativity and Dementia’. His “moving” presentation illustrated by the painting and drawings of William Utermohlen, one of Dr. Crutch’s former patients with dementia, showed that despite brain damage, the human drive to create is paramount.
  • Rachel Mortimer, Director, Engage and Create, who led an “inspired” workshop ‘Caring artfully: skilling up artists in working with people with dementia’ that “covered a lot of ground”.
  • David Slater, Artistic Director at Entelechy Arts, and Zoe Gilmour, Artist, who presented their “intriguing” project ‘Little Boxes: Multi-Sensory Ways of Listening to and Sharing Life Stories’ that left attendees “wanting to know much more.
  • Adam Kishtainy, Music Therapy Services Manager at Guideposts Trust, whose presentation: ‘Music: The Key to Health and Wellbeing’ was “thought provoking” whilst his colleague Becky Dowson “deepened understanding of the power of music in dementia.
  • Bisakher Sarkar, MBE, Creative Director at Chaturangan “beautifully” presented ‘The ever increasing circle: Dance and Dementia’, which was “uplifting to the spirit”.
  • Chris Gage, Director at Ladder to the Moon, made “a strong case” for ‘Developing leadership, staff and community through creativity’ that “challenged us to rethink what it is to care artfully” and flagged “recognition of sustainability issues”.
  • Helen Jacobs, Artist and Hannah Cervenka, Arts Officer, for West Oxfordshire presented ‘Lights up’, an Oxfordshire project, that was “fantastic work, really inspiring, interactive and fun,” and participants came away “with a partnership model we can develop in our own town.”
  • Helen Fountain, Reminiscence officer at Museum of Oxford, and Gill Munday, of Oxfordshire Museums service led a “really inspiring” workshop on ‘Oxford Town Hall Reminiscence: Promoting Wellbeing in Communities and Hospital’, signposting “very useful resources”.
  • Gill Windle, Research Fellow at Bangor University, gave a “detailed overview” of a national research project ‘Evidencing Art and Dementia’.
  • Ralph Burrage, a local man living with dementia and his wife and carer, Jan Burrage, welcomed delegates to the conference and discussed their involvement in ‘The Time and Space Continuum Project at Modern Art Oxford’ with Maria Parsons, CE of CDAN. They enjoyed participating in the conference and thanked delegates for coming urging them to carry on the good work! Delegates said “it was so good to hear from couple living with dementia”.


Creative Dementia Arts Network is very grateful to

Oxfordshire Council: Social and Community Services, for conference sponsorship

 Carbon Colour for their support in printing the conference packs