Arts in Health Conference & Showcase, April 2018 – tickets are now on sale

We are delighted to announce that tickets for our Arts in Health Conference & Showcase on the 19th April 2018 are now on sale.

Book now at

Building on the success of Aesop’s first national Arts in Health Conference & Showcase in 2016, the event is back in 2018 in partnership with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the College of Medicine.

An event for health decision makers; the focus of the Conference is on how the arts can contribute to current health priorities.

Confirmed speakers include: Darcey Bussell CBE, Professor Gillian Leng NICE Deputy Chief Executive & Director of Health and Social Care, Professor Tim Kendall NHS England National Clinical Director for Mental Health and Dr Martin Vernon NHS England National Clinical Director for Older People.

As well as the showcase, the day will include the world première of music involving care home residents and staff, strategy inspiration from health and arts leaders and the announcement of Aesop initiatives to help bring the arts into the health mainstream.

All tickets include the day’s events, lunch and refreshments.

Dancing at Dance to Health Launch Event

Aesop launches the roll-out of Dance to Health at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London

The £2.3 million expansion of Dance to Health was officially launched on Thursday 5th October 2017 at the Great Hall, St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Guest speakers at the launch included Arts Council England Area Director, South East Hedley Swain, Royal Society for Public Health Chief Executive Shirley Cramer CBE, and Sir Stephen ‘O Brien, Trustee of Bart’s Charity.

Dance to Health is an older people’s falls prevention dance programme, combining evidence based physiotherapy with the creativity and energy of dance. The expanded programme will run for two years from October 2017 involving over 800 older people and 800 volunteers. 63 programmes will be delivered across England and Wales in collaboration with regional Health and Dance Partners.

Hedley Swain spoke at the launch event on behalf of Darren Henley OBE Chief Executive, Arts Council England saying –

Society is facing many challenges around our physical and mental health and wellbeing. The arts can help in so many ways; Dance to Health is great example of bold thinking and imaginative partnerships that use arts and culture to bring about change for the better. The arts and wellbeing agenda is hugely important to the Arts Council and we hope that initiatives like Dance to Health will continue to make a tangible difference to participants’ lives across the country.”

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health also spoke at the event saying –

“Dance for Health is not only cost effective compared to other interventions for falls prevention in older people but it also plays into other vital health agendas including reducing social isolation, improving mental health and showing that exercise can be fun and enriching”.

Tim Joss, Aesop Chief Executive and Founder says –

“Aesop is thrilled to launch this £2.3 million expansion of Dance to Health in six regions in England and Wales – Birmingham, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire and South Wales. Our vision is for older people everywhere to have easy access to Dance to Health. With the wonderful Dance Partners and Health Partners on board for this phase, we are taking a major step towards realising that vision”.

The expansion programme is being delivered thanks to generous support from the Big Lottery Fund, Nesta and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Peter Sowerby Foundation, Rank Foundation, and the Aged Veterans Fund funded by HM Treasury.

Regional Health and Social Care Partners have also financially supported the roll out of the programme including Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, Cheshire East Council, Connected Care Partnership (NHS Vanguard in Sandwell and West Birmingham), NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Royal British Legion care homes and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

Dance to Health has been awarded £950,000 of National Lottery funding. Commenting on the investment, Joe Ferns, UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director, at the Big Lottery Fund, said:

“Throughout October we are celebrating how National Lottery funding is playing a significant part in tackling isolation and loneliness across the UK. Dance to Health is an inspiring project that offers fun and sociable group activity, helping older people to lead happier and healthier lives. We are delighted to be funding such as amazing initiative, all thanks to National Lottery players.”

Nesta in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport awarded the project £246,919 from the Second Half Fund. Carrie Deacon, Head of Social Action Innovation Nesta says –

‘’We are excited to help grow Aesop’s Dance to Health initiative, combining the creativity of dance practice with well evidenced based falls prevention models.  We think this has great potential to support many more people avoid falls, and are particularly excited to support the model to draw upon the talents of older people to share their knowledge and skills through volunteering to help enable it to grow sustainable”.

Dance to Health is delivered in partnership with regional Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations; Birmingham Royal Ballet, Cheshire Dance, Dance East, South East Dance and Yorkshire Dance. In Wales, the programme is delivered in partnership with National Dance Company Wales.

To find out more about the programme and how to get involved visit and follow #DancetoHealth


Aesop announces a £2.3 million expansion of Dance to Health

Dance to Health is an older people’s falls prevention dance programme developed by Aesop.

A £2.3 million expansion programme will now build on a successful pilot in 2016 and an evaluation report published in February 2017.

The expanded programme will run for two years from October 2017 through to 2019 involving over 800 older people and 800 volunteers. 63 programmes will be delivered across England and Wales in collaboration with regional health, social care and dance partners.

Dance to Health responds to the issue of older people’s falls. Falls are traumatic for older people and cost the NHS £2.3 billion per year. Dance to Health aims to be an effective and cost-effective falls prevention programme, offering older people the choice of a dance-based alternative to existing evidence-based exercise programmes which are called FaME and Otago. All Dance to Health ‘Dance Artists’ (the programme session leaders) are trained in  Otago and FaME.

Announcing the expansion, Tim Joss, Founder and Chief Executive of Aesop, said:

“If an arts programme is evidence-based, can benefit patients and save the NHS money, then it deserves to be available to all patients who could benefit, anywhere in the country. Our goal is for Dance to Health to be the first such programme.”

The Health / Social Care Partners for Dance to Health phase 1 roll out are   –

  • Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board
  • Cheshire East Council
  • Connected Care Partnership (NHS Vanguard in Sandwell and West Birmingham)
  • NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group
  • NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Royal British Legion care homes
  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

The Dance Partners are all Arts Council-funded national portfolio organisations expert in working with older people:

  • Birmingham Royal Ballet
  • Cheshire Dance
  • DanceEast
  • National Dance Company Wales
  • South East Dance
  • Yorkshire Dance

Aesop has benefited from and will continue to receive advice and support from experts in ‘Dialogue Partner’ organisations:

  • Age UK
  • Arts Council England
  • Centre for Ageing Better
  • NHS England
  • NHS Horizons
  • One Dance UK
  • People Dancing (Foundation for Community Dance)
  • Public Health England
  • Social Prescribing Network
  • Sydney Medical School
  • University of Oxford Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences

Dance to Health Phase 1 Roll-out is generously supported by the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery funding, Nesta and Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Ministry of Defence Aged Veterans Fund and foundations (Esmée Fairbairn, Rank, and Peter Sowerby).

For the latest news follow #DancetoHeath or visit


Building the bridge between health and the arts: THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAINING – 28 October 2016

The UK is a world leader in health and the arts. Interest in involving the arts in health improvement is growing rapidly.

Aesop and the Canterbury Christ Church University’s Faculty of Health and Wellbeing have identified continuing professional development as a key factor in the future of arts in health. They are working together to create the ‘Aesop Institute’ training initiative.

Initial market research has revealed that many see the Institute as important and timely. Potential benefits include: B

  • greater appreciation of the roles the arts can play in health and wellbeing
  • clearer understanding of the difference between artistic and health roles
  • more trusting and effective partnerships between the health and arts sectors
  • opportunities to deliver health improvements and savings
  • giving arts organisations the chance to reach new audiences and develop new earned income streams.

This free event was an opportunity to contribute ideas on how training can help grow and enrich arts in health practice, research and policy.

Aesop’s Annual Review 2015/16

The success of Aesop’s first full year, 2015-16, encouraged us to produce an annual review. Inside you will find not only the story of Aesop’s year and future plans but also a section, ‘What we now know’, with current thinking which we consider sufficiently advanced to be worth sharing.

The review can be downloaded as a pdf here.

First National Arts in Health Conference & Showcase

Aesop, the NHS Alliance and College of Medicine presented the first national Arts in health Conference & Showcase for health decision-makers at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Friday 5 February 2016. The conference and showcase was a sell-out and was trending on Twitter for seven hours.  Listen to a 4 minute Radio 4 PM programme item by BBC Health Correspondent, Adam Brimelow .

You can explore the day here:

      • Aesop founder and CEO, Tim Joss’s keynote speech – text.
      • Souvenir programme – text.
      • Aesop Marketplace, the ‘dating site’ for health decision-makers and arts in health programmes –
      • The Aesop PHE evaluation framework – text.
      • View photos from the day here.

Watch videos from the opening and closing plenaries below, or visit our YouTube page.
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