Thursday, 16 November 2017

dates for the diary 2018

Welcome to the North West Arts & Health Network blog where your regular blogger is on research leave and thus, there are fewer regular postings than normal!

Two exciting things for the New Year so open your diaries and pencil them in if you're interested!

Vic McEwan presents The Harmonic Oscillator
Many of you will have seen the Australian contemporary artist Vic McEwan, when he last gave a presentation at Manchester School of Art in 2016. Over the last few years, Vic has spent time at the Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, Alder Hey as guest of its arts coordinator Vicky Charnock and Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care Dr Jane Ratcliffe - to whom my warmest thanks.

During his time there he has been given unprecedented access to much of the hospital in an exploration of the sonic environment - not to resolve sound problems - but to respond as an artist to the acoustic environment, and produce a body of work informed by his experiences. For my part, I have taken time out to be with him on his numerous visits and to quietly observe his encounters and practice. The work has been deeply moving, and I have been privileged to be part of a process that has enabled me to reflect deeply and write a book about his work, the nature of artists working in places of trauma, and share a story of some of the profound moments in arts and health. My work is called Critical Care and was published in Australia and launched at the Big Anxiety Festival in Sydney in September and for those reading in Australia it's available at the Museum of Contemporary Art bookshop, Gleebooks, Abbey's Bookshop and the UNSW.

So Vic and I will be giving a public presentation of our shared work at Manchester's flagship cultural centre HOME, and launching the book and the Harmonic Oscillator EP with 4 compositions created from sounds recorded at Alder Hey.

When: 23 January

Time: 10:15 - 12:30
Where: HOME
It's a free event, but you'll need to register for a ticket HERE.

(please note, there are limited numbers and priority is given to North West Arts & Health Network members) 

Creative Health Revisited
I can confirm that on the 6th February at Manchester School of Art, I will be facilitating a follow-up event to the launch of Creative Health which we held here in June this year. This will be a free ticketed event, and you will be able to register your interest in attending later this month. The event will be between 10:30 and 15:30, will be participatory and will explore some of the recommendations in relation to the North West, Greater Manchester and Merseyside. We will have a specific focus on the social determinants of health, and I'll be pleased to welcome the reports author, Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbit who will present on the report and focus down specifically on the social determinants. We will have some special guests, and I very much hope that a number of you reading this blog might want to share your work, particularly if you believe your work in some way, might influence health and wellbeing across the life course. So pencil it in, and I'll post more before the month is through.

Sky Arts launches new Art 50 funding round (UK)
Sky Arts has announced the launch of a new Art 50 funding round. Art 50 is seeking applications from artists from all walks of life and from all genres to create a piece of work which says something important and passionate about what it will mean to be British when we leave the EU. Artists can be fearful, excited, angry or happy on the subject. Applications can be submitted by anyone including schools, colleges and arts institutions. Applicants can apply for up to £50,000 but the majority of awards will be made between £5,000 and £20,000. The closing date for applications is midday on the 12th January 2018. Read more HERE.

Thinking of all the pompous, jumped up narcissists in the philanthropic world of arts and health right now (ok, they come and go, but how tedious are they when they're in the spotlight), here's a rapid edit of an old presentation called Fiction, Non-Fiction from 2013.

Disabled Artist Residency Opportunity
Bursary: £12,000 for 6 months starting January 2018
Application Deadline: Midnight 30 November 2017; Interviews: 19 December 2017
This is an artist residency opportunity for disabled artists (who identify as disabled people or have long term health conditions) who currently work or would like to develop their practice in the public realm. We are inviting applications from contemporary UK-based disabled artists with a collaborative, participatory approach to produce a contemporary art project that addresses and challenges perceptions of disability in Mid Rhondda.  The Equalities Act defines disability as: “A physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities".

Taking place between January and July 2018, the project will be led by the appointed artist’s practice but must seek to critically engage with the specific context of Mid Rhondda and with individuals / communities / groups in the area in seeking to address and challenge perceptions of disability. The details of this engagement are open to development and may range from conversations / dialogue to making, performance or other forms of production.  The artist will develop the format and outputs of the residency over an initial Research & Development Phase in January – March 2018.

It is expected that the residency will culminate in an event / exhibition / production to share the content and outcomes of the residency, the format of which will be developed through the residency and in collaboration with the project participants and partners.  The residency activity must take place within the Mid Rhondda area, which includes the areas of Tonypandy, Trealaw, Penygraig, Clydach and Llwynypia. The artist will be supported and mentored by Addo and Disability Arts Cymru. For a full brief and details of how to apply, please click HERE.

Drawing On Strengths
Creating a prototype of an arts-based asset audit tool for people in receipt of a dementia diagnosis
London Arts in Health Forum is collaborating with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust to explore the role the arts can play for people immediately after a diagnosis of dementia. The aim is to commission a visual artist to create a new tool (using anything from drawing to digital applications) which will help people to map the positive aspects of their lives and to record, using visual means, the positive aspects of their lives. At the same time, we are researching what arts activities are already being employed for people in the period immediately following a dementia diagnosis.

Call out for artists and designers 
An artist is needed to help create an imaginative mapping tool that allows people to respond to the news of a dementia diagnosis by focusing on the current strengths and resources available to them in their lives as they face an uncertain future. Though a shared examination of what they feel best supports them to live well, the tool will allow people to feel more prepared, aware and reassured following what is commonly experienced as a debilitating and frightening diagnosis.

This is a partnership project between Mersey Care and London Arts in Health Forum that will explore the ways in which the arts can help people in the period immediately following a diagnosis of dementia. The successful candidate will be able to spend time shadowing Mersey Care’s existing post diagnostic support sessions and to then devise a tool for use in these sessions to help people to acknowledge and become more aware of the social and community assets in their lives.

A fee of £2400 will be awarded for work carried out between December 2017 and February 2018. This project is funded by The Creative Health and Wellbeing Hub, (AHRC). The closing date for applications is December 4th. For more information on this brief, click HERE.

+ Research call out
Alongside the artist intervention, a researcher is looking more widely at existing applications of arts based interventions in the period immediately post diagnosis. Little is known about the range and scale of arts interventions at this stage. We are looking for any organisations or individuals working in this area to get in touch if they have information about how they work creatively with people in this immediate post-diagnosis phase. Please contact

Arts and Cultural Practice in Green and Blue Spaces
This survey is trying to capture arts practice that is specifically engaging with issues of ecology, biodiversity, geographies and uses of green and blue spaces.
The survey is part of the research project “Green Infrastructure and the Health and wellbeing Influences on an Ageing population (GHIA)”. This is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council under the “Valuing Nature Programme”You can read about the project HERE. The project aims to better understand the benefits and values of urban green spaces to older people and how these spaces can be an important part of healthy ageing in urban areas. We are working closely with older people as co-researchers to develop this programme and wish to engage with artists, organisations and facilitators as co-designers. Findings from this survey will form part of the written outputs of the project and will be used to inform future research in this field. All data will be anonymised prior to publication. Take part in the survey HERE.


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