Sunday, 22 April 2018

“nice and new and ‘smart!’”

Where do I begin..?
It’s been a few weeks since your erstwhile blogger appeared online, and now I come back at you with a bumper edition! But like I say - where to begin? A film from Arts for Health’s Champion, Maxine Peake: Chemical Attacks; the PM’s husband; a Dementia & Imagination road-trip and oodles more things. So, first things first - why the absence from blogging? Simple answer - work, and in particular finishing off a large and all-consuming monster, but which joyfully builds on the paper I wrote for Artlands 2017 - Weapons of Mass Happiness - which never felt more relevant to be honest.

And what with the chemical attack in Salisbury - on dear old Albion's soil! To be honest, being so close to Porton Down (which has featured here before) it makes me want to shout: 

‘What about the monkeys?’ 

Well to be more accurate, the thousands of mice, guinea pigs, rats, pigs, ferrets, sheep, and non-human primates who reside in Porton Down's bed and breakfast facilities! In a bleak and troubling feature, using data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act to explore the mind boggling amount of cash from the Land of the Free, who fund unseemly experiments on marmosets - Dilyana Gaytandzhieva writing exclusively for SouthFront - presents troubling data. Just don’t read the section on the experiments undertaken on the London Underground if you’re easily disturbed!

As they scrub up the town, I see Banksy is being “encouraged by council officials to make a cloak-and-dagger visit to Salisbury to brighten up the barriers being placed around sites contaminated in the nerve agent attack.” Yes - I’m sure that’s just the kind of thing he’d like to take on - decorating your hoardings! But hey - something he may be more interested in, are the screaming primates down the road. Now - some intervention around Porton Down would be interesting. Maybe if he digs a bit deeper, he might want to take on the husband and wife double act doing the comedy circuit - and I’m talking about real decision makers - not vaudeville arts and health horrors! 

Tom D. Rogers
writes online about Theresa May’s husband Philip, “who is a Senior Executive at a £1.4Tn investment firm [and] stands to benefit financially from the decisions his wife, the Prime Minister, makes.” Curious eh? Rogers astutely points out the huge conflict of interest this represents, particularly as the company Mr May is a Senior Executive of, is “Capital Group, an Investment Firm who buy shares in all sorts of companies across the globe – including thousands of shares in the world’s biggest Defence Firm, Lockheed Martin”. 

Rogers points to Investopedia, which suggests that “Philip May’s Capital Group owned around 7.09% of Lockheed Martin in March 2018 – a stake said to be worth more than £7Tn at this time”.

 We all know that Theresa May took the decision to take military action on Syria without wider parliamentary consultation in response to an apparent chemical attack on the city of Douma. Remember Turmp’s tweet: “…because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!”, well Rogers suggests that the air strikes, “saw the debut of a new type of Cruise Missile, the JASSM, produced exclusively by the Lockheed Martin Corporation,” with every JASSM used, costing more than $1,000,000. Rogers point is simple, the air strikes on Syria have “hugely boosted Lockheed Martin’s share price when markets reopened on Monday, Philip May’s firm subsequently made a fortune from their investment in the Defence giant”. Talk about an immoral conflict of interest!
As Steven Poole points out in his critique of May’s use of the word ‘normalise’:

“Like everything else in the world, our own bombs are also made of chemicals, and they blow human beings up, but they are defined as “conventional” weapons and therefore unobjectionable. Only the worst kind of cynic, indeed, would suggest that the only weapons allowed to be “normalised” are those we sell to other countries.”

Perhaps a Banksy has never been more needed - but not for some dim-witted decorative effect - but to give vent to our seemingly impotent anger at such appalling day-to-day outrages.

New data protection laws and our North West Arts & Health Network
Over the years that I’ve been facilitating events and keeping up this blog in the name of a loose  collective of like minded people across the region, the size of the database which I maintain is groaning under the weight of its membership. With just under 5000 people signed up, but at the very least, 20% bounce-back from my round-robins (both out of office and people moving on) it’s becoming untenable to mange and time to change. So over the next month, all those people on the database will receive an email from me asking to confirm that you still want to receive regular updates. Bounce-backs and non-replies will be removed from the list. Of course, all of you who live further afield are more than welcome to be part of this community, but just be sure to respond to the email. Many thanks. The newly formed Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance will be appointing its new director shortly, and this will be a welcome addition to our arts and health community of interest. 

The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change
I am very excited that in June we will be formally launching The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change, and bucketloads of information will be shared over the next couple of months. For those of you who were involved in earlier events at Manchester School of Art and particularly at Culture & the Arts as Social Determinants of Health in February, I am pleased that Maxine Peake will be the cultural champion of The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change. Below is an edit of the longer film she recorded for us. Enjoy.

Dementia & Imagination goes on the road...
Over the next few months some of us involved in the Dementia & Imagination research project will be going on the road sharing learning and offering some artist training for people wanting to develop their practice. Our first port of call with The Imagination Cafe, will be in Llandudno this week at the Mostyn, with training led by Chris Lewis-Jones. I'll post details of the London and Edinburgh events on this blog soon.I'll be at the Mostyn on Tuesday 24th April helping frame Chris' work through the Yellow Book, so if you're living and working in North Wales and are interested, do come along.

Please send events, opportunities, conferences and work opportunities for inclusion on this blog to:  

The next posting will include details of the next Live Well, make Art event in Wigan (22 May); the next Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance meeting (9th May); A Life More Ordinary (17/18 May); The National Alliance of Musicians in Healthcare Conference (4th June) and a very special guest at the Manchester School of Arts to explore ideas around The Big Anxiety Festival on 6th June.

Youth Music's grants programme
Arts Council England is to invest £38.6 million of funding into Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people in challenging circumstances, between 2018 and 2022. Each year, Youth Music funds around 350 music-making projects nationwide, reaching more than 75,000 children and young people. This work supports the musical, personal and social development of children and young people, as well as developing positive outcomes for the organisations it invests in and their workforce by funding diverse, creative and inclusive music-making projects wherever they’re needed most. Youth Making's funding programme is made up of three separate funds:
Fund A offers small grants (£2,000 to £30,000) for high quality music-making projects.
Fund B offers medium-sized grants (30,001 - £100,000 per year for up to two years) for larger programmes of work.
Fund C offers grants (£100,000 to £160,000) for strategic programmes to help embed sustainable, inclusive music-making across a local area.
Click HERE.

Innovate UK supporting game-changing ideas 
Innovate UK has up to £15 million to invest in great ideas for new innovations in a range of technology and business areas. Projects must work on disruptive ideas that could lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others in the field. They can range from short feasibility studies to longer industrial research or experimental development projects. There must be a potential for commercialisation or economic impact.
 Click HERE.

Zadie Smith on Shame, Rage & Writing

Pink Ribbon Foundation Grants 2018 
Grants of up to £5,000 to UK charities which relieve the needs of people who are suffering from, or who have been affected by breast cancer or who work to advance the understanding of breast cancer, its early detection and treatment. Higher grants may be awarded if the trustees feel there is a special reason to do so. Any charity working in the field of breast cancer can apply for a grant. The funding is being provided by the Pink Ribbon Foundations. Applications from general cancer charities must demonstrate that the grants requested will be applied to benefit those affected by breast cancer. Where applications relate to general services, details must be given of how many (and what proportion) of the total number benefiting from the charity's work are affected by breast cancer. The closing date for applications is the 31st May 2018. Read more HERE.

CAN is seeking to recruit an Executive PA
Salary: £18,000-£22,000 per annum depending on experience. A company pension scheme is available after the six month probation period.
Deadline: 30th April
Community Arts North West (CAN) is a leading national organisation in the field of participatory arts, migration and social change. CAN’s work aims to create expression and visibility for the diverse people and artists based in the region through dynamic partnerships and inspirational programmes of work. CAN is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and a Manchester City Council Cultural Partner. We’re looking to recruit an Executive PA to join our talented team at our city-centre base, in the thriving Northern Quarter of Manchester city centre. As a new full-time post, this is an exciting opportunity for a highly-organised individual to work closely with CAN’s Executive Director to ensure smooth running of many aspects of the company’s business. This will include: responsibility for office management; monitoring of the company’s work and data collection; maintaining and updating the CAN website and social-media; as well as various elements of company administration including supporting event-management and reporting to our core funders.
 Deadline 30th April. Click HERE.


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