Tactile language spoken

Aalborg water front

Aalborg Music House

Aalborg Kongres & Kultur Center - AKKC

Smiling child with congenital deafblindness

Aalborg water front

Smiling young man with congenital deafblindness

Aalborg Kongres & Kultur Center - AKKC

Person with acquired deafblindness climbing a wall

Meet our keynote speakers

Niels-Henrik Møller Hansen

Associate professor,
Centre for Youth Research, Aalborg University, Denmark


Richard Hawkes

Chief Executive,
British Asian Trust,
United Kingdom




Morning Keynote on Tuesday, September 5th

Isolation according to Social connectedness - the general human aspect 

Niels-Henrik Møller Hansen has an MA in Social Science from the University of Copenhagen. He is a researcher at the Centre for Youth Research where his research focuses on young people with disabilities - among these, dyslexia and hearing impairment.
In Niels-Henrik’s Ph.D. dissertation, he dealt with the well-being of young, hearing-impaired people. He has also evaluated a special educational opportunity for the deaf and hearing-impaired, and he is in the process of implementing a 5-year study of the well-being of young hearing-impaired people, after they leave primary school.

Read more about Niels-Henrik Møller Hansen



Richard Hawkes joined British Asian Trust  - one of Prince Charles's charities that works across South Asia supporting people out of poverty  - in 2015 after having held a range of senior roles in the UK and international not-for-profit sector for more than 20 years - including being Chief Executive of Scope, one of the largest disability charities in the world.

Richard was the founding Chief Executive of Sense International, working there for more than 12 years from 1994 to 2006 and setting up programmes for deafblind people in a number of other countries. During this time, Richard was also very active within Deafblind International, serving as DbI Secretary for more than five years.

Richard has also worked for the United Nations and is a former National Secretary of the National Union of Students.  He has held a number of senior sector and non-executive roles including being Chair of BOND, the umbrella body for UK international NGOs. He is currently also Chair of Motivation, an international disability NGO, and works as an adviser to a range of other organisations, individuals and sector bodies.

Alberto Gallace

University Researcher
Department of Psychology, 
University of Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy


Morning Keynote on Wednesday, September 6th

Touch and the Body: Tactile awareness and the science of interpersonal touch

Dr. Alberto Gallace is a cognitive neuroscientist with a special interest in the study of the cognitive and neural aspects of tactile information processing across the body surface. He is a researcher at Department of Psychology at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy.

Alberto Gallace is the co-author of the book In touch with the future. The book is in an up-to-date and authoritative review of the literature concerning the world of touch. In addition to tactile information processing, his work investigates the topic of interpersonal touch. Alberto’s work with Prof. Charles Spence of Oxford University, underpins one of the very first neurocognitive models of tactile awareness. 

Read more about Alberto Gallace

Joris Slaets

Professor of Geriatric Medicine,
University Medical Centre Groningen, the Netherlands


Morning Keynote on Thursday, September 7th

Closeness and ageing

Prof. Joris Slaets put the concept of 'harmful care for older people' on the agenda and his ideas about well-being and happiness have become an integral part of policy in The Netherlands. Important themes in his scientific work are strength and frailty, needs and desires, and demand patterns of older people in a community. He was one of the founding fathers of the current Internal Medicine training plan, of which he designed the competence 'Reflecting'. Joris is one of the project leaders of the National Care for the Elderly Program in the Netherlands and scientific advisor to the Board of Directors of Espria. He was a member of several committees of the Dutch health council and care institute the Netherlands, and until the end of 2014 he served as vice-chairman of the Central Committee on Research Involving Human Subject. In January 2015, Joris Slaets joined Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing as executive director.

Read more about Joris Slaets

Joakim Garff

Associate Professor,
Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Morning Keynote on Friday, September 8th

In the vision of the great Danish philosopher Soeren Kierkegaard: Existential Anxiety and it's influence on twentieth century thought

Joakim Garff has been a co-editor of Søren Kierkegaards Skrifter [Søren Kierkegaard's Writings] in 55 volumes and the author of SAK, an award winning biography of Kierkegaard, which has been translated into a number of languages; into English as Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2005). Garff was previously Chair of the Danish Kierkegaard Society. Most recent book is ‘Regines gåde’ (2013) [The Riddle of Regine: The Story about Kierkegaard's Fiancée and Schlegel's Wife]. Currently Garff is working on the research-project Nisus formativus, concerning Kierkegaard's concept of self-identity and his critical approach to culture. Besides of research in Kierkegaard, Garff does research in the fields of Danish Golden Age, Aesthetics, Biography and Hermeneutics.

Read more about Joakim Garff