Sunday, 26 June 2016 existential blunt force trauma

Without doubt, I am suffering the consequences of an existential blunt force trauma. Last week I bleated uselessly about the lack of black and minority ethnic representation in the arts/health field, and in the blink of an eye the democracy I so cherish has meted out a slow death knell to Europe and free movement. Democracy in action, mediated by those without much to offer in the way of substance, just hyperbole - estimated facts, figures and fear. 

A near medieval image of utopia has been peddled by the nationalists and the fictitious world of Post-War Britain can be promulgated again in our little Albion, destined I’m sure, to become A Trump Anglo-Saxon theme park. Permission has now been given to all our neighbours to ferment their own isolated nationalistic delusions. Whose idea was it to have a referendum anyway? Oh I remember. But I cant seem to recall anyone asking for one in the first place. We need to move fast and if social justice and inequalities are to be visible in the political agenda - and our arts and agenda have any vision and purpose - we need to stop the inevitable march of the monstrous ‘free market’ state that will rapidly consume anything in its path. I can see the vapid forces of pseudo arts and health venture philanthropists laughing in the corner and preparing to capitalise on this political vacuum. 

As 1 of the 48% who chooses to identify as European and remain in the union, I say, all hail free thinkers - a new political generation might be motivated into action by all this? I will remain proudly European and enjoy learning from, and with my friends ‘on the continent’ - and us all growing together.

To those European partners we've worked with recently:

We are friends and cultural partners
 Mes esame draugai ir kultūros partneraai
  Táimid cairde agus le comhpháirtithe cultúrtha
   Biz arkadaşız ve kültürel ortakları
    Ми друзі і культурні партнери
      Siamo amici e partner culturali
       We zijn vrienden en culturele partners
        Olemme ystäviä ja kulttuurialan osapuolten
         Nous sommes amis et partenaires culturels
          Wir sind Freunde und Kulturpartnern
            Oleme sõbrad ja kultuurilise partner
             Somos amigos e parceiros culturais

Still - Billy Childish offers us his unique advice on dealing with our more local frustrations at Farrage et al. No apologies for any offence caused and thank you Billy.

I had a treat to witness the flourishing European movement that is Recoverism this weekend. Alongside colleagues from Dementia & Imagination - who shared work in the context of Sir Thomas More's vision of Utopia - Recoverists from Manchester shared their brave, challenging and beautiful work at Somerset House in Little Britain’s theme-park capital. 

A film by Amanda Ravetz 

Alongside Portraits of Recovery’s Mark Prest, artist and visual anthropologist Dr Amanda Ravetz, artist Cristina Nunez and Recoverist Jayne Gosnall had produced some sumptuous interactive work under the banner of WONDERLAND, to which I was invited to share the Recoverist Manifesto. Performing a reading of the manifesto reminded me of how it couldn’t have happened without fellow Recoverists in Italy, Turkey, Lithuania, Holland, Ireland and the UK. 

Utopia then - what’s that all about - Europa perhaps? Oh no lets stick with the cloying nostalgia for a much fabled yesteryear and go for Pangaea!

Winston Churchill Memorial Trust: Travelling Fellowships
Deadline: 20 Sep
In 2017, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust will be investing around £1.3 million in British citizens by awarding 150 Travelling Fellowships. This will directly support British citizens who want to travel overseas to gain knowledge, experience and best practice to benefit others in their UK professions and communities, and society as a whole. Read more at: 

Your Evidence Wanted
As part of an Inquiry into the role of the arts in health and social care, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing is seeking examples of the arts and culture influencing health and wellbeing outcomes. The APPG is interested in examples of practice from the past decade, where there is reasonably reliable evidence of outcomes or evidence that a pilot or new approach has promise. Submissions are invited of up to 1,000 words, arranged according to headings outlined in the guidance. For the guidance, definitions and further information about the Inquiry, please go to:,-Health-and-Wellbeing-Inquiry.aspx    
The deadline for submissions is Friday 19 August 2016.

SOUND Arts & Health Event
Vic McEwan and Toby Heys will be sharing their practice on Tuesday this week, ten tickets are left HERE. I'm thrilled to have Vic working here at Alder Hey and some profound work is unfolding, which we'll share over the coming year. A huge thanks to Vicky Charnock for making it all possible and for Jane Radcliffe and her outstanding team - particularly one person whose having treatment at Alder Hey and is working with Vic on some collaborative work. Quite beautiful stuff.

Arts Council England told to promote everyday creativity
ACE advised to change funding structures to promote everyday creativity
Street parties, guerrilla gardening and engagement with cultural buildings must be encouraged if creativity is to become as accessible as sport, a new report has concluded. Arts Council England (ACE) should create a new small grants fund to ensure ‘everyday creativity’ is embedded across society, a new report has advised. It should also reconsider using language such as ‘excellence’ and ‘great art’, which ultimately discourages people without talent from practising creativity, and consider a more ‘democratic’ use of funded buildings and future capital developments. The report, produced by campaign group 64 million artists with funding from ACE, is the result of a five-month nationwide study into how to move from ‘Great Art For Everyone’ to ‘Great Art By, With and For Everyone’. It defines ‘everyday creativity’ as grassroots arts activity, encompassing everything from breakdancing in open spaces to guerrilla gardening and painting in sheds. Its publication follows the Warwick Commission Report, which found only 8% of the UK population regularly attend funded culture. It hopes to build on the success of projects and organisations with a similar agenda, such as BBC Get Creative, Fun Palaces, and Voluntary Arts.

  • A lack of an accessible space, either virtual or physical, in which to be creative;
  • A lack of general appreciation for process over product;
  • A lack of creativity in education and work, with pressures on teachers and continual assessment stifling playful creativity;
  • The apparent requirement to be ‘professional’ in everyday life, instead of expressing ideas and opinions.
Read it all by clicking on the beautiful and ancient green Ankerwycke Yew.


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