Wednesday, 3 February 2016

…is there an elephant in the room?

All hail the illustrious leaders in arts & health - those golden, luminary figures from the field who selflessly promote our shared societal progress into the 21st century! This Friday sees what’s billed as the 'first national arts in health conference & showcase' - and all for fifty quid. 

We’ll put aside the international events like the Culture Health & Wellbeing Conference in Bristol (2013) and the CHARTS event in Manchester (1999) that brought Augusto Boal, Patch Adams and a myriad of others to share practice and research. Actually, lets put aside all the national, regional and local events that take place across the UK every year, and focus on the event in hand.

It’s all taking place in a Ball Room far, far away - well - London actually, and you’ll have the opportunity to hear a keynote from cultural entrepreneur, pianist and founder/chief executive of AESOP Tim Joss who alongside his partner, former Tomorrow’s World presenter, Vivienne Parry OBE will present an event targeted at decision makers. Click on Hunts face for more details.

Peppered throughout the day, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to an array of stellar civil servants. At the top of the pecking order and noted for his thorough understanding of the field, will be former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, now Secretary of State for Health, the Right Honourable, Jeremy Hunt MP. Barrister, academic lawyer and Chair of NHS England, Sir Malcolm Grant, CBE comes second on the billing, who alongside Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health & Wellbeing, Public Health England represent the big beasts in the English NHS. Dear old Sir Peter Bazalgette, the outgoing Chair of Arts Council England will have a thing or two to say and then there’s Kent County Council’s, Emma Hanson. 

Following a range of showcase workshops from some good people in the field, there’ll be the chance to take part in a session ‘looking to the future’ with Mystic Meg. (that bit was a joke actually - sadly Meg isn’t visionary enough to take part) The plenary will explore a vision for arts and health over the next Five Years. There will be a launch of an ‘Aesop’ sustainable (does that mean there’s a cost involved, I wonder) on-line dating site for those of a certain arts/health disposition! There’ll also be the launch of an ‘Aesop arts for health and wellbeing evaluation and development framework commissioned by Public Health England’. Sadly for this blogger, I’m working out of the country, so will miss out on the day, but I’m sure I’ll read the subsequent marketing. I do hope that those attending will have the opportunity to throw interesting questions to those with political influence.

For those interested in frameworks, strategies and principles - I always recommend the work of Mike White and Mary Robson who in 2010 wrote the succinct and perfect, Participatory Arts Practice in Healthcare Contexts - Guidelines for Good Practice. This is a piece of work that has some core values at the heart of it.

Still, I did have the opportunity to speak at an event organised by Arts & Health Ireland last Friday as part of the centenary celebrations of the Easter Rising in 1916. As an English man, I was very honoured to be asked to share the Manifesto, it’s development and its place in the here and now. Alan Howarth very kindly shared some of his thoughts on the context of the arts in relation to dissent and challenge, and I incorporated them into my presentation, which I’ll share here very soon.

Grants to Help New, Innovative Visual Arts Projects 
The Elephant Trust has announced that the next deadline for applications is the 5th April 2016. The Trust offers grants to artists and for new, innovative visual arts projects based in the UK. The Trust's aim is to make it possible for artists and those presenting their work to undertake and complete projects when confronted by lack of funds. The Trust supports projects that develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the fine arts. Priority is now being given to artists and small organisations and galleries who should submit well argued, imaginative proposals for making or producing new work or exhibitions. Arts Festivals are not supported. The Trust normally awards grants of up to £2,000, but larger grants may be considered. Ahhhh - here's the elephant in the room! I wondered where it was.Click on it for more details.

Clore Poetry and Literature Awards 
The Clore Duffield Foundation has announced that the 8th round of its £1 million programme to fund poetry and literature initiatives for children and young people across the UK is now open for applications. Through the programme, primary, middle, secondary, special schools, sixth form colleges, academies and further education colleges as well as community groups, libraries and other arts/cultural organisations can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 to support participatory learning projects and programmes focused on literature, poetry and creative writing for under 19s. The closing date for applications is the 7th March 2016. Read more by clicking HERE.

Funding for Music Making Projects 
Youth Music, England's largest children's music charity, which provides funding for music-making projects, has announced new application deadlines for its grant making programmes. Grants are available to fund developmental music-making projects for children and young people up in challenging circumstances as well as projects that support the development of the workforce, organisations and the wider sector. Youth Making's funding programme is made up of three separate funds. These are:
Fund A which offers small grants (up to £30,000) for high quality music-making projects
Fund B offers medium-sized grants (30,001 - £100,000 per year for up to two years) for larger programmes of work
Fund C offers grants (of up to £180,000) for strategic programmes to help embed sustainable, inclusive music-making across a local area.
The types of organisations that are eligible to apply include charities, not for profit organisations and schools. Schools will however have to justify how to activities to be funded do not duplicate Department of Education funding. The closing dates for applications to Fund A is 5pm on the 22nd April 2016 and to Fund B 20th May 2016. Fund C is currently closed to applications. Read more HERE. 

Manchester Mega Mela
Commissioning opportunity at Manchester Mega Mela. Manchester Mega Mela (MMM) is an annual two day celebration of South Asian culture which takes place in Platt Fields Park South Manchester. MMM are looking for proposals to create/build an installation with a strong element of interactivity or street theatre for this year’s event which will provide a visual focal point of interest in the main field alongside other mela activities. Further information is available HERE.
Fee: £3000.00 Deadline: 11th March 2016

Music for Health Project Manager
LIME Music for Health is recruiting an experienced, part-time freelance project manager for their Youth Music funded programme at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – please share the following link with any relevant groups/contacts and thanks in advance. Deadline for applications is 15 February 2016. Details are HERE.

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