Saturday, 1 February 2014's labour's lost

I went to see The Wolf of Wall Street last weekend. It was horrible in so many ways - and also quite brilliant. Repulsive - but made me think of corruption beyond the banks - replant ongoing phone-hacking media vultures, predatory people in positions of power, 'celebrities', Berlusconi-esque politicians - hrrrrrrrr.    The adverts during the film had me a bit spell-bound though and I began to worry that I may just be taking my work home!! The headline, 'Real Men Dance' for the forthcoming Cuban Fury about an under confident, overweight man learning to dance, so he can find love and then a trailer for Dallas Buyers Club, about a HIV-positive rodeo cowboy, who goes into battle with the pharmaceutical industry. Bring it on! Of course I haven't seen this one yet, but if it questions who are the most corrupt: street dealers (who don't pay tax) or Big Pharma, (our legally registered dealers) I for one, will be watching. So - one film promoting public health (maybe) and one questioning industrial greed and control of our health and wellbeing. hmmm...sounds like a critical arts/health film-club is in the mix! However, if you'd like to strip your mind of this drivel for a moment, can I recommend listening to something sublime? Many years ago, I went to see the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Choir. I dug out the album this week, and compiled this blog with this soundtrack to my weekend. Emotion is good, very good.

We’ve had lots of applications for the Dementia and Imagination Contemporary Research artists. A big thank you, to all of you. We hope to respond to everyone on the 28th February. As for all my  

d r o n i n g  on last week, well - it provoked one or two responses. Thanks for the links to the bizarre world of gaming culture, and in particular to UNMANNED, which you can go to by clicking on the partly shaved drone pilot. It is a disconcerting world to me, but very intriguing.

Since advertising work around dementia, I am increasingly aware of the range of opportunities and emerging projects out there and this week I’ve had a large number of emails from complete strangers asking advice on the subject, which luckily, I’ve been able  to direct them to appropriate help. It’s got me thinking about our dear old arts and health network though. Periodically I offer evening sessions here in Manchester and anywhere around the region to give people the opportunity to network and discuss what matters to them. That’s actually how the manifesto work began. Over the next few months I’ll be hosting some sessions with visitors from Australia; with Mike White from the Centre for Medical Humanities and with the three artists involved in the I AM: Art as an Agent for Change project. So lots on the horizon. But I thought, because so many people have been in touch about evaluation and research, it may be a good time for us to develop an informal North West Arts and Health Research Network. There is a national network for academics in this field, but I’m thinking more of a hybrid regional mix for anyone involved in the field. So if this is something you think’s a good idea, drop me an email by clicking HERE and let's start a conversation. Lets aim for informal, conversational, sharing and maybe, just a little collaboration.

All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts and Health
With huge thanks to Alan Howarth, Alex Coulter and Damian Hebron, the Inaugural Meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts and Health (APPG) was held in Whitehall on January the 15th. This is something that the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing have supported the development of. With the cross-party input of the following parliamentarians, I have strong hopes for this group and its achievements for the field. I hope to report more fully on this meeting very soon, but for now, here are some of the people involved. Lord Berkeley of Knighton, Lord Crathorne, Lord Crisp, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, Baroness Greengross, Lord Howarth of Newport, Natasha Kutchinsky, Office of Paul Burstow MP, Jason McCartney MP , Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall, Sarah Newton MP, Matthew Offord MP, Andrew Stunell MP, Daniel Tye, Office of Sharon Hodgson MP, Sarah Wollaston MP.

Are you an Artist Working in Participatory Settings – if so, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) want you to tell them about your experiences! The ArtWorks survey* seeks to understand and develop support for artists working in participatory settings. This survey is interested in response from practising artists from all artform areas, who may engage to whatever extent with individuals, groups and communities through their practice. You can access the survey by clicking on the image below, before 19th February

PhD studentship
Project Topic: A Mixed Methods Trial on the Value of Arts therapies (and Dance Movement Psychotherapy in particular) with People with Dementias
The proposed PhD study will look at the value of arts therapies (and Dance Movement Psychotherapy in particular) for this client population through a well-designed pilot trial using mixed methods (Creswell 2009).  Quantitative, qualitative and arts-based methods will be used before and after dance movement psychotherapy (and/or arts therapies interventions), while a control group will be employed.  Arts-based methods will enable participants to find a voice without being disadvantaged by their illness.  At the same time family carers, staff and therapists will be able to share their thoughts about the process and outcome of the intervention/s. Finally as a feasibility study it will test the design and methods and assure that trustworthiness remains high, while generating some, potentially solid, initial quantitative evidence. Applications are invited from qualified dance movement psychotherapists, dance/performing arts graduates, arts therapists, psychologists and/or other health professionals with a strong research background and experience. The supervisory team will consist of specialists in dementia and arts therapies from within and outside Edge Hill University. For details about this topic, click on the exhausted PhD student below, or contact the Director of Studies: Prof Vicky Krakow 

Friend of all things art and health, Holly Marland wonders why oh why, does The British Plastics Foundation have a Facebook page with no picture and only 7 likes? They are supposed to be engaging the public in debate and action about plastic recycling! Frustrated at their apparent appathy, greed and invisibility, Holly wrote and recorded this song, which you can get by clicking on the fetid garbage bags below.

Mental Health Training for Arts Practitioners
For: Experienced, practicing arts and culture facilitators working with young people experiencing mental health issues
Dates:  3rd and 4th of March 2014 (attendance at both days is necessary)
Time: 9.30am – 4pm on both days
Location: 42nd Street, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester

This very specialised training delivered by 42nd Street will increase knowledge and skills around mental health support when working with young people in groups.  You’ll learn about the impact that mental health difficulties have on young people and learn how to work safely and more effectively with young people who are experiencing such issues.  This two day course will involve experiential exercises, an overview of theory as well as discussion.  We expect demand to exceed the number of places available, so please send a short CV and no more than 1 side of A4 explaining how you will use this training opportunity in your practice to: Deadline: Monday 10th February 10am.

For the third year, the Institute of Ideas will be running the Academy Scholarship Programme for full time students of ANY academic discipline. Successful applicants will be eligible to attend the annual Academy weekend for only £60. Read on for details of how to apply. 


NESTA Policy & Research Small Grants Scheme (UK)
NESTA (the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts) has announced the launch of a new small grants scheme. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to universities and incorporated research organisations, charities, companies and consultancies for research projects. This could, for example, be developing a paper, a proof of concept or a policy idea. Priority will be given to proposals that address questions NESTA have not seen addressed before and that do not have coverage in the academic literature proposals that have a potential impact on thinking, policy or practice. NESTA plan to run the open call four times in 2014 and aim to fund up to ten projects in total across the year. The first closing date for applications is the 21st February 2014. Read more at:

Grants to help new innovative visual arts projects (UK)
The Elephant Trust has announced that the next deadline for applications is the 14th April 2014. The Trust offers grants to artists and for new, innovative visual arts projects based in the UK. The Trust's aim is to make it possible for artists and those presenting their work to undertake and complete projects when confronted by lack of funds. The Trust supports projects that develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the fine arts. Priority is now being given to artists and small organisations and galleries who should submit well argued, imaginative proposals for making or producing new work or exhibitions. Arts Festivals are not supported. The Trust normally awards grants of up to £2,000, but larger grants may be considered. Read more by clicking on the brilliant Lee Miller's ID card. 

Welcome Trust Peoples Awards (UK)
Awards of up to £30,000 are available under the Wellcome Trust's “Peoples” Awards for projects that encourage public debate and understanding of biomedical science. Funding can be for up to three years. Applications can be made by a wide variety of individuals, organisations and partnerships. The next applications deadline is the 31st January 2014.  The Trust also makes “Society” Awards.  These are grants in excess of £30,000.  The next preliminary application deadline for “Society” Awards is 5pm on the 28 March 2014. Read more at: 

*All responses will be anonymous, and under no circumstances will individual responses be made available to partners in the project or published. The survey is being undertaken by an independent research agency, DHA. If you would like to know more about the survey or the way in which responses will be used, please contact Tamsin Cox, Head of Policy and Research at DHA, at:

...finally we are no one 

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