Sunday, 1 August 2010

BIG SOCIETY: Arts, Health and Well-Being

Hello and a big THANK YOU to everyone who’s taken part in discussions around the Lib-Con Big Society over the last 3 weeks. In Barnsley, Bolton, Ellesmere Port and Manchester, we’ve had some really interesting exchanges.

The last North West Arts and Health Networking Event was one of the most stimulating and animated discussions with lots of thoughts about inclusion, subversion and action, and I can’t begin to reflect your contributions here. I know people are apprehensive about committing their thoughts to a blog, but it’s all good and keeps conversation flowing. Of course, if I can’t persuade you to write anything here, please feel free to carry on emailing me.
Following my presentation at the nalgao seminar on arts and health, I’ve written a brief paper with some of the thoughts I raised and this will be published in the next edition of Arts at the Heart magazine in August and on the Arts for Health website.

I can confirm that we will be having a regional arts and health event here at MMU on October 29th 2010, where we will expand on the idea of a North West Manifesto/Big Society, and I will provide more details as they emerge. This may well include some input from the new economics foundation on the Five Ways to Well-Being.

And a big reminder, if you want to comment on the North West Health and Well-Being Alliance, please email me comments by August 6th so I can present a cohesive voice for the sector. And if a Year of Wellbeing is being proposed for the North West Region, the arts should be at the heart of this emerging public health agenda.

As I promised at the evening session, here are some links to things we discussed and some anonymous comments that we might expand on.

Arts and Business and the National Campaign for the Arts have jointly formed a Culture Forum to lobby government and explore these Big Society themes further. 3 of the 26 forum members include representatives of the arts/health sector, including the Chair.

The lecture that I described about Politics of the Common Good by Professor Michael Sandel as part of the Reith Lectures 2009, should be here:

The wonderful Public Health pioneer Mark Burns, who harnesses many elements of popular culture has a website here:

Programme for Government, May 2010:

Polly Toynbee commenting on Art and the Big Society:

new economics foundation and Five Ways to Well-Being:

The Great Transition link:

demos link to Civic Streets report:

Mark Thomas presents The People’s Manifesto:

Museum of Modern Art, dementia programme:

A link to the inspirational Dennis Potter, which is too short, but you can dig deeper on youtube, because he’s worth it…

Orange RockCorp, where Orange are already awarding community activists:

I described the drive to develop a National Arts and Health Forum, well here’s the link:

Some comments that you may want to further expand on…

‘What stops us from making plans to demonstrate or collaborate?’

‘The mental health impact of increased worklessness will be huge. How will the government address these issues?’

‘People already survive without resources in impoverished areas…there has always been a big society working away.’

‘I wonder where members of the cabinet including David Cameron, volunteer?’

‘The arts will survive and thrive because by their very nature, artists are inventive and collective.’

‘The danger of the Big Society agenda is that it will diffuse everything, so that no one has the power.’

‘As people have to juggle work/life balance, where will they find extra time for new demands?’

‘There is an emphasis on payments by results, but the smaller organisations and community groups won’t be able to compete with larger organisation who have big financial reserves.’

‘How do we stay calm: why should we stay calm?’

‘The Big Society is all about addressing inequalities, but we all have varying degrees of ability in the face of poverty.’

1 comment:

  1. Great Networking event! Stimulated everyone i think...certainly got me thinking! The Big society is certainly a BIG topic!