Sunday, 1 November 2015

…Here & Now

The Australian Centre for Arts and Health is using part of their their website as a central focal point for Arts & Health Month, an initiative kick started by the Arts Health Network Canada. The whole idea is to pin your colours to the mast and upload a statement of support. Do this by clicking on the banner above. Below is an extract of my own submission and if you want to read more, click on the sinister void below.

Arts & Health in the Here and Now
There’s a feeling in the air. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but its certainly a shift. This ‘thing’ that we’re all part of - this Arts and Health - well, how can I start this off - put it succinctly - we’re evolving into a movement. {…} It may be ripples form our governments ‘austerity’ measures that’s causing a chain reaction, or it may simply be, we are more confident in who we are, and what we believe. {…} Perhaps though, we may be too dependent on those glassy eyed civil servants who dole out state-sponsored decrees on what constitutes ‘quality’ in the arts. Maybe it’s time to rethink how we are funded and who determines cultural value? I leave that question open.

We should however, keep our eyes out for the slick opportunists who are waiting in the wings - spotting a hole in the market to plug with their commodified quick fixes - standardising what it is we do and believe, into something to market, that’s devoid of meaning or integrity. Keep your eyes out for those selling snake-oil in a time of ‘austerity’. Keep sight of your own values and don’t be wrong-footed by the cult of materialism.

We have a real place in 21st century healthcare, but more than simply ameliorating against ill health, through our long-term participation in the arts in all their guises, we are part of a much wider cultural and public health shift, across the life-course, and potentially affecting positive generational change. The evidence is out there and our time is now. Let’s influence decision makers, create challenging work, and realise that we are part of something far bigger than our individual selves. 

We are a social movement populated by people who not only want social change, but are central to how that change comes about.

Craftivist Manifesto  
Craftivist, Sarah Corbett sent me this rather beautiful and considered Craftivist Manifesto this week. Feel free to share it far and wide, and if you fancy having a hand made version limited to 100 copies, click on the image above.

Worlds Apart, Worlds Unite - mind culture in time, place and society
Since 2013, the superb NOUS MAGAZINE have organised an annual mini-festival. This winter, As We Are Away will coincide with the launch of NOUS magazine’s winter issue,
NOUS 6: “Worlds Apart” commencing Thurs 3rd Dec. 2015, continuing till Thurs 10th Dec. 2015. What: As We Are Away - Part 2: "Worlds Apart, Worlds Unite” will take place on Friday, 4th December 2015, 6pm till 10.30pm @ The Wonder Inn (next to Shudehill Coach Station) and will require a small fee of £3 - £6 (concession: £1 - £3). More details nearer the time. 

Broken Grey Wires
I had the great pleasure of meeting artist, curator and activist Lizz Brady this week. Her work with Broken Grey Wires looks superb and I’m looking forward to working with her over the next few years. Want to know more?  Broken Grey Wires is a contemporary art organisation responding to and exploring mental health. We work closely with the community, critically acclaimed artists and major institutions, to open up a dialogue and provide inspiration and opportunities for people with mental health difficulties. The project will showcase innovative exhibitions within leading contemporary art spaces, alongside workshops and community involvement. Support has come from across the art scene, including Stuart Semple, who is currently an ambassador for the mental health charity Mind, Yinka Shonibare MBE, The Vacuum Cleaner, Daily Life Ltd, Everton in the Community, Jake and Dinos Chapman and David Shrigley. Broken Grey Wires welcomes you to explore mental health in contemporary art and invites you to look around, create, and be inspired by our absorbing, alternative world.

Taking Art to the People
Monday 2nd November, 4pm BBC Radio 4
“42nd Street are excited to announce that BBC Radio 4 will be broadcasting a documentary about The Ancoats Art Museum, how 42nd Street has taken inspiration from its story to create The Horsfall and the role of art in recovery and good mental health. They’ve been working to make the programme over the last couple of months and are delighted with the results. We are thrilled to be able to put Arts and Mental Health practice with young people on this national platform.” 
We hope you can listen in or use Listen Again and give us some feedback at @TheHorsfall

Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity Grants 
The Wallace & Gromit's Children's Charity provides grants of between £100 and £10,000 to registered charitable hospitals and hospices across the UK to enhance and enrich the quality of life of sick children in hospitals. 
The deadline for applications is 10th December 2015. Read HERE.

£4 Million Fund for Video Game Development 
The government has launched a £4 million fund for the UK's video games industry. Aimed at helping smaller companies move concepts into production, from 2015 to 2019 the Video Games Prototype Fund will offer grants of up to £25,000 to support video games projects, as well as creating jobs, nurturing talent and furthering the growth of games clusters all around the UK. Grants of up to £50,000 will also be available for a limited number of projects to take their ideas beyond the prototype phase. It will also fund talent development initiatives, which will include competitions for students and graduate teams to create and showcase new games, mentoring for businesses and individuals, and opportunities for talented individuals to work on games prototype projects. The first call for applications will be issued soon. Read more by clicking on the healthy scenario above.  

Artists International Development Fund 
The next application deadline for the Arts Council England's Artists International Development Fund is the 13th January 2016. This funding stream is for artists to develop links with artists, organisations and/or creative producers in other countries. Freelance and self-employed artists can apply for small grants of £1,000 to £5,000 to spend time building these links to broaden your horizons and open your work to other perspectives. The programme is open to emerging and mid-career artists working in combined arts, literature, music, theatre, dance, visual arts and crafts and design. You must have received recognition for your work in England and not have extensive international experience. Your application must also include a letter of support from the overseas partner/host. Read more by clicking on the hypnotic Tokyo street scene above. 

Project Officer Healthy Living & Creative Design, Blackpool Council
Temporary Post for 18 months, Full Time (37hrs per week)
Salary scale: H1 £28,746 to £30,978
Ref: PL025
Deadline: Monday, 9th November at 12 noon
This is an exciting opportunity to work with the Arts and Planning Services and Blackpool Public Health. You will be based in the Arts Team and develop and lead on the delivery of a range of ‘action-research’ projects. These projects will demonstrate how a healthy living and well-being approach to redeveloping the built environment can positively impact on the lives of people in Blackpool.

You will advocate for the role of artists and other creative professionals in designing a quality built environment and public realm where appropriate; working with staff and external partners on commissioning artists in Blackpool to produce models of good practice. The deadline for applications is Monday, 9th November at 12 noon; this role has received funding from Arts Council England. For full details click on the photo above.


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