Sunday, 6 January 2013 the bleak mid-winter

December saw an extraordinary number of hits on the blog. Good grief - thank you! Trawling through the statistics of who looks at what page for how long, is a little bit boring to say the least! But - without doubt the Spirit of the Season entry on the 16th December has recorded a record high, with a startling number of hits from the US. Now what was that entry about? Oh, I remember now - inequalities. Thank you for the email correspondence too.

Spending time in Fremantle in November, I was pleased to meet the ‘contingent’ from the North of England, (...that I’ve previously bragged about). One of those people was the Manchester artist Nicky Colclough who I’d had the pleasure to meet at Networking events in the NW and who I’d supported with an internship at LIME Arts. Nicky is currently spending time in Australia and Asia as part of her Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts funding, and I’ve been keeping a keen eye on her blog. She makes some astute comments about her role as an artist navigating the healthcare system, and offers some excellent reflections on her experiences both in palliative care and on the relationship between Arts for Health and Arts Therapy. Keep it up Nicky and see you back here later in the year, when you might want to share your experiences at a networking event. Talking of which: I will be facilitating four of the events I described around future scenarios in Arts and Health (building on the manifesto) across the region over Jan/Feb and I promise I’ll be advertising bi-monthly networking events for 2013 soon.

Whilst I am still out of sorts, I'll keep today's blog short and sweet and stick to bits of blogging that might be more useful to you, which today includes five funding opportunities, a great new report from the Baring Foundation and a cracker of a job - and I mean a cracker. If I didn’t love my work, I’d be going for it! To visit Nicky’s blog click on the photo of a cloud over the Timor Sea.

First some salient points from the report:
  • Over 1 million people over 65 are lonely. 
  • Older people need a broad range of opportunities and activities to help tackle loneliness. 
  • The arts are an effective way to tackle loneliness but can be overlooked by older people’s services. 
  • There are many good examples of arts work with older people including those living with dementia and in care homes. 
  • Feeling valued, creative expression, using skills and engaging with other older people all build friendships and enhance feelings of well being which strengthens resilience in tough times. 
  • Commissioners and organisations serving older people should support the arts as part of a spectrum of activities to tackle loneliness and poor quality of life in older age. 
  • Artists and arts organisations should be alive to the social dimension of their practice in working with older people. 
Arts help in tackling loneliness A new joint publication by the Baring Foundation and the Campaign to End Loneliness out this month demonstrates how participatory arts can help reduce loneliness. With 10 new case studies, the report also illustrates some less conventional interventions to alleviate loneliness. Download a copy of the report by clicking on the image below.

Carnegie Challenge Fund (UK)
The Carnegie UK Trust has announced the launch of its Carnegie Challenge Fund. The Carnegie Challenge is a fund to enable not-for-profit organisations to put on a high calibre debate to raise the profile and impact of a conference or event which they are organising. Up to 10 awards of up to £3,000 are available and can be used to cover the expenses of panel members. The award should enable event organisers to attract leading professionals to speak at their event. It is hoped that this fund will allow organisers to attract national and international speakers to take part in a high calibre debate.
The deadlines for submission are:
The end of February 2013 for events March to May
The end of May 2013 for events June to August
The end of August 2013 for events September to December.
Read more at:

Idlewild Trust (UK)
The Idlewild Trust is a grant making trust that supports registered charities concerned with the encouragement of excellence in the performing and fine arts and the preservation for the benefit of the public of buildings and items of historical interest or national importance. Occasionally it also supports projects that conserve the natural environment. The total funding available each year is approximately £120,000 and registered charities can apply for grants of up to £5,000. The next deadline for applications is the 22nd February 2013. Read more at:

Funding for Youth Music Making Activities (England)
Youth Music, the UK's largest children's music charity, has announced that the next closing date for applications is the 27th March 2013. Through its funding programme, grants of between £2,500 and £250,000 are available to support projects that provide music-making activities for children and young people, especially those young people in challenging circumstances. Full information about the programme can be found here:

Music Grants for Older People (England & Wales)
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. The next deadline for applications is the 30th April 2013. Read more at:

J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust (UK)
The Trustees of the J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust have announced that it is their intentions to wind down the Trust over the next three years. As one of the largest charitable Trusts within the UK, the Trust awarded grants of £11.5 million last year. Grants of up to £250,000 are available for projects:

  • That aim to reduce re-offending 
  • That improve the prospects of 14 – 19 year olds, especially those at risk of social exclusion 
  • That integrate diverse communities 
  • Projects that make a lasting impact on the lives of people with substance misuse problems 
  • Projects helping people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 
  • The Trust also makes grants for preserving heritage and sustaining the arts. 
  • The final closing date for applications will be the 18th January 2013. Read more at:

The Institute of Cultural Capital (Liverpool)
The ICC wishes to appoint a Director, we are looking for an outstanding individual with a distinguished record of relevant research and/or professional activity and a strong strategic vision for the ICC; it is expected that the appointment will be at professorial level. This is a great opportunity for a well-established figure in the worlds of culture and policy research with extensive leadership and senior management experience and an interest in joining a leading academic team in these fields. The role is to provide a strong strategic vision and sustainability plan for a new academic research institute, building on the long-standing national and international reputation of its core staff and associates. FULL DETAILS HERE.

A FOOTNOTE - on our ‘flat-pack’ future
OK - so I was keeping the blog short this week, but I can’t leave without commenting on the debate raging between our dear Education Secretary (Michael Gove) and any rational human being who sees the importance of built environments on health, wellbeing and cultural capital.                            

What, you didn’t know this was happening? Well actually its framed in the schools building programme, but it might as well be hospitals, prisons and town centres! Last autumn Gove called for a ban on ‘curves in a new generation of no frills school buildings’, describing the recent leaps in our understanding of the part that the built environment plays on educational attainment and behaviour as ‘wasteful extravagance in educational architecture.’

Designer of the Pompidou Centre, Maggie's London and the Mossbourne Academy in Hackney, Lord Rogers is urging the government to rethink its slash and burn plans and heed evidence that claims ‘well-designed classrooms could improve pupils' progress in lessons by as much as 25%’. The study by colleagues at Salford University showed a strong correlation between the built environment where teaching takes place and test results in reading, writing and maths. Lighting, circulation, acoustics, individuality and colour were revealed to affect pupils' progress in the year-long study of achievement by 751 children in seven primary schools in Blackpool. It found eight out of 10 environmental factors displayed significant correlations with the pupils' performance and the report's authors concluded: "This clear evidence of the significant impact of the built environment on pupils' learning progression highlights the importance of this aspect for policymakers, designers and users." Read the research by clicking on the image above.

Our early years and our education are of primary importance to our health and wellbeing and of course, to democracy and civic society.  

What with the stripping away of the status of the arts from the EBac and this impoverished architectural landscape: what hope have we got to build on what we know about emotional intelligence nurtured through a creative curriculum, in inspiring buildings, that are community hubs for so much more than functional education?

Bleak - very bleak indeed.

You can read more about this debate and the ensuing public commentary via the article by Robert Booth by clicking on the Education Secretary's face. 

Thank you for popping by...Hey Ho...C.P.

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