Saturday, 8 October 2016

...a dull headed ass and a well-needed punch in the face - good grief!

Just who are we talking about this week?
First things first - thank you for email received this week and apologies for the decreasing speed in my replies. It's intriguing however, amongst the positive mail that comes in, I increasingly get spam, some of which, in fact constitutes self-aggrandisement akin to everyone's bogeyman - Donald Trump (who sounds more like an imprisoned or dead Radio 1 DJ from the 60's every day). Yes - in this arts and health movement - we do get talentless power-hungry bozo's too - but then I start to write a blog and have to quickly censor myself. Well - this is the question - should I censor, or perhaps do the opposite and divorce myself from the work that necessitates me self-censoring? Advice needed please.

You see, I do feel that this arts/health thing we're all part of, is by its very nature, a grass roots movement, not something that you can impose standardisation on, and yet it seems the free-marketeers are gaining ground and soon everything we do will only be sanctioned if it meets the standards of the politburo - standards dictated by those pale-faced marketeers - and never - absolutely never - those artists, free-thinkers and activists that make up the movement. So this blog, or your blogger at least, has reached an existential crossroads.

So - for now - here's a little morsel from days of yore, a tale of Aesop nonetheless, and then DeNiro will make some pronouncements on a despotic tosser, in the short film below. Just one of the arrogant twerps we would so dearly love to whack around the head with a wet fish.

The Ass carrying the Image
An Ass once carried through the streets of a city a famous wooden Image, to be placed in one of its Temples. As he passed along, the crowd made lowly prostration before the Image. The Ass, thinking that they bowed their heads in token of respect for himself, bristled up with pride, gave himself airs, and refused to move another step. The driver, seeing him thus stop, laid his whip lustily about his shoulders and said, “O you perverse dull-head! it is not yet come to this, that wo/men pay worship to an Ass.”

London Arts in Health Forum 
Festival Coordinator
Fee: £10,000
Hours: An average of 2 days per week
Engagement: December 2016 - June 2017
Deadline: Monday 31st Oct at 17.00
London Arts in Health Forum is seeking a Co-ordinator to deliver its annual festival Creativity and Wellbeing Week. This festival, now in its sixth year will take place from 12-18 June 2017, across London and nationally. The Co-ordinator will manage key events, support partner organisations, encourage engagement, and promote the Festival. The key aim of the Festival is to raise the profile of the role of the arts in health and wellbeing, to celebrate good practice in arts and health and bring together the organisations and individuals who work in this area. For full details of the post and a project brief, please contact

To apply for this post, please submit a written application (maximum 600 words) detailing how you meet the person specification along with a detailed CV. Please send your application clearly headlined Festival Co-ordinator application to Applications must be submitted by Monday 31stOctober, 5pm. Interviews will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 8th November. The successful candidate should be able to start work in December.

Challenging Outsider Art
Over the past 7-months, OutsiderXchanges, a visual arts project based on collaboration, reciprocal learning and creative exchange has brought together six learning disabled artists and six contemporary visual artists in one studio space. Taking parity of ideas and aesthetic approaches as a starting point the resulting works blur the line between art and life, inviting the viewer to challenge their own conceptions of art and what might be considered ‘outsider’ art. 

New works developed throughout the project will now be exhibited the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (1 – 31 October) and at the Whitworth Art Gallery (3 November). Artwork ranges from pieces developed individually such Sarah Lee’s tactile three-dimensional clay ‘sketches’, inspired by the recent fire at the 16th-century Wythenshawe Hall, to collaborative works such as Yes Lad, Yes Lass (2016) by artists Barry Anthony Finan and Rosanne Robertson, a poignant mixed media video installation. This sculptural work represents the meeting of the two artists with their ambitions laid bare. Leslie Thompson, a prolific drawer, who at every opportunity is documenting his observations of events happening around him, in enormous detail using pen on paper, and in his own recognisable witty style, to artists Horace Lindezey and Juliet Davis who have involved public participation in their practice throughout to In a series of interviews Lindezey has been engaging participants in conversation on their childhood memories whilst also building models of their schools as a tool for reminiscence. Led by the always brilliant Venture Arts, this is a must see show. Click on the Leslie Thompson's Brown Bear, below, or Barry Anthony Finan's work, above for more details.

The Death Talker
Since the dawn of time, human beings have been curious about death. Most of us have little time in our busy lives to think about the things that are important to us. Often, it s not until we have a personal experience that we give any serious thought to our own life and our mortality. Here’s a link to a new book by Molly Carlile. The Death Talker offers a common sense approach to the issues we should all be thinking about so we can live and die well. The personal stories and practical information provide a sensitive guide for exploring the stuff that matters to each of us and to help us have meaningful conversations with the people we love. Click on the book for more info. 

Kick the Dust! New funding for youth-focused projects
Deadline: 2 December 2016
Kick the Dust is a £10 million grants programme for ambitious youth-focused projects that transform how heritage organisations engage with young people aged 11-25. You will be able to apply for a grant from £500,000 to £1million as part of a consortium, which should include heritage and youth organisations. Young people named this initiative, hoping to stir things up, inspire change and ensure heritage is relevant to young people’s lives. For the first time, HLF will also be asking young people to help decide about which applications should be funded.

Application guidance and project enquiry forms are available at the HLF website. There will be a mandatory project enquiry stage to tell them your ideas followed by a two-round application process. There will be one opportunity to apply for Kick the Dust. You will need to submit your enquiry form by 2 December 2016. The deadline for first-round applications will be 20 February 2017. Click HERE.

The Art of Mentalizing: Communicating the Unknown
21-23 October at the Pratt Institute, New York
"This is a truly important event that brings together for the first time two groups working to extend the frontiers of mentalizing in the US and the UK. The conference will undoubtedly present many remarkable insights and experiences for participants that I have no doubt will further not just clinical practice but also encourage research enquiry into the therapeutic use of creative arts in mental health"  Professor Peter Fonagy

I wish I was going to this, but am thrilled my colleague Dr Kat Taylor is and she's presenting her work: "Engaging with art as part of recovery processes in individuals with mental health difficulties: a phenomenological meta-synthesis and Exploring the links between the phenomenology of creativity and bipolar disorder." More details by clicking on the banner below.

BIG Launches New £40 Million Youth Investment Fund 
The Big Lottery Fund has announced the launch of its new £40 million Youth Investment Fund.
The fund aims to support organisation in the West Midlands; London East; Tees Valley & Sunderland; Bristol & Somerset; Eastern Counties; and Liverpool City who provide front-line open access youth services in disadvantaged communities for young people aged 10-18 (up to 25 for young people with disabilities). Eligible organisations are able to apply for grants of between £150,000 and £750,000 over a three-year period. Organisations will only be able to apply for an annual grant amount that is at most a quarter of the size of their annual income and are expected to be already delivering programmes within this target group. The fund will prioritise organisations looking to expand existing services and develop new ones. Proportionate overheads will be eligible, and there'll be up to £50,000 of grant available to help with the refurbishment of existing youth facilities, the development of new ones, and the purchase of equipment. The closing date for applications is the 11th November 2016. Read more HERE. 

Arts Award Access Fund 
The next deadline for applications to the Arts Award Access Fund is the 21st October 2016. Grants of £100 to £1500 are available to Arts Award centres in England working on Arts Award projects with young people for whom access and inclusion is an issue. Priority will be given to centres that: are working with young people for whom access and inclusion is an issue and who will use the grant to support them to pilot, embed or develop their Arts Award work with these groups. Click HERE.

Tight Modern 2016: Call for artists As Nicholas Serota joins Arts Council England as it’s new chair, it good to see that Tight Modern has a shout out for marginalised and disabled artists. 

Tight Modern is open to submissions from UK based marginalised and disabled artists. Don't miss the deadline for Tight Modern 2016 submissions - 30th October 2016. Open to UK based marginalised and disabled artists. Entries must be 13cmx18cm in portrait format, with a maximum depth of 2cm. You can submit original artworks, photography or computer generated images. You can find full details on how to submit work here and information on the fantastic cash, art materials and details are available by clicking on the image above.


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