Monday, 31 October 2016


What a time! 
That conference in Dubbo was just about as goods it gets.
A chance for socially engaged artists to take stock, share and expand horizons.
I’ve been overwhelmed by my immersion into the realities of First Nation politics and arts practice. I realise I’m not even scratching the surface. Thank you to all of you who shared your thinking and for those very positive responses to my work. It means a lot. Thank you for your invitation Elizabeth.

(I know I've drawn you in with the offer of genitals this week, so please hang on in there, and I promise we'll discuss them very soon...)

This was an opportunity to set up the tanks on the lawn of the palace and fire some warning shots about the increasingly stagnating mono-cultural approach to arts/health. Yes we’re dong some good work, but the insidious platitudes of trussed up middle-England twerps needs scuppering.* As our movement evolves and engages with mainstream arts and cultural practitioners and organisations, we need to diversify. We need to take stock of all our good work, but be honest with ourselves about all our futures.

This conference has fired me up with new ideas and introduced me to some profound and important stories. Great meeting like-minded people who are bound by a commitment to cultural change (albeit in different contexts). It was reassuring to speak to so many people who had not only heard of our Gross Brexit Stupidity, but who were horrified by it, seeing those unfolding ramifications. 

So my key-note to conference suggested that we take a salutary look at ourselves and ask; are our organisations and institutions who are leading this work really representative of contemporary society? A recent audit of national and international organisations advocating on behalf of the arts/health community found them to be devoid of diversity, and like your ruminating blogger - middle aged and white. Change is needed. Of course I took a swift pop at the chops of the doyens of happiness, by way of heroin, ecstasy and the social poison of choice - consumer products. 

If any Australian readers fancy hearing me present, Weapons of Mass Happiness, come along to the Arts Gallery of New South Wales to the 8th Annual International Arts and Health Conference organised by the Australian Centre for Arts and Health. Thank you Margret for making this happen.

Finally - on the Australian front for now - I am guest of the University of New South Wales and exploring OCD for a new piece of action research that I'll share at a festival in 2017. Thank you Jill for that! Much, much more on that very soon...

The Genital Touch:
Understanding male cancers past and present      

Wed 23 Nov 5.30 – 7.00pm      
Manchester Central Library

Today, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, although this has not always been the case. For International Men’s Day on 19 November, join two expert speakers to find out more about the diagnosis and treatment of male cancers past and present. Agnes Arnold-Forster (Kings College London) explains the connections made between cancers and manhood in the nineteenth century, while Dr Ian Banks (President of the European Men’s Health Forum) will look at how understanding men and cancer is a public health concern today. This is a free event and all are welcome to attend!
Please register your name HERE.

(so, the genitals header may have seemed a little glib - it wasn't - it is a serious as it gets. This is important - so spread the word)

Examining the utility of music interventions for children with learning disabilities
Monday 28th November

Music is a source of stimulation and of reflection for everyone and for all time. The use of music to soothe a troubled mind reaches back into the distant past: David the shepherd played his harp to calm the moody King Saul. In modern times, music is provided to children affected by a range of conditions such as autism or chronic neurological disorders - but do we have the evidence of benefit which stands scrutiny? The topic of arts interventions in medicine, following many years of arts/music activities for children with learning disabilities in hospitals and homes, has come under increased research scrutiny in recent years. 

Live Music Now has for years been promoting and organising professional musicians in special schools, hospitals, hospices and residential homes for the disadvantaged in society, principally for the young with disabilities and for the elderly, has won awards for its activities and is actively involved with projects to demonstrate the positive effects of such music interventions in improving health. This is the second conference organised jointly by Live Music Now and the Royal Society of Medicine. Click HERE.

Community Radio Fund to Opens for Applications

Telecom's Regulator Ofcom, has announced that the Community Radio Fund has re-opened for applications. Funding is available to not-for-profit radio stations that have a social purpose, and work to involve their target community in running the service. Funding will be available to Community Radio Stations towards their core running costs. These can include:
Management costs
Administration, financial management & reporting costs
Fundraising to support the station
Community outreach work
The costs involved in using volunteers; etc.
There was no upper limit of grant that can be applied for, however applicants are asked to take note of previous grants awarded for an indication of realistic award figures. Grants can only be made to community radio licensees which are broadcasting under a community radio license (and not an RSL, for example). The average grant awarded over the last few years has been in the region if £15,000. The closing date for applications is 5pm on the 16th November 2016. Read more HERE. 

GALAXY Hot Chocolate Fund 
Food manufacturer, Mars has announced that its GALAXY Hot Chocolate Fund will re-open for applications on the 7th November 2016. Every week, until 26th February 2017, the Fund will be looking to help local community groups, schools and charities across the UK and Ireland by awarding five £300 cash awards a week. Organisations and groups can enter online via Each organisation can only enter once. Four of these will be awarded by a judges' panel. There will also be a People's Choice Award every week which will be awarded to the entry with the most votes in any given week. Read more HERE. 

Ashley Family Foundation Extends Application Deadline 
The Ashley Family Foundation, which supports projects that protect rural communities and encourage participation in the arts, particularly textiles has extended the application deadline for its grants programme to 5.30 pm on the 18th November 2016. The Foundation's policy is to give half of the funds available to Welsh projects and it will give priority to good small scale arts projects in England and Wales. The Foundation also welcome proposals from small scale community textile museums/organisations. No minimum or maximum funding levels but potential applicants should call to discuss their ideas before applying. Read more HERE. 

BIG launches £40 Million Youth Investment Programme 
The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has announced that it is accepting applications to it new £40 million Youth Investment Fund. The Youth Investment Fund will support voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) youth organisations to deliver, expand and create high quality local youth provision in targeted communities across England. Successful applicants will have funding available up until 2020. Funding of between £50,000 and £150,000 per year is available for up to 3 years within six geographical clusters (West Midlands Urban, London East, Tees Valley & Sunderland, Bristol & Somerset, Eastern Counties and Liverpool City Region), will need to have a strong track record of delivering services to young people aged 10-18 (up to 25 if disabled) and have an annual income in the region of £300,000 to £2 million. In addition, to ensure that the size of the funding is proportionate to the size of the applicant's organisation, BIG would also expect the average annual grant to be no more than 25% of the annual income. BIG anticipate funding in the region of 60-75 applications within the targeted areas. The closing date for applications is 5pm on the 11th November 2016. Read more HERE. 

BBC Children in Need main grant programme 
The next closing date for applications to the BBC Children in Need Main Grants programme is the 13th January 2017. Grants of over £10,000 per project are available to not for profit organisations that work with young people who are experiencing disadvantage through:
Illness, distress, abuse or neglect
Any kind of disability
Behavioural or psychological difficulties
And / or living in poverty or situations of deprivation.
Schools can also apply for funding but the project must be additional to their statutory duties. 
Read more HERE. 

*For the purpose of this blog posting, (and blog posting in general) I'm looking for a short-hand to describe this insidious sort, but find myself resorting to long-hand instead. So let's lance the boil, get it of the chest. I’d like you to imagine a preposterous little man. A dullard, a glassy eyed and self important business man all dressed up in his ill-fitting suit, talking the part, walking the walk - but devoid of experience, talent or vision. A deluded middle manager and ephemeral piece of fluff - an unoriginal sort, riding on the backs of others more talented. Strutting and self important - fixated on the BIGGEST, the BEST, the FIRST.
From now on, the shorthand - Trevor Jolly - the pompous pillock.


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