Explorers Connect

Adventure Mind
27th-28th February 2020

Promoting positive mental health through adventurous activity. For outdoor professionals, researchers and policy makers


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We have a mental health crisis in the UK. We believe that adventurous activity can play a significant role in alleviating this problem for various sectors of society

Already there exists an experienced community of outdoor professionals, researchers and adventure organisations that see the benefit of adventurous activity on people of all ages and backgrounds everyday. This conference is designed to equip you with the latest research, improved networks and shared resources. Mental health professionals keen to use adventure are welcome too

The event will explore the role of Government in improving mental health and more specifically, how policy makers can facilitate more people to use outdoor adventure to alleviate mental health issues

We are bringing together some of the world’s best researchers in this field - from universities and institutes in the UK, USA and Australia - to London, February 2020, with the aim of supporting the delivery of adventure in the UK:

  • To provide practitioners and policy makers with the latest evidence supporting the positive impact of adventuring on mental health

  • To provide networking for like-minded researchers and practitioners who would mutually benefit from producing new research together

  • To provide advice and information for practitioners to be smarter in the way they plan, deliver and measure adventure interventions to aid mental health

  • To provide long term networking and solutions for policy makers, researchers & practitioners to bring adventure into mental health planning

  • To help practitioners communicate the impact of their work to their communities and potential funding organisations

  • To help practitioners network, share resources and collaborate


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Bringing together policy makers, researchers, adventure practitioners and mental health professionals to better understand how adventurous activity can positively affects mental health in the UK

Adventure Mind is designed for any outdoor practitioner or organisation that works to improve the mental health of their participants or wishes to in the future

This includes adventure therapy practitioners but also any organisations or practitioners (outdoor charities, outdoor instructors, adventure tourism companies, mental health professionals) that will benefit from learning about new research, smarter ways to deliver adventure, learning how to best assess impact, and networking opportunities

Researchers will benefit from sharing their results with those that can action them and building collaborations for future work. Leading researchers from the UK, US and Australia are already confirmed to share their latest work at the conference

Policy makers will have the opportunity to work with high profile speakers and influential stakeholders to examine ways of bringing outdoor adventure into mental health planning


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The latest research to design and deliver adventurous activity to positively impact mental health. The event will incorporate workshops, panel discussions, networking opportunities, presentations of case studies by practitioners and the latest evidence by leading scientists. This includes but is not restricted to:

  • How to intentionally design adventure experiences to impact mental health

  • How to bring adventure into mainstream mental health planning

  • How to measure the impact of adventure on participants’ mental health

  • Building lasting resilience through adventure: short term intervention

  • NHS funding for surf therapy

  • The mental well-being impact of parkour

  • Outward Bound: the lasting impact of 80 years of delivering adventure

  • Adventure as an intervention for recovery from PTSD

  • The effect of nature on mental health

  • …and much more

The conference will start at 12 pm Thursday 27th February 2020, with registration from 11am


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New evidence, case studies and publications will be presented by researchers and expert practitioners. Some of the speakers already confirmed to share their findings include:

Prof Eric Brymer (Australian College of Applied Psychology) interest in designing effective interventions for facilitating human potential & psychological wellbeing

Prof Alan Ewert (Indiana University-Bloomington) current research areas include outdoor adventure, resilience, risk motivation and the natural environment

Jenny Edwards CBE is a National Advisor to numerous mental health charities, Honorary Fellow for Faculty of Public Health and former Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation

Dr Simon Beames (University of Edinburgh) senior lecturer in outdoor learning and author ‘Adventure and Society’

Outward Bound: the charity’s impact on mental health over the last 80yrs

The Wave Project: NHS support of surf therapy

Belinda Kirk is an expedition leader and leading voice promoting the importance of adventure on wellbeing. Belinda is curating and hosting the event

Paula Reid will talk about going knowingly into the unknown

Prof Emma Barrett OBE (Manchester University) psychology in extreme environments and schools expeditions



Situated right on the edge of the River Lee Country Park, the venue for Adventure Mind 2020 is YHA London Lee Valley, just a twenty minute train journey from central London.

Perfectly positioned in surroundings to compliment Adventure Mind: explore open green spaces and local wildlife, access cycle routes and water sports.

Conference Facilities and Bedrooms are within 5 modern wooden lodges with two room types available (select when booking). Bedding is provided, you will need to bring a towel.

Accommodation on Thursday night is included in your Conference Ticket.

Please arrive by public transport, there is no parking available to delegates

Cheshunt railway station and the nearest bus stop are 150 meters away


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  • All presentations, workshops, panel discussions and networking sessions from 12pm midday Thursday 27th February to 4pm Friday 28th February

  • Networking dinner on Thursday 27th February

  • Accommodation on Thursday night & cooked breakfast on Friday - in either a shared Dormitory Room or Twin Room (please advise us if you are booking with another delegate and would like to be placed in the same room)


  • Date: The Adventure Mind conference will run from 12pm on Thursday 27th February to 4pm on Friday 28th February 2020

  • Conference including networking dinner, breakfast & dorm accommodation: £175 per person

  • Conference including networking dinner, breakfast & twin accommodation: £205 per person

  • If you would like to join the conference without booking accommodation, we have a limited supply of conference only tickets at £145, please ask rowan@explorersconnect.com

  • N.B. Adventure Mind is run on a not-for-profit basis to support the outdoors community


If you'd like to know more about this weekend or have a particular question about this or any of our adventures, please email enquiries@explorersconnect.com or call the office on 0117 405 7497 during normal office hours and we'll do our best to help you.