PRESS RELEASE – Thursday 1st February 2018

Building on the success of Aesop’s first national Arts in Health Conference & Showcase in 2016 at the Southbank Centre, the event is back from 9.45am – 6pm on Thursday 19 April 2018 at Milton Court, in partnership with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the College of Medicine.

For the second Conference & Showcase, the focus is on how the arts are contributing to current health priorities: reducing demands on the health system, addressing the neglect of mental health, supporting an ageing population and tackling health inequalities.

Tim Joss, Aesop Chief Executive and Founder says –

We created the Conference & Showcase to help the health sector draw on the fantastic resources of the UK’s world-leading arts sector. The first edition in 2016 was a big success. As NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Innovation tweeted, ‘Awesome, Inspiring, Brilliant, Game Changing – we need more of this!’ There’s still lots to do. A 2017 All Party Parliamentary Group report found ‘the UK is still very far from realising more than a small modicum of the potential contribution of the arts to health and wellbeing’. The Conference & Showcase returns at a time when the health system faces even greater challenges and, encouragingly, the arts sector’s interest in helping improve the national’s health is growing.
Our contributors, partners and funders are essential for mounting this event. We are immensely grateful to all of them’.

Confirmed speakers include: Dame Darcey Bussell DBE President of the Royal Academy of Dance & Founder of Diverse Dance Mix, Professor Gillian Leng CBE NICE Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health & Social Care, Professor Tim Kendall NHS England National Clinical Director for Mental Health, Dr Martin Vernon NHS England National Clinical Director for Older People and Noel Gordon, Chair at NHS Digital, NHS England Non-Executive Director & Board member.

Dame Darcey Bussell DBE, President of the Royal Academy of Dance & Founder of Diverse Dance Mix says –

‘We know we have a crisis in health in the UK. This is unacceptable and must be successfully overcome. From my experience I am convinced that dance and dance fitness can make a meaningful, impactful and cost effective contribution and I will do everything I can to champion it’.

The event will showcase 24 arts programmes already helping deliver current health priorities. Each will feature a presentation of the programme, testament from beneficiaries and health and cost-effectiveness perspectives.

Dr Michael Dixon, Chair of Council, College of Medicine and National Clinical Champion for Social Prescribing (NHS England) says –

‘The arts have a huge role to play in health and healing. Research is beginning to show how cost-effective they can be in recovery and improving mental and physical resilience and  thus reducing calls on our conventional health service.  Indeed the NHS is not sustainable unless we begin to make much better use of the arts and other non-biomedical community resources as increasing demands will always outstrip available money and clinicians’.

As well as the showcase, the day will include strategy inspiration from health and arts leaders and the announcement of Aesop initiatives to help bring the arts into the health mainstream.

Professor Helena Gaunt, Vice Principal and Director of Guildhall Innovation at Guildhall School of Music & Drama says –

‘The Guildhall School is delighted to be hosting this year’s conference and showcase in Milton Court. It is essential that we work together across sectors to realise the game changing potential of the arts in contributing to health and well-being. Current momentum, in spite of the many challenges, is beginning to indicate what may be achieved. As well as making arts and health a priority research area at the Guildhall School, we are now extending our engagement in continuing professional development and professional training for arts practitioners, to enable them to build relevant specialist skills’.

The day will be facilitated by Vivienne Parry OBE, science writer and broadcaster.

The full line-up of arts in health programmes presenting at the Conference & Showcase will be announced later this month.

Tickets are £95 (plus booking fee) and include the day’s events, lunch and refreshments.

The Conference and Showcase will take place from 9.45am – 6pm on Thursday 19th April 2018 at Guildhall School of Music & Drama Milton Court, 1 Milton Street, London EC2Y 9BH.

Tickets available to buy online now from –

For more information email or call 01993 870 161.