Sunday, 2 September 2012

艺术 + 文化 =力量

First of all, just a big thank you for visiting this blog. Each week, I’m thrilled to see people visiting form all over the world. The statistics I gather from google are really basic, and the stats below show the top ten countries who’ve stayed on the blog for a significant period and read it! It doesn't however show the smaller numbers of irregular users, or if a country hasn’t been on this week. So hits from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Switzerland, Finland and Mauritius that have happened this week, just don’t show up on the chart. However, you can see by last weeks stats, we’re getting a lot of interest beyond our ‘North West’ remit. It just illustrates how this arts and health field is really growing. The graph moves clockwise from the UK in green round to its red neighbour of Brazil.

Thank you to those of you have got in touch about your research. I’ve heard from colleagues ranging from people working in Merseyside to projects in Canada. Please remember, you still have a couple of weeks to send me details of your work, wherever you are in the world, and I’m particularly keen to know about research methodologies and the kinds of networks that you are all part of too. Please get in touch directly by emailing

Just a reminder that our agenda-less event will take place between 6:00 and 8:00 on Thursday 27th September, here at MMU, venue to be circulated nearer the time. Register your place at 

and CULTURE...
This week has seen Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a stalwart peace campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize winner in recognition of his campaign against apartheid; pulled out of a leadership summit in Johannesburg because he refused to share a platform with Tony Blair. Tutu said that the US and UK-led action launched against Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003 had in fact, brought about conditions for the civil war in Syria and a possible Middle East conflict involving Iran. As well as pulling out of the event, he is demanding that both Blair and former US president, George Bush JR stand trial for war crimes. Hard to imagine that ever happening isn’t it? But good to hear such a vocal and eloquent critic.

Elsewhere, we’ve had more Olympian action, this time from the Paralympic Games  and some interesting debate about whether the games will raise the profile of people with disabilities when the event is long over. There’s also been a surprise apology from Chemie Grünenthal, (CG) the German pharmaceutical company that manufactured the drug that caused thousands of babies to be born with shortened arms and legs, or no limbs at all. Their chief executive wanted to apologize to mothers who took the drug during the 1950s and 1960s and to their children who suffered congenital birth defects as a result.

"We ask for forgiveness that for nearly 50 years we didn't find a way of reaching out to you from human being to human being," Harald Stock said. "We ask that you regard our long silence as a sign of the shock that your fate caused in us."

OK...50 years after taking the drug off the market, they issue an apology! Here’s an quote from an interesting article on the subject. 

“...Grünenthal remains silent still on adjusting compensation for inflation and the dreadful effects on the victims – the men and women in adulthood, many now without parental support. CG did not just remain silent. It brought forth the drug thalidomide on 1 October 1957, from very murky origins indeed. It licensed its manufacture worldwide as a safe sleeping drug for mothers in pregnancy. One of the licensees was the British whisky company, Distillers, which put "Distaval" on the market as a tranquilliser in April 1958 and marketed it until 1962. Chemie Grünenthal was reckless. It had not tested the effect on pregnant women or animals to see if it could cross the placental barrier. It ignored early warnings. The wife of one of its own employees had given birth to a baby without ears 10 months before it puts its poison on the market. It made no difference. Nor did warning signs of deformed births and nerve damage from Australia. It produced sales leaflets for doctors stressing the drug's safety. It engaged – bribed might be a better word – compliant doctors who vouched for it though they did not know how it worked."

In this week of Tutu’s dignified and pointed stance; Grünenthal’s 50 year late apology and the opening of the Paralympic Games, it was wonderful to see a replica of the Marc Quinn sculpture, Alison Lapper Pregnant,paraded through the Olympic Stadium - buck naked, pregnant and beautiful. The original sculpture of artist Alison Lapper, who has phocomelia, which is similar to thalidomide in that she has short limbs; was displayed in Trafalgar Square in 2005 as part of the Fourth Plinth commissions. 

Whilst up in the windy and wet North, we’ve had the pleasure of the new Cultural Olympiad commission, Connecting Light. For Friday and Saturday night only, you had the opportunity to engage with a hi-tech art installation by the New York digital arts collective YesYesNo. Great eh? By visiting a dedicated website ‘the public’ could devise messages to send via the 400 balloons, strung out irregularly from Newcastle to Carlisle, with clumps of them appearing at special viewing spots, including Housesteads Roman fort and Walltown Crags. Great stuff - clumps of balloons, changing colour over 2 evenings. Oh no - we’ve missed it!
...lets hope that the 73-mile stretch of wall was reasonably accessible to any paralympians who fancied scrutinizing it. Find out more by clicking on the suspiciously photoshopped looking image below. 

The sculpture, Alison Lapper Pregnant reportedly cost £150,000...worth it? I reckon so. Lets mix up beauty, disability and art and lets look in the face of each other for all we are. I can’t help wondering how much the two-day, colour-changing balloons cost on Hadrian’s Wall? Worth it? - you tell me.

The Yapp Charitable Trust is an independent grant making trust that aims to make grants totalling £300,000 to about 100 small registered charities each year. Grants of up to £3,000 per year for up to three years are available to sustain the work of registered charities with a total annual expenditure of less than £40,000 that work with:
  • Elderly people
  • Children and young people aged 5 – 25
  • People with disabilities or mental health problems
  • Moral welfare – people trying to overcome life-limiting problems of a social, rather than medical, origin (such as addiction, relationship difficulties, abuse, offending)
  • Education and learning.
The British Academy, the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences, has announced that its Small Research Grant scheme will re-open for applications on the 17th September 2012 with a closing date of the 7th November 2012. Under the Small Research Grants programme grants of between £500 and £10,000 over two years are available to support primary research in the humanities and social sciences. Funds will be available to:
Facilitate initial project planning and development
To support the direct costs of research
To enable the advancement of research through workshops, or visits by or to partner scholars.

Organisations that work with young people have the opportunity to apply for grants through the Hilton Foundation. Organisations such as charities and other not for profits can apply for grants ranging from a few hundred pounds up to £30,000 per year for up to 2 years that meet one of the Foundation's chosen areas of focus. These are:
  • Disabled children
  • Children in hospital
  • Homelessness
  • Life-limited children in hospices.

The next closing date for applications is 5.30 pm on the 9th October 2012. 

Small charities operating in the areas of the arts and learning that have an annual turnover of less than £100,000 per annum can apply for funding of between £1,000 and £10,000 through the Foyle Foundation’s Small Grants Programme.  The Foundation which is one of the largest grant making trusts in the UK provides grants that are helping to make the arts more accessible by developing new audiences, supporting tours, festivals and arts educational projects; encouraging new work and supporting young and emerging artists; and that address special educational needs and learning difficulties.  Larger organisations can apply for funding through the Foyle Foundations Arts and Learning Main Grants Programmes. Applications can be submitted at any time.

The registered charity, Concertina makes grants to charitable bodies which provide musical entertainment and related activities for the elderly. The charity is particular keen to support smaller organisations which might otherwise find it difficult to gain funding. Since its inception in 2004, it 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. Some of the charities that have received grants from the charity include Age Concern, Exmouth which received a grant for entertainments for the elderly in Exmouth and surrounding areas and Sue Ryder Care, Lancashire to fund access to music therapy workshops at Birchley Hall near Wigan and St Helen's.
The deadline for applications is the 30th April and the 31st October every year.

WOMEN MAKE MUSIC (but not Pussy Riot at the moment)
The Performing Right Society (PRS) has announced that its Women Make Music grant scheme is now open for applications.  The second year of Women Make Music comes after a successful pilot programme in 2011.  Through the programme, financial support of up to £5000 is available to women musicians; and new music in any genre is welcome, from classical, jazz and experimental, to urban, electronica and pop. The aims of Women Make Music are:
  • Break down assumptions and stereotypes within the music industry by encouraging role models for future generations
  • Raise awareness of the gender gap and to ensure that women are aware that support for new music is available to them
  • Increase the profile of women who are creating new music in the UK
  • Stimulate new collaborations between organisations and female music creators
The next application deadline is the 17th September 2012. Read more at:

As part of its strategic research programme, CASE is seeking to commission a study to develop their understanding of the social benefits arising from engagement with culture and sport and the impact of such engagement on well-being.  Outputs from the programme will include evidence-based narratives outlining the social benefits of engagement and a ‘conceptual framework’ exploring the relationship between engagement, the resulting social benefits and measured impact on well-being. 

This work aims to make clear the social case for increasing engagement with culture and sport and will complement DCMS work exploring the economic case.  It will also help inform CASE members’ activity to enable social benefits to be better identified, understood and considered within both policy development and initiative design.

CASE plans to commission this work before the autumn, with results published in 2013. This is not a call for expressions of interest but if you would like to be notified when the tender is released please email 

Thank you as ever for reading and your feedback...C.P.

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