Sunday, 18 October 2015

Myopic? I fear much worse...

...this is macular degeneration.

This week news came in that Art for Health Cornwall and Isles of Scilly has closed. A missive from its management committee, that under the current fiscal climate, (or words of that sort) it was no longer a viable concern. But hand’t it been growing in vision and reach over these last years? Its director Jayne Howard is one of the real leaders in the field, it’s programme of activities constantly high, it’s profile rich and nuanced. One of the first of its sort in the UK, before the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing existed, before the North West Arts and Health Network, or indeed, before even the South West Arts and Health Network - Arts for Health Cornwall had sub-regional reach and a real identity, it’s network stretching across the sectors. So what’s changed? With only the statement of the committee to work on, I guess it is the shifting priorities of its funders and the NHS and Council are moving their meagre resources elsewhere. Let’s hope it’s not short-termism and that their efficiency savings aren’t ploughed into some quick-hit headline-grabbing nonsense, to appease the propagators of austerity in Whitehall. 

Cultural change requires long-term commitment. Ill thought-through cost-cutting exercises, reduce health and social care to the reactive and functional. Is this a deficit of imagination on the part of commissioners?

The Art of Good Health & Wellbeing
Recently I took time out to see, The Father, by Florian Zeller at the Wyndham Theatre, which runs until 21st November. I’ve been writing a book chapter over the last few months and needed to immerse myself in something that electrifies the soul. This play is that rare kind of thing. If there’s the slightest chance you’re in London over the next month, and you have an interest in memory loss - go and see it. It’s not depressing, it is, just a little disquieting*. I shan’t give you a spoiler - but it’ll certainly help inform my new work which tries to understand what we mean by cultural value in relationship to the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of intrinsic/instrumental value. So I’ll be testing some of these ideas on a poor unsuspecting audience at the 7th Annual, Art of Good Health and Wellbeing International Arts and Health Conference in Sydney in November. 

“...all the time, the Buzzing” will, (I hope) marshal some of my thinking around applied theatre and our dizzying journey from the cradle, to the grave. This years conference explores our mental health and resilience through the arts and has Errol Francis, Head of Arts and Mental Health and Festival Director at the Mental Health Foundation, sharing work around The Anxiety Festival. Get the full details of this years International Conference by clicking HERE. 

“The Father is one of those plays that makes your brain hum with the unique potential of theatre” - The Independent

Dementia & Imagination updates
For all the latest on our research project and news on the Green Man Festival,2020+ and more by clicking HERE.   

This week Arts for Health’s very own Dr. Langley Brown has flown to China to share his work and developments that are happening in the UK with colleagues at Tongji Design Week, at the forum: Inclusive Design, Health, and Wellbeing. I hope its going brilliantly Lang and thanks for the photograph.

Small Things: 
Part-time project manager
Small Things Dance Collective have received ACE funding to further develop their ‘ground-breaking’ work at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.  Over the last 9 years they have developed artist-led movement, dance, performance and research across acute hospital wards.  Their current programme of work will include participatory performance devised for the new innovative Alder Hey in the Park and the development of a Small Things dance and health App.  We are seeking an experienced part-time project manager/administrator to support the development of this project and the organisation.

Fee: Between £120-£160/day (dependant on experience) up to 40 days/per year

Please send expressions of interest by 30th October, to include relevant experience and any questions.  Expect to hear from us by the 6th November if we are to take your application further.

From Monday 26 October / 6pm - 9pm / FACT MediaLab / 6 week course

This course, written and delivered by Hannah Hull, is aimed at artists and arts practitioners who are working - or would like to work - in prisons (at any point in their career). It seamlessly combines practice and theory, and will leave you with a critically informed and viable prison arts proposal under your belt… plus a series of critical tools that will positively affect your broader art practice. More details HERE.

*Though unfortunately for me, not as disquieting as my neighbour in the theatre, who had purchased a cardboard box of maltesers from the bar and slowly began inflicting upon me, my own personal torture. This morbidly fixated muncher noisily scuffled about in the box, placing each delicate chocolate orb in their moistened chops - making the pleasure last exactly 90 minutes. The sound of their greedy trotters in the box was bad enough, but the saliva-inducing suction of each and every chocolate gobbet, seemed amplified in the hushed silence of the auditorium. Alongside their stifled yawns, this was a truly repellent and monstrous experience. Why do theatres encourage their patrons to guzzle crap through  performances? (I know the answer) Cinema’s are bad enough, but in the theatre? They’ve banned smoking, so why not eating - or at least if they’re offering customers something to fill their faces with, why not an appetite suppressant?



No comments:

Post a Comment