Watch this space as new speakers are revealed to the programme


















































































Mr. Jim Mather

Transgenerational Equity in the Workplace

Lesson learned that can help many more workplaces and many more people operate in more collegiate, collaborative and fulfilling ways – and yet perform well in the real word.


Speaker Biography:

Jim Mather is a Chartered Accountant, who worked for IBM before establishing the ComputerLand franchise in Scotland.

He was an MSP from 2003-2011 and Minister for Enterprise Energy & Tourism in the SNP Administration 2007–11 before standing down in 2011.

He is now a visiting professor at Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt Universities. He fulfills other related consultancy & non-executive roles and he is chairman of Homes for Scotland.


Mr Chris Pointon

"Compassionate Care in Action - #hellomynameis – Dr Kate Granger MBE’s legacy"

To take you on a journey from the conception of #hellomynameis to how it now fits within global healthcare and how Kate’s legacy will continue. I will talk about the background to my wife and her illness prior to #hellomynameis and what the ongoing support will mean to staff and patients alike.


Speaker Biography:

Hello, my name is Chris Pointon and I am the husband of the late Dr Kate Granger MBE who was a doctor and patient.

My wife died last year aged just 34 after 5 years living with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Throughout that time we raised over £250,000 for charity and changed global heathcare through a simple campaign entitled #hellomynameis.

Following Kate’s death I continue to promote the campaign through various conferences across the globe and worldwide awareness on social media. Her name lives on through a variety of awards named after her which I will continue to be involved with for years to come.


Mr Ewan Aitken

"It’s not what you know, it’s who you know"

The human condition is to be in relationship. We are not autonomous beings, ever alone and unconnected to neighbour. It is in relationship that we find out who we are as individuals. It is in relationship that transformation and hope is nurtured and life becomes meaningful. For those on the edge of life, of society, the primary barrier to feeling of belonging is the lack of opportunity and sometimes capacity to be in relationship. The journey from exclusion to inclusion is an inner journey, a journey of the soul, but it is not a journey we take alone.


Speaker Biography:

Ewan Aitken was appointed CEO of Cyrenians in May 2014. A former Convenor of Education and Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, Ewan has 30 years’ experience in the 3 rd and Public sectors including 3 years as CoSLA spokesperson on Education. He was a parish minister for 7 years. He has founded several charities and two Credit Unions. He is chair of BBC Children in Need Scotland grants committee,  former chair of the National Prison Visitor Centre Steering Group, a trustee of the Ripple Project and an advisor to Circle Scotland. He is a Council member of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, and a member of University of Edinburgh’s Academy of Government reference group on in/equality and the CoSLA Commission on Strength Local Democracy.



Ms Magdalena Schamberger

"Crossing Generations with Humour"

In times when ‘generation’ no longer means a homogenous group of individuals, the division between young and old, health and unhealthy, etc is no longer clear-cut. Traversing from one to the other generation may no longer be linked with the ability to care for a loved one or to be looked after by family or even society. Transitions can be potentially be frightening, unsettling and challenging experiences. In Crossing Generations with Humour, Magdalena will argue that humour can help building bridges in providing skills, resilience and changing attitudes to survive in our transgenerational world.

Speaker Biography:

Magdalena Schamberger is Co-Founder, Artistic Director and CEO of Scotland wide arts-in-health charity Hearts & Minds, the home of Clowndoctors and Elderflowers. She has over 25 years experience of performing, directing and teaching physical theatre and theatre clowning in the UK and internationally.

Hearts & Minds aim to improve the experience of people in hospital and in hospice, residential and respite care by using the performing arts to encourage communication, interaction and laughter. Our Elderflowers programme uses a unique clown family concept to connect with elderly people with advanced dementia. Developed in 2001 with the support of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling, Elderflowers has gone on to inspire many other programmes and organisations across the globe.

As a Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund recipient, Magdalena has recently created Curious Shoes, a bespoke performance for an audience of people living with dementia and their carers to invite them into theatre and community settings and include and engage them in stimulating cultural activity. In addition she has also developed Artful Minds, an experiential training programme for artists from all art forms, to increase engagement with this particular audience group.

Magdalena is the author of Compassionate Clowning a chapter in the book ‘Providing Compassionate Health Care: Challenges in Policy and Practice’, published by Routledge in July 2014.

In addition Magdalena is Vice Chair of EFHCO (European Federation of Hospital Clown Organisations), a member of the European Cultural Parliament for Scotland and Honorary Professor at Queen Margaret University.


Mr Matthew McVarish

"You actually can"

Many of us are lead to believe that we must have one career. That in our time here we should identify what it is that we can contribute and focus on only that. My experiences have lead me to understand that there is no limit to what we can contribute other than those we create for ourselves, which can be for very sound reasons, but awareness of our own perceived limitations can change our lives, and the lives of countless people around us.

Speaker Biography:

Since graduating with a BA in acting from Queen Margaret University, Matthew has worked in TV, film and theatre, appearing in ‘Taggart’, ‘Rivercity’ and each morning as Raymond in Cbeebies’s “Me Too! Now also published as a songwriter and playwright, Matthew’s written work has been performed on stage and screen across Europe and the US.

His debut play, “To kill a Kelpie”, transferred to off Broadway, and then toured USA before being adapted for screen. Matthew started using his public profile to began speaking out against the sexual abuse of children and in 2013 he stepped fully into activism as he walked 10,000miles, visiting every EU capital on foot to encourage all adult survivors to speak out. In doing so, Matthew’s words were broadcast to hundreds of millions on TV, Radio and press, translated into over thirty languages, as he became the first male survivor in many countries to speak publically about having been sexually abused. His campaign, the Road to Change, catalysed legislative reform in eight nations then Matthew was invited back to Strasbourg to address the Council of Europe, to encourage this change across all forty-seven European nations.

Upon completing his walk in Edinburgh, Matthew was officially welcomed home by our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, he received an honorary doctorate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, was named SCVO Charity Champion and given the prestigious title ‘Top Scot’, along side Andy Murray and JK Rowling.

He continues to write and act in theatre and film but now also works as an advisor, employed by various governments, most recently Scotland, Iceland and the United Nations. In November, Matthew helped create and then chaired the world’s first ever “Global survivor forum’ with ECPAT International, were survivors activists from across the world gathered to discuss solutions and make recommendations to all governments to end the sexual violations of children globally.


Mr Thilo Kroll

"Supporting families in pluralistic and dynamic societies: From care spaces to caring systems"

Societies are undergoing continuous transformations both in their socio-demographic composition and relationships, their knowledge base, in the resources available and in the physical and social environments. Policies and practices need to be responsive to this multi-facetted dynamism. Practically, this means that we cannot provide health and social care in the same structures, by the same means and with the same resources as in the past. New care spaces and relationships need to be recognised, explored and understood. We need to consider family care provision and support in the context of its complexity (biographies, multiple forms of families, community connectedness, multifaceted forms of caring, technological opportunities, sources of potential marginalisation and exclusion) and we need to move from static care spaces (homes, hospitals, nursing homes) to caring systems that are not fragmented or disjointed and service or professionally interest driven but co-designed, integrated, responsive to changing needs, respective of knowledge and creative capabilities of individuals and communities, inclusive, accessible and affordable. The presentation will explore our transgenerational world in relation to the caring systems of the present and future and will draw on personal experiences, research examples and general reflections.

Speaker Biography:

Thilo Kroll, PhD is psychologist by background and a Professor of Health Systems Management at the University College Dublin (UCD) School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems and an executive team member of the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy. Prior to his arrival in Ireland, Thilo was Co-Director of the interdisciplinary Social Dimensions of Health Institute (SDHI) of the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews. His applied research experience stretches over 24 years and has mostly focused on disability- and health-related topics in Germany, Norway, United States, England, Scotland and Ireland. The work has been published in a wide range of peer reviewed journals, books and book chapters. Prof Kroll served on the UN (UN DESA/UNESCO) Expert Group ‘Disability Data and Statistics, Monitoring and Evaluation: The Way Forward- a Disability-Inclusive Agenda Towards 2015 and Beyond’ (2014). He was also a Key Technology Partnership Visiting Fellow to the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia). Thilo’s research has focused on socially marginalised groups such as people with complex disabilities, survivors of violence and domestic abuse, and homeless people. He advocates a whole system approach to understanding complex challenges and is a firm advocate of co-produced applied interdisciplinary research that involves and engage members of the public.


Ms Kate Skinner

"Back to the Future - With Love"

Speaker Biography:

Kate has had a long career in social services as social work practitioner in England and as manager in Scotland. Following these posts, in 1989, Kate moved to the University of Stirling where she developed and ran social services management programmes and carried out organisational and individual development work with staff teams in health, education and social services. In 2007, Kate became Institute Lead for Research at the Scottish Government–funded Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) where her role was to promote the use of evidence and knowledge to support social services policy, planning and service delivery. Since June 2009 she has worked independently on research and evaluation projects and as a consultant in social services.

Kate was appointed Chair of Camphill Scotland, the membership organisation for ten Scottish adult Camphill Communities and two Camphill Schools, from 2006 to 2014.