Saturday, 13 December 2014


The North West Arts and Health Network in collaboration with Manchester School of Art,  MA Health & Wellbeing Students, presents a free day event, to share your work in a critically supportive community and find out more about arts/health research and practice.

This event will launch a new Arts for Health paper by Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt that explores the Long Term Health Benefits of Participating in the Arts, which considers the ways in which our health may be affected by engaging in the arts over a longer period. Rebecca will present this international evidence base, together with a brief summary of the key studies. This research demonstrates a positive association between engagement in high-quality arts activities and life expectancy, disease resistance, mental acuity and even weight maintenance. Delegates at the event will receive a copy of the report. The event will showcase MA students explorations of the field and I hope, some international guests.

Individuals and organisations from the North West are invited to share their own work which will be presented in either a 10 minute presentation followed by a five minute discussion, or 15 minute workshop-style sessions. If you would like to share your work in a supportive environment, please email no more than a 150 word (max) synopsis outlining what you’d like to share, and in what format, to Although we won’t be able to hear from everyone who wants to present their work, we do hope to select a range of practice/contexts, and the day will offer all those present, the opportunity for facilitated open discussion and networking. 

An eventbrite page for registration and an agenda will be set in early January, and participation to this free event is by registration only, which will be advertised on this blog.

Thursday 12th February 2015
10:00am - 3:30pm
Manchester School of Art @ MMU

Artists International Development Fund 
Arts Council England has a £750,000 funding stream for artists to develop links with artists, organisations and/or creative producers in other countries. Freelance and self-employed artists can apply for small grants of £1,000 to £5,000 to spend time building these links to broaden your horizons and open your work to other perspectives. You must have received recognition for your work in England and not have extensive international experience. Your application must also include a letter of support from the overseas partner/host. The deadline for applications is 5pm on the 16th January 2015.

Funding for projects that support children & young people 
Registered Charities that work with young people have the opportunity to apply for grants through the Hilton Foundation Central Grants Programme. Registered Charities can apply for grants ranging from a few hundred pounds up to £30,000 per year for up to 2 years that are working in the areas of education or health with one of the Foundation' four chosen focus groups. These are:
  Children and young people with disabilities
  Children and young people who are sick in hospital
  Children and young people who are homeless
  Children and young people who are life limited
There is approximately £150,000 available to distribute each quarter. Grant applications for up to £10,000 can be approved by the Committee, and applications for more than £10,000 are recommended to the Trustees for final approval. There is no limit on the amount of money that a charity can request. However, the Foundation is a small charity and generally will not make awards of over £30,000 (per year). Funding can be requested for up to 2 years for any particular project. The next closing date for applications is the 10th February 2015. Read more by clicking on the old GREEN TRUNK below.  

Sunday, 7 December 2014

...white riot

To artists and free thinkers: reimagine, change, attack… 
If you leave it up to the local council, will those pesky holes in the roads ever get filled in? I think not. Step forward artist Jim Bachor to fix up the crumbling streets of Chicago. 

If you leave it up to the Education Minister, you’d more or less do away with the arts in the curriculum. Whilst ministers come and go(ve) you just can take the chance in re-electing the same pernicious monsters. Step forward artist Bob and Roberta Smith (AKA Patrick Brill) who is standing against that very same ministerial rejection when the creature stands in the general election in 5 months time. 

‘Although Mr Gove left his post as Education Secretary, following a Cabinet reshuffle in July, to become the Tory’s chief whip, Brill said he is running against him as the “architect” of the policies that have marginalised arts in schools.’

“He has become a fulcrum to say the arts are really important in this country,” he said. “It’s a chance to say a lot of positive things about the arts rather than just bashing politicians.”

If you leave it up to the mainstream media, to tell us what is happening in the world truthfully and accurately, will we get the full unbalanced picture? Step forward John Pilger and the War by Media and the Triumph of Propaganda.

‘The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.’

‘The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.’

Gemma Climbs Her Mountain is an arts-council-funded multi-media performance showing for one night only at Media City at 7.30 on Wednesday 10th December. It tells the story of a woman coming to terms with an incurable disease. It's a work in progress to be followed by a Q&A with the artistic team and we are hoping to attract interest from producers and venues with a view to touring the piece next year. But even if you just want to come along and experience this weird and wonderful - and uplifting - work then you can book your FREE tickets by following this link: 

Funding to Connect Children with the Arts 
The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts is inviting applications from arts organisations that are interested in being part of their Start programme, and are looking to recruit 8-10 new partners for the 2015/16 academic year supporting each project for at least 3 years. Start seeks to support cultural venues (e.g. theatres, museums, galleries and orchestras) to enable them to build partnerships with selected primary and secondary schools in their local areas, enabling children to experience the very best of the arts. Local authority venues can also apply as can non-venues so long as they can demonstrate a committed partnership with a venue that will last throughout the three years of the project. Children & the Arts will provide financial support to a maximum of £15,000 per project per year in years one and two, and a maximum of £10,500 in year three. The deadline for applications is 5pm on the 30th January 2015. Read more by clicking on the lad with the glass of water on his head!

Unlimited Arts Fund for Disabled Artists 
Disabled artists and arts organisations with a strong track record in their field can apply for funding from Unlimited to create and present new work, across all art forms. The work may still be at a very early stage of conception, or have already undergone some research and development. The Unlimited commission awards will range between £20,000 - £80,000 depending on scale and ambition (for Wales-based artists this is capped at £60,000). If you're thinking of applying you can book a 30 minute session to talk to the Unlimited team about your plans. They will be able to advise you about the scheme, its criteria and definitions in more depth and talk through your project proposal answering any questions you might have. The deadline for applications is midday on Monday 2nd February 2015. Read more at:                                

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Flora and Fauna

"...there is no such thing as the voiceless, only the deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard"

Last week I made a passing reference to indigenous Australians being defined, not as humans, but as flora and fauna. To answer the question of what on earth I meant, here is how New South Wales, Deputy Leader of the Opposition,  Linda Jean Burney has reflected on her childhood, when she was counted among the nation's wildlife.

“I am a member of the mighty Wiradjuri Aboriginal nation… For the first 10 years of my life, like all indigenous people at that time, I was not a citizen of this country. We existed under the Flora and Fauna Act of New South Wales. Growing up as an Aboriginal child looking into the mirror of our country was difficult and alienating. Your reflection in the mirror was at best ugly and distorted, and at worst nonexistent.”

This week, driving into work with the radio on, I’ve been further reminded of colonialism and GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) burgeoning success in positioning itself as global vaccine champions of an Ebola threatened ‘free world’. This is probably the greatest PR exercise GSK could hope for following their 2013 $3billion fine after they were found guilty of promoting two drugs for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data to the Food and Drug Administration - the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history! Handy too, that the chase for the Ebola prize might detract from its recent $490million fine for bribery in China, a case which included amongst other things, prostitutes were procured to doctors to persuade them to prescribe GSK medicines, allegedly pushing up the prices Chinese patients pay for GSK drugs by as much as 30%.

So as dear old GSK announce, alongside the US National Institutes of Health, that each of the 20 healthy adult volunteers involved in its trial showed an “immunological response” and that the drug was “well tolerated”. Dr Moncef Slaoui, chairman of Global Vaccines at GSK, said: “We are very encouraged by these positive first trial results, showing this type of vaccine has an acceptable safety profile and can produce an immune response against Ebola in humans.”

First identified in 1976, it’s curious that only when it threatens to leave its otherworldly shores and infect the west, do the great gods of Big Pharma push through ‘rapid trials’ of vaccines. Of course it’s a serious issue that needs addressing, but far more informed voices than mine have long-discussed the public health measurements that can be put in place to address the spread of the virus. In a 2012 article published by The Atlantic, Nigerian writer Teju Cole exposed the white saviour industrial complex for what it is: a pathology of white privilege. With a backward glance to Cole, Robtel Pailey writing for Aljazeera, suggests that white saviours fundamentally believe they are indispensable to the very existence of those on the receiving end of their "interventions". Like some potted plants, they tend to bloom in "exotic" environments far removed from their natural habitats.

Here are two choice paragraphs to mull over from the Pailey article which summarises some of the key issues.

At the height of Ebola, the myth of the white saviour has resurfaced again and again, framing Africans as infantile objects of external interventions. The white saviour complex has placed a premium on foreign expertise, while negating domestic capabilities. We've been assailed with images of mostly white foreigners flown out of the Ebola "hot zone" with the promise of expert care abroad. As spokespersons for the thousands "left behind", they have been catapulted into the heady limelight of overnight stardom. We've been bombarded with a cacophony of non-African "expert" opinions about how to "save" Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone from Ebola. Yet, Ugandan and Congolese specialists, who contained the virus repeatedly in their own countries, have been sidelined in the mainstream international press.

Indian writer and human rights activist Arundathi Roy once said, "there is no such thing as the voiceless, only the deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard". Indeed, narratives about African ingenuity, African agency, and African heroism in the age of Ebola have been preferably unheard. As an African proverb aptly puts it: "Until the lion learns to write, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter."

Through its mainstream reportage, Radio 4 feeds me a good deal of fetid compost to nourish this blog, and on the same day that GSK announced its vaccine, I was reminded too, that are dear chums at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) had given the green light to two new interventions to solve what many consider to be social, cultural and/or economic problems - obesity and alcohol addiction!

Like Ebola, the seriousness of obesity can’t be overstated, but the approval for mass gastric surgery represents yet another case of mopping up the problems and not tackling the root causes. With one in 20 people having type 2 diabetes in the UK and the numbers growing because of the obesity epidemic, it would be easy to just blindly accept the technological approaches that are thrown at us at every turn. but surgery! 

Prof John Wilding, a diabetes consultant and obesity specialist from the University of Liverpool, suggests that the number of NHS gastric operations could realistically rise to about 15,000 a year, with the cost of each operation being about £6,000. NICE argue that surgery will, over the long-term, reduce the annual £10m bill for care of diabetes and its complications. Not everyone is going along with this drive quietly and Prof Iain Broom, director of the centre for obesity research and education at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, suggests that NICE had missed lots of evidence.

“The Nice guidance could send tens of thousands of Britons towards unnecessary surgery, with its known morbidity and mortality, and costing taxpayers many millions of pounds, when all that is required is a different dietary and lifestyle approach including the use of low carbohydrate diets and low calorie diets,” Broom said.

An investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches, earlier this year, revealed that 'scientists advising health ministers on how much sugar should be in our diet are being funded by chocolate, ice-cream and fizzy drink companies as well as a lobby group for the sugar industry.' Specifically it exposed that members of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) are preposterously close to the food industry. SACN advises Public Health England, who ultimately advise health ministers, who in turn have the power to influence how much sugar will be in all our diets. Professor Ian MacDonald of Nottingham University, who is a key member of the group, also sits on two advisory boards for Coca Cola and for Mars, as well as receiving funding from Unilever which is the world’s largest ice-cream manufacturer. These revelations are outrageous and should make us questions whether policy makers are too close to the food industry.

So too, it was on that very same drive into work, that I heard that the miracle pill that helps people cut down on alcohol is now available to people who drink at least half a bottle of wine or three pints a night. NICE has published formal guidance recommending nalmefene, also called Selincro, and costs £3, can be taken up to once a day, and is designed to be used whenever the patient wants to stave off the desire to drink.

The key is in that last sentence - we are all seen as patients! Pathologised and reduced to biomedical problems regardless of the journey that took us there. So we may wave our nanny state finger at the demonised, obese ‘underclasses’ for scoffing down their super-sized burgers and chips, quaffing their alcopops and bargain booze. All the products people are encouraged to consume by our sophisticated marketeers - just look at ‘black friday’ - who the hell came up with that? Our high streets are bursting with fast-food outlets and cut-price supermarkets, so we can all go and scuttle off home and get pissed in splendid isolation in front of our giant plasma screens, whilst being spoon fed all manner of ways we can ‘upgrade’ ourselves, improve ourselves, worship ourselves, hate ourselves.

So whilst we ignore the superb public health work of those on the ground in Africa and look to a magic bullet from the west for a multi-billion dollar Ebola ‘cure’ - whilst we conveniently forget the factors that drive us to reach for the bottle, or the pills, or the prescriptions that keep us sedate - conveniently ignoring the lack of work, education and money - and reach out for cheap food in one hand and a gastric band in the other...the marketeers are laughing all the way to the bank as we consume their products to satiate our boredom and loneliness, and of course, purchase their spurious miracle cures. People are making billions from us. Let’s forget the products and take a long hard look at our very sophisticatedly packaged, battery farmed lives. Hey, if you look beyond the hype for a moment and it makes you feel ill - don’t question it - your dissatisfaction is probably an illness - and there’s always medication for it, or even worse, surgery.

Healthy Hearts Grants 
Heart Research UK has announced that its Health Hearts Grants Programme will re-open for applications in January 2015. Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Grants support innovative projects designed to promote heart health and to prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease in specific groups or communities. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to community groups, voluntary organisations and researchers who are spreading the healthy heart message. The closing date for applications will be the 28th February 2015. Read more by clicking on the sparkly heart above.

Foyle Foundation Small Grants Programme 
The Foyle Foundation is inviting small local charities to apply for funding through its Small Grants programme. Through its Small Grants Programme, grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available to smaller charities in the UK, especially those working at grass roots and local community level, in any field, across a wide range of activities. Applicants will need to demonstrate that the grant will make a significant difference to their work.
Applications can be made at any time. Read more at: 

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 1st June 2015. During 2015, the Trust is seeking to fund projects that promote Community development and Medical - Research and non-research. Grants are usually between £1,000 and £3,000 and are awarded for one year. Previous grants awarded include:

Another glossy publication of perspectives on the value of art and culture from Arts Council England, which includes a piece by Prof John Ashton on health. Create is a new journal that aims to stimulate discussion about the true value of art and culture to our society. See more by clicking on the can of cultivation above. 
. . .

Over the next few days a couple of exhibitions are opening, one in Buxton and one in Kaunas, Lithuania. Sėkmės... 

The CELEBRATIONS project has been led by Buxton artists Adrienne and Langley Brown, and inspired by conversations with patients, families, staff and volunteers of Ashgate Hospice, Chesterfield. The work will become a permanent feature in the Hospice's reception, where it will be a welcoming presence and an absorbing talking point. This project has been especially inspired by the life and work of Alison Creed, and the project was initiated and generously supported by Francis Creed and the Creed family.

This is an open invitation to a free preview of CELEBRATIONS, together with working drawings, notes and photographs, will be on display from 10.30 to 5.30 on December 6th and 7th at Buxton’s Green Man Gallery. On Saturday 6th from 2.00 to 3.30pm there’ll be nibbles, wine, soft drinks, music, and a brief introduction to the the project by Sharon Herriot, Art Psychotherapist at Ashgate, and Langley Brown, Arts for Health Research Fellow at MIRIAD in the Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.
For more details please contact Langley Brown

SPALVŲ METAMORFOZĖS (Colour Metamorphosis)
On the 4th December, artwork created by nurses and health workers from Kaunas Republican Hospital and Hospice and Kaunas Republican Public Hospital Care Clinic alongside the artists Marijona Sinkevičienė and Lina Drižiūtė-Malinauskiene who have been exploring the health, wellbeing and welfare of workers within the healthcare system in Lithuania. This work has been managed by Socialiniai Meno Projektai. The exhibition opens on the 4th December at Kaunas County Public Library and will be opened by esteemed Professor of sociology, and singer/guitarist, Leonardas Rinkevičius. With the health and wellbeing of the workforce a key priority for governments across Europe, this is the start of an important workforce public health programme in Lithuania.

Morpurgo backs 10 year old's library campaign
One of the world's most successful childrens authors is backing a ten-year-old boy's campaign to protect the library service in Cornwall. It comes as council cuts across our region leave the future of hundreds of libraries in doubt, with some facing closure and others having to reduce their opening hours. Click on the rabbit contemplating the moon for more details.

The Recoverist Manifesto has gone to press

Sunday, 23 November 2014

…no more cryin'

Each time I attend a conference like the one in Melbourne this month, there are always one or two things that stick out as highlights. A short film called No More Cryin by Patrick Carter was one such highlight, and I’d like to share it with you. Patrick Carter first worked with DADAA’s The Lost Generation Project in 2007 and 2008 and since 2012 he has been mentored in the stARTSPEAK Studio to extend his artistic practice documenting works on paper using iPad and taking the documented images into projection. No More Cryin was developed in 2013 for inclusion in the HERE&NOW13 exhibition at the Lawrence Wilson Gallery and has since had exhibitions in Beyond the Western Edge (Kalgoorlie, October 2014) and SMALL WORLD (Level Centre Rowsley, October 30 – December 13, 2014). Please follow the link to the stARTSPEAK website to view No More Cryin and check out Patrick’s other performance works in the ROOM project. I see that Patrick has been nominated for the 2014 WA Indigenous Aritst Award, and best of luck to him for this. Thanks too, to S and Z - brilliant people - superb work.

Over the last few years I’ve been very lucky to work with some wonderful people - some emerging, some established. In Lithuania I’ve experienced a country bursting with culture and vision. Having supported Socialiniai Meno Projektai to develop a training programme for artists and designers to work in health and care contexts, I’m thrilled to see work come to fruition. Here’s an image above, of the work of Rasa Baradinskiene who was one of a small group of people I worked with, who as part of her training, explored the possibility of commissions within the National Cancer Institute. Rasa has explored the wild and fragile nature of the roe deer, whilst incorporating staff and patient stories into her beautiful work.

The Idlewild Trust
Deadline: 25 February 2015
The Idlewild Trust is a grant making trust that supports registered charities concerned with the following: encouragement of the performing and fine arts and crafts; the advancement of education within the arts; the preservation for the benefit of the public of lands, buildings and other objects of beauty or historic interest in the UK. The Trust makes grants of up to £5,000. Click on the impossibly beautiful bird for more information.

Allan Lane Foundation Grants Programme 
The Allan Lane Foundation provides grants of between £500 and £15,000 to small voluntary not-for-profit organisations, where the work benefits groups of people who face hostility in UK society today. The Foundation wishes to fund work which will make a lasting difference to people’s lives; is aimed at reducing isolation, stigma and discrimination; and encourages or enables unpopular groups to share in the life of the whole community. Priority groups that the Foundation seeks to support includes older people, asylum-seekers and refugees; gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender people, gypsies and travellers, offenders and ex-offenders, people from black and minority ethnic communities and migrant workers, people experiencing mental health problems, people experiencing violence or abuse. The Foundation makes grants for work all over the United Kingdom but not where the beneficiaries of the work all live in London. Applications can be made at any time. Read more by clicking on the genuine photographs of UFO's taken last week over New South Wales.

My Beautiful Broken Brain
Click on the film below about Lotje Sodderland and find out more about the stroke she had when she was 34.

I have been fortunate this last week, (thank you NS) to take time out to travel across some of New South Wales and, as ever, too many moments have made lasting impressions on me, as always in this beautiful and vast continent. Small moments burnt into my memory - the Dog Fence - UFO’s - sand-storms - hospitality in the most unlikely places - arachnids of truly monstrous proportions, heat and dust - an Aboriginal elder describing himself as having no worth in the Australian constitution and being like the flora and fauna of the country - spending time with a dying kangaroo -  the simultaneous sounds of nothing and everything - and the slow dawning understanding, that I understand nothing.

Friday, 14 November 2014

…and live from Melbourne

Mike White and Janet Morrison were amongst a panel speaking live on national radio on the first day of the 6th Annual Art of Good Health and Wellbeing International Conference in Melbourne. A big thanks to Mike for mentioning the Recoverist Manifesto which is on track to be published before the month is through. You can hear Mike and the hour long, arts and health discussion that was broadcast on ABC National, by clicking on the not very brilliant photograph below.

As ever, this brilliantly organised and full-on event has been quite something and to those old friends (you know who you are) and new friends and collaborators - thank you. You are inspiring. I send the biggest thanks to Arts and Health Australia’s Margret Meagher who as ever, blew us all away. The best yet Margret. Much more on the conference soon.
I shared the Recoverist Manifesto and it felt good. It was a bit of a relief and thanks to those of you who made the effort to have a chat with me about it. As I said prior to sharing it, I am indebted to Mark Prest of Portraits of Recovery for being an inspiration and friend, to Cristina Nunez for her challenging and evocative work, to Will Self for his support and to all of my peers in Italy, Turkey and the UK who contributed their experience, vision and passion. 

Age Exchange: Reminiscence Arts & Dementia: Impact on Quality of Life
The Kings Fund, London
21st January 2015 10- 4pm
A launch of the results of a 3- year research programme demonstrating how the Age Exchange Reminiscence Arts Approach improves the wellbeing of people living with dementia. This event invites commissioners  and service planners to make a radical shift of their approach in service delivery for people living with dementia. Read more at:

Artists' International Development Fund
Deadline:  16th Jan 2015

The Artists' International Development Fund is a joint initiative between Arts Council England and the British Council to support individual artists based in England to work internationally. The programme offers early stage development opportunities for individual freelance and self-employed artists based in England to spend time building links with artists, organisations and/or creative producers in another country. The fund is open for a three-year period 2012-2015, with three application deadlines each year. Grants can be applied for within the £1000-5000 range.       .

Saturday, 8 November 2014

…your knee bone's connected to your thigh bone...

Who said this in the Guardian this week?
“I am arguing for a move in healthcare towards a more renaissance time, when there were not the clear barriers between art and medicine.”

Find out by clicking on the Kneebone above...and with a very feeble excuse to link to Dennis Potter, please enjoy the doctors summing up the patients needs below.

The blog will be added too and subtracted from on an ad hoc basis over the next 2 weeks as I am working out of the country. More of that soon, but for now, day 1 - breakfast out and an oh-so-obvious cover on a weekend supplement! Apologies. When I come to Australia I always meet really interesting, dedicated, free thinkers when it comes to end of life care, so after I got past the sharks in today's paper, it was interesting to read about Philip Nitschke's lawyer who in fact, has terminal cancer. Peter Nugent is defending the GP, humanist and euthanasia campaigner who was suspended from practicing as a GP by the Australian Medical Board earlier this year. That Nitschke is being defended by someone whose own life is limited by terminal illness, is a powerful symbol. It will be interesting to see how the trial, which starts on Monday, progresses  The big question here, is who knows best: doctors or competent, well-informed adults? Click on my breakfast option for more on this story.

This picture, the earliest known photograph to include a recognisable human form, was taken in Paris in 1838 by Louis Daguerre. The human in question is standing in the bottom-left of the photograph, on the pavement by the curve in the road. He is having his boots shined.

I recently shared a funding opportunity for cultural exchange with Japan, this week’s tantalising tidbit is India. Go on - let your imagination run wild and tailor a proposal to an arts/health exchange.

New India Cultural Exchange Fund 
A new £1.5million lottery fund will be available in early 2015 to build creative connections between the people of England and India. The new funding will provide English artists and arts organisations with opportunities to develop collaborations and cultural exchanges with their Indian counterparts. The scheme will be run by British Council and the Arts Council England and will give grants of £15,000-£100,000 to support projects that:
Promote creative collaborations Showcase the best of UK and Indian arts across a range of art forms and activities; etc. Applications open in January 2015 and there will be a second round of funding in 2016 with activity expected to peak during 2017 to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence.
Read more at           

Saturday, 1 November 2014

“...fake clowns caused panic’

real clowns are dismayed by the trend.” For this sad reflection on all things clownish, please click on the not-disturbing-in-the-slightest-bit photograph above. Apologies to any clowns this my cause offence too!

A Recoverist Manifesto
A S P I R I N G   G R A P H I C   D E S I G N E R   W A N T E D 
The first Recoverist Manifesto is complete - written up and with a forward by a very surprising and high-profile contributor! This 9 page publication is due off the press, but we need a graphic designer with a benevolent spirit to lend us a hand with the design. Although the coffers have dried up, we want a hard copy and online version this month. If the graphics are left to your very own blogger - they will be atrocious! So, if you have a few hours spare and an eye for typography and colour, email a link to your online portfolio and we can have a chat. 

Being Mortal
Another brilliant piece of writing from surgeon, Atul Gawande who in his new book, Being Mortal, tackles the bigger issues of life and death. Gawande hugely influenced a presentation that I gave at the the 3rd Art of Good Health and Wellbeing international conference in Canberra in 2011, which I wrote up as a book chapter called Towards Sentience in the Handbook of Interior Design and Architecture.

When we think of surgery and our arts/health conversations, it seems like we are a million miles apart. Whilst not being an advocate for the arts as such, Gawande does something that is central to arts/health - he thinks and ultimately acts - differently. His philosophy is one that resonates deeply and alongside the Design Council’s vision statement Design for Care and our very own Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt’s study, The Long-Term Health Benefits of Participating in the Arts - we should have the basis for designing a very interesting symposium on the 12th February. Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in being involved in this free event. We are throwing everything into the mix to see what we might come up with, and will be in touch well before the Christmas break. There will be the inevitable 'eventbrite' page to sign up soon too!

26th November 2014
Breaking Out of the Temples of Culture: Exploring Arts, Health and Wellbeing Initiatives in the Community
Institute for Public Policy & Professional Practice (I4P)
This symposium will take as its focus community-based cultural activities that seek to foster greater cultural engagement with the arts, facilitate more widespread active participation in culture, generate social capital and improve health and wellbeing in a variety of ways. To stimulate the discussions, we have invited a number of speakers – artists and representatives of cultural organisations – whose work, in different ways, is characterised by, or interested in, the interplay between cultural value and social capital. These activities include, but are not limited to, socially engaged art to local cultural festivals and the promotion, and exhibition of, arts and culture more broadly within local communities. 

Krip Hop Nation
Krip Hop Nation is an international Hip Hop collective uniquely blending lyricism, activism and breakbeats. Featuring MC’s, rappers, DJ’s and musicians from the USA, Germany, Uganda and the UK, they work internationally as a platform for disabled Hip Hop artists and an independent voice for disability led justice and politics. Leroy Moore, who founded the collective, aims to serve a purpose beyond producing music, believing the movement is about advocacy, education and reclaiming oppressive material. For workshop details and more from CONTACT Theatre, click on the poster above.

The little video below is nothing to do with the Krip Hop Nation, but has some damn fine dancing. The Coup are pretty good and if you enjoy the little film, it may be worth clicking on this Boots Riley link. He's the bands singer and this interview with Fox TV is as good as it gets.

Funding for Creative Young People 
IdeasTap, a non-for-profit initiative supports young creative people between 16 and 30 years of age, has announced that its Ideas Fund Innovators is open to applications. During this funding round the Ideas Fund Innovators aims to offer 20 projects £500 each (10 for those aged 16 - 22 and 10 for those aged 23 - 30) to help get them off the ground. In the past, Ideas Tap have funded everything from dance and film projects to music videos and photography collectives. Applications from any creative field will be considered. Ideas Tap are looking for projects that are inspiring, original, innovative and that Ideas Tap think you can deliver. This brief closes on the 19th December 2014 at 5pm and is open to IdeasTap members aged 16 to 30 on the closing date. Read more at:

This year I had the pleasure of speaking at the UK Faculty of Public Health Annual Conference and you can read a small account of the shared presentation The Arts - Authenticity and Exchange in Public Health Today by clicking on the image above.