Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Post-Conference Issue

This last couple of weeks has seen a number of conferences and events and this Mon - Weds I had the great pleasure of attending the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference, Bristol. Thank you Alex C and your wonderful team. It was superb to catch up with good friends and meet new people in the field. Lord Howarth of Newport shared some highlights from the forthcoming report of the APPG inquiry into arts and health, which will have its public launch here at the Manchester School of Art on July 21st. If you’re interested in attending register your name via email HERE. Remember, I’ll not be confirming precise details for a couple of weeks. Below is full footage of Alan Howarth's illuminating and passionate speech. It's taken on my phone, so excuse it's quality.

This all takes place as arts and culture joins heritage and tourism under the remit of first-time minister John Glen. Arts and culture have been separated from the creative industries in a restructure of ministerial responsibilities at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in a move criticised as ‘downgrading’ the importance of the arts and the creative industries. Salisbury MP and first-time Minister John Glen who it appears does or not support gay rights. Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson said: "Arts and culture should broaden our horizons and help us embrace tolerance and diversity.” Glen came under fire in 2012 for his links to a Christian charity that sponsored an event that allegedly discussed a “cure” for homosexuality. He has also been criticised for his remarks about food banks in a Channel 4 News interview in 2011, in which he reportedly said people using them “had a choice” if they didn’t spend money on other things.

Let us watch this man closely. He is accountable to us.

Do I want to do a run down of highlights of the conference? Well not in any detail - the blog would be too long. The work of Blood Sugars was superb - and we need to know more about work from other countries - diversity is everything on our increasingly gated island. Some of the break-aways were just excellent, and I was proud to chair some wonderful examples of practice. I spoke a little around Greater Manchester and Devolution - and in truth - it helped me consolidate my thinking a little. Thanks FW for your always insightful thoughts. 

Vic McEwan and I had the onerous task of giving the final conference plenary - onerous - why so? Well the three days were scorching hot, and that last session always see’s people sloping off after they’ve done their bit, so we were thrilled to see a large hard-core of arts and health people still in the room. THANK YOU. It saw us sharing work around the Harmonic Oscillator which will be on exhibition in TATE Liverpool between 26th June and 1st July. Vic and I will be reprising our presentation at a free public forum on the afternoon of Thursday 29th and a few tickets are available HERE.

You can find out a little about this work by clicking on the image above. A few times at the event, I heard people beating themselves up over questions of measurements around the value of arts and health, and it was unsurprising to see that the Great Quantifiers and Up-Scalers had scuttled off by the time it came to our presentation, where with the help of Sylvia Plath, Julian Barnes and John Berger I hopefully tempered the often inappropriate desire for a bio-medical understanding of the arts and offered some cultural nuance, and in the words of Berger, a suggestion that some of these comparative methodologies are ‘equally absurd.’ This was an extract from my new work, Critical Care which will be published in September and the small film below is a teaser of the same, which will be shared in full with Vic at the Tate this Thursday.

On July 4th I’m very excited to be sharing Artist as Inspiration - Artist as Researcher at Kilkenny Castle as part of the Butler Gallery’s International Conference, Arts & Dementia: A European Perspective. So I’ll be sharing work from Dementia & Imagination and looking forwards to it. Click on the flyer below to register.

Woman to Woman
Rosa the UK Fund for women and girls has launched a new funding round of the "Women to Women" Fund. Local women's organisations across the UK are able to apply for grants of up to £25,000 to support a wide range of projects that benefits women. This can include: Building confidence and leadership skills, Tackling harassment and violence; etc. Rosa plans to support at least 100 local grassroots women's organisations across the UK and the grants are available for groups with an income of under £100,000 per year. Rosa especially wants to support groups that work with disadvantaged communities or in disadvantaged areas. Grants can pay for core work, as well as mobilising volunteers, leadership development, communications and advocacy. There are two stages to submitting an application to the Woman to Woman fund. To apply for a grant applicants will first need to complete the stage 1 application. The deadline for stage 1 applications is 5pm on the 6th July 2017. Read more HERE. 

The Elephant Trust
The Elephant Trust has announced the next deadline for applications is the 9th October 2017. The Trust offers grants to artists and for new, innovative visual arts projects. It aims 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 given to artists and small organisations and galleries making or producing new work or exhibitions. The Trust normally awards grants of up to £2,000, but larger grants may be considered. Read more HERE.

Artists International Development Fund 
The next application deadline for the Arts Council England's Artists International Development Fund is the 13th December 2017. This funding stream is for artists to develop links with artists, organisations and/or creative producers in other countries. Freelance and self-employed artists can apply for small grants of £1,000 to £5,000 to spend time building these links to broaden your horizons and open their work to other perspectives. The programme is open to emerging and mid-career artists working in combined arts, literature, music, theatre, dance, visual arts and crafts and design. Applicants must have received recognition for their work in England and not have extensive international experience. The application must also include a letter of support from the overseas partner/host. Read more HERE.


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