Monday, 26 September 2016

Dear Jeremy Corbyn... have been mandated by the people to lead the Labour Party – Well Done!

Addressing inequalities seems central to your values and vision, and the time is right to understand the potency of culture and the arts as social determinants of health and wellbeing.

Ken Loach’s film – I, Daniel Blake – paints an accurate picture of life in the UK, and suggests we shouldn’t just sit back and accept things as they are, but do something about them. Gillian Slovo in her verbatim play – The Riots – provides evidence of the Social Poison in society, and encourages us to make up our minds about inequalities and social injustice, and perhaps the underlying causes of social unrest.

There’s evidence of the positive long-term benefits of participating in the arts in all their forms from longitudinal studies from both mainstream cultural organisations, and from the wealth of focused arts and health projects. The UK has a rich history of radical arts and health activity and is central to this global movement.

We look forward to being part of the long-term cultural change that is needed to address the endemic inequalities that poison our society, and will support you in the work needed to nurture the culturally and politically connected communities we need to be.

Great things happen in Liverpool, where this weekend the Labour members elected its leader, and where Liverpool Council has backed a ban on newsagents selling copies of The Sun newspaper because of its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster. Campaign groups ‘Total Eclipse of The S*n’ and ‘Shun the S*n’ have gained momentum following April’s verdict of the Hillsborough Inquest, which concluded that all 96 fans who died as a result of a crush at Hillsborough were unlawfully killed. The groups have convinced more than 210 outlets in the city to stop selling The Sun, including branches of Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Marks & Spencer stores. Some say that this is censorship on the part of the council, and generally I’d be opposed to generic censorship, but hey - this is The Sun - propagators of soft porn and body dysmorphia, sexist, xenophobic tosh and hate, so yes - lets ban it! (Q - does The Sun constitute in and of itself, being a hate crime?)

TAnDem - Arts and Dementia: Research into practice 2016
A partnership between the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester and the Centre for Dementia, University of Nottingham, TAnDem is one of eight Doctoral Training Centres funded by the Alzheimer’s Society. Its mission is to produce an evidence base for the arts and dementia.  I was thrilled to be asked to speak at their first major conference this week at the University of Nottingham. Alongside Paul Camic, Victoria Tischler and Norma Daykin I had the opportunity to share some of the work of Dementia & Imagination artist Penny Klepuszewska - (which when you see/hear it - I think you’ll agree - is profound)…but alongside the effervescent poet Gary Glazner, it was the honest, intelligent and heartfelt presentation of Larry Gardiner from Oxfordshire Advocates who blasted the delegates with his reality check. Thank you to the organisers for asking me to take part in this wonderful event.

Live Well Make Art // 22-28 October 2016
100 Moments is the starting project of Manchester Devolution’s Live Well Make Art social movement, designed to promote the benefits that making art has on our wellbeing. If you are an arts, health, or community organisation, small or big, based in Greater Manchester, you are invited to join the Live Well Make Art movement by submitting a ‘moment’ that showcases your work during our 100 Moments Week (23rd-30th October). A Moment is a piece of work that you choose to showcase, which connects art with health and wellbeing.  Your Moment could be something you already run on a regular basis, or you could choose to create a special Moment to be part of this exciting project.  Examples of a Moment could include a public event or workshop, a talk or interview with a participant, an online Moment, or a collection of images. You can be creative.

Arts Council England to impose quantitative measures of arts quality on NPOs
ACE is forging ahead with plans to impose a standardised system for measuring artistic quality on its NPOs, despite a lukewarm sector response and warnings that this will require a “quantum change” in organisational attitudes to data. A national system for evaluating the quality of artistic work is to become compulsory for many of ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) despite an evaluation of a pilot scheme revealing wide-spread concerns about the approach.Please click on the Horse Shit cigarettes to know more.

The Peter Cruddas Foundation
Registered charities as well as organisations and individuals supported by registered charities can apply for funding through the Peter Cruddas Foundation for projects benefit disadvantaged and disengaged young people in the UK. The Foundation gives priority to programmes calculated to help disadvantaged and disengaged young people in England and Wales towards pathways into education, training and employment through charitable organisations. There are no minimum or maximum grants and projects can be funded for more than one year. Please note that the Foundation is not accepting applications for Capital Projects. The next closing date for application is the 1st March 2017. Read more at:


Monday, 19 September 2016

19/09/16 @ 9:00 BST

The Great Place Scheme (England)
Deadline (Expressions of Interest): 6 Oct
The Great Place Scheme will fund projects in areas where there is a commitment to embed arts, culture and heritage in local plans and decision-making.  By strengthening the networks between culture, civic and community organisations, and by involving citizens and local businesses, projects will enhance the role that culture plays in the future of each place participating in the Scheme. In time this will lead to the wide range of social and economic benefits that arts, culture and heritage can achieve. The Great Place Scheme is a pilot and will initially be delivered only in England. It aims to support 12 successful applicants from 12 places across England to participate in the Scheme, including four rural areas. The scheme is a partnership between Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. Read more at:

Arts Council England: Celebrating Age
Deadline: 13 Oct, 12noon
Supporting 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.
Read more at:

Music Grants for Older People 
(England & Wales)
The registered charity, Concertina which makes grants of up to £250 to charitable bodies which provide musical entertainment and related activities for the elderly has announced that the next deadline for applications is the 31st October 2016. The charity is particular keen to support smaller organisations which might otherwise find it difficult to gain funding. Concertina has made grants to a wide range of charitable organisations nationwide in England and Wales. These include funds to many care homes for the elderly to provide musical entertainment for their residents.


Monday, 12 September 2016

...b l u e m o n d a y

Last Friday saw the launch of Sing me to Sleep at the National Gallery of Art - Lithuania and what I believe to be, the first exhibition of work by people affected by homelessness in a national gallery. Judging by the opening event which saw around 250 people attend, it inspired a great deal of curiosity and impassioned responses. So what’s the exhibition really about? With any curation of people’s work who normally sit outside the hallowed halls of contemporary galleries, its easy to assume it would be branded as some kind of exoticised outsider art - worse still - that the artists would be paraded around like some show-ponies for the great and good to pat on the head and return home satiated by their benevolent endorsement. Well, a number of artists in attendance were from Lithuania and from Manchester and were supported by the Booth Centre, and there wasn’t a moments condescension.

Large scale work and more intimate pieces explored the experience of homelessness through poetry, stitch and the fairy tale - universal stories of fear and challenge - and in some cases - the overcoming of seeming insurmountable obstacles. Through sound pieces, and recorded and performed music from both countries, the common stories of lived experience of life on the streets, and the factors that contributed to peoples experiences, became manifest. When Albert Einstein, was asked how we could make our children more intelligent, he replied, "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." There is much we can learn from his advice.

The large and pristine glass windows of the gallery were daubed with a thick coal and wood dust, (a challenge I’m sure, for the gallery curator) in which multi-talented artist Eglė Gudonytė and her colleagues had meticulously transcribed the Lithuanian and Russian writing of the women and men who were part of the project. Alongside images that would fit well in a Duchamp exhibition, the areas that had been rubbed away in the dust, made a compelling backdrop to the gallery, which refracted and transformed with the moving sun.

In the presence of British Ambassador for Lithuania, Claire Lawrence and Director of the British Council in Lithuania, Artūras Vasiliauskas - Ieva Petkutė from Socialiniai Meno Projektai shared some of the stories behind the work and poet Philip Davenport and artist Lois Blackburn (Arthur & Martha) reflected on the nature of homelessness, introducing artists from Manchester who shared their work. Some of the work will be coming to Bury Art Gallery soon.

Fundamental Human rights should be central to any conversation around this arts and health agenda - but it would be lazy to connect work born from the experience of being homeless, with simply having a roof over your head, or access to healthcare and education - this ‘access’ to profound cultural expression, with all its sophistication and nuance - is a fundamental human right. We must never forget freedom of creative expression.

Homelessness is commonplace, these are not rare birds - though some of the stories offer something as beautiful as birdsong, others the sharp jab of a sharpened beak - they are raw and everyday, poetic and visceral.

How would we choose to measure the worth of this work if we were so inclined? Well - for my part - it’s the quality of the work and the story that it tells - the emotion that it provokes - like all art, that enables us to understand the value of something. This isn’t some other worldly exoticism, it’s us - you and me writ large.

People's Postcode Trust Small Grants Programme (Scotland, England & Wales)
The People's Postcode Trust' Small Grants Programme has re-opened for applications. Since 2009, People's Postcode Trust has awarded over £11 million to more than 1600 projects across Great Britain. Through its Small Grants Programme, the Trust offers grants of between £500 and £20,000 (£10,000 in Wales) to registered charities for projects lasting up to 1 year (for organisations in Wales 6 months. Applications will be invited for projects that focus on the prevention of poverty, healthy living initiatives, upholding human rights and facilitating reconciliation projects which help disadvantaged or at-risk groups. Applicants that are from organisations and community groups not formally registered as a charity with OSCR / Charity Commission can apply for up to £2,000 in funding. The closing date for applications is the 30th September 2016. Read more at:

Centre Manager: The Island (Bristol)
Deadline: 10th October 2016, 5:00pm
P/T role: 25hour per week (spread across 5 working days)
Occasional evening and weekend work
Salary: £19,500 – £21,450 PRO RATA depending on experience
Fixed term: 12 months
Please check link for further information and an application pack:

Director of Creative Engagement – Theatr Clwyd (Wales)
Position Details: Permanent (F/T) 
Grade TC01.5 (SCP from 36 – 40)
Salary: £31,288 - £35,093 (subject to the conclusion of a new House Agreement, including the pay model)
Location: Theatr Clwyd – Mold, Flintshire

High Peaks Community Arts: Business Development & Communications Manager
Salary: £25,693 - £27,394 pro rata, 2 days per week. 
Based in: New Mills, High Peak SK22 3BW
Deadline for applications: 5pm Wednesday 28th September. 
High Peak Community Arts is a small charity and limited company based in New Mills, covering the whole of the High Peak. We are recruiting a part time Business Development and Communications Manager on a 2 year temporary contract. Ideally, we would like a worker to join the team for 2 days / week. But we are open to a freelance proposal based on this fee. Job Purpose: To support income generation by raising awareness of High Peak Community Arts with partners, stakeholders, and the general public. To include devising and launching income generation through individual, private and corporate giving, and developing a stronger communications strategy with the team. For more information and application pack, email: or download from our website, Interviews: Tuesday 11th October.

                                                                        .             .   

Sunday, 4 September 2016

...Sing me to Sleep

This weekend saw the extraordinary Rediscovering the Radical Festival in Liverpool at LIPA at which I was thrilled to speak about the Recoverist Manifesto. Well done Collective Encounters for pulling together such a full-on and exciting event. I’ll post and follow-up material on the blog as soon as it’s available. I wrote a small piece for the event flyer, which is copied here.

Arts for Health - sounds like a prescription - doesn’t it? Do a watercolour and you’ll be cured of all life’s ills! Whilst I’d argue that there’s a huge part for culture and the arts to play in exploring human wellbeing, it still sounds like a medical prescription to me, and one that’s all wrapped up in the language of illness and individualism. 

There’s a big opportunity for rethinking the health agenda – and no, not just to save our cash-strapped NHS a few pounds – but to think about quality of life beyond pathology. The Francis Report into neglect and abuse within the NHS, identified a target obsessed culture, that “focused on doing the system’s business - and not that of the patients,’ {…} ‘ institutional culture which ascribed more weight to {…} methods of measuring compliance (and) which did not focus on the effect of a service on patients”.

It seems that our obsession with targets within health and social care, has blinded us to the very people we should be caring for and the all-prevailing ‘management culture’ that dominates this sector is mirrored in the arts and cultural sector too. Australian artist, David Pledger, in his essay Re-evaluating the artist in the new world order, provides us with a compelling critique of the systems that have seen more money put into marketing and management that into artists, with the artist being at the very bottom of the food chain. 

Yet shouldn’t the artist be at the heart of public debate; scrutinizing, curious and enabling - questioning dominant ideologies and giving voice to those most marginalized by those in power? Pledger astutely suggests that ‘managerialism sees itself as the antidote to chaos, irrationality, disorder, and incompleteness,’ - but aren’t these the essential elements that are central to the arts? Samuel Ladkin in Against Value in the Arts, suggests, “It is often the staunchest defenders of art who do it the most harm, by suppressing or mollifying its dissenting voice, by neutralizing its painful truths, and by instrumentalizing its potentiality, so that rather than expanding the autonomy of thought and feeling of the artist and the audience, it makes art self-satisfied…”

Anxiety’s on the up, depression’s on the ascendance and we’re all stressed out – inward looking and isolated - offered up pills to numb the day-to-day crisis and if we’re lucky; a course of CBT to get us on our way and back into the wonderful world of employment! As we become increasingly obsessed with wellness, we’re inevitably loosing sight of the bigger picture. The arts have a critical part to play in civic society, but unless we think about life beyond our own narrow confines, what hope have we got to bring about social change and even encourage thinking about global health and the factors that underpin inequalities.

So whilst bookshop shelves groan under the weight of popular science, mindfulness and colouring books for adults, the arts might offer something bigger than this, something beyond self-centered individualism. These books may well be written with good intention, but perhaps they’re just about maintaining the status quo, making the publishers a stack of cash, and all the while creating a generation of isolated and passive good little citizens, sat at home crayoning in. Whatever this arts/health thing is all about – whether it takes place in clinical or community settings – it’s a growing movement and one that we need to watch, as a growing army of middle managers muscle in and attempt to commodify everything we do. The arts are political – our health – that’s political too.

. . .

Padainuok Man Labanakt
This week I am proud to be supporting Socialiniai Meno Projektai and Arthur & Martha who have been working together across Manchester and Lithuania to create work with people affected by poverty and homelessness under the title, Sing me to Sleep, (Padainuok Man Labanakt).

The Sing me to Sleep exhibition is a journey through a fairytale forest as though through the homeless life – facing shadows that carry long forgotten riddles, embraced by the sounds of words, cries and laughter, leaving no place untouched, filled with an uncertain perception of what is small and what is big, light or dark, good or bad, real or imaginary.

The project draws attention to the importance of arts activity in the lives of people that live in the margins of society, expanding our understanding of homelessness by presenting the participants’ thoughts about values of our common humanity – home, feelings of safety, health, solitude and the value of taking walks together and walking together in life. In Lithuania and Great Britain around 500 people took part in all activities of the project and 80 of them meaningfully contributed to the exhibition in the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius which opens on September the 9th for one month. That this exhibition is happening in Lithuania's National Gallery is a testimony to the vision and passion of all those people involved.

Seen alongside the recent exhibition of the Homeless Library in the House of Lords and at the Southbank Centre. You can read more about the Homeless Library here, or an article in the Lancet here.

DCMS review of Arts Council England
For those of you keen to comment on your experiences with Arts Council England, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has launched a review of Arts Council England to investigate the body's efficiency, effectiveness and governance. The ‘tailored review’, first announced in the culture white paper in March, will be carried out in two parts, the first asking whether the functions performed by the Arts Council remain appropriate for its status as a non-departmental public body, as well as assessing its performance. The second part will examine issues including how ACE advocates for the arts, delivers its current set of functions, and manages its board. As part of the review, DCMS has opened an online survey asking for feedback on the Arts Council, which is open for submissions until September 20. HAVE YOUR SAY BY CLICKING HERE. 

TAnDem Arts and Dementia Conference: Research into Practice
Event: 21st September 2016
A partnership between the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester and the Centre for Dementia, University of Nottingham, TAnDem is one of eight Doctoral Training Centres funded by the Alzheimer’s Society. Its mission is to produce an evidence base for the arts and dementia.  This conference will explore the theme of researching the arts and dementia via keynote speakers, workshops and panel debates. Through a mixture of keynote speakers, workshops and panel debates this conference will explore how research and arts practice can work together for mutual benefit. Clive will be at the event and hopes to be speaking about artists as researchers in the Dementia and Imagination project alongside Dr Victoria Tischler. 
Click on the bicycle made for two, above.

IMPORTANT SYMPOSIUM ON THEATRE From 15 – 17 September 2016 we will showcase exceptional examples of theatre practice from the UK and Europe, provoke debate about making work with older people, and explore what’s next for this emerging movement. We will offer a rich mix of speakers, performances, discussions and workshops to challenge and inspire.

We invite individuals and companies actively creating theatre with older people to be part of this event. It will be a space to bring your ideas and your questions, to meet and connect with others and to enhance your practice. We would like to offer delegates the opportunity to showcase their work and we have a number of opportunities for this - through a film showcase on the day and a photography exhibition to run for three weeks from 5 September. We also have a very limited number of short performance opportunities. 

Delegates will be invited to attend a production of Anniversary by The Performance Ensemble and West Yorkshire Playhouse on either 15 or 16 September, and/or to experience volunteering at a dementia friendly performance on 17 September.  Participation at the symposium is by invitation, and is completely free, including theatre tickets and refreshments. We encourage delegates representing organisations to attend alongside an older participant if this is possible. 
There are limited places available. Please contact to request a place or express interest in attending

OK - So I never thought I'd have a section on this blog that links to the 'masons' but here you go...

Masonic Charitable Foundation Community Support Grants 
The next deadline for the Masonic Charitable Foundation's Community Support Grants Scheme is the 28th October 2016. Grants are available to registered charities for projects that:

  • Address financial hardship and its effects
  • Improve the lives of those affected by poor physical and/or mental health and wellbeing
  • Provide educational and employment opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people

Tackle social exclusion and disadvantage.
Charities can apply for either large grants of £5,000 and above or for small grants of between £500 and £5,000. Large grants need to be used for a specific purpose such as funding salary costs, specific project costs and refurbishment costs, etc. Small grants can be awarded to smaller charities with an annual income that does not exceed approximately £500,000. Small Grants can be used for core expenditure such as general running or overhead costs of the charity.  Applications to the large grants programme require a Community Support Enquiry Form to be completed in advance of this deadline and the last date for submission is 14th October 2016. Read more by clicking on the chap above!

Granada Foundation Grants Programme (North West)
The Granada Foundation has announced that the next closing date for applications is the 11th November 2016. Through its grants programme, the Foundation wishes to encourage and promote the study, practice and appreciation of the fine arts. The Foundation also welcomes applications which aim to engage and inspire young people and adults to take an interest in science. The Advisory Council meets three times a year at regular intervals to consider applications. There is a clear preference for new projects; although the Foundation will support festivals and other annual events, this should not be regarded as automatically renewable. Click on the good old logo above for more detail.

Creative Commission: Gwynedd Council (Wales)
Community Arts: Tackling Loneliness amongst Older People in Gwynedd Rural Communities
Duration of contract: Beginning of October 2016 to end of March 2017 (6 months)
Fee: £12,000
Closing date for applications: 9am, 14 September, 2016.
Gwynedd Council’s Community Arts Unit wishes to commission an individual or arts body to trial an arts scheme that will reach isolated, lonely older people in rural areas of Gwynedd. With a population of 122,273 and approximately 61,000 dwellings, providing arts opportunities across the county can be challenging; and reaching older, isolated, people is a specific challenge we wish to tackle. We wish to build upon the good work that is already happening by trialling a new scheme to reach older people who are lonely and isolated in our rural communities. We wish to specifically focus on those who reside in the County's rural areas by especially focusing on Meirionnydd and south Gwynedd. For a full copy of the brief and how to apply, please click on the Edward Hopper painting above.

Friday, 26 August 2016

. . . B I R T H

Normal blogging has almost resumed but for now here are a few opportunities, some light music, an episode of Betty Boop and some delicious bits and bats. Enjoy your day...

Bodies, Technologies, Objects: A Medical Humanities Laboratory Workshop
Tuesday September 6th at The Whitworth, Manchester
Hand sanitizer dispensers, medicine bottles, surgical knives, bionic eyes: from the mundane and simple to the rarified and high-tech, objects mediate and condition our encounters with medicine, health and illness.  How, this workshop asks, can those working in medical humanities engage productively with objects to gain insights into medical care and health experience?  What can objects show or tell us that texts do not? This workshop brings together scholars, artists, and museum professionals to address these questions.  In three themed sessions combining presentation and discussion, we intend to explore the analytical, creative, and pedagogical possibilities that a focus on objects offers us.

This University of Manchester network encourages collaboration and exchange amongst those whose work, practice, and interests involve the artistic, humanistic, and human dimensions of medicine and health. For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Marion Endt-Jones at or Elizabeth Toon at

Register at 

Funding for projects that address urban & rural deprivation 

The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation has announced that funding is available to support the work of local and national charities or not-for-profit organisations that address rural and urban deprivation within the UK. Within these two main headings, the Trust are interested in helping established projects which work in the fields of:
Community Support
Arts, Education & Heritage
Disability & Health Care
Want to know more? Click on the link:

Government Launches £80 Million Life Chances Fund 

The Cabinet Office has launched an £80 million Life Chances Fund. The Fund will support local public sector organisations that wish to commission social impact bonds (SIBs) and other payment-by-results contracts to tackle complex social problems. The fund is intended to match fund local commissioners who want to launch a SIB or similar project, and will typically contribute about 20 per cent of the funding. It aims to increase the number of and scale of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) in England, as well as making it easier and quicker to set up a SIB. It also aims to increase the amount of capital available to a wider range of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector providers to enable them to compete for public sector contracts. Applications for proposals focused on children's services and tackling drug and alcohol dependency are now open, to be followed by the other themes over the next 12 months.
The Fund will run for 9 years (up until March 2025). Read more at:


Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is seeking to commission an artist or artist’s group to create work for the Critical Care Unit in their new hospital, which opened in 2015. It is the first in Europe to be built within a park and is a truly world-class, patient-friendly hospital. Every year it treats more than 270,000 patients and is globally recognised for excellence in children’s healthcare. The Critical Care Unit treats almost 2000 patients each year and comprises a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Paediatric High Dependency Unit and Burns High Dependency Unit. 

The commission is to create artwork for a long connecting corridor, a shorter corridor, 2 parent overnight rooms, 2 interview rooms and a staff room. A ‘donor recognition artwork’ is to be part of the overall commission. The commissioners are looking for an outstanding artist or artist’s group, with a proven track record of high quality commissions, to design, create and install work which is welcoming and sensitive to the emotions which critical illness engenders. The work needs to be two-dimensional and inspired by the theme of nature, in keeping with the hospital’s overall Arts Strategy. The fee for this commission is £35,000 inclusive of VAT, materials, installation costs and expenses. Shortlisted artists will be invited to attend an interview and offered a design development fee to work up their ideas in more detail.

In the first instance, we would like to receive electronically an expression of interest, up to 12 images of your work and a CV.
Please send your expressions of interest to Vicky Charnock, Arts Coordinator: Full details at: 

Job Opportunities - Junction Arts (Derbyshire)

Junction Arts are recruiting. We are seeking a new full time Project Coordinator to coordinate the development and delivery of community arts projects, activities and events as well as a new Marketing & Communications Coordinator (3 days a week). Junction Arts is a participatory arts organisation (based in Chesterfield), engaging communities across Bolsover District, North East Derbyshire and rural areas of the East Midlands for the past 40 years. We are looking for an experienced Arts Project Coordinator with participatory arts and relevant community development skills to join our team alongside an experienced Marketing & Communications Coordinator.  You will support and develop a vibrant, partnership based arts programme in a range of art forms and settings.
Project Coordinator (Full time) 
Salary: £25,000 per annum
Closing Date: 5th September at 5pm. Interviews 19th or 20th September 
Marketing & Communications Coordinator (3 days per week) 
Salary: £25,000 per annum, Pro rata 
Closing Date: 7th September at 5pm. Interviews 22nd or 23rd September
Both posts will be based at the Junction Arts office in Chesterfield. Please download and read the Job Description and Person Specification on the Junction Arts website opportunities page  and tell us in the application form how you best meet the needs of the jobs. Successful applicants for interview will be notified by the 16th September. If you have not heard from us by the 16th September you may assume that you have not been shortlisted for interview.

B!RTH an international theatre festival developed by the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester to provoke debate on a global scale and question one of the key issues of our time, the vast inequality in healthcare across the world.You can find out more about the project by following this link: I was asked to provide some content for the project blog. This one minute film and text is my contribution.

Birth – what is it - perhaps a coming up for air, in the infinity of not existing, a pause in the eternal march of time? 

For child and mother, a blissful or traumatic moment – or the myriad other versions of birth somewhere in between – now, temporarily alongside that other parent, the three are irreversibly separate, finite rhythms too quickly beaten out. To all intents and purposes - alone. 

This being born, or moment of birth at least – is the yang to the yin of all our deaths – confrontation best avoided perhaps, by those without the delusion of eternal bliss. Or embraced as an abstract concept, until it’s at our door, reminding us through incremental failings of our physiology, or the unexpected, or self inflicted trauma that extinguishes all sentience in the blink of an eye.

Two certainties: you were born and you will die, a fortuitous novelty on a rocky outcrop, so embrace that great gulp of air and all those aggregated imaginings that give us meaning.

Sunday, 21 August 2016


While silence pervades Lydia Moyer's masterful new film, it has a great deal to say indeed. A supercut of 7 years of moments of silence in the U.S. House of Representatives for victims of mass shootings, it is a scathing indictment of a government unconcerned with protecting the lives of its own citizens, in the face of escalating yet preventable mass shootings. With Orlando still an open wound, and fears of the next shooting forever lurking at the edges of our consciousness, Moyer's film speaks truth to power, truth to hypocrisy, and calls bullshit on the substitution of "symbolic gestures" for social change. It is a simple, vital, necessary work, silent yet deafening.

More details by clicking HERE. With thanks to NS. Normal blogging recommences next week...

Saturday, 30 July 2016

...OH NO - it's the FAST-FOOD edition!!!

I’ll be very happy to be sharing the Recoverist Manifesto at the Rediscovering the Radical Festival, plus having conversations about radical arts/health on Thursday 1st September between 22:00 – 23:00. More details about the festival by clicking on the wonderful Richard Burton, above. 

This blog may be quiet for the next few weeks as your blogger 
e v a p o r a t e s........

Together we are Stronger
Arts commentator and former Great Ormond Street Hospital Arts Co-ordinator, Victoria Jones writing from Melbourne, comments that, ‘Arts in health is a growing global phenomenon but growth of the sector is hindered by insufficient profile…’ Victoria rightly comments of the competitive nature of our work, when we should be collaborating. Perhaps this reflects (In the UK at least) the cult of managerialism within the NHS and the drive to competition over compassion. The Francis Report identified a target obsessed culture, that   “focused on doing the system’s business - and not that of the patients,’ {…} ‘ institutional culture which ascribed more weight to {…} methods of measuring compliance (and) which did not focus on the effect of a service on patients”. It seems that our obsession with targets within health and social care, has blinded us to the very people we should be caring for and the all-prevailing ‘management culture’ that dominates this sector is mirrored in the arts and cultural sector too. Read Victoria’s article by clicking HERE.

In October and November I'll be facilitating two events around Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Culture and the Arts. Keep your eyes peeled for more details on this blog.

Funding for Projects that Address Urban & Rural Deprivation
The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation has announced that funding is available to support the work of local and national charities or not-for-profit organisations that address rural and urban deprivation within the UK. Within these two main headings, the Trust are interested in helping established projects which work in the fields of:

• Community Support
• Arts, Education & Heritage
• Disability & Health Care.

There are three grants schemes. These are:
• The Large Grant Scheme, with grants of between £10,000 & £45,000 to cover capital costs
• The Standard Grant Scheme, grants of between £6,001 & £12,000 for revenue or one-off capital costs
• The Small Grant Scheme, grants of below £6,000 to cover capital and revenue costs.

In addition, the Foundation also has funding available to support capital projects at hospices throughout the UK; and for Village Halls and Community Centres. The Grants Committee meets quarterly to consider applications at the beginning of February, May, September and November. The deadlines for submitting applications are generally 2 months before the date of a meeting. Applications to the small grants programme can be made at any time. Read more HERE.  

...and here's that YUMMY FAST FOOD* compromise you've all been waiting for...

HRUK & SUBWAY Healthy Heart Grants 
Heart Research UK (HRUK) is inviting applications from not for profit groups, voluntary organisations and registered charities through their SUBWAY/HRUK Healthy Heart Grants. Grants of up to £10,000 are available in different SUBWAY regions to for new, original and innovative projects that actively promote Heart Health and help to prevent, or reduce, the risk of heart disease.The grants are available in specific regions at certain times of the year. In the past grants have been awarded to fund cooking sessions, theatre workshops, multi-sport activities, classroom based learning, circus skills, and tandem biking, etc. For details of the application periods for each region click on the oh-so scrumptious baguette above. 

Greggs Foundation - Local Communities Projects Fund 
The next application deadline for the Greggs Foundation Local Community Projects Fund is the 30th September 2016. The foundation is a grant making trust which distributes around £1.8 million per year to organisations throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The Local Community Projects Fund makes grants of up to £2,000 to not for profit organisations with a turnover of less than £300,000 a year who work to reduce the disadvantage of the most deprived people in the community such as the disabled, those living in poverty, voluntary carers and isolated older people. The Foundation are more likely to make grants to local organisations based near Greggs shops. Please use the shop locator on the Greggs website to find your nearest shop. Read more by clicking on the egg mayo above!

* whilst your blogger is not immune to the delights of a quick-fix sarnie, he is in no way endorsing the slops that are served up as 'healthy' to people on the lowest income to generate profits to high street outlets, so that they can kid us all that they are doing good by putting money 'back into the community'. I put this on the blog because I know artists, and organisations trying to do good things, are strapped for cash.