Dementia and the Arts: A Day of Discussion

Sat 16 June 2018
Tutors / Beti George & Gwion Hallam & John Killick & Patrick Jones
Course Fee / From £6 per person
Genre / Health & Wellbeing

Dementia and the Arts: A Day of Discussion
10.30 am – 4.30 pm Saturday 16 June 2018
ŷ Newydd Writing Centre, Llanystumdwy, Gwynedd, LL52 0LW
Price (including lunch): £6
Accommodation is also available for a reasonable price: please contact us if interested.
Simultaneous translation available for all Welsh-language discussions

Join Literature Wales at the Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre for a bilingual day of discussion and presentations by experts in the field of arts for health and wellbeing. It will be an opportunity to listen and learn in the company of guest speakers from many different art disciplines who specialize in working with people living with dementia. There will also be plenty of opportunity to discuss and deliberate over lunch.

Speakers will include John Killick who has been writing poetry with people with dementia for 24 years, with eight books of poetry emerging from this work and six books on communication and creativity in dementia.

Beti George, a BBC Radio Cymru presenter and a tireless campaigner for better care for people living with dementia who will also share her experiences following the broadcasting of her BBC documentary in 2017 exploring her life caring for her partner, Beti and David: Lost for Words.

Poet and dramatist Patrick Jones will join us to share his experiences of unleashing stories, memories and poems for those living with dementia. He is the author of Before I Leave, a National Theatre Wales production about a choir for people living with dementia – based on real stories. The production will soon be adapted to film.

Gwion Hallam will also discuss his work in care homes, and will talk about the creative impact the work has had on his own writing as a poet.

Representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends will also be present to run a session to help us expand our understanding and knowledge of living with the condition.

More speakers, a detailed timetable and more information about the individual sessions will be announced in the next few days.

The journey to organise this conference started with the National Eisteddfod in Anglesey 2017 where Gwion Hallam won the Crown with his poem Trwy Ddrych. The work was inspired by creative workshops run by Gwion at Bryn Seiont Newydd Dementia Care Home, as part of Literature Wales’ Literature for Health and Wellbeing Project sponsored by Gwynedd Council. Gwion’s success drew attention to the important work being done by art practitioners in the health sector. Following the Eisteddfod, a local HSBC branch kindly donated sponsorship to enable us to organise this day which will hopefully encourage more projects in the future.


We’ll reserve an hour in the afternoon for an Open Forum, a chance for anyone to speak about the subject. You’re welcome to give a short presentation or a talk, or a 20 minute workshop using your experience of working in the dementia and arts sector. Please contact us to discuss your idea if you’re interested to reserve a slot:

The day is suitable for anyone interested in the arts, health and wellbeing, dementia research and more. For more information, contact us by phoning 01766 522811 or by emailing


Beti George

Beti George is a radio presenter on BBC Radio Cymru, and a campaigner for better care services for people living with dementia. In April 2018 she received an award at the New York Festivals International TV & Film Award for her role in the documentary Beti and David: Lost for Words following their lives together as Beti cared for David as he lived with dementia. More information.

Gwion Hallam

Gwion is a poet, and won the Crown at the National Eisteddfod in Anglesey 2017. He has presented TV programmes, and written books for children. He runs writing workshops in schools, care homes and various other settings.



John Killick

John Killick has been writing poetry with people with dementia for 24 years, and eight books of poetry have emerged from this work. He held the post of Research Fellow in Communication Through the Arts at Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling for six years. He is currently engaged in a research project on the arts and dementia in care homes in north Wales funded by the Social Research Council and based at University of Bangor. He has published six books on communication and creativity in dementia, the most recent being Dementia Positive in 2014.

Patrick Jones

Patrick Jones is a poet and playwright based in Blackwood who has worked widely in community and health settings. Currently a Writer-in-Residence with The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales, he has worked with the Forget Me Not Chorus whose members are individuals living with Dementia on a project documenting the members’ most precious songs and the stories behind them. Patrick has worked with Mind Cymru, The Samaritans, the Welsh Refugee Council, Velindre Hospital, The Big Issue and more on various writing projects for health and wellbeing. His latest publication is My Bright Shadow (Rough Trade Books, 2019), a poetry collection exploring grief, life and love.

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