Saturday, 9 August 2014


What with no holidays planned this summer, I find myself busily occupied, catching up with all things written whilst the university is in ‘sleep mode’ - end of project reports, new project outlines and in overdrive with the first printed iteration of the Recoverist Manifesto, which all being well, will be published next month. After over a year of meticulous planning and complex ethical minefields successfully navigated, the Dementia and Imagination research project has started in earnest around the UK and Arts for Health’s own research site within the NHS in Derbyshire, has begun thanks to the drive and commitment of my colleague Kat Taylor, to whom I extend the biggest thanks. You can keep up to date with the project by clicking on the image.

From our own correspondent
In the second of our regular hook-ups with Victoria Hume in South Africa, her latest blog entry is an interview with Catherine Burns at WiSER, the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research at Wits, the University of the Witwatersrand. 

“No-one is saying this research is not worthwhile, or it’s not dignified, or it’s too – Ivory Tower-ish; and why? Because we’ve had 15, 20, 30 years of people researching, let’s say, the harder social, political, economic questions related to, say, mining, and we’re making very little headway {…} I didn’t feel this 15 years ago at all. People would have said oh that’s just a waste of money … this is just playing at the edges of the critical need – we have to feed children. The choices were: do we feed children? do we inoculate? … do we work out … resources for an AIDS vaccine? Or do you … play around with drama? I don’t think people are making those kinds of distinctions any more.”

Read the full interview by clicking on the image by Marna Hatting.

Matchbox City takes on the Giants of Liverpool
Matchbox City has had a spectacular time in Liverpool since the launch of their site-specific installation at the Brink as part of Independents Biennial 2014
They made it on to the cover of the Big Issue in the North, whose vendors sold the magazine amidst an army of little matchstick people who had popped up in the businesses and bollards along Bold St. Matchstick Lilliputians even braved the enormous crowds who flocked to the city to see the magnificent Giant Spectacular. They welcomed visitors to our exhibition at the Brink to join in with free workshops co-facilitated by members of Crisis Skylight Merseyside. They created matchstick figures and matchbox buildings and had some incredible responses including matchstick minions and even giraffes! August sees Connecting Threads take Matchbox City to the good people of Rochdale and Manchester. Artists Emily Hayes and Becky Waite are working creatively with people affected by homelessness in the North West

Project Manager, Arts + Cultural Commissioning
Are you passionate about the role arts and culture can play in building healthy lives and communities? NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Create Gloucestershire are looking for an exceptional project manager to work with them and key local authority partners to realise a radical vision for how arts and culture are commissioned to improve health and well-being outcomes across Gloucestershire. This post is offered as an 18 month freelance contract. The fee is fixed at £35,000 inclusive of VAT and expenses. We anticipate the post holder will work approximately 3 days a week. The post will be jointly managed by Create Gloucestershire and NHS Gloucestershire CCG. The post will be based at Sanger House, Gloucester Business Park. All details by going to: 

Arts for Health friend and collaborator Vic McEwan embarking on a weeks residency in a juvenile prison in Wagga and playing the razor wire that surrounds the prison.

Eranda Foundation
Deadline: 31 August 2014
The Eranda Foundation Grant is for charities undertaking projects for research into medicine and education, encouraging the arts and supporting social welfare in the UK. It was created by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild in February 1967 to support the advancement of learning in the arts and sciences and in particular for the promotion and development of medical and scientific research including:
  • Promotion of original research and supporting the continuation of existing research into medicine and education, primarily medical and scientific education.
  • Encouraging the arts, primarily education and outreach work.
  • Supporting social welfare.
For social welfare projects, priority will be given to national activities, or if local, the priority will be Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. For more details, email

Healthy Hearts Grants 
Heart Research UK has announced that its Health Hearts Grants Programme is open for applications. Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Grants support innovative projects designed to promote heart health and to prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease in specific groups or communities. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to community groups, voluntary organisations and researchers who are spreading the healthy heart message. The closing date for this funding round is the 31st August 2014. Read more by clicking on the love hearts.

Garfield Weston Foundation
The Garfield Weston Foundation helps small, local community organisations and covers a wide range of charitable activity. Areas funded include: education, arts, health, environment, community, youth, religion and welfare. Grants of up to £50,000 are available. There are no formal deadlines for submitting applications. Read more at

Yesterday evening I had the most wonderful solitary night-time walk in the hills above my town. Of course, whilst I’d been working, the day had been sunny and now the evening was stormy, but the air was beautiful and clean and the grey churning skies were charged with electricity. In that half-light, the fields seemed far greener than I’d ever seen in the daylight and amongst the thrashing bracken, the heather more vivid than any migraine I’ve experienced. I felt quite lucky to be alive and immersed in thoughts of multiple parallel universes, (where other versions of this experience of being, might be rolling out). I was only brought back to reality by the calling of an owl. There she was, just looking at me - haughty and beautiful. We looked at each other for the longest moment. Eye to eye. Then she was gone. Quite beautiful. 

I rushed home and made this small film...

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