2021 SPEAKERS

We are very keen to offer local, lesser-known Mindfulness practitioners an opportunity to be a part of this festival and have endeavoured to put together an inclusive programme that reflects this vision as much as possible. 

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KAREEN GRIFFITHS

How Diversity and Inclusion Through Mindfulness Connects Us: Discover how mindfulness can help break through the barriers of bias to create inclusive, compassionate spaces  

Kareen has a long and successful career helping global organisations lead their people through change. After overcoming her own personal challenges related to work stress, overcoming panic attacks and anxiety, she found that Mindfulness became her forever friend in life. She decided to qualify as a Mindfulness teacher and is now dedicated to helping others find inner calm so people can thrive in their professional and personal life and find their sense of belonging in the ever-changing world we live in.

Kareen calls her programmes ‘The Calmify Experience’ which are accessible, inclusive, creative and fun and taught in a way that provides a safe place for everyone.

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CHRIS RUANE

Be the Change You Want to See in the World: Mindfulness in Parliament and Beyond

Chris Ruane was a teacher and deputy head from 1982-97 and an MP from 1997 to 2019 (with two years out of parliament 2015-17). He is a long-time advocate for mental health and human flourishing. Working with the Oxford University Mindfulness Centre (OMC) and the Mindfulness Initiative, he helped to establish a Mindfulness practice group in UK Parliament in 2013 and the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group in 2014. He was also an officer on all party groups for Wellbeing Economics, Art and Wellbeing and Gut Health. Over the past 8 years, 300 UK parliamentarians and 500 members of their staff have received Mindfulness training. Chris has helped to introduce Mindfulness in 11 legislatures around the world and developed links to a further 35 legislatures. He has spoken at the Google Wisdom 2.0 conference in 2014, United Nations in June 2019, OECD Wellness Summit in October 2019, as well as at the Mind and Life Mindfulness Conference Munich in September 2019. He has delivered talks and lectures on Mindfulness and wellbeing at the following Universities: Oxford (Said Business School and the Dept of Politics), Berkeley, Harvard (Kennedy School of Government), Toronto, Galway, UCL, Warwick, Bangor, Radboud, Aarhus, Lyon, and Manchester Metropolitan. Chris has just published his account of taking Mindfulness into the political sphere in the UK and around the world in The American Psychological Association's Journal, The Humanistic Psychologist. In this session, Chris Ruane will be interviewed by Christoph Spiessens, followed by a Q&A with the audience.

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NATALIE ROSSITER, DIP COUNS MBACP ACCRED

Mindfulness for Modern Life: How to incorporate more presence and calm into busy days 

Natalie Rossiter has been teaching mindfulness in various forms, including workshops and guided meditations, in her counselling practice since 2015. In her popular and experiential talk, "Mindfulness for Modern Life," she shares how people can practice mindfulness, compassion and non-judgement in their day-to-day lives. Ideal for guests of the Festival who are new to Mindfulness or who are looking for a refresher. 

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MARKUS GREENWOOD

Rainbow Mind LGBTQ Project: Learn about Rainbow Mind and the Radical Self-care course we deliver. Experience some interactive aspects of the course, increasing self-compassion and mindful awareness

Markus is CEO at Mind in Salford. He is a qualified psychotherapist and counsellor and has trained to teach Mindfulness-Based Interventions with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and Mindflow. He has also trained as a Mindfulness Supervisor with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice – Bangor University. Markus is the Mindfulness Lead at Mind in Salford, managing a team of mindfulness practitioners and pioneering the setup of a national mindfulness teaching training programme across local Minds. Markus is the co-founder and Northern hub Director of Rainbow Mind, tackling mental health within the LGBTQI community. He will co-present the talk, "Rainbow Mind LGBTQ Project" with Karen Welsh.

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KAREN WELSH

Rainbow Mind LGBTQ Project: Learn about Rainbow Mind and the Radical Self-care course we deliver. Experience some interactive aspects of the course, increasing self-compassion and mindful awareness

Karen is a qualified Mindfulness teacher trained through the Mindfulness in Mind Practitioner Training Programme (PTP) at Mind in Salford. She has delivered the 8-week MBSR course and Mindfulness taster sessions for a variety of organisations. She also delivers the Radical Self-Care (RadSec) courses for Rainbow Mind, a mental health awareness and support project for the LGBTQI+ community, coordinated in Greater Manchester by Mind in Salford, and has completed teacher training for the Mindful Self-Compassion 8-week course developed by Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer. Karen supports and supervises new MBSR and RadSec teachers in training. She will co-present the talk, "Rainbow Mind LGBTQ Project" with Markus Greenwood.

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SHAUN DONAGHY

Creating a Kinder and More Effective Workplace: How leaders can use mindfulness to change work culture and improve outcomes

Shaun Donaghy is the Chief Economist of Public Health England. He is also the former Chief Economist of the Health and Safety Executive and hosts the podcast ' Mindfulness for Beginners.' He teaches the 'Be Calm, Be Happy' course on behalf of Plum Village, an educational charity established by Thich Nhat Hanh. 

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CHRISTINE MCLEAN

Surviving Trauma: The Benefits of a Mindfulness Practice. In this inspirational talk, Christine shares how she survived brain trauma, defeated all the odds and explains how love and mindfulness can help to overcome negative thinking

Seventeen years ago, Christine was in a car crash that left her with serious brain injuries. Having no understanding of how to function in everyday life or how to support herself, she became suicidal and was placed on medication for over eight years. The damage caused part of the cortex communication system in her brain to stop working which resulted in episodes of PTSD, manic depression, bipolar tendencies and the possible onset of schizophrenia on top of all the physical injuries. Christine has studied for 15 years and today offers Mindfulness, Meditation and breathwork sessions that can allow the regeneration of cells, establish new communication systems and rebuild the mind through creativity, play and meditation, both online and in-person, to communities, charities and schools. She facilitates fun and easy learning practices that can help people regain calmness, joy and confidence in their everyday lives.

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LIZ LORD, MSC

Mindfulness in Schools and Education: The latest research and what’s happening on the ground. What we know about mindfulness in schools and how this is being delivered to school staff and young people.

Liz Lord is a teacher and trainer at the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre and the Head of Teacher Development for The ‘Mindfulness in Schools Project’ (MiSP) charity. She is now based in Manchester having spent the last 6 years as a senior researcher and the school's liaison lead for the MYRIAD project at the Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Oxford.  She is passionate about communicating the latest scientific research in ‘Mindfulness for schools’ effectively to the Education community and beyond. Before joining the OMC, Liz worked as a school teacher and part of the Senior Leadership Team in a Pupil Health Referral Unit in Salford where she taught mindfulness to pupils and led its implementation. Previously, she was an Assistant Head at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital school. Liz has taught mindfulness courses to teachers, heads, parents and educational psychologists. She has an MSc in Mindfulness-based Approaches from Bangor University, where her particular interest was looking at mindfulness for school teachers.

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GEORGE BATE

Mindfulness on the Move: Reconnecting with your body and the world around it. Practical ways to incorporate mindfulness into daily life

Praised by schoolteachers for daydreaming in class, George developed this into worry and anxiety, which he took with him into adult life, working in a corporate environment.  After 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, he discovered mindfulness and managed to leave stress (and his career) behind. In 2016, he set up a northern programme for The Running Charity, using running as a platform to help young homeless people transform their lives. At the same time, he continued to develop his mindfulness practice, undertaking 10-day silent retreats and training as a teacher. George delivers mindfulness courses & sessions with a number of other teachers.

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AMY DAVIES

Mindful Movement: Moving with Compassion. In this session, you will be invited to slow down and listen to the wisdom of the body, through a series of gentle, explorative movements

Amy will facilitate the Mindful Movement session at our festival. She is a Mindfulness Meditation Facilitator, Yoga Teacher and Embodiment Coach. Amy specialises in supporting individuals experiencing stress, burnout, chronic pain and fatigue conditions. Cultivating awareness is at the heart of everything she teaches. With this insight, she guides people to compassionately work with their body and felt sense to explore new options. This can lead to profound shifts in how we think, feel, move, relate and be. Her aim is to empower others; making this work practical, relatable and easy to integrate into our everyday modern lives. Her approach is trauma-sensitive, inclusive and accessible. She teaches from her lived experience of a pain and fatigue condition, alongside her ongoing practice and training in mindfulness meditation, pain science, nervous system regulation, embodied coaching, yoga and somatic movement. No change of clothes is required for participants and Amy will offer multiple options in the session, to meet different people's requirements. The session will be suitable for all levels of experience and practice. 

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LOUISE THOMPSON

The Mindful Museum: Learn about the relationship between mindfulness and art and how Manchester Art Gallery uses creativity to support people to learn and practice mindfulness 

Louise is the Health and Wellbeing Manager at Manchester Art Gallery as well as a Museums and Wellbeing Consultant. Having been with the gallery for 15 years, she oversees a programme of events, workshops and exhibitions that explore the relationship between art and mindfulness. Louise has developed different courses that use art and creativity as a tool to learn and practice mindfulness and often works in partnership with Greater Manchester Mental Health Services, Manchester Mind and other mental health organisations. From drop-in public workshops that guide people in mindful looking to curating the gallery's first mindful exhibition, Louise has pioneered mindfulness practice in the cultural sector. She works with other museums and galleries across the nation supporting them to develop wellbeing programmes and has been invited to speak about her work in various cities across Europe. She is passionate about teaching mindfulness in an accessible, practical and trauma-sensitive way. Louise's talk is called, "The Mindful Museum." Learn about the relationship between mindfulness and art and how Manchester Art Gallery uses creativity to support people to learn and practice mindfulness.

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CHRISTOPH SPIESSENS

Festival Host (and select group meditations)

Christoph is the founder of The Manchester Mindfulness Festival. His vision is simple: To organise an event in central Manchester that makes Mindfulness more accessible to both beginner and advanced practitioners, without bells (well, with the exception of meditation bells!), whistles or territoriality, but with inclusion, collaboration, and respect for the integrity and essence of Mindfulness. He is a certified Mindfulness teacher, Learning & Development professional, and also teaches on the app, Insight Timer. His personal development book, ‘Life of a Lifetime,’ is published by Business Expert Press, NY. Christoph is particularly fascinated by the intersection of neuroscience, Mindfulness and spirituality. He is studying for a master’s degree in Teaching Mindfulness-Based Approaches at Bangor University.

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STACEY WITHINGTON & JEANETTE MCGUFFIE

Event Support

The psychological safety of our festival visitors is paramount. Although Mindfulness practice is generally very safe, Stacey Withington and Jeanette McGuffie are available on the day in case guests require urgent psychological help. They are the owners of Beyoutiful Reflections Counselling and Wellbeing Service, based in the Greater Manchester area. Together, they have qualifications in Counselling, Criminology and Forensics Psychology, Positive Psychology, Mindfulness and Life coaching. Whilst delivering bespoke Mindfulness workshops to institutions such as schools, community centres and more, this duo also utilise Mindfulness techniques within their private counselling practice. Both take pride in the way their services help people to strive for growth, placing value on compassion, kindness, grit, positivity and empowerment.

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HEATHER ARNOLD

Event Support

Heather discovered Mindfulness about 8 years ago when working in a high pressured job and studying to be a chartered accountant. Having suffered from depression and anxiety since childhood she had never found the right tools to cope with her mental illness and move forward from it, until a friend introduced her to Mindfulness. She felt she needed to share Mindfulness with the world so started by going on some courses and setting up a regular group in the workplace. Since then she has become a qualified teacher with the UK College of Mindfulness Meditation and has been exploring mindfulness combined with art therapy. She runs regular group classes/courses locally and online and creates tailored workshops for care homes and businesses. 

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BRIDGET MULROY

Event Support

Bridget is a Mindfulness advocate and is delighted to be a part of the Event Support team.

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ED CUTLER

Event Support Lead

Ed is our Event Support Lead.

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NICK HAMMOND

Event Support

Nick is a Mindfulness Teacher, studying for his Masters in Mindfulness at Bangor University. He is also a Trustee of The Mindfulness Network and a Street Wizard at StreetWisdom.org (urban-based creativity and mindfulness workshops). Nick is a Marketing and Advertising Director with  30+ years experience. His passions include his family (Jo, Rory, Luke and Miles), outdoor swimming and walking his dog (Elliott) in the Surrey Hills.

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ALFIE

Event Support - Photography (*)

Some photographs might be taken throughout The Manchester Mindfulness Festival. This will be done with the greatest care and respect for the retreat-style ambience and approach to the event, and mainly during non-meditation moments.

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