Event Information:

  • Fri


    9:00 amTrinity College Dublin, Edmund Burke Hall, Arts Block


    Can we live longer, better?

    HeadSpace2018 was a two-day celebration of scientific and creative investigation into brain health and dementia.

    Held in Trinity College Dublin on April 27th & 28th 2018, we invited people to join us in conversations about caring communities, research and cultural solutions, that informed, engaged, entertained and inspired.

    The brain is especially sensitive to external influence and aging. Poverty, housing and education have huge effects on health. As does access to healthcare, isolation, social connectedness and personal security. Its estimated these social determinants account for 50% of disease and mortality. We grow old in different ways. By 2041, 22% of the population with be 65 or older. Addressing this change is key to improving health but healthcare alone can’t solve the issues.  It needs creative thinking and collaborative effort. Champions across society and government. Many voices and communities contributing to new scientific discoveries, innovations and cultural change in this area is important. People joined us and to bring their lived and learnt experience to the forum.
    How do we change?   What can we do, today?

    Where is innovation creating tomorrow’s solutions?




    HeadSpace 2018 interviews - VIEW SOME DELEGATE INTERVIEWS HERE




    Michael O'Reilly of Creative Ireland and Kate O'Flaherty of the HSE talk about how we can build on existing activity and how we can get involved - VIEW THEIR SESSION HERE

    Dominic Campbell of GBHI and Creative Aging International and Professor Ian Robertson of Trinity College Dublin and GBHI talk about the social determinants of brain health, how we can understand it better - VIEW THEIR SESSION HERE

    Professor Martin Rossor, NIHR National Director for Dementia Research and Director NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre Dementia Theme UK and Professor Brian Lawlor, Conolly Norman Professor of Old Age Psychiatry and Co-Director, Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin, speak of EU and Irish approaches to brain health outline the history and focus of their work - VIEW THEIR SESSION HERE

    Alexandra Coulter,  Director of Arts & Health South West and Secretary to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, and Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell talk about innovation and institutional change - VIEW THEIR SESSION HERE



    We also had contributions from some extraordinary groups including the following two:

    Artist Sean Millar and Bluebell Youth and Community Centre show work-in-progress as part of Dublin’s Culture Connect’s The National Neighbourhood, a Dublin City Council initiative - VIEW THEIR VIDEO HERE

    Tonnta Vocal Ensemble and Hollybrook Lodge premiere a new work by musician Robbie Blake, created with Hollybrook Lodge residents as part of Dublin Culture Connect’s The National Neighbourhood, a Dublin City Council initiative - VIEW THEIR VIDEO HERE




    Emer Begley - Senior Project Manager at the National Dementia Office

    Emer Begley PHd is Senior Project Manager at the National Dementia Office. Prior to joining the HSE in January 2017, Emer worked for eight years in the Community and Voluntary Sector working with a number of advocacy organisations focusing on dementia and ageing. Most recently she was Policy and Research Manager with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. Prior to this she worked with Age Action as their Senior Policy Officer. Her academic background is in social policy and social research, completing her PhD in 2009 from Trinity College Dublin where her research focused on the lived experience and health and social care needs of people living with early stage dementia. She also holds a BA in Sociology, a HDip Statistics and an MSc in Applied Social Research.


    Iseult Byrne – Director Dublin's Culture Connects - an initiative of Dublin City Council

    Dublin’s Culture Connects is an initiative of Dublin City Council. We connect people through culture and conversation.

    We run numerous cultural projects, acting as a catalyst to bring people together through making and taking part in culture. We base our projects on people’s stories, wishes and experiences and aim to activate and empower people through participation. We do this by listening, learning, sharing and partnership. We develop skills and activate ways of working to enable everyone to create more cultural opportunities. We are not afraid to try new things.


    Dominic Campbell – Creative Aging International

    Dominic Campbell is co-founder of Creative Aging International currently producing "Creating A New Old San Francisco” in the Contemporary Jewish Museum and Headspace2018 in Trinity College Dublin, which respond to ageing at scale by connecting the research and innovation of artists, scientists and strategists.

    Previously he directed the Bealtaine Festival, the world’s first nationwide arts festival celebrating creativity and ageing, was Artistic Director of Ireland’s St Patrick’s Festival raising its global profile. Currently an inaugural Atlantic Fellow for Equity and Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute, he promotes celebration as integral to transformational social strategies.


    Tim Carpenter - CEO/Founder, EngAGE

    Tim Carpenter is CEO/Founder of EngAGE and Host/Producer of the EXPERIENCE TALKS radio show.  EngAGE changes lives by transforming affordable senior and multigenerational housing communities into vibrant centers of learning, wellness and creativity. EngAGE provides life-enhancing arts, wellness, lifelong learning, community building and intergenerational programs and events to thousands of seniors and hundreds of families living in California, Oregon and Minnesota. Tim is an Ashoka Fellow, a James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award recipient, a Stanton Fellow, and was named one of Next Avenue’s 2016 Influencers in Aging.


    Alexandra Coulter - Director of Arts & Health South West and Secretary to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing

    Alexandra Coulter has been Director of Arts & Health South West (AHSW) since 2010 She has been working in arts and health since 1998 and was the Arts Coordinator at Dorset County Hospital for 15 years. AHSW is a regional networking, advocacy and support organisation with over 2000 members. AHSW delivered the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference in June 2017 which was attended by over 400 delegates and speakers from 23 countries. AHSW is the lead organisation for the new Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, an Arts Council Sector Support Organisation that will launch in April 2018. Alex provides the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing on behalf of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance and project managed a 2-year Inquiry into Arts, Health and Wellbeing. The Inquiry Report Creative Health was launched in parliament in July 2017.


    Sebastian Crutch - UCL Institute of Neurology

    Sebastian Crutch is a neuropsychologist and Professorial Research Associate at the Dementia Research Centre, UCL Institute of Neurology. His research focuses on rare and young onset dementias, exploring topics such as dementia-related visual impairment, computational approaches to improving cognitive assessment, and reading and balance problems. Currently he directs the Created Out of Mind 2016-20118 dementia and arts residency at The Hub, Wellcome Collection, which aims to shape and enrich public and professional perceptions of the dementias, and explore the opportunities afforded by collaborative, interdisciplinary, publicly-situated research.


    Kate de Medeiros PhD- Associate Professor of Gerontology

    Kate's work broadly focuses on how experiences in later life are made known through stories, big and small. Her research studies have examined the meaning of place and living alone; friendships among people living with dementia; suffering, flourishing and precarity; and language "play" in the participatory arts.


    Elaine Green – St James Hospital

    Dr. Elaine Greene leads the Psychiatry for the Elderly consultation liaison service in St. James’s Hospital and is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry, (TCD). Elaine completed her psychiatry training in Ireland and Australia. Her research interests are in the areas of depression, anxiety, delirium, cognitive impairment and service delivery.


    Niamh Hennelly – NUI Galway

    Niamh Hennelly is a PhD Candidate in the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia, National University of Ireland, Galway. Her research interests include social gerontology, ageing and dementia policy. More specifically, her work explores personhood in dementiawithinformal care relationships and its importance for service delivery and regulatory instruments. Niamh is a NUI Galway Hardiman Scholar and an Irish Research Council Scholar.


    Senator Maura Hopkins

    Maura Hopkins is a Senator in the 25th Seanad and is the Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson for Regional, Rural, Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs. Maura is also a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and Marine.

    Maura previously served on Roscommon County Council, she was elected to represent the Boyle Electoral Area at the 2014 Local Elections. She was the Fine Gael candidate in the 2016 General Election for the Roscommon Galway Constituency.


    Professor Kate Irving - DCU

    Kate Irving is a Professor of Clinical Nursing with a joint appointment between Dublin City University and Community Healthcare Organisation 9.  Kate has had a significant leadership role in the dementia field in research and education. Over the past ten years she has lead five funded research projects in dementia from dementia prevention, timely interventions, psychosocial supports, uses of technology and care pathways.  Kate also led an innovative national education and training programme to upskill communities and workplaces in meaningful supports for dementia, the Dementia Skills Elevator.  Kate is a member of Interdem the European research network for dementia.   Importantly, Kate is the primary carer for her mother who lives with her and has dementia.


    Brian Lawlor  - Conolly Norman Professor of Old Age Psychiatry and Co-Director, Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College Dublin.

    Professor Lawlor is co-director of the Global Brain Health Institute,  a collaborative leadership  training program between Trinity College Dublin and University of California San Francisco  that aims to tackle the societal impact of dementia on a global scale ( He is the Director of the Memory Clinic at St. James’s Hospital and Chairs the Irish National Dementia Awareness Campaign, Understand Together ( His research interests are in the early detection and diagnosis of dementia, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and in the development of new treatments for Alzheimer's disease.


    Dr Clíona Ní Cheallaigh -  Senior Lecturer in Medical Gerontology, TCD and Consultant Physician, St James's Hospital

    Clíona Ní Cheallaigh is an Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine Physician in St James’s Hospital and Senior Lecturer in Medical Gerontology in Trinity College, Dublin. Her clinical and research interests centre around the health of multiply excluded individuals: homeless people, injecting drug users and other marginalised groups. She has established an Inclusion Medicine service within St James’s Hospital to provide integrated, active case management-based care to these individuals in the hospital and in outreach clinics to addiction services. Her research seeks to look at the effect of the extreme psycho-social stress experienced by multiply excluded individuals on three levels: the cellular/immune activating consequences of this stress; the effect of this stress on health, particularly frailty and brain health; and finally on health services adaptation to meet the needs of this population.


    Doctor Austin O’Carroll

    The focus of his career has been improving access for communities affected by marginalization or deprivation to quality primary healthcare. He was a founder of  Safetynet in 2007, and Medical Director of Safetynet from 2007-2017, initiating several projects with them including the Mobile Health Unit Service for Rough Sleepers. He founded with Dr Ming Rawat the North Dublin City GP Training programme which is the first programme internationally that trains GP’s to work in communities affected by deprivation or marginalization. He is founding member with Dr Kieran Harkin of GMQ services which provides 12 clinics for homeless people in hostels/drop-in centres. He ran the Mountjoy Street Family Practice since 1997 which also provides 6 clinics to homeless people since 2005. He co-founded the Partnership for Health Equity between the HSE Social Inclusion, NDCGP, ICGP and University of Limerick. He is presently establishing for Safetynet, Curam Healthnet, a new social enterprise that creates new GP practices in areas of deprivation. He was a co-founding member of Northdoc. He received the Fiona Bradley Award; the Time & Tide Award for his work with migrants; the Healthcare professional of the Year Award 2015 and was awarded an Honorary membership of the RCPI. Throughout, he has worked closely with Dr Fiona O Reilly on their mutual passion to rectify health inequities.


    Senator Marie-Louise O’Donnell – Seanad Eireann


    Kate O’Flaherty – Director of Health & Wellbeing Programme, HSE

    Kate O'Flaherty is the Head of Health and Wellbeing in the Department of Health.She  leads the work to coordinate implementation of the Healthy Ireland Framework, which is a major Government-led initiative aimed at improving health and wellbeing. Kate is both a pharmacist and a journalist by professional background and previously worked in a number of roles in both sectors before joining the Department in 2013.

    Veronica O’Keane – Trinity College Dublin


    Cora O’Neill - University College Cork


    Prof Desmond (Des) O’Neill - Professor of Medical Gerontology, TCD; Co-Chair, Medical and Health Humanities, TCD; Chair, National Centre for Arts and Health, Tallaght Hospital.

    A specialist in geriatric and stroke medicine, Prof O’Neill is also a writer and commentator in national media. Based in Tallaght Hospital and Trinity College Dublin, his practice and research are focused on ageing and the neurosciences, and how they interact with the humanities. His particular interest in the longevity dividend - the many ways in which we have gained from our increase in life span - has contributed to national and international initiatives in many aspects of ageing. In 2010 he was awarded the All Ireland Inspirational Life Award for his work on behalf of older people.


    Michael O’Reilly – Creative Ireland

    Michael O’Reilly is a lawyer (Solicitor and Barrister) with an extensive background in legal practice, arts and culture, policy development, political consultancy, governance and strategic planning in the private and public spheres.

    He was closely involved in the conceptualization, design and articulation of Creative Ireland – a five year (2017-2022) cross government culture-based initiative that promotes creativity as an essential contributor to wellbeing.


    Kevin O’ Shanahan - CNS Cork Mental Health Services/MusicAlive

    Kevin O’ Shanahan works as Clinical Nurse Specialist in mental health & the arts and is based in West Cork. Kevin is also a co- founder of MusicAlive (2009) providers of innovative arts and health projects in mental health/older age care contexts. E.gress(2013) an audio-visual artwork, produced in collaboration with artist Marie Brett and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, is part of the Arts Council’s permanent collection.  Kevin’s current work includes managing the development of 49 North Street –a HSE initiative in Skibbereen, promoting creativity, recovery and wellness.


    Professor Ian Robertson - Co-Director, Global Brain Health Institute

    Professor Ian Robertson is Co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute ( A trained clinical psychologist as well as a neuroscientist, he is widely known internationally for his research on attention and the human brain. His popular writing has included four books aimed at the general reader: Mind Sculpture (2000), The Mind’s Eye  (2003), Stay Sharp (2005), The Winner Effect (2012) and The Stress Test (2016), all of which have been widely translated (


    Dr. Mary Rogan - Associate Professor

    The PRILA project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 679362.

    School of Law, T RiSS

    Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin


    Professor Martin Rossor

    Martin Rossor trained in Neurology at the National Hospital, Queen Square and undertook research into the neurochemistry of degenerative dementia at the MRC Neurochemical Pharmacology Unit, Cambridge.

    He is Professor of Clinical Neurology at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and established a specialist cognitive disorders clinic which acts as a tertiary referral service for young onset and rare dementias.   Clinical research interests are in the degenerative dementias and particularly in familial disease.   He was editor of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, and President of the Association of British Neurologists. Martin is the NIHR National Director for Dementia Research and Director NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre Dementia Theme.


    Kathy Ryan – Irish Dementia Working Group


    Roisin Ryder - Community Development Worker, Fatima Groups United FRC

    Fatima Health Project operated and managed by Fatima Groups United FRC, since 2003 is based in Fatima, Rialto.  Health workers communicate with local residents to identify health issues and develop programmes in response to identified needs. This health project is driven, owned and firmly embedded in the community and based on the idea of wellness, not illness, The projectworks from a social determinants model of health (Dahlgren & Whitehead, 1991) promoting health by providing services that local residents may not have access to, due to poverty or social exclusion. Since 2017 it operates the Dublin 8 Social Prescribing Service.


    David Slater - Artistic Director Entelechy Arts

    David Slater is artistic director of Entelechy Arts. He has extensive experience of

    experience in working with theatre and communities in both rural and urban settings. David is one of the joint architects of the award winning Meet Me at the Albany programme which supports isolated older people to work collaboratively with artists in the making of new work that has relevance and meaning in their lives.

    Dominic Trépel – Assistant Professor of Economics, Trinity College Dublin

    Dominic Trépel is a health economist with dedicated interests in dementia, mental health and ageing. Through working with GBHI, The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) and related studies, he aims to develop novel approaches to improve dementia care worldwide.

    Trépel serves on the International Panel of Scientific Advisors for the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland. He is a member of the International Health Economics Association (iHEA) and the Campbell and Cochrane Economics Methods Group (CCEMG). He also peer-reviews research for the Health Economics Journal, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Medical Research Council (MRC) and Alzheimer’s Association.


    Zuilmah Wallis – Planning Director, Kick Communications

    Zuilmah has over 25 years working in the areas of consumer insight, strategic planning and brand creation in both national and international markets. Over the past 9 years she has worked with Kick on a wide range of behavioural change and communication campaigns for the HSE including, Immunisation, Child Health, Under the Weather and Dementia.


    Leonard White – Dementia Friendly Barber

    Lennyoffers a barbering service for residential care homes, care centres, hospitals, nursing homes or anyone who finds it difficult getting to the barbers


    Ivan Yates - Ivan Yates is an Irish businessman, broadcaster and former politician. He was elected as a Fine Gael Teachta Dála representing the Wexford constituency at the 1981 general election and at each election until his retirement from politics in 2002.


    Creative Aging International, inspired and supported byDNNI, HSE Health and Wellbeing, GBHI, ISSF, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin's Culture Connects and Creative Ireland.

    Dominic Campbell co-founder of Creative Aging International is an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) supported by GBHI and the Alzheimer’s Association.