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Memory: A National Conference on Dance and Dementia
An exchange forum to explore the impact of dance and the care of those affected by dementia. For health professionals and researchers, care providers, arts organisers and independent dance artists.

Memory: A National Conference on Dance and Dementia

Friday 10 & Saturday 11 December 2010 at the Bluecoat, Liverpool

Presented by Chaturangan and Merseyside Dance Initiative and supported by the National College for Community Dance.

This multi-disciplinary arts and health event combined academic papers, keynote dance works and presentations of art based research in dementia care by leading practitioners in the field and specially commissioned dance performances and films.

There is a growing interest in how the dance community can contribute to health and well-being especially of those with mental health problems such as memory loss. The Department of Health's National Dementia Strategy (2009) places a central focus on de-stigmatising dementia, raising awareness, supporting carers, and training and developing care staff. This conference brought an additional awareness of the needs of friends and families whose lives have been affected by this condition.

Key speakers included:
* Fransois Mattaraso (Chair, Arts Council, East Midlands)
* Dr Richard Coaten (leading specialist, dance and dementia)
* Diane Amans (Dance artist, choreographer, training consultant, author)
* Dr Sarah Whatley (Professor of Dance and Director of Research, ICELAB: Coventry School of Art and Design)
* Ken Bartlett (Creative Director, Foundation for Community Dance)
* Fergus Early (leading practitioner, dance with older people)
* Francis Angol (MDI)
* Miranda Tufnell
This innovative conference featured two new dance pieces, which had been specially been commissioned for presentation at the conference; ˜Pieces of Memory, Pieces of Maps' will be performed by Bisakha Sarker and Diane Amans, choreographed and developed with Adam Benjamin, funded by Liverpool City Council's Dance Commission 10 for 2010 and a new work for older dancers choreographed by London based artist Francis Angol in collaboration with participants from the Liveability project at the Sunflower Centre in Woolton Village. In addition to these pieces the conference included a new film addressing the stigma against dementia which had been commissioned by MDI and funded by Liverpool PCT.

MEMORY brought together a diverse range of artists, health and medical professionals, care staff, biomedical researchers, arts organisations and friends and families of those living with dementia. This conference was of the upmost importance in exploring the new techniques that have been developed to combat the onset of dementia and also those to help mange it if it has taken hold. We aimed to explore the latest thinking, share best practice and define new ways of working in this exciting and developing field.

The conference was managed by the Aspire Trust.

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