Sunday, 9 September 2012

कला + संस्कृति = शक्ति

I know from from previous correspondence, that the subject of Christopher Hitchens frequently riles people, so in a bid to continue his provocations from beyond the grave, I’d like to recommend a good read! I’ve just read the short and sharp posthumously published, Mortality - and of the many, many cancer journals I’ve read, this alongside Barbara Ehrenreich’s brilliant, Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World; and Until Further Notice, I am Alive, by Tom Lubbock are the best. Hitchens had of course, been keeping notes and diaries of his time with cancer and he describes his deportation, “...from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady.” Bizarrely he offers some perfect tips for essay writing, or giving an authentic presentation. Because his cancer took away his voice, he writes eloquently about finding your own unique voice and he does so through poetry and philosophy. Of course its more than this; it’s an account of facing up to your own mortality, and as such, is a perfect little book.

Writing this blog on a sunday means at least I get to digest the weeks news and pull out and loose connections between the arts, culture and health and I mention the Hitchens’ book, not least because I am embarking on a large piece of work that explores the relationship between art and dying, and that takes into account the big issues around dignity and the right to choose the manner in which we die. We’ll be developing a dedicated website for this, so keep your eyes peeled.

The weeks news could so easily be (and is) dominated by the Paralympics, but I’m sure you’ve heard enough from me on all things Olympian, but there are again some tail-ends to deal with, that tie into both Hitchens and the ‘legacy’ question of both sporting events. As Jeremy Hunt bounds into from his new role as Health Secretary from his muddy tenure as Culture Secretary and straight from the Olympic festivities - (and apparently without a backward glance to his relationship with the crumbling Murdoch empire), are we prepared for the ultimate arts/health champion? Surely having had two of the most important roles in Government that link our two areas of expertise, means we are in the presence of an illuminati! 
Let us wait and see, but I wouldn’t advise holding your breath just yet: perhaps a steady deep breathing is in order. For some reason, the words Slash and Burn spring to mind. Be prepared - be very prepared.

The reshuffle of the cabinet office has however, shone a light back onto the case of Tony Nicklinson through the appointment of Anna Soubry who has been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department of Health and has spoken positively about the need to debate the laws on assisted dying further.

Speaking to the Independent, she said, "I think it's ridiculous and appalling that people have to go abroad to end their life instead of being able to end their life at home...The rules that we have about who we don't prosecute allow things to happen but there's a good argument that we should be a bit more honest about it."

Although a change in the law seems remote, it’s worth revisiting the very recent Falconer Report for the Commission on Assisted Dying.

‘In this report, the Commission concludes that the current legal status of assisted suicide is inadequate and incoherent. While the current legal regime can be distressing for the people affected and their families, it is also unclear for health and social care staff, and lays a deeply challenging burden on police and prosecutors, which could be eased by a new statutory framework. A proposed legal framework for assisted dying is laid out in detail in the report, including strict criteria to define who might be eligible to receive assistance and robust safeguards to prevent abuse of any new law.’

Interesting times lie ahead for us all, and we must consider our own choices before we are plunged into the fear and anxiety of terminal illness. I really believe that the arts have a central role in this debate.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)
The Hamilton Project: Deadline: September 17, 2012

TfGM have invested in high quality, accessible transport interchanges that relate to the environs in which they are situated and to the residents that they serve; investment has been made in integral artworks that have been designed and created by professional artists through consultation and engagement with local people. Proposals are sought from creative practitioners to design and install creative interventions and implement a element of engagement with local community groups that will influence and develop public art and creative public realm development on and within a new build Public Transport Interchange which is planned for Wythenshawe.

  • A design that changes helps change the perception of young people in Wythenshawe
  • A design that makes people get off the metrolink and explore Wythenshawe
  • A landmark - unexpected
  • Interactive 
  • Uses multimedia 
Click on the milk-float below for more details.

Sunday 16th September
Run by the renowned Horse & Bamboo Theatre- Angus MacPhee's life is a powerful and emotional tale of illness and lost traditions. Affected by schizophrenia during WWII Angus spent 50 years in a psychiatric hospital where he did not speak; instead he wove remarkable costumes out of grass. For more details on the production please visit:
For more details contact

The Wellcome Trust has announced that the next application deadline under its Small Arts Awards is the 26th October 2012.  The Small Arts Awards provides grants of up to £30,000 to projects that engage the public with biomedical science through the arts. This can include:
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Performance arts
  • Visual arts
  • Music
  • Film
  • Craft
  • Photography
  • Creative writing
  • Digital media 

The aim of the awards is to support arts projects that reach new audiences which may not traditionally be interested in science and provide new ways of thinking about the social, cultural and ethical issues around contemporary science. The scheme is open to a wide range of people including, among others, artists, scientists, curators, filmmakers, writers, producers, directors, academics, science communicators, teachers, arts workers and education officers. 
Read more by clicking on the boxing mice:

BIG Invests £100m to Support 
People with Multiple Needs (England)
The Big Lottery Fund has announced that it will invest £100 million over the next 8 years to help people with multiple needs.  The funding is being targeted at 15 areas where there is a significant concentration of people with multiple needs and where there are organisations with a track record and able to take on the challenge of providing better connected support services to help people with multiple needs. Organisations tackling homelessness, reoffending, addiction and mental ill health, will be invited to create partnerships in each area, led by a voluntary and community sector organisation. Their aim will be to bring together other local services, fill gaps in local provision, share results and lessons and involve the beneficiaries in the delivery of the project. The North West areas that BIG is focusing on are: Liverpool, Manchester and Blackpool

For further information on this announcement and which areas have been targeted please click on the signs below: 

24 - 26 June 2013
A new new conference website up and running, with early details of next years conference which will take place in Bristol.
Click on the flyer below to go straight to the site.

Thank you as ever...C.P

1 comment:

  1. Hi, cool post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for sharing. I will probably be subscribing to your blog. Keep up great writing!!!

    Yan Katsnelson