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Literary Festival 2012: The Medicine Chest of the Soul: arts and health


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Speaker(s): Jane Davies, David McDaid, Margaret Perkins, Jeanette Winterson
Chair: Tim Joss

Recorded on 29 February 2012 in Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building.

This session explores the substantial role that arts can play in improving health and wellbeing. A number of studies have demonstrated the positive benefits from, for example, reading for people with dementia. Speakers within this session have been working to demonstrate the benefits of arts on health and to develop integral services within health and social care practices. This session will discuss the healing power of literature and hear what is cutting edge today.

Jane Davies is founder and director of the Reader Organisation, a national charity “dedicated to bringing about a reading revolution”. Jane taught for fifteen years in the Department of Continuing Education at Liverpool, and set up The Reader magazine as a way of getting the excitement of her reading-together based courses out into the wider world. Since 1997, Jane has wanted to make a bigger place for books and reading in the heart of the nation.

David McDaid is senior research fellow in health policy and health economics at LSE Health and Social Care and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies at LSE. David's principle research activities focus on mental health policy predominantly, but not exclusively, in Europe. He has published more than 40 peer reviewed papers largely on the use of economics in policy making and on mental health policy and acted as a consultant to a variety of governments, public and voluntary agencies including the World Health Organisation, the European Commission and Amnesty International.

Margaret Perkins is research officer within the Personal Social Services Research Unit at LSE. Margaret has a Master's in Social work from LSE and has experience in hospital social work, local authority mental health and children's work and care management of older people. She also has a number of years experience in the voluntary sector with the Citizen's Advice Bureau service and the Motor Neurone Disease Association advising families on services and support for those living with MND.

Jeanette Winterson has won various awards around the world for her fiction and adaptations, including the Whitbread Prize, UK, and the Prix d'argent, Cannes Film Festival. She wrote her first novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit|, when she was 23. In 2006 Jeanette Winterson was awarded an OBE for services to literature. She writes regularly for various UK newspapers, especially The Times and The Guardian, and her journalism can be found on the site. Her memoir – Why be happy when you could be normal? – was published in October 2011 and draws on issues of mental health.

Tim Joss has been director of the Rayne Foundation since 2005. Tim co-founded and was the first chair of the British Council for School Environments, the independent champion of excellent design and architecture of schools. In 2008, Tim wrote New Flow a better future for artists, citizens and the state|. It led to Tim creating the Public Engagement Foundation, which aims to open up markets for the arts in non-arts settings. Previously Tim was artistic director & chief executive of festivals in Bath where he expanded the Bath International Music Festival and founded the Bath Literature Festival. He has been chair of the British Arts Festivals Association and chair of the Community Music Commission of the International Society for Music Education. He is a visiting senior fellow in Cultural Policy & Management at City University, a trustee of the London Sinfonietta and the Richard Feilden Foundation (which focuses on Africa, education and architecture), and a member of Arts & Business Advisory Council.

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