The Inaugural Joan Whitelaw lecture 2021

Section: People and NetworksType: News Item Date Published: 29th March 2021

Keynote speakers announced for 10 year anniversary lecture of ALLIANCE's Tommy Whitelaw's campaigning.

ALLIANCE’s National Lead for Caring and Outreach, Tommy Whitelaw reflects on upcoming lecture to mark 10 years of his campaigning work for carers across Scotland:

Back in June 2011 whilst caring for my mum Joan Whitelaw, I launched a Letters, Life and Love stories campaign. Walking across Scotland and speaking to carers along the way, I collected hundreds of individual stories and experiences about caring for loved ones. Since then, people from all across the world have continued to share their stories with us .

Through the work of the Carer Voices project at the ALLIANCE, the voices of carers and cared for people have been shared widely. And as National Lead for Caring and Outreach, sharing my own experience of caring for my mum and the importance of active listening, intelligent kindness, and the What Matters to You approach, we have engaged with 230,000 people  at  1150 talks. Speaking to  professionals, students and practitioners within health and social care and beyond, we share the importance of listening to the carer experience.

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, and in honour of my mum and the incredible families and people Carer Voices has met along the way, we are delighted to announce our upcoming event:

The Inaugural Joan Whitelaw lecture

Hosted digitally as part of the ALLIANCE annual conference, the lecture will bring together as keynote speakers two remarkable leaders who have made a massive effect on care across the globe:

  • Maureen Bisognano, Professor Emerita and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Henry Simmons, Chief Executive at Alzheimer Scotland

The lecture will be chaired by Irene Oldfather, Director of Strategy and Engagement at the ALLIANCE.

The Carer Voices team hope to see you there on Tuesday 8th June 3-4.45pm. You can pre-register by emailing

With great thanks to Maureen, Henry and Irene who have had such incredible impacts on the lives of so many, and in my personal life and development.

Irene Oldfather, ALLIANCE Director of Strategy and Engagement, and Chair of the forthcoming event says:

‘The story of Joan and Tommy is well known to carers across Scotland. It’s great to see a celebration of this at our Annual Conference with the Joan Whitelaw lecture. This session brings together those who have worked with  Tommy over the years, and many more who have been inspired will I am sure attend on the day’

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