Saturday, 22 February 2014

Just A Damp Patch...

I’ve had a few days out of arts/health action and on my return, have been inundated with email and flyer's for conferences, seminars, training and events all offering the most amazing revelatory work and opportunities in arts/health and all at a premium! Events ranging from £30 to over £1000 ‘early-bird’ rates and all offering the next big thing in mental health, in dementia, design, in different cultural settings - everything to everyone, everywhere! Good grief - arts/health is becoming big business! - a cash cow, more like!! So - I’m thrilled to report I’ve been to a brilliantly organised event in Falmouth - facilitated by Arts for Health Cornwall and the team at the Academy for Innovation and Research at Falmouth University. AND IT WAS A COMPLETELY FREE EVENT and sold-out too. 

Well done everyone behind the scenes and superb to meet such wonderful craftivists practising such diverse work from giving voice to the most marginalised people to compelling work around pain management. Superb stuff. For my part, I gave a short presentation encapsulating some of the work that inspired me to explore dementia (thanks to Darren Browett again) and of course, all things manifesto-ish. The event was opened by co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Sarah Newton MP who emphasised the importance of the field, particularly in relation to her own work around care. I then opened up the evening and hope my blasting and bombardiering didn’t detract from my very seriously held belief in the power of culture and the arts to influence health, wellbeing and social-change. You can hear my talk by clicking on the film below, but beware the ‘voiceover’ done in one take and with terrible verbal typos! I was followed by the inspiring Monkia Auch who discussed her work about hand-crafting and the brain.

The Recoverist Manifesto event at The Brink in Liverpool last week, (apart from seeing me kipping in my car until it was safe to try and drive to Manchester) was sublime. I was as nervous as hell, standing up on that stage with a mic in my hands as I tried to warm-up those present! And what a brilliant, small but perfectly formed crowd we were. With winds of over 100mph, I was amazed anyone attended - but - BOOM - KABOOM - 22 of us hunkered down and sheltered from the elements. Thank you to all of you who came and took part. Thank you too, to the staff at the Brink and a big fat thank you to those artists, poets, photographers and free thinkers who animated the evening. More, so much more to report VERY SOON.

Having met the artist Vic McEwan at the last Art of Good Health and Wellbeing Conference in Sydney last year, I was more than happy to write a few introductory words to a catalogue for the exhibition of provocative and quite beautiful work around the floods in the New South Wales town of Yenda. Little did I know when I wrote this in December last year, that the UK would be battered continually by rain and winds as well as recurrent high tides and sea swell. My few paragraphs may have had a slightly different slant having observed those genteel English villages of the Somerset Levels swimming in water and looking startlingly like moated castles whilst the villagers themselves railed against people to blame in the face of nature. I am reminded too, that wind turbines are all too often resisted as blights on the rural idyll. All hail our gallant MP’s who ventured out to offer support. Hurrah too, for all those prince’s who donned their stylish rubber-wear and got stuck-in too.

The Travelling Art Tent is an older people's community project working with participants from three residential homes and a day centre in the Stockport area supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Working with artist Stacey Coughlin and volunteers from Arc, participants will be collaborating to create artwork which will then be curated together into an immersive and interactive 'exhibition space' that will tour each of the organisations and residential homes involved. This 'sculptural' exhibition space, artwork and documentation will then be exhibited in the Arc Community Gallery and then for a final celebration at Stockport Art Gallery from 22nd February - 22nd March 2014. For more information, please contact Stacey Coughlin @ or click on the image below for more details.

Wellcome Trust - Peoples & Society Awards
Funding is available under the Wellcome Trust's Peoples and Society Awards for projects that encourage public debate and understanding of biomedical science. The People Awards (up to and including £30,000) are for innovative and creative projects in the UK and/or the Republic of Ireland that engage the public with biomedical science and/or the history of medicine. They can fund small-to-medium-sized one-off projects or projects that pilot new ideas with an aim to scale up or become sustainable following the grant, or they can part-fund larger projects.

Society Awards (above £30,000) can fund the scaling-up of successfully piloted projects (whether funded through People Awards or through other means) or can fund projects that are more ambitious in scale and impact than is possible through a People Award. Society Award projects would normally expect to reach audiences with a wide geographical spread across the UK and/or Republic of Ireland. They can also part-fund larger projects. Funding can be for up to three years. Applications can be made by a wide variety of individuals, organisations and partnerships. The next closing date for applications is the 25th April 2014. Read more at:

BBC Children in Need Main Grant Programme 
BBC Children in Need has announced that the next applications deadline for its Main Grants Programme is the 15th May 2014. Funding is available to organisations that: work with young people who are suffering from:

  • Illness
  • Distress; abuse or neglect
  • Are disabled
  • Have behavioural or psychological difficulties
  • Are living in poverty or situations of deprivation.
The Main grants programme is open to applications for grants of over £10,000. Click on the poor but happy children in the un-newsworthy floods of Morecambe 1968.

National Portfolio Funding Programme Opens for Applications (England)
The Arts Council England has announced that its National Portfolio Funding Programme 2015 - 18 is now open for applications.  Through its National Portfolio Funding Programme the Arts Council support organisations that can help it deliver its national strategy and objectives and will provide grants to organisations and consortium's that engage people in England in arts activities or help artists and arts and community organisations in England to carry out their work. Funding for the National portfolio is limited. Successful applicants are generally expected to have an outstanding record of prior artistic achievement.  The programme of work that the National Portfolio funding would support must mainly benefit artists, participants or audiences in England, and be relevant to the lives of diverse contemporary audiences. The minimum grant that can be applied for is £40,000 per year.  In addition the Arts Council will also fund Bridge Organisations.  Their role is to provide an environment in which cultural education can flourish both in and out of school.  Bridge organisations are primarily facilitators and are not expected to directly deliver arts opportunities for children and young people. The Bridge role may be undertaken by a museum, an arts organisation or an arts education agency.  The minimum grant that a Bridge organisation can apply for is £500,000 per year. Applications must be submitted by 12 noon on Monday 17 March 2014. Read more at:

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