Sunday, 16 September 2018

As long as the wind blows...

Armchair Gallery: Art, Technology and Older People
23 October 2018, 10:30am to 3:30pm
The Lowry | Pier 8 | The Quays | Salford | M50 3AZ
We can’t all get to the gallery …

Created by City Arts (Nottingham), Armchair Gallery is a forthcoming app for iOS and Android. The app brings world-class art and culture into the home and is designed specifically for older people. Led by experienced artist Claire Ford, this training offers a first look at the Armchair Gallery app. You’ll learn how to run creative art sessions for older people, including dementia patients, using the app as part of our specially devised workshop model.

This training will cover:
A preview of the Armchair Gallery app – which offers virtual tours of seven world class cultural venues
Using art and heritage artefacts to inspire and engage older people with dementia
Practical advice on using iPads or Android tablets with older people
Using the ‘Timeslips’ method as part of a creative workshop
The importance of multi-sensory exploration, and how to address all five senses in you workshops
Cost £25 (lunch provided)

Suitable for health providers, care staff and creative practitioners working in a range of settings. Click HITHER.

Events Coordinator/Administrator - Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance
The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA) is seeking an enthusiastic, committed events coordinator/administrator to support this young organisation’s development over the next 12 months Deadline: Friday 12 October (5pm)CHWA represents the merger of the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing and the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing to create a dynamic new cultural sector support organisation. CHWA is funded by Arts Council England through Arts & Health South West.
The post-holder will focus on event organisation – ranging from small, local gatherings to national conferences – and general administration. They will work primarily with Victoria Hume, the Director of CHWA, as well as the board and staff of Arts & Health South West and the CHWA steering group.
This will be an exciting opportunity to work for a young, ambitious organisation with a huge range of stakeholders, and to develop your experience and knowledge of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing sector. Click THITHER

Artists wanted for Vawdrey archive project
Applications are now open for artists to be involved with an unique research project.
Outside In is soon set to begin work with the West Sussex Records Office on the cataloguing, preserving, and digitisation of the The Vawdrey Archive.
This archive comprises of approximately 194 paintings produced by patients in art therapy sessions run by Dr Brian Vawdrey (pictured) between 1951 to 1971 – some at the former West Sussex County Asylum, Graylingwell, Chichester – along with a copy of Vawdrey’s illustrated thesis, ‘Art in Analysis’.

The project, which starts on 19 November and runs until the end of June, will see participants need to be able to commit to 15 days which will include; an initial series of bi-weekly sessions - some at West Sussex Records Office in Chichester, creating artwork and visual responses to the archive, self-directed study and attending site visits. There are a maximum of ten spaces available for the project which will aim to help archivists shape the recording of the artwork thanks to the artists’ lived mental health experience. The role also demands good communication and teamwork skills, travels expenses and refreshments will be included. 

Applicants will need to fill out the form found on the link below and send it to Hannah at Hannah or via post to: Outside In, Fabrica, 40 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AG by Monday 15 October at 10am. Interviews will take place Monday 29 October and Friday 2 November.

Last week I attended a suicide vigil over at the Lowry where people who had experienced the death of someone close to them, could take part in a very public declaration of remembrance and of sharing this still-taboo issue amongst kindred spirits - and policy makers who take it very seriously. The event was organised by Bernadette Conlon from START and as well as Andy Burnham speaking succinctly and with genuine commitment, we heard from Louis Appleby who leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England alongside Marvin Cheeseman and JB Barrington who shared their own poetic reflections.

I’ve had a number of conversations about suicide over these last few months and a tiny bit of funding to enable me to spend time with people affected - by either someone they love killing themselves, or with people who have survived a serious suicide attempt. This little old blog isn’t the place to discuss any of this work in depth, but it’s a public acknowledgment and something a little larger (and more complicated) than thanks. So I’m part of an exploration with an as yet, uncertain outcome - but the process is complex and profound. If you want to know more, or be involved with this long-term piece of work and are affected by suicide - get in touch.


Sunday, 9 September 2018

Arts for Health

First of all a big thank you for all of you who came and took part in two events with me this week - on Wednesday the masterclass - The International, National & Local in Arts, Health & Social Change at The Whitworth (some of whom, pictured above ) and on Thursday at Manchester School of Art - The Manchester Declaration. Of course, now I'm left with all that superb material from the declaration session and I'll begin to bring it all together, alongside some thinking from smaller sessions around GM. What has been really special this week, has been meeting new faces from the wider field - people I've not met before with exciting ideas. New blood - sublime! More on the Manchester Declaration on the evolving MIAHSC website very soon.

Of course - huge thanks to the artist, Professor Yutaka Moruguchi for sharing her work and lived experience, which are inextricably linked. I'm pleased to tell those of you who met Yutaka, that she  got safely home to Osaka. Thank you to the Great British Sasakawa Foundation for enabling her collaboration with us. To Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, Wendy Gallagher, Daisy Strang, Francine Hayfron and Holly Grange - your work is superb - thank you.

World Suicide Prevention Day -
Vigil of Remembrance

6.30pm –7.30pm
Monday, 10th September
World Suicide Prevention Day
Lowry Plaza (in front of Lowry Theatre)
The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ.

Greater Manchester over the last five years has lost 1,279 family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours to suicide.
The ‘Vigil of Remembrance’ will remember those that we have lost and demonstrate to those that have lost loved ones to suicide that the community is here for them with this mass demonstration of support. It will contribute towards smashing the stigma that is associated with suicide in all its forms, and contributing to a community that enables people to discuss suicide and enable people to disclose when they are experiencing suicidal thoughts and ideas.

More details from START - HERE.

Deadline 14th October 2018
Conference Date: 5 – 7 March 2019
Venue: Manchester Central, UK

The World Healthcare Congress Europe will showcase new approaches to health and social care delivery. In today’s current climate healthcare professionals are facing a multitude of political, social and financial challenges. The conference will explore how the revolution of healthcare delivery will have a significant impact on health. Our audience of 1,000 will consist of representatives from all sectors of healthcare, academia and leading government agencies. The Congress will provide a platform for the discussion of three themes, one of which is Arts for health & social change. I'm honoured to be co-curating this conference theme with Director of Manchester Museum, Esme Ward.

The possibilities of the arts in all their forms impacting on health and social change, is of growing interest to communities and policy makers alike. In the UK the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health & Wellbeing published the groundbreaking report, Creative Health illuminating new possibilities in how we understand and address contemporary health challenges.

This conference theme will focus down on the possibilities of culture, heritage and the arts in the context of issues ranging from how we might address the social determinants of health – to research and practice around the life course, our mental health and how we age well.

In Greater Manchester, a city region that is central to the birth of the arts and health movement, this theme gives delegates the opportunity to experience and interrogate the ways in which we understand the lived experience of communities and the factors that influence public health, address inequalities and influence health outcomes. We propose that participation in culture and the arts has the potential to radically shape the future of the health and social care landscape and give voice to the most marginalised members of our society.

For those of you undertaking research or wanting to share your work, please note that this global event will happen in Manchester for two years consecutively and in March 2020 there will be your second opportunity to apply.

Find out more about the conference HERE.
Submit an abstract HERE.


Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust comprises Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge. This is the post that Damian Hebron held until recently. It's salary is £42,414 to £49,969 p.a. pro rata. More details HERE.

“Painting, writing, singing, dancing, freeing minds and opening hearts, moving, feeling building healing, this is why we truly, love arts.”

A CELEBRATION OF CREATIVITY & MENTAL WELL-BEING IN LEEDS - the Love Arts Festival will be taking place between 4th and 13th October and is one of the UK's most important arts and mental health festivals. All the details are HERE.

Ravi Thornton event
On 24th September there's an interesting event taking place in Waterstone's in Manchester's Arndale Centre. See the poster below for details.


Saturday, 1 September 2018

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...

Here you go - it’s September already.

It just comes along and - whoosh - another year has gone by.

This last week, I saw bats and dragonflies competing for food as the sun set - a small scale wonder caught in invisible thermals.
Just now, I ran down through a thicket of trees on the hills over the top of the town.
That golden yellow decay creeping into the branches. 
All thoughts of this yawning week ahead dashed from my mind.

. . . 

A couple of things for you this week - for those of you wanting to know and experience more of the methodology of Dementia & Imagination, artists Claire Ford and Kate Sweeney will be facilitating some training workshops for artists based on the Yellow Book up in Edinburgh between 17 - 20th September. If you want to know more or book a free place, click HERE.

The Role of the Artist in Perinatal Mental Health - A Seminar
Manchester Arts Gallery
September 21st

11:30 - 16:30
Cost - £5 including light lunch

As part of The Other in Mother touring installation, Arc, Stockport and Arts for Health is facilitating a seminar for artists interested in perinatal mental health, as well as health professionals, students and mothers. Hosted by Manchester Art Gallery, the seminar will be an opportunity to explore:

- Who is working in the field
- Case studies and best practice
- The gaps and skills needed
- Sharing networks, practice and ideas for commissions.

The seminar will include an exploration of Arc's installation of manipulated objects and images which explore the maternal transition, The Other in Mother, with lead artist Sarah Greaves. 

Speakers include:

Anja Wittkowski, Clinical Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester
Sarah Greaves, lead artist, The Other in Mother touring installation
Helen Knowles, curator, Birthrites Collection, contemporary artwork dedicated to childbirth
Helen Sargeant, artist, member of MEWE collective (artists interested in the maternal)
Amy Dignam, artist, curator & founder of Desperate Art Wives
Katy McCall, Learning Manager, Families, MAG

This event will host a discussion around the impacts of the different aspects of the work - individual artists making artwork about their experiences, non-artist mothers engaging in the arts and artists with a socially engaged practice creating works informed by mothers' experiences. We will ask how the arts can promote an honest and public debate around perinatal mental health. How do those projects/artworks/results affect awareness of perinatal mental health issues and policy – what is their impact on support for vulnerable mothers?
Click HERE.


Over in Texas, those good ol' folk planning the NOAH conference offer yet another sponsorship opportunity - I quote: ‘Add Your Swag to the NOAH Bag’ - in other words, you can throw a leaflet into the conference bag for $300. If that doesn’t entice you, and you’re keen to sponsor their conference ‘Reimagining the future of Arts in Health’ they offer a whole raft of sponsorship opportunities: An ‘Expo Booth’ at $5000, ‘Keynote’ at $3500, ‘Photo + Video Documentation’ at $2500 or you might be a ‘Conference Patron’ at $1000, a ‘Conference Angel’ at $500 or a humble ‘Conference Friend’ at $100! Ahh way to go - reimagining the future of arts in health. Keen to know more on sponsorship opportunities, just click HERE.  I see too that they are offering some incredibly interesting sessions, here's one: 

'Looking for the very latest in updates on professionalizing the field of arts in health? 
Adding artists in residence to your program? Looking for fresh ideas for community engagement and musical programming? Attend this special session for a Q&A with the NOAH Professionalization Committee and complementary discourse on how to effectively bring visual arts and music into your local healthcare settings!'

Sounds cracking. 
Want to read about the stellar line up? Click HERE

Hospitalfield is Recruiting a Creative Producer – Place Programme for Angus and a Programme and Communications Manager. What more could you want? Click on the image below for details. Deadline 15 September!


Saturday, 4 August 2018

Bumper Summer Fun Edition #2

In a second bumper summer fun edition, your sun soaked and rain drenched blogger offers more scintillating on and enjoy!

First things first - what an amazing opportunity to work with 
Venture Arts and learning-disabled artists in collaboration with the Whitworth and Castlefield Gallery. This has to be the best commission I've seen in ages.

Venture Arts is calling for expressions of interest from visual artists to take part in their new project based in Manchester, Conversations Series II. 
Deadline for applications:
By 5pm on Wednesday 5 September 2018  

Interview dates:
Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 September 2018

Anticipated residency start date:
Week commencing 1 October 2018

Conversations Series II, led by Venture Arts and in partnership with Castlefield Gallery and the Whitworth, will support a collaborative residency that will bring together three learning-disabled artists who are part of the Venture Arts supported studios, to work alongside the three visual artists to be appointed. The group will develop shared ideas, create new work, and reflect on the labels placed upon us by society. This residency builds on the success of OutsiderXchanges from 2015-16. 

The selected artists will spend time with the Whitworth team and the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, having time and access to explore the collection, its ethics and its display. This collection can be used as a starting point to see what ideas and visual responses develop during the collaborative residency. Castlefield Gallery will provide the artists taking part with mentoring and crit support at key stages over the course of the residency period. Disabled artist Tanya Raabe-Webber will work with the group to ground the work within the disability arts movement.

Contact Jennifer Gilbert for any further inquiries you have regarding the project or the application process.  

E-mail: Tel: 0161 232 1223 And get all the detail by clicking HERE. 

In the autumn there are two Live Well Make Art events. Here are some details

Live Well Make Art (LWMA)... an informal network of arts professionals and activists, health professionals and activists, academics and people who care passionately about the health of Greater Manchester. We have been working together for two years as a social movement. We want a healthier Greater Manchester, where all its people can share the benefits of engaging in and enjoying the arts and creative activities with each other and we want to make our streets, neighbourhoods and communities better places to live.

Event #1: Arts and Healthier Working
Thursday 20th September 2018, 10am - 3pm

Cobden Works, 37 – 41 Cobden Street, Salford M6 6WF
(home of Walk the Plank)

''The economic costs of ill health and its impact on work are measurable… but the human costs are often hidden and privately borne… The importance of the physical and mental health of working age people in relation to personal, family and social attainment is insufficiently recognised in our society’ 'Working for A Healthier Tomorrow’, Dame Carol Black’s Review of the health of Britain’s working age population, March 2008
On Thursday 20th September, at Walk the Plank’s new building, Cobden Works, in Salford we will be holding the second Live Well Make Art event to happen as part of a programme funded through Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Great Places initiative (you can read all about our first event at the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh here). The day will explore ways in which the arts can help support the health of working age people and those who have not yet found work. The event will be introduced by Michael Eeckelaers, NHS Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group and Esme Ward (Director, Manchester Museum). Tickets and info HERE.

Friday 19th October 2018, 10am - 3pm

Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre will be hosting the third Live Well Make Art event to happen as part of a programme funded through Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Great Places initiative. It will explore ways in which the arts can help mothers, early years children and families. The event will be introduced by Dr. Carolyn Wilkins (Chief Executive, Oldham Council) and Clive Parkinson . Click HERE for details. 


Calling artists working in social art, socially-engaged art, community arts, collaborative arts and social practice at all stages of your careers to come together and share work at the: SOCIAL ART SUMMIT: An Artist-Led Review of Socially Engaged Arts Practice in the UK on 1st & 2nd November 2018 in Sheffield and convened by Social Art Network.Over two-days artists from around the country will come together to share practice, showcase work and explore what it means to be making art through social engagement right now. The Summit will showcase the work of artists from around the UK and beyond testing the ground for a Social Art Biennale in 2020. Artists, activists, community groups, curators, students, academics, funders and sectors working in the arts and social realm are invited to join the conversation through a series of events at Site Gallery and other venues around the city. all the details and call out for participant/contributors HERE.

The 2018 Engage Conference...
...will explore the intersection between arts, health, wellbeing and education. Hosted by the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, a centre for excellence in arts and health, we invite educators, curators, researchers, artists and policymakers to discuss the immense diversity of approaches to arts and health in current practice.

It is widely recognised that engagement with the arts not only has a positive impact on wellbeing, but can support recovery, improve healthcare, staff wellbeing, and help reduce NHS spending. Interdisciplinary work in arts and health is plentiful in gallery education - learning and engagement teams have forged partnerships with health and social care services, charities, artists, technologists and, researchers Higher Education and clinicians across the UK and globally. From maternity and neonatal care through to older age, creative activity is being embraced as an element in tackling some of the health inequalities that face society today. 

A Social Prescription will give an insight into the myriad ways in which practitioners are embracing the arts and health agenda, from rethinking urban planning and embracing Virtual Reality, to changing the ways in which clinicians are trained and how we measure wellbeing. Get all the details and more HERE.

Talking of Social Prescribing...Interesting to see Aesop commissioning the pollsters ComRes, (who specialise in corporate reputation, public policy and communications) to undertake a short and sharp agree/disagree tick-box online survey of GP's perceptions on arts/healthcare. Of the 33,423 full-time equivalent GPs (excluding locums) working for the NHS, between 13th and 24th February this year, ComRes got boxes ticked by 1,002 GP's. In what Aesop describe as 'dramatic results' its positive headlines suggest: 66% agreed that public engagement with the arts can make a significant contribution towards preventing ill health among the public; 44% agreed that arts-based interventions can be a cost-effective way to deliver primary care to the public, through social prescribing, and improve health outcomes and 62% agreed that art-based interventions can make a significant contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of NHS staff. Read the ComRes survey HERE.

It's good to see that just under 3% of GP's see the value of the arts - now we might focus on our citizens before they even present to their GP.

World Healthcare Congress 2019

Call for Papers

Some of you may know that Director of Manchester Museum, Esme Ward and I are co-curating an Arts, Health & Social Change strand of the 

World Healthcare Congress 2019 and 2020 which will take place in Manchester. It is quite a thing to get the arts embedded inside such a large and predominantly scientific global conference. The first call out for papers has been issued and you can find more details beolw. Read on and hit the link.

The possibilities of the arts in all their forms impacting on health and social change, is of growing interest to communities and policy makers alike. In the UK the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health & Wellbeing published the groundbreaking report, Creative Health illuminating new possibilities in how we understand and address contemporary health challenges.

This conference theme will focus down on the possibilities of culture, heritage and the arts in the context of issues ranging from how we might address the social determinants of health – to research and practice around the life course, our mental health and how we age well. This conference theme gives delegates the opportunity to experience and interrogate the ways in which we understand the lived experience of communities and the factors that influence public health, address inequalities and influence health outcomes. We propose that participation in culture and the arts has the potential to radically shape the future of the health and social care landscape and give voice to the most marginalised members of our society.


This intercultural, intergenerational gathering will bring people from across the country for skill-building, relationship-building, and engaged learning, deepening a movement for cultural democracy.

CULTURE/SHIFT 2018 is hosted in partnership with the City of Albuquerque Department of Cultural Services and New Mexico-based arts and social justice organizations. Together, we will create, explore, and amplify strategies for cultural healing, resilience, and resistance.

What are the leverage points for shifting from a consumer culture rooted in isolation and inequality to a creator culture rooted in community and equity? How can Citizen Artists sustain presence, well-being, and hope in challenging times? How can we organize in our own communities and across the country to bolster support for cultural activity that cultivates empathy, equity, and social imagination? Through participatory workshops, performances, talks, and interactive art-making, we’ll explore themes such as migration, indigenous cultural rights, climate justice, public memory and commemorative justice, ethics of community-based arts, community development/displacement, and more. Click HERE for more details. 


Friday, 27 July 2018

Bumper Summer Fun Edition #1

Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change 
A month ago today, I launched the Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change (MIAHSC) and began to explore how small and large organisations across Greater Manchester might work together to redefine this arts and health agenda, building on research,  policy and practice.  I’ll be facilitating  the second event on 6th September at the Manchester School of Art, where for a couple of hours we’ll start to develop our own statement of intent, or concordat under the banner of  The Manchester Declaration. For those of you who have been involved in arts and health activity for some time, I’ll be creating something using a similar methodology to when we compiled the Manifesto for Arts & Health back in 2011.

So it will explore our aspirations and how we’re going to get there! This session is focused on those living or working in Greater Manchester and is already filling up. Of course it’s a free event, which means often people book a place then don’t turn up - so please, try to be certain about committing to it and being part of this ground-swell of activity - after all - we’re more than the sum of our parts.

Book a place HERE of by clicking on the banner above.

For those of you with eager eyes, you may have noticed that I’m constructing a new website for the Manchester Institute, which you can access HERE. But please be gentle with your critique - I’m no web designer - and am slowly building this thing, and that’s the key: it’s a slow burn - not rushed - not a quick hit - but growing incrementally and informed by what we all contribute.


….was a profound and moving performance at the Royal Exchange Theatre last week which explored the experiences of people living in tower blocks in Manchester and has been a 3-year partnership with One Manchester housing and community services - a canny collaboration. This new work was created and performed by the tower-block residents and took take place in The Studio at the Royal Exchange. In a completely packed-out theatre, audience members were exposed to the raw reality of contemporary life for people who in there own words feel demonised and bogged down by others assumptions.

 At times confrontational, at other times uplifting and poetic, this work produced by Tracie Daly took me on an emotive rollercoaster ride and twenty first century reality-check. None of the cast were actors - as far as I’m aware - and the mix of vulnerability and strength that they exuded gave the perfect balance of a work that was neither preachy - or worse still - Leg’s Akimbo. You can read a review HERE.

 The leap from the studio to the main theatre space, would be one I’m sure, that would intimidate (or inhibit) the cast of this performance, but my one frustration with the work is that even more people don’t get to experience the visceral potentiality of relevant and powerful theatre. It provides us with troubling evidence of inequalities and whilst it doesn’t attempt to offer solutions - it articulates a deeper understanding of the social poison that is endemic in our communities - if we only bother to listen.

So - you wait all day for a good job to come along - then two come along at once!
London Arts in Health Forum are seeking a new director
Deadline: 10 September 2018 10:00 am

Interviews: 24th September 2018

London Arts in Health Forum is recruiting a new Director. After 15 years establishing the organisation as a leading voice for the role of creativity in wellbeing, LAHF’s founder Director is moving on and the organisation is seeking an inspiring leader to develop and deliver its future. In order to apply for this exciting opportunity, please submit a CV, two references and an expression of interest (maximum 800 words) to Full details HERE.

Salary £35,000 pa + (depending on experience)
Application deadline: noon, Tuesday 28 August 2018

Abandon Normal Devices (AND) is seeking an exceptional individual to lead our award-winning arts and digital culture agency.  This is an extraordinary opportunity for the right candidate to take forward our innovative, ambitious and influential organisation as we approach our 10th anniversary.
Full details on AND’s background, the role of the Director and their responsibilities, the Person Specification and details about how to apply can be found in the application information pack HERE.

Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health
The Atlantic Fellows program at GBHI provides innovative training in brain health, leadership, and dementia prevention to a broad array of promising leaders from various professions, including medicine, science, business, law, journalism, social science, and the arts. Through their work, Fellows are expected to emphasize local and global health inequities that need to be addressed by practitioners and policymakers, with the goal of transforming local communities around the world. Atlantic Fellows will join the program for 12 months* and have a base at the University of California, San Francisco or Trinity College Dublin. A core curriculum of weekly courses in economics, epidemiology, law and ethics, leadership, neuroscience, public policy, and statistics constitutes part of the experience. Fellows also engage in projects aimed at advancing brain health and have opportunities to work with individuals with cognitive disorders. Through intensive mentoring, Fellows are guided in the development of their projects, careers, leadership, policy change, and impact on brain health. find out more and apply HERE.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Look to the skies

Thanks to Jamie Reid for his rendition of the Good Old Stars & Stripes. No more comment from me needed...

Fundación Casa Wabi x ArtReview Residency Award 2019...
...are pleased to announce an open-call residency prize for artists wishing to stay in Oaxaca for the month of July 2019. Applications must detail a project that engages with or benefits the local community in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
Fundación Casa Wabi is an interdisciplinary project whose mission is to promote the exchange of ideas, fostering an open and constructive dialogue between national and international artists in a variety of practices and disciplines. The foundation is based in Puerto Escondido, on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, 800km south of Mexico City. Set between the mountains and the sea, the foundation and its grounds were designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Founded in 2014 by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi, its facilities include a multipurpose room, six studio-dorms and a 50-acre sculpture garden, as well as two recently opened pavilions: the Clay Pavilion by Alvaro Siza (Pritzker, 1995) and the Guayacan Pavilion by Mexican studio Ambrosi-Etchegaray. Click on the sky below for details.

Sylvia Pankhurst Public Art Commission 
Bruntwood has opened calls for entries for a UK-wide street art competition transform the landmark Trafford House building in Greater Manchester with a 38 metre high mural - in memory of Sylvia Pankhurst. More details HERE.

Could prisons unlock the creative industries talent pipeline problem?
Here’s an extract from an interesting blog by Sally Taylor and Jessica Plant on the Creative Industries Federation website.

'It goes without saying that the UK’s creative industries make a huge contribution to the UK’s economy. But is all the potential talent which could be working this booming sector being encouraged to do so, or is it just the usual suspects which make up the bulk of the new creative generation? Of course students graduating from our prestigious and well respected higher education institutions are much sought after, but how about trying something new – institutions which might attract a different world view, but whose ‘graduates’ might offer something a little different – like our prisons.' Read more HERE.

More news coming in from Texas!

A week in Vilnius and lots of photographs - but what to post? Simply the final image from my last day there. I met and had profound & liberating first conversations with people affected by suicide in Lithuania. Biggest thanks to Jurgita Jurkutė for her deep & poetic insight & Artūras Vasiliauskas from the British Council for his knowledge & companionship during the England defeat! (No I'm not the greatest footy fan, but context is everything). As always, warmest and deepest thanks to IP and SK for conversations and friendship.


Sunday, 1 July 2018

#NHS70 & more

The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change
Just what is the Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change? Well for those of you with a keen eye, you may have picked up on an event I facilitated at the Manchester School of Art last week, with guest speaker and Chief Officer of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Jon Rouse. This marks the start of Arts for Health’s evolution into the Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change, which over the next six months will emerge as a new collective of people and organisations driven by a motivation to understand and address the factors that underpin inequalities. More than that - it’s about doing things differently. These are exciting times and a full picture of our aspirations and direction will be published on a new stand-alone website over the next two months. Thank you to everyone who came, for your commitment and vision.

So - it’s the NHS 70th anniversary - and here are a few delicious treats for you.

A Fortunate Man
Next Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd July, New Perspectives theatre company will be performing a new work based on the sublime and important book, A Fortunate Man by John Berger and Jean Mohr. I used this work as a stimulus to my exploration of the artist Vic McEwan’s residency at Alder Hey, to which there will be a brand new online resource later this month. To me, Berger’s work articulates some of the thoughts I attempt to corral in Critical Care, not least that we mustn't privilege understanding of the potency of the arts through the narrow and often pseudo-scientific lens of bio-medical science, particularly when work isn’t focused on clinical outcomes, but on the rather more richly textured and subtle languages of lived experience - and the arts themselves.

I’ve not seen this New Perspectives adaptation of the work yet, but I’m going along on Tuesday afternoon and can’t wait. The performances will be taking place at the Main Lecture Theatre in the Postgrad Centre at Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, down Oxford Road. Thanks to LIME Arts for enabling this to happen. Full details right below.



by John Berger and Jean Mohr
a stage exploration by Michael Pinchbeck

Fifty years ago, writer John Berger and photographer Jean Mohr followed the working life of a country doctor, for what went on to become one of the most important books about medical practice. Today, New Perspectives collaborates with theatre-maker Michael Pinchbeck to explore and expand on this fascinating work, setting it against verbatim interviews with doctors today. This striking mixed media performance takes the pulse of GP practice then and now, continuing the conversation in the 70th year of the NHS.

  Main Lecture Theatre
  Postgrad Centre
  Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9WL

One final thing - this is a PAY WHAT YOU DECIDE performance and attenders are encouraged to make a donation as they leave. There are numerous performances of this one hour work over the two days. Book online HERE. 

'It's nothing like a broken leg':
why I'm done with the mental health conversation

For a really personal and timely exploration of the lived experience of mental distress that doesn’t mess around with euphemism and platitudes, I recommend this article by my namesake, Hannah Jane Parkinson. Superb and perfectly written. Here’s a small extract.

“In the last few years I have observed a transformation in the way we talk about mental health, watched as depression and anxiety went from unspoken things to ubiquitous hashtags. It seems as though every week is now some kind of Mental Health Awareness Week, in which we should wear a specific colour (although this year no one could agree on which: half wore green, half yellow). In the last few years I have lost count of the times mental illness has been compared to a broken leg. Mental illness is nothing like a broken leg.” Read more by Hannah Jane Parkinson by clicking on the rather fetching image below.

Section 136 – partners and places needed

“What constitutes public display of mental illness which can harm people or those around them? Consumerism? No. Sexist ads making you feel inadequate? No. Compassion fatigue? No. Casual racism? No. Discrimination towards disabled people? No.” 
Find out more about what Dolly Sen* is attempting to explore by clicking HERE, or on the image below, or by emailing Dolly HERE.

*As a child, Dolly Sen was an alien in Empire Strikes Back. She knew then she would never know normal life. Her journey as an artist has taken her up a tree in Regents Park, to California’s Death Row, to the Barbican, Tower Bridge and the Royal Academy, Trafalgar Square, and up a ladder to screw a lightbulb into the sky, using words, art, film and performance. She is interested in non-consensual reality, outsidership, empathy, authenticity and absurdity. She has been labeled ‘mad’ by society. Her work aims to show she makes perfect sense. Basically, reality is a cheeky bastard, and she is putting him over her lap and slapping his naughty arse.”

Singing in the City is back. We are celebrating the NHS 70, join us!

Sunday 8 July 2018, 11am-4.30pm. Free, drop in, no need to book
the Whitworth Gallery will be filled with choirs and a free singing extravaganza to celebrate the NHS's 70th anniversary, in the city where the first National Health Service (NHS) hospital opened its doors. Want to know more? Click on the image below.

The Culture Capital Exchange
 (TCCE)... delighted to announce its summer symposium: Refresh, Reboot, Retool: new imaginaries for challenging times. Bringing together academics, artists, creatives, policy-makers and people from other sectors, Refresh Reboot, Retool: new imaginaries for challenging times sets out to create a space in which to encourage, debate, conversation, play, knowledge exchange and co-creation about some of our most important contemporary challenges including: politics, diversity, identity, place and environment.

 Click HERE.

Two new positions at ARC ARC are are seeking team members!
Arc is a creative arts organisation based in Stockport, UK, specialising in workshops, wellbeing and community development. We work in and around Stockport and the North West from our base at Arc Centre and Gallery. They are looking to recruit an Engagement Officer and a Finance Officer. Closing date is 15th July. Details are HERE.

42nd Street - job opportunities

New Opportunities to Join the 42nd Street Team

42nd Street’s Mission is:

To support young people aged 11-25 years with their emotional well-being and mental health, promoting choice and creativity. We champion young person centred approaches that demonstrate local impact and have national significance.
Counselling & Therapy – 1 full time role available
Community Mental Health – 2 full time roles available

Deadline is Monday 16th July at 10am, full details HERE.

NHS70 event - The Changing Face of Mental Health
This year the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday, and the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care at Manchester Met will be commemorating this important milestone with a special one-off panel event on Wednesday 4th July, 4pm-6pm.

‘Celebrating 70 years of the NHS: The Changing Face of Mental Health’ will be hosted by our new Mental Health Professor, Joy Duxbury and will discuss the changing face of mental health, exploring revolution over the past 70 years and our panel's predictions for the future.

Panel members include:
Professor Joy Duxbury – Professor of Mental Health Nursing 
Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan – Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust
Malcom Rae – Sate of Mind
Rita Long – a Service User
Dr Alina Haines – Digital Apps

“The importance of finding new ways of working in these areas and the field of mental health more broadly, are required, particularly given hard to reach groups such as those in the criminal justice system for example.  Innovation including technology, participatory approaches and interdisciplinary working are integral to making a difference to people’s lives.” More details and booking HERE. 

A couple of conferences
Exciting to see that Dr Daisy Fancourt is keynote speaker at the almost Old Testament sounding NOAH conference in Texas, where she'll be in good company amongst some long-standing arts and health folk, ’reimagining the future of arts & health.’ Check the conference details HERE. 
Over in Australia, great to see regulars Gary Glazner and The Hon Dame Marie Bashir back again at the 10th Art of Good Health and Wellbeing International Arts and Health Conference, and its all taking place in the Sails Hotel up in Port Macquarie. Singer-songwriter and campaigner for Indigenous people Archie Roach AM will be at the Conference Dinner, (separate ticketed event). Click on the image below for full details.

'...there’s always the fear of tokenism'
The Native American novelist Tommy Orange teaches creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts and his debut novel is There There. In an interview with the Observer he shares his thinking behind this new and important work.