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Essential not Optional: Celebrating the Creative Arts in Higher Education

Wed 26th - Thu 27th Jun

Essential not Optional: Celebrating the Creative Arts in Higher Education is an in-person conference that brings together members from DanceHE, DramaHE, MusicHE, and NAFAE for a series of interdisciplinary panels, debates, and keynotes. This conference is not merely a convergence of disciplines; it’s a celebration of the essential role played by Drama, Music, Dance, and Art in higher education. This two-day conference is structured into four strands – ‘CREATIVE INDUSTRIES?,’ ‘COLLABORATION,’ ‘INCLUSIVITY’ and ‘HEALTH AND WELLBEING’ – that each act as provocations for what the creative arts do and can offer in the current Higher Education landscape.

Essential not Optional explores the synergies that arise and collective influence we might wield when these four disciplines come together. This unique gathering provides a platform to explore our collaborative potential, shared ethos, and the impact that Drama, Music, Dance, and Art has on the academic landscape of our institutions and the sector as a whole. The conference offers a rare opportunity to explore how these disciplines can work together to enhance and reinforce the position and influence of the creative arts. We hope that this collaborative conference will help us to foster a more resilient, cohesive, and interconnected network, not only between disciplines but with partners in compulsory education, community arts, industry and policy. By sharing insights, methodologies, and best practices from across our memberships, we can cross-pollinate ideas to shape the practices, policies, and cultures of learning that define our collective educational environments in the present and the future.

The conference is free to members of DanceHE, DramaHE, MusicHE, and NAFAE. Details of how to become a member available on the organisations website [DanceHEDramaHEMusicHE, and NAFAE ]

Refreshments and lunch are provided.


Essential Not Optional [Draft Running Order]

Wednesday 26th June

10:00 – 10:30 Welcome – LAC auditorium
10:30 – 13:30 Strand 1 – ‘CREATIVE INDUSTRIES?’
13:30 – 14:30 Lunch
14:30-17:30 Strand 2 –  ‘COLLABORATION’
17:30-19:00 Network and Showcase –



Thursday 27th June

9:00 – 12: 00 Strand 3 – ‘INCLUSIVITY’
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
13:00 – 16:00 Strand 4 – ‘HEALTH AND WELLBEING’
16:00 – 17:00 Closing Plenary / AGM (if required)

In order to book for this event, please fill out the following form. Your booking will be processed shortly after and you’ll recieve a confirmation email of the booking along with your e-tickets.

  • Date:
    Wed 26th - Thu 27th Jun 2024
  • Time:
    Various times
  • Location:
  • Prices:

    Free (booking required)

  • This event spans 2 days, 26th June 10am – 7pm & 27th June 9am – 4pm.