Sunday, 19 October 2014


A date for your diaries #1
The People’s Republic of Arts and Health* offers a free event, on Thursday 12th February 2015 at MMU. Call it what you will - a symposium - a conference - a networking event?  It will be a free, full day event that shares research, that encourages debate and that showcases practice in our fair Northern lands. More details will follow in December, but the date is confirmed.
*Also known as the North West Arts and Health Network

The stock price of EBOLA 
A couple of thoughts since I last mentioned ebola here on the blog. First, Giles Fraser has some interesting reflections, of which these are disturbing (but not scare mongering) little nuggets, and I quote:

“...the patent for the Ebola virus is owned by the US government”

“Isn’t it interesting that there is money about to ask scientists to turn a virus into a weapon, but not the money about to ask scientists to find a vaccine? And by the time there’s a market for a vaccine, it’s too late.”

“ healthcare is incentivised to keep us sick. For what profit is there in a healthy population? If everyone were healthy, it would be the job of the pharmaceutical companies to persuade us that we were not well, that certain things about us needed fixing, putting right (even if they didn’t).”

My second thoughts are that here, in our arguably gated-community of arts/health, we often pontificate about our synergies with public health - how creativity, culture and the arts might promote, protect and prevent. Well - in the face of an evolving public health crisis like ebola - what on earth is the place/role of our agenda? A quick google search brings videos of dancers, music and a plea to create a public recovery exhibition from Shabuta Cultural Arts in Liberia. Obviously, a serious issue demands a serious and coordinated technical response, but if it is a response that comes late and is insensitive to cultural traditions, it’s one that inevitably hits obstacles. Here’s a paragraph and rallying cry from an article in the Liberian Observer from Shabuta Cultural Arts.

“Our artists can remind us of the comfort of unity when isolation fills us with loneliness. Liberian musicians have written songs and more songs about the dangers of ebola. We needed that. Now we need to hear songs of how we are defeating ebola; of how we are empowered with our new knowledge about ebola; our victories over ebola and how we will continue fighting until it is no longer a threat. As we listen to this unifying music, we will connect with it, join in the song and even dance to the rhythm.” 

There is an example of poetic writing from small business owner Patrice Juah, from Monrovia, that you can read by clicking on the title to the taster below.

On the Ebola ride,
paranoia is the driver.
It takes you on a high
leaving your senses hanging in the wild

Finally, here’s a short educational film made by Firdaus Kharas and Brent Quinn that ‘reflects the co-creators approach of creating non-coercive media for social change, in this case using animation to create a message of love to the living through an African spiritual voice’. 

An idea for a potential date for your diaries #2
Are you a virologist, a graphic designer, a philosopher, a nurse - are you an arts/health free thinker who’d like to mull over some ideas around pandemics - viral mutation - scenario planning and public health promotion, protection and prevention? If you are and you’d like to take part in an informal ‘cultural think tank’ in early December, email and if there’s sufficient interest, I’ll facilitate a group session to explore our thinking and maybe our future planning.

Look200 Artist's Day
22nd October 
10am-3pm Manchester Museum
Artists/creative practitioners are invited to join artist Lucy Burscough, as she nears the end of her Look200 arts for health/science engagement residency at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, to spend a day exploring the ideas, process and practicalities involved in delivering Look200, a project that looks at 200 years of research into vision in Manchester. The day will act as a networking event with practical elements and lots of opportunities to learn more about innovative approaches to Arts for Health provision in Manchester. A free Arts Council England funded event with limited places. Please be aware that there will be some walking between venues involved. If you have mobility problems please let Lucy know beforehand. Contact to sign up.

…and finally, a ridiculous security guard at a Sainsbury's store told two women who were having a kiss, that they were 'disgusting' and asked them to leave. You know what happened? A Big Consensual Kiss-In. HA! Of course it was Brighton, and good on them.

*From Robert Greene's, A Notable Discovery of Coosnage (a.k.a. The Art of Conny-catching), 1592: "forewarned, forearmed: burnt children dread the fire."

No comments:

Post a Comment