Sunday, 12 July 2015

…hello again

Wonderful to share the Recoverist Manifesto in Tallinn with new faces and old friends at the MAPSI conference. Thank you compadres.

Interesting back home, to see that it’s being reported in the UK, that jobs in the arts are growing at a higher rate than in any other area of the creative industries, but new figures from the DCMS lay bare the scale of the diversity problem. Click on the Linnahall, former Lenin Palace of Sports and Culture for more DCMS detail.

The DCMS also tell us that the rise in the value of exports by arts organisations also far outstripped any other area of the creative industries. £704m of music, performing and visual arts services were exported in 2013, a 146% increase on 2009. But is our understanding of cultural value just about the CASH? What about the oblique, the immeasurable and the profound? I had the pleasure to hear Dr Eleanora Belfiore speak last week. She pointedly discussed the obfuscation of politicians who hide behind the cult of measurement, and illustrated some of the ways we understand cultural successes through the profiteering of the production company behind My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding - a ‘documentary’ that whilst bringing in the big cash and franchising its 'product' globally, does nothing for travellers and gypsies other than perpetuate inequalities, stereotypes and stigma, whilst neatly neglecting to pay any of the participants to take part in its mockery. Good to hear about the counter blasting Our Big Real Gypsy Lives. Brilliant, Belfiore!

We’ve all been impressed by the groundswell of political engagement in Scotland, and not in the slightest bit surprised by their wholesale rejection of the political status quo, but let’s also hear it for Wales too - a country that wants to put the arts at the heart of the curriculum! Arts Professional reports that: ‘the expressive arts will be one of six areas of learning and experience that will take the place of traditional subjects as Wales approves a radical overhaul of its curriculum for primary and secondary schools.’

‘Expressive arts will be one of six ‘areas of learning and experience’ that the Welsh national curriculum for ages 3 to 16 will adopt in place of traditional subjects. The other areas are: health and wellbeing; humanities; languages, literacy and communication; mathematics and numeracy; and science and technology. Success will be measured against four key ‘purposes’ of education: supporting young people to become ambitious, capable learners; enterprising, creative contributors; ethical, informed citizens; and healthy, confident individuals.’

So now I don’t just want to be a Scot, but I’d like dual citizenship with Wales too!

Still, we always have our dear old government, where Education Security, the turgid Nicky Morgan, has warned young people that choosing to study arts subjects at school could “hold them back for the rest of their lives”. Speaking at the launch of a campaign to promote science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM subjects – Morgan said the 'idea that choosing arts or humanities subjects can keep pupils’ career choices open “couldn’t be further from the truth”.

(Let’s not forget that true-blue Morgan, was dubbed the "minister for straight women" when she voted against the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013, argued that marriage could only be between a man and a woman. Yet, she went on to be the governments Minister for Women and Equalities. You could’t make it up!)

She continues: “But if you wanted to do something different, or even if you didn’t know what you wanted to do…then the arts and humanities were what you chose. Because they were useful – we were told ­– for all kinds of jobs. Of course now we know that couldn’t be further from the truth, that the subjects that keep young people’s options open and unlock doors to all sorts of careers are the STEM subjects.”

The Stage usefully share this HERE, and more than that, they let us know that their recent poll indicated that more than three-quarters of online respondents believe arts subjects should be compulsory at GCSE. 1,268 people over a period of one week took part in the poll, with 77.3% – 981 people – in favour and less than a quarter – 22.6% – said the arts should not be compulsory. The survey was conducted after the government unveiled plans to exclude the arts from compulsory GCSEs.

Hey Ho!

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 4pm on the 10th September 2015. Read more by clicking on the random image below.

Blackpool Council: Arts & Health Development Officer 
Maternity cover
Location: Central Library, Queen St Blackpool, FY1 1PX
Salary: £22,937 to £26,293 pro rata based on hours worked (Grade: F, part time) 
Working Hours: 22 hours per week over 3 days, maternity cover until 31st March 2016.
Contract Type: Temporary
Closing date: 22/07/2015 23:59
The Arts and Health Development Officer is responsible for initiating, planning and managing the delivery of the Arts for Health Programme and is part of the Council’s Arts Service. The programme is targeted at people with mild to moderate mental health problems, and aims to improve wellbeing, by offering high quality creative workshops that are stimulating and supportive. The effective management and supervision of freelance sessional artists is crucial to the smooth running of the programme and the participant`s experience of Arts for Health.

The post holder will work closely with key delivery partners, referrers and public health commissioners to develop and promote the programme. An important part of the role is to manage the collation and monitoring of the evaluation information to evidence the effectiveness of the service and the impact of creativity on wellbeing. To apply, click on the plea for more poetry below.


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