Saturday, 28 June 2014

# 1

Limited tickets are available to two free events over July at Manchester Metropolitan University. If there’s a good chance that you can’t make the events, please don’t book tickets only to cancel at the last minute. Both these events are extremely popular.

URBAN PSYCHOSIS will run from 14.07.14 - 22.08.14 at the Holden Gallery with work by John Baldessari – Matthew Buckingham – Sophie Calle – Marc Camille Chaimowicz – Moyra Davey – Luke Fowler – Gillian Wearing – Catherine Yass

The modern city has frequently been identified through its intensity - a busy and bustling environment of potentially creative and productive activity. For the spectator, this intensity can also tip over into a state in which reality is temporarily obscured. It is this finely balanced state which the exhibition explores, the condition of urban psychosis is presented as a recurring theme, a shadow which continues to haunt the city. We'll have more details of the exhibition itself next week. On the evening of 25th July, we are thrilled to be hosting An Evening with Will Self. Find out more about the exhibition by clicking on the logo above. For more information and to reserve tickets for the Will Self event, click on his image above.

ADVANCED NOTICE...Very soon we’ll be announcing details of the Urban Psychosis Symposium which includes Professors Richard Bentall, Peter Kinderman and John Read who will consider the psychology and treatment of psychiatric experiences. Richard Bentall has edited and written several books, most notably Madness Explained, which was winner of the British Psychological Society Book Award in 2004. I am thrilled that this event will be happening and we’ll announce the date next week. Biggest thanks to Dr Kat Taylor for making this happen.

I AM - WE ARE s y m p o s i u m +
I AM: Memoirs of Addiction Recovery 
The 2 year European project led by Portraits of Recovery; an Oldham/Manchester based, visual arts charity has been developed in partnership with Arts for Health, at Manchester Metropolitan University, Gruppo Incontro and F.E.D.E.R.S.E.R.D - Italy, and the Turkish Green Crescent Society, Kütahya branch. Working with international artists: Ali Zaidi, founding Co Director of Moti Roti – UK, Cristina Nuñez of the Self Portrait Experience – Italy and Selda Asal, founding Director of the Apartment Project – Turkey, it’s all about looking at how the arts and culture can support people in recovery from substance misuse to develop new life-opportunities through self-portraiture.

The symposium on the 17th July will share some of the artistic outputs, learning and responses from people taking part in the project. We will share an emergent Recoverist Manifesto that seeks to place individuals in recovery and others affected by addiction at the heart of proactive advocacy for cultural change in the way substance misuse is publicly perceived. We are thankful to everyone who has supported this project.

This free symposium with input from all three partner countries will also share the voices of participants and artists involved in the project. The day will feature the opening of the exhibition, I AM: Memoirs of Addiction Recovery in the Link Gallery at MMU to which delegates are invited between 4:00 and 6:00pm. We will confirm reserved symposium places a week before the event. Click on the arm above to find out more and apply for a ticket. 

Who's your Svengali?
So, Tracey Emin’s My Bed is up for auction this week with a guide price of £1.2 million and of course, there’s histrionics in the tabloids. Putting her personality-politics aside for a moment, it would be easy to lay into (no pun intended) this work as easy, lazy, contemporary nonsense. It’s not art surely? But I beg to differ on this one. 

Whilst people will obsess with the cult of Emin and the bed’s sale-tag, everyone’s favourite performance artist, Marina Abramović is posing and preening with the needy gallery going masses, all desperate for some existential fix. Abramović is concerned with ‘nothingness’ and ‘more and more of less and less’ apparently. Visitors to the Serpentine, where she’s going for her Guinness world record on Svengali-Art, ‘will both literally and metaphorically leave their baggage behind in order to enter the exhibition: bags, jackets, electronic equipment, watches and cameras may not accompany them.’ Poor visitors - it’ll be a big strain and probably frustrate most of them, not being able to get their communion with art, all posted up on youtube. Still, they can take comfort in the fact that ‘the public will become the performing body, participating in the delivery of an unprecedented moment in the history of performance art.’ Like an on-trend, quick-hit mindfulness exercise for busy and important people. 

I was in TATE Britain at the very moment in October 1999 when a couple of students started jumping up and down on My Bed. It might have been a Stuckist attack, or spontaneous whimsy, but it made me smile. I love a bit of art terrorism; Banksy sticking up his own masterpieces and fake labels on the real McCoy, or Robert Montgomery pasting up anti-consumerist poems on the marketeers very own bill-boards.  

Whilst the Serpentine remind us that, ‘Abramović is a pioneer of performance as an art form, using her own body as subject and object, she has pushed the physical and mental limits of her being,’ if it weren’t for her sometimes dubious political comments, I’m more inclined to the honesty of Emin and her bed. I’ve facilitated many public workshops with people outside the vapid world of the cultural elite and often use images of the bed as part of serious and passionate discussion with people who have really experienced the ‘limits’ of physical and mental being. And no, this isn’t instrumentalism - it’s engaging with contemporary art at the deepest level.

Go on Stuckists, Banksy, Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army or free-wheeling anarchists - how will you subvert this existential free-for-all? 

                            The artist has a migraine
BBC Children in Need Small Grants Programme 
The next deadline for applications to the BBC Children in Need Small Grants programme is the 1st September 2014. Through the Small Grants programme, funding up to £10,000 is available for projects that combat disadvantage and improve children and young people's lives. In particular, grants are available for projects that help children and young people experiencing:
Illness, distress, abuse or neglect
Any kind of disability
Behavioural or psychological difficulties
And / or living in situations of deprivation.

People's Postcode Trust Small Grants Programme 
(Scotland, Wales and South of England excl. London & Greater London)
The People's Postcode Trust has announced that its small grants programme has will re-open for applications on the 7th July 2014. Through its small grants programme, the Trust offers grants of between £500 and £20,000 to small organisations and community groups for projects lasting up to 1 year (for organisations in Wales 6 months) in the areas of:

  • Poverty Prevention
  • Advancement of Health
  • Community Development
  • Public Sports
  • Human Rights
  • Environmental Protection.

Artists in Residence Grants 
The Levehulme Trust is offering grants of up to £15,000 to UK universities and museums to foster a new creative collaboration with an artist (visual artists, creative writers, musicians, poets) working in a discipline outside the institution's usual curriculum. Artists may not apply directly - all applications must be made by the host institution. There must be a distinct contrast between the artist and host department's expertise (for example, a poet being hosted by a physics department, a composer by a geography department). The residency must be a newly constituted collaboration between artist and hosts. The grants provide a stipend of up to £12,500 for the artist and consumable costs, such as artist's materials, of up to £2500. A typical residency would be for ten months based on the artist being present at the host institution for two days per week. The deadline for applications is 16th September 2014. Read more at

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