Sunday, 25 January 2015


Each week through this blog, I try to bring you new opportunities for funding, events and some gentle social comment. This week’s sees a hideous car-crash of polemic and funding, as I caught sight of a new government fund for a pot of gold and a ridiculously short run-in time! Still, the monstrously titled: New Character Education Grant Fund has to have a mention, doesn’t it? I fear it may just be me, but it sounds like some bastard hybrid love child of the government’s Nudge Unit and Quack Psychiatry. It seems only a moment ago that simple religious conversion/treatment or behaviour modification techniques and a cocktail of prescribed meds, could cure you of being gay! Then of course, there are people who by their very nature, question the status quo - we can’t have that. 'New Character' - good grief! 

Still this agenda to change ‘character traits, attributes and behaviours’ is probably innocent stuff designed to give future generations more ‘perseverance, resilience and grit.’ Ahh - True Grit - I guess it’s what our children need battering into them by the state. I whole new generation of John Wayne’s, or else - heaven knows - John Wayne Gacy, Jr’s?

So artists and free-thinkers - be the instrument of the state - you have the power to be the next generation of behaviour-eugenicists. And we’ll have absolutely no discussion of the social determinants of health and well-being, let’s just focus on all the idiosyncrasies of being human, being different, having opinions and hearty dissenting voices. Let’s not question authority and instead, just focus on creating children who are wholesome, fresh-faced and utterly, utterly, compliant - the 'stupid athletes of capitalist productivity'.

Government Launches New Character Education Grant Fund 
The Department for Education has announced that schools, colleges, universities, local authorities and voluntary organisations can apply to a new £3.5 million character education grant fund to support projects in character education. The Department want to ensure that more children develop a set of character traits, attributes and behaviours that underpin success in education and work, such as perseverance, resilience and grit; confidence and optimism; motivation, drive and ambition; etc. The funding is available to encourage the expansion of existing projects that demonstrate effective character education. The funding will also support new and innovative projects to develop promising approaches in this area. Up to £3.5 million is available to grant fund projects in the 2015 to 2016 academic year. There is no predetermined level of grant award, but as a guide grant awards are expected to be in the region of £50,000 to £750,000. The closing date for applications is 12 noon on the 6th February 2015. Read more by clicking on those athletic, javelin-throwing, G.M.  women at the top of the page.

Making Mental Health Fashionable
Senior Lecturer in Psychology at University of the Arts London and friend of Arts for Health Dr Victoria Tischler writes, that outsider art can refashion how we think about mental illness. Read her article by clicking on the Adolf Wolfi drawing above. If you like what you read, why not check out an event that Victoria is planning called Making Mental Health Fashionable on 27 February. Find out more by clicking on the crowd of everyday people below.

BMA Patient Information Awards 2015
The British Medical Association has run a Patient Information Awards for the last twenty years in order to recognise excellence in the provision of information to patients and to support the valuable work which is done by many charities and agencies,   It is free to enter and shortlisted agencies are invited to an awards ceremony at BMA House in London in September. The closing date is the end of February 2015 but if you have resources you wish to enter then please do it as soon as possible.  You can find more information by clicking on this link.

Are you an artist in the Manchester area that has experienced mental health needs? If so, you may be eligible to take part in a limited number of mentoring sessions with Pool Arts. Our mentor, James Bloomfield offers one to one sessions where you can show your portfolio, discuss how to progress with your practice and explore opportunities that may be available to you. You will also find out more about Pool Arts and the benefits of becoming a member. 
We are offering up to two mentor sessions per person for a small fee (to cover admin costs) on a first come first served basis. Just e.mail us a short paragraph about yourself and why you would like a mentoring session and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Sessions take place in our central Manchester studio facility from February 2015. Cost £10 (for up to two sessions) Contact Alison Kershaw and put MENTORING in the subject bar. Alternatively call our office on 0161 273 1492 and leave a short message and we will ring you back as soon as we can. Find out more by following this link.

De Profundis – From the depths
“I was diagnosed with Cyclothymia (considered to be a milder form of Bipolar Disorder) in my early twenties. It was a dark point in my life. I was struggling, spending months in bed without leaving the house, completely isolated from society. Thankfully from the depths of depression, I was given a camera. The camera has over the years transformed my life. In this project I explore how the arts can help people who are suffering, as I was. Beauty can be found in the smallest of things and I attribute the camera for seeing beauty and purpose in life again…” Pete Regan. An exhibition starting Saturday 7 Feb 2015 - Saturday 2 May 2015. More details by clicking on the flyer above.

Artist, illustrator and nurse Anna Magnowska is developing a new web resource and magazine making connections between art, medicine, culture, science, technology and history whilst also focusing on the practical elements of nursing. Anna says: “we aim to create something beautiful that explores what it is be human, and what it is to be a nurse in the 21st century.” We say - this looks superb. Click on the logo above for more.

A brief footnote from history 
The US-based Arts and Health Alliance, formally The Global Alliance for Arts and Health, formally The Society for the Arts in Healthcare, has currently ‘...has ceased functioning as a going entity due to management and financial issues.” More soon

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