Saturday, 7 January 2017

John Berger or Jeremy Hunt? ...just a thought

John Berger
There’s been enough coverage of the death of John Berger this last week, and this blogger can’t compete with the press coverage, so just an acknowledgement that he was an important (not perfect) presence in our cultural landscape this last 60 years or so. Yes - Ways of Seeing was his seminal work, but for me the less hyped A Fortunate Man offers us (you and me) a way of thinking, being and doing that should illuminate a more nuanced way of understanding the arts and health.

On his Booker Prize winning in 1972 - the fact he gave 50% of his winnings to the Black Panther Party was just perfect. In his acceptance speech he’d drawn attention to its sponsors, Booker McGonnall, who had generated much of their wealth, from 130 years of trading in the Caribbean. "The modern poverty of the Caribbean is the direct result of this and similar exploitation," he said. On the Black Panthers, he explained, "the black movement with the socialist and revolutionary perspective that I find myself most in agreement with in this country.” He kept the other half to work on a study of migrant workers with photographer Jean Mohr. Double prefect.

“The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied … but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.”
John Berger

Jeremy Hunt - to bury or to praise?
With our dear old NHS in meltdown and the Red Cross declaring the state it's in as a 'humanitarian crisis,' the Government must take the blame, with it's culture of competition over compassion. At Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said on Friday that it was investigating two deaths at Worcestershire Royal Hospital's A&E department in Worcester in the last week a patient died after suffering a cardiac arrest on an A&E trolley within the department after waiting 35 hours for a ward bed elsewhere in the hospital. Something is rotten at the heart of politics and Jeremy Hunt should be called to account and not lauded as some patron saint of arts and health.

“Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. S/he must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognise it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the running to spread the truth among such persons.”
Bertolt Brecht in 
Writing the Truth, 1935

For those of you who missed the last two weeks blog postings, if you have the inclination to scroll down, you’ll come across all sorts of unimaginable horrors including archive footage of arts/health narcissists, tempered by the delights of Alan Bennett and Pauline Boty and rounding off with gouttes anti-odeur de merde! Not to be sniffed at - go on - scroll down - give it a look!

Ragdoll Foundation Open Grants Scheme 
The Ragdoll Foundation's Open Grant scheme supports not for profit organisations working with children and young people using the arts and creative media. Grants of up to £50,000 are available. However, the Foundation states that the majority of grants awarded are likely to be in the region of £5,000 to £20,000 and cover between 25% and 80% of total costs of the project. The Foundations is mainly interested in applications that involve children during their early years, but appropriate projects for older children (up to 18 years) will also be considered. Whilst the Foundation will fund work in and around London, they will prioritise projects taking place elsewhere in the UK. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Read more HERE.

Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity Grants 
The next deadline for applications to the Wallace & Gromit's Children's Charity is the 20th January 2017. The Charity provides grants to registered charitable hospitals and hospices across the UK to enhance and enrich the quality of life of sick children in hospitals. Read more HERE.

Lloyds Bank Foundation
The Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales, which provides funding to charities for projects to help people break their cycle of disadvantage, has announced that its "Invest" grants programme will re-open for applications on the 3rd May 2017 and will close on the 16th June 2017. “Invest" is a flexible, long term core funding programme for charities helping disadvantaged people. “Invest” grants are from £10,000 up to maximum of £25,000 per year for two or three years, with the opportunity for continuation funding for a further period - up to six years in total. Invest grants fund core running costs such as rent, heating, lighting and management costs etc, as well as project delivery costs such as salaries, recruitment, volunteer expense and training, etc. The Foundation also runs a smaller "Enable" programme which provides grants of up to £15,000 for up to 2 years for activities relating to organisational development such as leadership and governance, improved systems and demonstrating outcomes. Applications to the "Enable" programme can be made at any time. Read more HERE.

Question of the week: What is a sop?  
Answer: A thing of no great value.


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