Sunday, 3 September 2017

...hey ho

So - this blogger is taking a little research leave over the autumn, to finish off some big work and embark on all things new. More of that very soon, if you can bear it!

I am thrilled to be asked to speak at the
Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney as part of The Big Anxiety Festival this year. It's a great line-up and I'm honoured to be part of the largest arts and mental health festival on the planet. My presentation will be all things obsessive and compulsive - but not in the slightest - disordered! Read more by clicking on my lucky kitten below. 

For those of you from the arts, health and other connected communities of interest, I plan to facilitate a follow-up event to the APPG Creative Health launch, which is planned to take place at Manchester School of Art on January 5th 2018. So keep that date in mind. Of course we’ll have some special political and cultural guests, but we really want to dig down into that report and see what it means to us - and what we want to take forward as a region. So whether you’re a researcher, activist or artist - look out for calls for expressions of interest in sharing, provoking and shaking up the system.

I’ll be posting explicitly about this event in November.

UNSEEN: Simultaneous Realities
For now, a big congratulations to Mark Prest and all his ongoing work as part of PRIDE and some incredibly exciting Recoverist work across Greater Manchester. 

Film Still. Fruit Bowl. courtesy Amanda Ravetz & Huw Wahl

UK Arts Threatened by Planned £39m British Council Cut!

The British Council could be forced to scale back its activities in developed countries if a planned Government funding cut takes place. Should the cut be confirmed, the organisation’s funding for so-called ‘developed economies’ without access to official development assistance would be reduced from £39m in 2016/17 to £13m in 2018/19, and to zero by 2019/20. A British Council spokesperson confirmed the reduction could have some impact on the arts in Europe and the across wider developed world, but said there would be “no impact” on the UK’s Creative Europe programme, which is managed by the Council but funded by the European Union. Thanks to Arts Professional for their reporting. Click HERE. 

St Helens Local Cultural Education Partnership Development Officer for St Helens Council
Salary: From £25,951 to £27,668 per annum, pro rata
St.Helens Council is looking to appoint someone who is knowledgeable and passionate about arts and culture in education to the newly created role of Development Officer for the St Helens Local Cultural Education Partnership (LCEP), which has recently been named as the first Artsmark town in the North West. The successful candidate will have knowledge of a wide variety of creative and performing arts and the workings of arts practitioners and the cultural industries alongside a deep understanding of the school curriculum and the current issues affecting schools.  You will have strong organisational and communication skills and will be an excellent negotiator and advocate for the arts with a wide variety of audiences.   Key tasks of the role will include:  the finalising of the activity plan and schools’ offer; encouraging buy in by all schools and academies, brokering activities and training for schools with a wide variety of artists and cultural providers; formulating an evaluation framework to measure impact and other outcomes and outputs; manage the LCEP project budget and make regular progress reports to the LCEP steering group and its funders; and being able to successfully draw in additional external funding.
The post was created in partnership with St Helens Council and Curious Minds with funding from Arts Council England and Public Health. Whilst the post has been advertised on a temporary basis till March 2019 there will be the possibility to extend the role beyond this point subject to the success of the candidate in this respect. The post is for 22.5 hours over 3 days per week term time only plus three extra weeks to a total of 42 weeks per year, temporarily until March 2019, and is subject to a satisfactory DBS and other pre-employment checks.

Deadline for applications: Tuesday 5th September 2017; Interview date: Thursday 21st September 2017. Further information is HERE. 

Design for the Future
”I am now completely convinced that the GP within the NHS will have no enjoyable or creative future until the arts led “libraries and health“ partnership work is understood, valued and firmly supported in every possible way by both GPs and Librarians across the whole of the UK” – Dr Malcolm Rigler

You can see a presentation called Design for the Future, by the brilliant Dr Malcolm Rigler, a NHS GP and member of the Cilip Health Group. Malcolm is co-founder of the Health/Art/Libraries (HAL) project, which aims to design and deliver arts projects, events, publications, workshops, and training to help patients and carers in their search for information and understanding about health, social care and life changes working along the theme of ‘Libraries on Prescription.’ Read more by clicking HERE. 

Aviva Community Fund
The Aviva Community Fund is due to re-open for applications on the 12th September 2017. Community organisations will be able to apply for funding of between £1,000 and £25,000 to support their projects within one of the following four categories:
  Health and Wellbeing
  Skills for Life
  Community support
Applicants will need support from the community for their application in the form of votes and the most voted for applications will go through to the final to be judged. Voting will start on the 23rd October 2017 and applicants will need to have submitted their project by the 10th October 2017. The fund is open to anyone over the age of 18 living in the UK. If the applicant is under the age of 18 and wishes to submit an entry to the Awards, they must provide the consent of an appropriate adult associated with the project they are entering. Read more HERE.

The Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund
The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, run by the Museums Association, funds projects that can demonstrate the inspiring and engaging potential of their collection to deliver social impact for people and communities. Museums, galleries and heritage organisations from across the UK can apply for a grant of between £20,000 and £120,000 for projects that:
Engage local communities and/or those who aren't typical museum attendees
Improve the understanding of an existing collection or collections
Are developmental for the organisation or sector; etc.
Projects can last up to three years. There is a two-stage process with shortlisted stage one applicants invited to make a full application. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 6 September 2017. Read more HERE. 

Gannett Foundation Grants
The Gannett Foundation, which is the charitable arm of Gannett Co Inc., owner of the Newsquest Media Group, one of the UK's largest newspaper publishers, is inviting applications to supports projects that benefit the local community. Applications are welcome for specific items of equipment, anything from a box of toys for disadvantaged children, to sophisticated medical equipment for cancer research. Applications must be by registered charities. The grants available can be up to £10,000. Please note that grants are not available for salaries, professional fees or day-to-day running or maintenance costs, general appeals, political or religious objectives, state or privately run schools (other than special needs), hospitals (other than hospices) or projects that do not bring benefits to the local community. Groups that have received an award from the Foundation within the last two years cannot apply this year. The closing date for applications is the 9th October 2017. Applications need to be submitted via the local Newsquest Media Group papers. Read more HERE. 

£15 million Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund
Towns and cities across Northern England are able to bid for a share of a new fund that aims to boost the region's technology, creative and cultural industries. The UK Government's Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund aims to help build a lasting regional legacy from the Great Exhibition of the North planned for summer 2018. Grants of up to £4 million in each of three financial years (2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21) will be available to eligible Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the 11 Northern Regions of England. The funding will support capital expenditure on major culture and tech projects like, for example, opening a new tech start-up centre or renovating live music venues. LEPs are each invited to submit one bid for up to £4million to the Fund. Applications should be for a single capital project that fits within the overall priorities for the Fund and evidences the need for the project and the rationale for intervention in the local area. All projects supported will be expected to increase opportunities for people to experience, benefit from and contribute to culture and creativity. The deadline for LEP bids is 30th November 2017. Read more HERE.    


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Sunday, 13 August 2017


1, 2, 3...
Thanks for all the messages about the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing research inquiry report: Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing. We’ll be holding a large-scale event in January to follow up what has happened in between the launch and the new year. I’ll post the details asap, but let’s try and get people from all quarters of our North West Region involved. Thank you everyone for your continued support and interest. 

For those of you interested in some of the wider structural machinations of arts/health - the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing is to merge with the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing to become the ‘Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance’ in 2018, led by Arts and Health South West. It will enter Arts Council England’s national portfolio as a ‘Sector Support Organisation’ and be a key partner in delivering the recommendations from a recent cross-parliamentary report on the arts and wellbeing. Much, much more on this soon.

Portraits of Recovery present: Apples & Other Fruits
Performed only once, Apples and Other Fruits is a live walkabout performance in HOME’s gallery space presided over by high-wire avant-guardian and force of nature, David Hoyle, in collaboration with artist Jackie Haynes. This will be a night of laughter and bravery exploring recovery from substance use within the LGBT+ community and beyond. It’s anything but dry.

In the spirit of The Recoverist Manifesto, through poetry, performance, film, live art and installation, this encounter creates a frame for the traces of lived experience — thoughtful, angry and beautiful. Arrived at through a process of nomadic art making with ideas generated via trips to Southport, Platt Hall Gallery of Costume Gallery and Manchester’s Gay Village, a group of artists Recoverists and makers came together to confront the existing narratives of recovery and ask “what lies beyond?” Apples and Other Fruits is a part of UNSEEN: Simultaneous Realities. A Portraits of Recovery project curated by Mark Prest and part of three visual and performance art commissions that explore the viability and desire for Greater Manchester, LGBT+, Disability and South Asian recovery communities to become more visible and better understood.

Moving In
Five days ago, and extraordinary couple artists began and equally extraordinary piece of work called the 'Moving In' Residency. Artists Claire Ford and Kate Sweeney are moving from their respective studios and creating a new studio space in Northbourne Residential Care Home in Gateshead. Over a one month period they will live and sleep at Northbourne in order to work creatively with residents, families and care staff. The project seeks to challenge the conventional 'workshop' structure that artists are restricted to in care home and institutional settings and aims to develop more immersive practices and create space to experiment the types of activity, processes and outcomes that could be possible.

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with both artists as part of Dementia & Imagination, and Claire was a student here at MMU. Over these last few years I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with the dominance of biomedical ways of evidencing the impact of the arts on people’s health and wellbeing, and am undertaking a long inquiry into artists as researchers in their own right - and like you - I’ll be curious to see how Claire and Kate’s residency pans out. It’s great to see something fresh and novel in the field and which isn’t governed by reductivists. You can read their regular updates and watch their video diary by clicking on the image below. Best, best things to you both...and talking of Dementia & Imagination...

...on Monday 14th at 6:00pm, Kat Taylor former Arts & Health research associate on the very same Dementia & Imagination project, has curated a small exhibition at The Dukes in Lancaster. As part of their 3-year project, ’A Life More Ordinary,’ Kat has brought some of the imagery and work from Dementia & Imagination together to share the work beyond the research site in Derbyshire, where the work was created by people living with dementia.

If you’re an early career researcher in arts and health, following the exhibition, at 8:00pm Kat will be hosting an informal meeting of the nascent Early Career Researchers Network at the Borough Pub in Lancaster.  

Celebrating Age Round 2 
Deadline: 31st August
Celebrating Age, a joint Arts Council England/Baring Foundation fund, which supports partnerships between arts and older people's organisations, is now open for applications.  Grants of £50,000 to £100,000 are available to support cultural spaces and other organisations to be open, positive and welcoming places for older people; and taking high quality arts and culture into places where older people will find it easier to engage. Applicants must be working in partnership in a consortium with one lead organisation. To be eligible to apply, the lead applicant needs to be Arts Council funded, or have presented work to the public through ACE programmes.  Find out more HERE. The deadline for initial Expressions of Interest is 31 August 2017.
Preventing Hate Crime: funding for community projects 
A new funding scheme to support the UK Governments Hate Crime Action Plan has been launched by the Home Office. Not for profit organisations that have been established for at least 12 months and working in partnership with other organisations are invited to apply for grants of up to £50,000 for projects that help to prevent hate crime and address associated issues. Hate crimes are crimes that are motivated by hostility on the grounds of race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity and national origin), religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. The aim of the fund is to work with affected communities to fund the development of partnership projects that:
Prevent and/or respond to hate crime in local communities
Increase reporting; improve support for victims and build understanding of hate crime.
It is anticipated that up to 8 projects will be supported with successful applicants submitting all invoices for the work by 31st March 2018. The deadline for applications is 15th September 2017. Read more HERE.

Engaging Libraries Programme opens for applications 
The Carnegie UK Trust has announced that its Engaging Libraries Programme is now open for applications. The programme which is a partnership between the Carnegie UK Trust and the Wellcome Trust offers grants of £5,000 - £15,000 to libraries to deliver creative and imaginative public engagement projects on health and wellbeing. Applicants must be public library services - but the programme has a strong emphasis on collaboration and encourages libraries to think about a broad range of potential partnership opportunities in the delivery of their projects. The Carnegie UK Trust are aiming to support between 8 - 10 libraries and activities must be completed between October 2017 and October 2018. The closing date for applications is 5pm the 23rd August 2017. Read more HERE. 


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Public launch of - Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing

This week saw the culmination of the first major phase of work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, and the outcome of two years of a research inquiry into arts and health through the publication of Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing. The report had its public launch in the Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, and I was very honoured that Arts for Health hosted this event, with the support of the Arts & Health Research Group and the university policy think-tank MetroPolis.

There is much for us to digest in this report - the most substantial research syntheses to have been written on the subject - and many of the links provided in this blog posting will take you directly to the reports dedicated web page. 

Alongside it’s little sister of a short report and accompanying policy briefings, the overarching messages are clear and unequivocal:

1. The arts, imagination and creativity can help keep us well, aid our recovery 
and support longer lives better lived. 

2. Prescribing arts to deliver health saves money.
3. There is great potential for the arts to do more to help meet major 
challenges facing health and social care: mental health, ageing, loneliness 
and long-term conditions.

Creative Health reflects further on NHS Chief Executive, Simon Stevens’ strategic plan set out in his Five Year Forward View for NHS England focusing on the development of ‘community based non-medical responses to a range of physical and mental health and wellbeing needs’. As Lord Crisp has suggested, a healthy and health-creating society must aim for ‘the transformation of the health and care system from a hospital-centred and illness-based system to a person-centred and health-based system’. As the report suggests, artists and arts organisations can contribute to achieving this by fostering individual creativity and social inclusion and balance technical innovation with social innovation.

Whilst the report gives a forensic overview of research and practice across the life course, (and detail on evidence and methodology) and explores the policy and commissioning landscape - it does much more! Upfront and bold is the section on the social determinants of health and wellbeing, and it is this section, I’d suggest, that is critical to us moving forward, if we are really going to influence social change. Read it, digest it and perhaps we should have another event in Manchester early 2018 that focuses explicitly on social determinants, inequalities and social justice which should underpin all we do.

At the public launch of the report, I eluded to social justice as underpinning our work, and all the people who shared their stories in those exquisite vignettes on Friday, expand more lyrically on what I mean by this, than I could in writing a blog! By sharing the vision, practice and lived realities of people across Greater Manchester we were able to crystallise some of the macro ideas in this report, into the small scale, intimate and real.

The day began with a welcome to the university by Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, Professor Richard Green and an introduction to some of the themes in the report by vice-chair of the APPG, MP for Vale of Clwyd, Chris Ruane. Following some contextual thinking that I shared with delegates, it was my pleasure to introduce the ‘main act’, so to speak - the Rt Hon. Lord Howarth of Newport. In my short overview to Lord Howarth, I gave some acknowledgement to his genuine commitment to this field which I’ve had the pleasure to share with him over the last five or so years, from policy conversations with politicians in Whitehall to the actually nitty-gritty of doing things! (this is important) Not just talking, but enabling, pushing, inspiring and making things possible.

Personally, I never thought I’d see an image by David Shrigley sitting alongside the institutional image of government, like the APPG portcullis logo, but this tells us a lot about this report and not only the political stealth behind it: it tells us something about Alan Howarth’s passion, conviction and vision. He has given all of us involved, great faith in the political system, at a time when other elements of it leave me personally flat. Regular readers of this blog will realise that this is somewhat an understatement! 

He is a great champion to our community of interest, and his response to the Manifesto for Arts & Health in 2012 gives us a key to his core values:

“Trust, arduousness, risk, self expression and shared work are means of moving towards individual and collective integrity. Teaching and companionship sustain us; orthodoxy and exploitation blight us. Politics should be predicated on these values.”

We didn’t publicise the fact, but less that 48 hours earlier, he’d had surgery on his eye and was in a lot of discomfort, his vision greatly impaired. He could of easily and legitimately pulled out of the event, and it says something of the man, that he was committed both to contributing, and to Manchester itself, that he made this effort.

His presentation said it all. He provided the context, the rationale, the methodology and something of the depth of work that those involved in the work have gone to, and he expanded on some of the recommendations that are central to the work, as all of those involved in this long process begin a period of consultation and reflection for 6 months or so.

Much of what he said, contextualised the place of Manchester as the crucible of this movement, echoing my own comments on our place in the history, present and future of arts and health.

It felt incredibly fitting that the public launch took place in the North of the England, and particularly here in Manchester in 2017, as it’s 30 years since Peter Senior brought Arts for Health into the university. Yet, with over a hundred people in the room from as far as Scotland, Wales and the South of England - it was clear that we are all part of an evolving movement - a research informed movement - and one which the late Mike White described as, A Small Scale Global Phenomenon.

I reminded delegates of the recent opening ceremony of the MIF and - What is the City but the People? Where for one hour, 160 ordinary Mancunians walked a giant cat-walk in Piccadilly, from dog-walkers to social activists, from transvestites to the two taxi drivers who turned off their meters on the night of the recent attacks, in the spirit of solidarity - all strutting their stuff, to an audience of the British public, celebrating something that is unifying and very profound - community.

Powerful, precise and humane.

The arts had offered something of that civic society, that sometimes appears lost for ever in these days of what Mark Fisher has called, Capitalist Realism
In planning the event, my focus had been on ‘place’ and the exploration behind the overarching ideas around devolution in Greater Manchester, in which the aforementioned Five Year Forward View, explores the idea of Health as a Social Movement, but doesn’t in any real sense articulate how this great change in the NHS might happen. Whilst the RSA, NESTA and NEF have been charged to explore some of these ideas, it feels that with Live Well Make Art and the rich ecology of small scale and large scale arts and cultural activists already grounded in these communities, we are a social movement. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority have a five-year population health plan which commits explicitly to positioning the ‘strong inter-relationship between arts and individual and community health as one of the key foundations of building sustainable and resilient communities across Greater Manchester’. 

Arts and culture will be embedded in sustainable partnerships with health service commissioners and providers, making arts activity a core element of future planning. If we look at this in terms of those four vignettes, we see clearly that Arts & Health is a Social Movement, which can only be enhanced through our shared agendas. 

Alan Higgins, Director of Public Health in Oldham Council and Jacqui Wood, Artistic Director at the Arc Centre in Stockport set the scene for what has happened over Great Manchester and what might happen in our immediate futures where arts, health and wellbeing are explored as a social movement. 

This was made real and animated through a high octane exploration of Art & Recoverism by founding director of Portraits of Recovery, Mark Prest, Manchester School of Arts’ Professor Amanda Ravetz and recovery activist Michaela Jones, sharing their collaborative ambition to affect a 'culture change' by the emancipatory re-framing of addiction and recovery identities.

Bernadette Conlon, the chief executive officer and founder of Start and Paul Jordan, Start Artist in Residence, shared a short film called ‘Five Ways to Well being’ which you can see below, which with it’s stories of first class degrees, artistry and love, offered us tangible, credible and rich evidence of lives well lived, regardless of moments of mental ill health. 

Artist Lois Blackburn and poet Philip Davenport, who make up arthur+martha alongside Danny Collins, one of The Homeless Librarians, discussed The Homeless Library, the first history of British homelessness, a project that gave participants a safe place for self-expression and acknowledgement, sharing an important legacy with wider society. They all shared interviews, artworks and poetry which were inscribed into handmade books by some of the 3000 estimated homeless people of Manchester. Danny’s poem was profound.

All of these people shared personal experience at the deepest level, emotionally charged and a levelling factor with all those present in the room - equals - experiencing different textures of life.

And this is what participating in challenging and high quality artist led projects do - shift experiences - enable change and challenge assumptions. From Portraits of Recovery assertively addressing the invisible faces and voices of people from diverse and excluded groups through contemporary arts practice, to the progressive safe spaces created by organisations like Start, and the nuanced social arts practice of Lois and Philip. 

Artists as researchers, and researchers exploring the boundaries of their own practice - challenging each other in the context of health and wellbeing and of cultural equality.

To close such an important event, I was personally thrilled to have the input of Manchester poet Mike Garry who read an extract from T.S. Elliot’s Burnt Norton as a contextual introduction to the work of the Northern Chamber Orchestra (NCO) and their work around dementia. Tom Elliot of the NCO introduced the composer Dr Kevin Malone who briefly explained a composition he had written reflecting his father’s experiences of Alzheimer’s, which the clarinetist, Lynsey Marsh played to a spellbound audience. The work is called Last Memory.

  Time present and time past

  Are both perhaps present in time future,
  And time future contained in time past.
  If all time is eternally present
  All time is unredeemable.
  What might have been is an abstraction
  Remaining a perpetual possibility
  Only in a world of speculation.
  What might have been and what has been
  Point to one end, which is always present.

  (Extract from Burnt Norton, No. 1 of 'Four Quartets’ by T.S. Elliot)

Throughout the launch, presenters from the wonderful Vintage FM broadcasted live through the event and we’ll be sharing this on the blog over the next couple of weeks, which includes an interview with some of the contributors including Lord Howarth.

Many of you will know that I represent the North West region on the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, which - in the person of my colleague Alex Coulter - provided the driving force behind this APPG inquiry and report development. Alongside Alex, Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, (who worked with me at Arts for Health, authoring the important, 
Exploring the Longitudinal Relationship Between Arts Engagement and Health) is responsible for undertaking the huge research behind Creative Health. To them both, and for the constant leadership of Alan Howarth, my deepest personal thanks.

There are still those shady figures waiting in the wings, to capitalise on the report’s recommendations, so we must vigilant not to be subsumed by the venture philanthropists, who pursue this agenda devoid of integrity and worse still, no collaborative experience in the field, and who are lacking some of those core principles and values, which collaborators to our Manifesto for Arts & Health, so richly exuded.

For all those people who have very kindly written to me about Friday’s launch, I have noticed an overarching theme in people’s reflections; that of evolution. It seems that people liked the pace of the day and the speakers, which illuminated the ways in which arts/health has been growing over these last 30 years or so, and because those of us, who are embedded so deeply in the work, (small and large scale) are moving and evolving over time and context - we have a real sense of momentum informed through lived experience.


Saturday, 15 July 2017

CREATIVE HEALTH, PUBLIC LAUNCH on 21st July at The Manchester School of Art

I am pleased to announce that we are able to release a small number of tickets to the public launch of Creative Health, the report of a research inquiry into Arts and Health by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health & Wellbeing (APPG) will take place on the 21st July between 11:00 and 13:00 here at MMU.

The aim of the report is to inform a vision for political leadership in the field of arts, health and wellbeing in order to support practitioners, and stimulate progress and future research. In the light of its findings, the APPG will seek to influence the thinking and practice of politicians and other decision-takers. The report will be introduced by co-chair of the APPG, Lord Howarth of Newport who will be accompanied by parliamentarians and special guests. We’ll be having input from some inspirational artists and health activists and will share more after the event. The Full and Short reports will be available at this event. The short report containing superb illustrations by David Shrigley. 

If you’d like to attend the event, please email and you’ll receive a response on Tuesday 18th. You can read Art can be a powerful medicine against dementia, in this Observer article from 16th July HERE.

Artists Studio to let!
A studio space has just become available in our Pool Arts Studio on Grosvenor street, Manchester. Five minutes from Piccadilly and 5 minutes from Oxford Road. 24 hour access with some parking and WiFi. Click HERE for details.

The First Arts & Health Sitcom? 
Some years ago the sublime Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine were at the heart of a wonderful comic drama playing out life on an NHS geriatric ward. The series was a great source of depression and pleasure for me. In this episode Tilda Swinton plays a Germanic arts and health worker. Superb. The series is called Getting On and I heartily recommend it to the Health Secretary.

Looking at innovative approaches to improving the health & wellbeing of older people
5th & 6th September 2017
Belgrave Rooms, 25 Goldsmith St. Nottingham
Cost: Day 1 & 2: £44; One day ticket: £28.
As a World Health Organisation (WHO) Age Friendly City, Nottingham City Council are working closely with the Baring Foundation and Arts Council England to use the arts to enrich the lives of older people. There is consistent evidence that a range of art and music related interventions are supportive in promoting and protecting mental wellbeing and independence. This evidence is incorporated into the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for mental wellbeing and independence for older people and will be a key point of discussion within the conference. Click HERE.

Social Impact of the Arts in Liverpool 2015/16 report
The Social Impact of the Arts in Liverpool 2015/16 report looks at 36 cultural organisations in the city which are funded through the city council’s Culture Liverpool Investment Programme. It found that:
  • Arts organisations generated £27million into the city from a wide variety of local, national and international sources. This includes attracting millions of visitors and inward investment.
  • An impressive 29,840 cultural activities took place in the city from 2015/16, with 66% of this activity targeted at special groups – young people, homeless, veterans etc.
  • There were at least 4.6 million people attendees at CLIP funded events and festivals (broken down as 2,916,331 for events and 1,748,942 for festivals).
  • More than 258,000 attendees took part in CLIP activities.
  • The CLIP funding enabled the organisations to raise an additional £15,140,917 from public and private sources.
  • Organisations reported their activities achieved a huge array of social impacts and benefits – for example improving the lives of those experiencing homelessness, worklessness, long-term health issues or poor mental health. Young people with experience of the criminal justice system showed that those taking part in cultural events became more engaged in community, school and home life.
    The full report, The Social Impact of the Arts in Liverpool 2015/16 report can be viewed HERE.  

Grants to Improve the Lives of Children 
The DM Thomas Foundation for Young People supports registered charities that work to improve the lives of disabled and sick children and young people by awarding grants for equipment, training, and support. Through the Foundation's Central Grants scheme, awards of a few hundred pounds and up to £30,000 can be made, although the majority of grants will be under £10,000.
Awards are made on a quarterly basis and the next deadline for applications is 25th July 2017. Click HERE.

Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust
The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust which awards grants to registered charities in the United Kingdom has announced that the next closing date for applications is the 31st July 2017. Grants of £1,000 are available to registered charities that have an income of between £50,000 and £1,000,000 for projects that relate to Music and the Arts with priority given to projects that focus on:
  Domestic Abuse
  Refugees and Asylum Seekers
  Activities for those with limited access or opportunities.
The Trust will run four funding rounds each year; each with a different theme. Read more HERE.


Saturday, 8 July 2017

North West Arts & Health Network

It was wonderful to work in the Republic of Ireland this week, with artists and activists who in turn, are working collaboratively with people affected by dementia, and all hosted by the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny. Thank you for your interest in Dementia & Imagination and sharing your own inspirational practice. For those of you who asked, you can download the handbook free of charge HERE and do remember that we’d really value your feedback on this work. For those of you have emailed about the work I've been exploring with Vic McEwan, but who missed his performance of the hospital bed at TATE Liverpool, I'm pleased to share the short film below. If you need to know more about this collaborative international project, click on the words HARMONIC OSCILLATOR.

The Birth Rites Collection is looking for new or existing artworks, in any medium, which deals with the subject of childbirth. This is an opportunity for your work to permanently become part of the BRC, be featured as a constant on the BRC website, and tour with the collection where it will be shown in future exhibitions, be available to loan for external shows, and be part of any publications released within the collection. In addition to being part of the collection, the prize winner will be awarded a two-week residency at the BRC, and will also obtain a stipend of 250 pounds. All chosen works will be featured for one month on our website and showcased digitally for one night at the Whitworth Art Gallery in September.
 More details HERE.
Application Deadline: 15th July 2017

Call for evidence: The arts for refugee health and well-being.
Deadline 1 November 2017
This call is for work that has not been published academically. If you or your organisation works with refugees or asylum seekers using the arts, and have any evaluations that meet the criteria below, please send it to

Evaluation criteria
The participants group must be all or partly refugees and asylum seekers.
The evaluation may use qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods.
The activity may be art therapy or any other art based activities.
The art type must be plastic/ visual art such as drawing, painting, printmaking, mask-making, sculpture, knitting, sewing, woodwork, collage, installation and photography.
The activity must have a health or well-being objective. 

1. Is engaging in visual/ tactile art based activities associated with improved health and well-being in refugees and asylum seekers?

2. Are specific art based activities or modes of engagement associated with specific effects or experiences?

BBC Children in Need Main Grant Programme 

The next closing date for applications to the BBC Children in Need Main Grants programme is the 13th September 2017. Grants of over £10,000 per project are available to not for profit organisations and schools that work with young people who are experiencing disadvantage through:
Illness, distress, abuse or neglect
Any kind of disability
Behavioural or psychological difficulties
And / or living in poverty or situations of deprivation.
Read more at HERE.

Funding to support the performing arts 
The next closing date for applications to the Wingate Foundation's Performing Arts (excluding music) grants programme is the 20th September 2017. Funding is available for charities with a record of artistic excellence that require additional funding to broaden their repertoire or develop work of potentially outstanding interest which cannot be funded from other sources. Assistance will also be considered for training and professional development for creative talent or the technical professions. The Trustees additionally wish to support arts projects that place a particular emphasis on addressing educational or social exclusion outcomes. Read more HERE. 

Commission for new work to tour to libraries & villages
Spot on Lancashire and Cheshire Rural Touring Arts are seeking to commission an artist or company from the North West of England to develop a new piece of touring work as part of their libraries strategic touring programme. The £6,000 commission is for the first phase of development leading to a scratch performance by March 2018 to an invited library audience. Full details can be found HERE.
The successful applicant will get support and advice from Spot on Lancashire, Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, librarians in both counties (including two prison libraries) and library users. Ultimately, it is planned that the company will produce a new piece of work suitable for touring to libraries and rural venues across the country.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Are we a Field, a Discipline, Community or Activists?

My apologies for all the strange underlining on this weeks blog! It's a glitch that without rewriting, I just can't fix! So - sorry it looks so strange...CP

Arts, Health, Inequality and Activism
Victoria Hume writes eloquently on her collaborations in South Africa and unpicks inequalities in her insightful blog posting for the London Arts and Health Forum.

“It is about overturning hierarchies, revolutionising our sense of what makes one healthy or well, and moving this out of the profit-making, measurable sphere and into something more amorphous and complex, but also more true.” 
Click on anything green or the image of the Blood Sugars above.

The Memory Wound memorial, Utøya
For the Guardian,  Jon Henley reports on the heated row which has broken out in Norway over a government decision to scrap a controversial artwork planned to commemorate the victims of Anders Behring Breivik’s 2011 massacre and build something “low-key” instead. The Norwegian minister of communal affairs and modernisation, Jan Tore Sanner, said last week the Memory Wound memorial, designed by Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg, would not go ahead after protests from some locals.

“A work of art can contribute to keeping the conversation about traumatic events alive in a very specific way,” Dahlberg said in a statement to the Guardian. “Visual art plays a special role in relation to these type of events, that can seem difficult to grasp and put into words.”

The Harmonic Oscillator
After three weeks of sharing collaborative work in progress from The Harmonic Oscillator in Lithuania, Bristol and TATE Liverpool, Vic McEwan heads off back to Australia to reflect on what's been an absorbing and at times, deeply moving period of development and public engagement. This last week has been a TATE Exchange residency in Liverpool which has seen Vic and I having the opportunity to engage with some very diverse groups and individuals. It's quite a risky venture putting yourself out there in ways that challenge the status quo of art galleries, and TATE Liverpool embraced the opportunity enthusiastically enabling us to put on a public forum on Thursday where I shared some developing work called Critical Care and Vic, as well as sharing his work at Alder Hey in some depth, gave and improvised performance using a hospital bed as material to be played, using a cello bow. It was quite a profound thing, following on some of the public discussion we had had. Both his work and my own, will be refined now and launched in Sydney in September as part of The Big Anxiety Festival alongside something else I'm working on around obsessive, compulsive disorder. More of which soon. But for now, my personal thanks to Dr Jane Ratcliffe and Vicky Charnock, Lindsey Fryer and Jess Fairclough and finally, Emma - to whom, my deepest thanks.

‘Devastating’ decline of arts in schools surges on
Entries for GCSE arts subjects are down 9% on 2016, while entries for EBacc subjects are up 9% in the same period. The rapid decline of arts subjects and corresponding growth of the core English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects in schools has continued into 2017. Detailed analysis of Government figures reveals that entries into GCSE arts subjects fell by a further 46,000 last year. This constitutes a 9% drop over the past 12 months, and is consistent with a collapse in take-up across all non-EBacc subjects, which have fallen by 148,000 entries (11%). 
This analysis supports widely held fears, including among teachers, that the EBacc is squeezing the arts out of schools. It also substantiates evidence gathered from a stream of earlier research, and consolidates the view that that evidence to the contrary, widely held by the Government, is limited or misleading. The declines come despite a 165,000 increase in the total number of GCSE exam entries – now over 5 million – and an additional 314,000 entries into GCSEs in EBacc subjects. This is an extract from Arts Professional which you can read in full HERE.

Funding for projects that support women & girls (UK/International)
Funding of up to £15,000 is available for projects within the UK and internationally that support and transform the lives of women. For 2017 and 2018 priority will be given to projects that:
  1. Promote lesbian and transgender rights
  2. Tackle violence against women and girls
  3. Support disabled women and girls.
The funding is being made available through the Feminist Review Trust who are particularly interested in applications for hard to fund projects. The deadline for applications is 30th September 2017. Read more HERE.