This year’s conference.

This year’s conference brings together talks from the leading lights of the profession, a scientific programme based upon a new and exciting submission criteria (so content is more defined and relevant) and practical advice from leading suppliers to the profession.

There are over 50 sessions including contributions from Professor Winnie Dunn, Dr Jennifer Creek and Professor Diane Cox, presenting the Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture.

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You can learn more about each speaker by visiting their bio pages:

  • Professor Diane Cox
    Professor Diane Cox
    Director of Research and Head of the Graduate School at the University of Cumbria

    Professor Diane Cox, delivering the Elizabeth Casson Lecture "Life as an Occupational Being", and who has made research in occupational therapy approachable and accessible.

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  • Dr Jennifer Creek
    Dr Jennifer Creek
    Occupational Therapy Researcher

    Jennifer Creek qualified as an occupational therapist in 1970. She has worked in the fields of adult mental health, adult learning disabilities, occupational therapy education, primary care, mental health promotion and community development. Her main clinical interests are chronic depression, women’s mental health and mental health promotion.

    Jennifer has a Masters degree by research from Manchester University, which explored occupational therapist’s use of language, and a PhD from Sheffield University, which investigated the nature and practice of occupational therapy on the margins.

    Jennifer was the editor and co-editor of an undergraduate textbook, Occupational Therapy and Mental Health, for its first four editions. She has edited two collections of essays on occupational therapy philosophy and theory: Occupational therapy: new perspectives and Contemporary issues in occupational therapy: reasoning and reflection, the latter in collaboration with Anne Lawson-Porter. Her book, The core concepts of occupational therapy: a dynamic framework for practice, was the outcome of a collaboration with colleagues in five other European countries, supported by ENOTHE. A collection of essays, Global perspectives in professional reasoning, was published in 2016, co-edited with the American author, Marli Cole.

    Jennifer retired from full-time work in 2009 but still engages in teaching, writing and consultancy across the world on a sessional basis. In 2015, she was commissioned to help with the development and delivery of a training programme for staff working in child friendly spaces in refugee camps in Northern Uganda. She is also involved in supporting occupational therapists and students in the Philippines in disaster risk reduction and response. In 2016, she was a visiting scholar at the University of Cape Town, working with students, faculty and practitioners on professional terminology and professional reasoning. In 2017, she accompanied Kit Sinclair on a lecture tour of American universities.


  • Dr Winnie Dunn
    Dr Winnie Dunn
    Department of Occupational Therapy Education

    Dr Winnie Dunn, one of the most recognised and respected names in the global occupational therapy sector. She is author of the Sensory Profile and the Infant/Toddler Sensory Profile, and co-author of the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile.

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  • Maggy Pigott CBE
    Maggy Pigott CBE

    Maggy qualified as a barrister (and is a Master of the Bench at Middle Temple Inn of Court).  She had a civil service career in legal and non-legal posts concerned with the administration of justice, including joint Chief Executive of the training organisation for the judiciary, the Judicial Studies Board. Maggy job-shared for 23 years and she and her job-sharer were thrilled to each receive a CBE in 2011. Maggy is married with two grown-up children and lives in London.

    Since retiring in 2011, Maggy has developed a passion for dance and dancing. She has twice been a judge on the Olivier Awards Dance Panel and is a member and Trustee of Sage Dance Company, for dancers over 55. She is also a Trustee of Open Age and a Vice Patron of Working Families.

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  • Anna Dixon
    Anna Dixon
    Chief Executive, Centre for Better Ageing

    Anna joined Ageing Better in September 2015 from the Department of Health where she was Director of Strategy and Chief Analyst. Anna has more than 15 years’ experience of working at the interface of research, policy and practice focused on health and care including at The King’s Fund, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.

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  • Shaun Conway, OTR
    Shaun Conway, OTR
    Senior Director, External and Regulatory Services - National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. NBCOT®

    Shaun Conway is a certified occupational therapist who currently serves as Senior Director of External and Regulatory Services for the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT®) in the United States where he has worked for over 23 years. In this capacity, he is currently responsible for the oversight of organizational functions related to state regulation, international regulatory services and community outreach.

    In his presentation, Mr. Conway will be providing an overview of the NBCOT Occupational Therapist Eligibility Determination (OTED®) process, an educational comparability review conducted by NBCOT to determine the eligibility of internationally educated occupational therapists to take the Occupational Therapist Registered (OTR®) certification exam.

  • Tina Coldham
    Tina Coldham
    Mental Health Campaigner

    Tina first started using mental health services in 1990, and is still a practicing depressive! She became a user activist through setting up self-help groups, and also being part of a local successful campaigning user group.  This led to wider regional, national and international involvement. Tina managed a community mental health development project in the voluntary sector for four years. She then joined the Centre for Mental Health Services Development England (CMHSDE) at Kings College London as a researcher on a national mental health personalisation research project. From 2003 to 2011, she worked for HASCAS on various national projects, research, service reviews and mental health homicide investigations, and is pleased to have rejoined them as a Director in 2014.  Tina is an experienced freelance trainer, lecturer and does research and consultancy all from a user perspective. 

    Tina is Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence’s (SCIE) Co-Production Network and a SCIE trustee; a member of the NIHR Involve Advisory Group and Executive group;  Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Dept of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York; An associate at the Centre for Citizenship and Community at UCLan; and has stepped down as Chair of the National Survivor User Network having led this from the project planning stage to independence.

  • Paul McGee
    Paul McGee
    The Sumo Guy

    Paul McGee, a personal development pioneer whose distinctive and effective principle - SUMO (Shut up and move on)- will help you think differently about everything you do. Be prepared to learn how to seize opportunities and reach your potential in your professional and personal lives.

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  • Paul Smith
    Paul Smith

    Paul Smith is on a mission to improve how home adaptations are provided. Trained as a Building Surveyor, he has a unique 25 year background in building design, grant administration, policy development and commissioning. Winner of multiple national awards he has introduced a number of innovations that improved the customer experience.

    Paul is now the Director of Foundations, the national body for Home Improvement Agencies and lead organisation for improving the delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants in England. In 2016 he started the DFG Champions - featuring free to attend regional roadshows and a facebook group that encourages practitioners to share good practice, support and inspire each other.

    Follow Paul on Twitter.

  • Julia McGowan
    Julia McGowan
    Early Intervention Team Manager and Occupational Therapy Lead for Wigan Council

    Julia McGowan is an Early Intervention Team Manager and Occupational Therapy Lead for Wigan Council.  Julia has been involved in Integrations with health and will be seconded as project lead for the Integration of Community services, with the responsibility to develop integrated services across health and social care including,  Therapy Services, Nursing, and Social Work Teams in a locality model involving co-location of teams, and a local service delivery footprints.