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Guest Speakers for 2024

1st May - Ryan Foster - Cycling Without Age

Cycling Without Age is a global, non-for-profit organisation founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Ole Kassow. It was established in 2012, and today the organisation is represented in 42 countries all over the world! The concept of Cycling Without Age is to take elderly people and those with disabilities for bike rides in specially built trishaw bikes piloted by volunteers. The bike rides are free of charge. Their mission is to build bridges between generations and help prevent loneliness: they provide people with an opportunity to avoid social isolation and remain active in their community by taking them out on bike rides and allowing them to feel the wind in their hair! Ryan Foster is the contact for the Brisbane area, with the service also available on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and at Yeppoon.  

3rd June – Rick Maher – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Dancer

Rick has served in the Australian Army for more than three decades and is also an enthusiastic, yet ungainly, ballet danseur. Up until a few years ago Rick’s regular soldiery gig included standing around looking cool as a Combat Aviation Officer. During this time, Rick served in a number of roles that included Regimental Command, operational deployments to East Timor, overseas service to both Singapore and Israel, and an ADF appointment to the Australian Senate. In 2019, whilst otherwise minding his own business, his career made an unexpected turn, and he was posted to Joint Health Command as a research officer. In what Rick describes as a cosmic level act of kismet, Rick’s two worlds of the military, and of dance, collided and he commenced his PhD research at QUT with a focus on designing dance-based quality-of-life enhancements for war veterans with trauma based mental health injuries.   

Tinker Tailor Soldier Dancer: The role of Dance in enhancing Quality of Life for Australian Combat Veterans with a history of trauma related psychological injuries

A relationship has been established between serving in war and the development of future detrimental physical, neurological and/or mental health outcomes. In response to the over 100,000 Australians that have served in war over the past 20 years, contemporary Australian veteran health policy has increasingly accepted the development of innovative programs that address psychological health injuries. Veteran intervention programs based upon the creative arts are thus increasingly developed and implemented within a military environment context. 

Rick’s presentation will briefly explore the implementation of in-service creative arts-based strategies for supporting clinical approaches to veterans’ health. The presentation will then specifically examine the body of knowledge related to dance as a medium to enhance Quality of Life (QoL) in Australian veterans with trauma related psychological injuries.

This research project builds upon international evaluations of such programs as the ‘Dance for Veteran’s Program’ run by the United States Veterans’ Administration (VA) since 2011 and the Danish Wounded Warrior Project. Such programs provide a decentralised dance-based therapeutic program specifically designed for Veterans. These programs have reported significant improvements in outlook, wellbeing, mood, and interpersonal relationships in addition to a reduction in stress as a result of Veterans’ involvement.

This project is also informed by data that suggests that movement and dance-based programs contribute to: improvements in daily mobility, co-ordination, and fluency of movement in patients; effective kinaesthetic supplementary therapy for patients with PTSD; and increased body awareness, the building of movement mastery, and cultivating body-mind connectedness amongst patients with serious mental health conditions.

4th August - Peter Dunn OAM – Brisbane @ War – Military locations in Brisbane during WWII

4th November – Richard Kinnon – Outback Pioneers

Richard Kinnon’s bio – https://mailchi.mp/outbackpioneers.com.au/enews-february

Outback Pioneers video - https://vimeo.com/697244683