Saturday, 18 January 2014

Allt fast och beständigt förflyktigas

This last week, I’ve been on a residential as part of the Grundtvig funded, I AM: Art as an Agent for Change project in and around the environs of Florence and as guests of Gruppo Incontro, to whom a big thank you for your generous hospitality. Thanks too, for the lovely productive meeting with staff at Palazzo Strozzi. Che shock - Sono come Lady Di buttarmi giù per le scale! Mio caro Tiberio, Manuela, Ilaria, Paola e Paola, Francesca, Nicoletta, Joe, Mark & ​​Billo - Sono mortificata. Mi scusi. Deve essere stato tutto quel caffè, o semplicemente come Julie Christie in Don't Look Now, ho predetto la mia morte!

Over the next few months artists from the UK, Turkey and Italy will be working across the partner countries and in April, I’ll be hosting Cristina Nunez, Selda Asal and Ali Zaidi for a weeks workshops and residential, here at MMU. We’ll be undertaking some public events around self-portraiture and substance addiction and recovery. All will be advertised here and on the main Arts for Health website. We’ll also be holding a day symposium to share all the work, here at MMU in July, and sharing the first incarnation of the RECOVERIST MANIFESTO. The session that’s going to be held at The Brink in Liverpool is more or less fully booked. Email confirmation will be sent to everyone who’s asked to attend, over the next couple of weeks. I can confirm sessions for this work will also be happening in Turkey and Italy, but if you’re in a European country that isn’t part of this project, you can still get involved. So, if you work with people in recovery and want to give voice to your experience, just get in touch. 

Of course, I’ve been bombarded with emails and phone calls about the dementia and imagination call for artists expressions of interest. I seriously can’t reply to them all and that’s why I mentioned in the briefing, that expecting individual call-backs might be a tad unrealistic. The key things I’d say are: we’re looking for some evidence of your arts practice - and that doesn’t have to be in a dementia setting - and critically, some kind of vision, something that excites us about your work. You don’t have to give an explicit proposal, simply show us what you do and give us an exciting idea about how you might work on this project.

The next few months sees some interesting events happening in the North West and further afield. In Falmouth next month, I’ll be supporting Arts for Health Cornwall in their delivery of Beyond the Toolkit: Understanding & Evaluating Craft Praxis, Health & Wellbeing, at which I’ll be Blasting and Bombardiering around arts, health and wellbeing, (see, those naughty Italians have had an influence on me, via Wyndham Lewis).

Start in Salford are organising 'Mental Health: Everyone's Business', a North West Mental Health Conference, on Tuesday 18th March 2014 and their keynote speaker is Ruby Wax.

Streetwise Opera is an award-winning charity that uses music to help homeless people make positive changes in their lives. We do this through a weekly music programme in 10 homeless centres across England and Wales and by staging critically-acclaimed opera productions starring our homeless performers. The Answer to Everything is an interactive film and live opera event set in a conference run by fictional property developer, Locateco Solutions. Our ninth major production stars Streetwise Performers from around the UK. They will be performing at the Cornerhouse on 10th February.

The International Conference on Urban Health will be taking place in Manchester between 4th and 7th March. Professor Sir Michael Marmot is one of the many big names speaking and right at the bottom of the agenda, Arts and Health has a slot too! Hoorah. Now what to do about those inequalities? Seriously though, I’ll give it my best shot to largely a scientific community.

And if all of this isn’t enough to give you convulsions, I’ll be involved with SICK 2014, a festival in Brighton on March 11th, where I’ll be extending some of the thinking I shared last year in Mortality: Death and the Imagination. This year I’ll be chairing a debate called PRESENT TENSE: Confronting Mortality. 

This debate will bring together artists, health professionals and free-thinkers to discuss mortality and particularly the ways in which we might exercise control over the manner in which we die. Whilst rational dialogue about assisted dying is still largely a taboo and divisive subject, we aim to bring together people who confront the issues head-on through their work and practice. With perspectives from the world of contemporary art, palliative care and philosophy, this conversation will explore the liminal space between life and death and the choices we might make. You can find all the details by clicking on the logo above. 

For colleagues and friends old and new, I hope the year ahead brings us great things. From small seeds a mighty trunk may grow.

Are you an art therapist who has extensive experience working in oncology and who is either a trainer and/or comfortable speaking to large groups? If so, get in touch about a potential opportunity.

Next weeks blog will see a return to all the funding and work opportunities that you've grown to expect, but for now, take care and thank you as ever for stopping by...Clive

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