What to expect



The Spring Leadership Retreat aims to foster different perspectives of team, organisational and systems leadership challenges you may be facing. It offers an opportunity to experiment with new ways of thinking, doing and being in relation to your leadership style and approach in order to better navigate today’s complex world..


We offer an alternative to your normal routine, taking you out of your familiar environment and immersing you in new experiences and the chance to share different ideas, together with time and space to think. We will pay explicit attention to the development of the learning community in order to achieve these aims. By committing to the programme our expectation is you will participate fully in the learning experiences offered.


Using this idea of space, we have structured the programme for the Leadership Retreat around what we are calling ‘personal leadership development spaces’. These include:


 ●  Creative spaces - embracing mental, physical, and emotional environments within which creativity operates;

 ●  Work spaces - in which we can draw on your own experiences to facilitate learning;

 ●  Theoretical spaces - where we can explore new ideas and approaches, research and current thinking, eg the Makers’ Movement; social dreaming; public narrative; Time to Think (Nancy Klein);

 ●  Community spaces - where we meet as the learning community to check in each morning & de-brief at the close of each Day;

 ●  Reflective spaces - a chance to think about application of ideas and learning to practice;

 ●  Social spaces - where we all relax, eat, drink and unwind;

 ●  Free spaces - where we can do our own thing.

Through an invitation to inhabit these spaces with us, we aim to create a powerful environment for personal and professional growth. A typical day on the Leadership Retreat will follow a consistent format which is set out in outline below. We will be sending a more detailed programme nearer the time.


Prior to May we will be making contact with each of you individually to arrange a conversation about your ideas and ambitions for the week together.


Outline Programme 


An outline programme of how the retreat and leadership development programme will be organised is below.

08.00 - 8.20                Meditation (optional)

08.30 - 9.00                Yoga (optional)

09.00 - 10.00              Breakfast 

10.00 - 10.30              Free space 

10.30 -10.40               Community space - (short, business-focused meeting)

10.45 - 11:15              Reflection and review of learning

11.15 - 13.30              Work/theoretical space - leadership ideas & application to personal context. Tea/coffee as required.

13.30 - 14.15              Lunch

14:15 - 16:00              Free/social space - reading, relaxing, swimming, walking, massage, individual coaching (optional).

16.00 - 18.30              Creative space - exploringand experiencing different approaches to creativity eg dancing, art work,                                           creative writing, collage, sock puppetry.

18:30 - 19:00              Community space - reflection on the day. Where am I? Where are we?

19.00 - 19.30              Social space - meet for pre-dinner drinks and conversation.

19.30 - 20.30              Dinner

20.30 -                        Social /entertainment space 

A specific daily program will be emailed to you on booking. 


Workshops and their leaders








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My career has been motivated by trying to change the world, or more specifically, how we provide and run health care. Drawing and reflecting on your and my personal experiences, we will explore our successes and failures in influencing services. Whether it’s trying to persuade national bodies, local organisations or clinical teams, similar challenges need to be addressed and overcome. 


The workshop will consider why health and social care are still beset with daunting challenges and suggest we need to take a different approach in which we 'think like a system and act like an entrepreneur'. We will explore our experiences of trying to bring about change and how a more participative and deliberative approach might unlock apparently intractable obstacles. There are no simple answers (they don't exist) but this session aims to help you join an emerging and refreshing conversation about a new approach to decision-making across many aspects of public policy.


After qualifying in medicine from Birmingham University in 1974, I worked in NHS hospitals before joining Save the Children Fund (UK) running a child health programme in Nepal for 18 months. I then trained in public health in Oxford, undertaking a doctorate on the reasons for the epidemic of surgery for glue ear in the UK. The next three years were spent half time as a lecturer at the Open University writing a new distance-learning course 'Health & Disease' with a biologist, sociologist and economist, and half time as a Consultant in Public Health for Oxfordshire Health Authority.

In 1985 I moved to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, set up what is now the Department of Health Services Research & Policy in 1988 (which I headed for five years) and was promoted to a Chair in Health Services Research in 1995. I joined the Senior Management Team in 1998 as Dean of the Faculty Public Health & Policy which I undertook for five years.

In 1996, together with Nicholas Mays, I established the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy which we edited jointly until 2017. Meanwhile, I was elected and served as the first Chair of the UK Health Services Research Network from 2005-8 and chaired the National Advisory Group for Clinical Audit & Enquiries from 2008-16, providing advice to the DH and NHS England. I have also served on several other national and international advisory bodies on quality assessment and improvement, playing a leading role in the adoption of patient reported outcome measures in the NHS. In 2006 Walking London's Medical History was published, a book of walks that tells the story of how health care developed from medieval to modern times. In 2017 I was awarded a knighthood for services to healthcare research.


I have diverse experience in the field of health policy. Before coming to the School I had worked in the National Health Service in England (with spells in public health and in representing consumers' interests), in academic health services research (at the Universities of Leicester and London (St Thomas' Hospital Medical School), and the Queen's University of Belfast), in the independent sector (with a think-tank, the King's Fund, where I was director of health services research) and as a civil servant (as a policy adviser with the New Zealand Treasury). I joined the School in May 2003 after almost five years in New Zealand. I maintain a direct involvement in health and wider social policy-making by continuing to provide periodic advice to the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the Treasury.

I direct the Department of Health and Social Care-funded Policy Innovation and Evaluation Research Unit (PIRU) which is a collaboration between LSHTM, the London School of Economics and Imperial College.


Nicholas Mays
Professor of Health Policy



Lead by Nicholas Hart, Samantha Dakin & Tom Machell


The workshop aims to explore and discuss the two voices we use on a day to day basis. The voice that we use to communicate, and our inner voice, which says things that we never say out loud. As part of the workshop three actors will perform a segment from the Tony Award-nominated American play ‘Hand To God’, which explores the consequences and resolutions that can be found when that inner voice is exposed. 

In 'Hand To God', the notion of an inner voice is explored through sock puppetry. Jason, the teenage son of a recently deceased father finds refuge from his grief in his mother's puppet ministry - a puppet club at the local church. There he makes Tyrone, a sock puppet that soon adopts a life of its own, wreaking havoc by expressing what Jason really feels. In this workshop, we'll learn how to make our own sock puppets and then bring them to life. We'll also get to meet Tyrone…

The group will also be offering one on one sessions for participants looking to develop their presentation and/or interview skills. Please speak to Sue, Bernie or Pippa for more information and to reserve a slot.


Tom Machell

Tom Machell is an actor, writer and comedy performer originating from Newcastle upon Tyne. He trained at The New York Film Academy and makes up 1/5 of the surreal, award-winning comedy group zazU. zazU have had sell out runs at the Soho Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and are currently developing their work for television and radio.

As an actor, Tom most recently appeared in the viral sketch show ‘Every Blank Ever’ for Comedy Central and in the feature film ‘Dinosaur Hunter’ starring Jenny Agutter. Other screen credits include 'Doctors'  (BBC), Newscrack (Channel 4) ,‘Babs’ (BBC), the forthcoming feature film ‘Trautmann’, BFI funded shorts ‘Sticky’ and ‘Litterbug’ and the short film ‘The Bucket’, which Tom also wrote. Stage credits include ‘Life According to Saki’ (Off Broadway – New York Theatre Workshop), ‘Benighted’ (Old Red Lion), ‘The Comedy of Errors’ (Off Broadway – The Drilling Company) and 3 runs of Guinness World Record holding comedy show ‘News Revue’, which he also writes for.

Samantha Dakin

Samantha Dakin grew up in California and trained at Drama Centre London. She has performed on stage in the West End, New York, California and Germany. Her screen credits include “Hyde Park On Hudson”, “Doctors”, “EastEnders”, and the upcoming Channel 4 miniseries “Chimerica”. Samantha provides one of the lead voices in the BAFTA-nominated animated series “Tree Fu Tom”, and has performed in many radio plays for the BBC.

Nicholas Hart 

Nicholas Hart is an actor and puppeteer. His puppetry credits include War Horse (National Theatre, West End, and National Theatre Live), Hand To God (Vaudeville Theatre, West End), Alice’s Adventures Underground (The Vaults, Waterloo), and Father Christmas (Lyric Hammersmith). Earlier this year he reprised his role of Jason / Tyrone in Hand To God at the English Theatre Frankfurt.


Lead by Catherine Francis-Yeats

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An introduction to camera-less photography, more commonly known by the term ‘blueprint’.

Contact prints will be made from compositions using found objects unique and typical to the region, then exposed by ultraviolet light. This is an accessible, immediate and site-specific project for everyone attending the workshop.


Linking with the participant's other course workshops, we will be exploring identity while making our own photographic self-portraits. Looking to experimental pioneering photography from the Surrealists to contemporary artists for stylistic inspiration and calling upon classical and literary themes, there will be something for everyone. Working in the gardens, pool, studio or the surrounding countryside participants are free to work in groups, alone or one to one with myself to create unique artworks documenting their stay.


I am an artist and teacher living and in Herne Bay, Kent. I studied Fine Art Painting at Camberwell for my BA and at the Slade for my Post-Graduate also in Fine Art Painting. I have been teaching art and running workshops for adults and children for over 10 years in East London and across Kent and have instigated several community art events and a seafront mural made by local adults and children.

I work in a diverse range of materials to best suit whatever site-specific project I am involved with. In my studio, which overlooks the Kent coast, I have been exploring cyanotypes and drawings using layers of lines from shipping maps and ordinance survey lines with drawings of my finds from numerous coastal walks. These finds include seaweed, fish egg pods, soft coral, washed up fish and shells.

I have exhibited in London, Canterbury and Herne Bay. Most recently, ‘April is the cruellest month’, a satellite exhibition to the Turner Contemporary Gallery , “The Wasteland”, which celebrated the famous poem by TS Eliot, written partially in Margate. For this exhibition I made a series of concertina books and large drawings, again with diverse materials, to represent the many voices contained in the poem.

I have had several commissions in London and won a design competition to produce one of six artists’ benches as part of the Herne Bay Coastal Park. My bench is overlooking the sea by the Kings Hall and is curved metal with flocking seagull shapes laser cut through the back panel to cast light shapes as the sun moves across the sky.

During a trip to Venice I made a series works about how I felt being a tourist in a place so loaded with history. I used intaglio prints and marbled paper collages with areas highlighted in gold leaf, of parts of icons, images from churches and famous landmarks mixed awkwardly with the birds and fish that followed the tourists for food.


Lead by Holly Khan


Music is all around us and we are all musical. The rhythm of our heartbeat, our walk and our speech - the subtle melodic changes of intonation in our voice when communicating. The pace at which we live our lives... 

This workshop aims to explore the inherent musicality that lives inside all of us and therefore better understand our own musical tendencies (our individual rhythm, pace and melody). We will practically analyse how music creates both dissonances and harmonies and how we too create these elements in day to day life unknowingly. Using key principles such as counterpoint and resolution to develop our listening skills and our ability to communicate and connect with others. 

The group will work towards co-composing their own score and theme through song and soundscapes as well as live instrumental demonstrations! 

Please note the workshop is for all abilities, no experience necessary. Please wear comfortable clothes and be ready to move


Holly Khan is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and facilitator. Her training includes a BA in European Theatre Arts (Rose Bruford) and an MA in Performance Making (Goldsmiths), where she specialised in composition for live theatrical settings. 

Her diverse approach to music making, and experience within theatre, means she has had the privilege of working in varied environments: creating workshops for mental health charities, dementia friendly programmes and SEN children. Producing improvisation, song writing and core composition workshops. At the heart of Holly’s practice is a strong notion of collaboration as she creates work for a multitude of different settings, using music as a tool to connect people.


After 25 years working in central government in Whitehall (Justice), Belfast (Employment and Trade), NZ Treasury and back in Whitehall, I decided to change direction to focus on family and other interests, and to tackle the work- life balance.

A new form of exercise was also needed on return to London, having lost the easy access to the mountains I’d enjoyed in New Zealand. That exercise proved to be dance – something I hadn’t done since my teens because of meeting and later marrying someone for whom it was a form of torture.
A local dance class for Latin and Ballroom Beginners offered a warm welcome to later learners and, one year in, my husband was persuaded to give it a go too; lessons became a weekly fixture in our diaries. We learned the various rhythms and basic steps in 10 different ballroom and latin dances and started to attend and enjoy social dances.
Now I am working my way through the exam syllabus and grades: a lot more lessons; more steps; technique and style to be learned; and exam performances to be delivered. It offers a real workout for body and brain – it is also fascinating, challenging and so much fun!
I am not a professional dance teacher and still have plenty to learn, but I would love to share a little of what I do know with you.


Lead by Amanda Jones

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Come along and learn some basic steps and a short routine in one latin dance (cha cha cha) and one ballroom dance (slow waltz).By the end of the workshop you will have a sense of the rhythm and feel of each dance, a basic understanding of what is involved in leading and following, and a sequence of steps to use in each dance.No prior skills or experience are needed. No special kit is needed either - but do wear clothes which allow you to move easily, and shoes which will be comfortable and practical to dance in (not loose sandals as they will not move with your feet, and might get trodden on); and if your shoes have smooth soles they will help you move more easily on the floor.