Monday, 6 May 2019

Surrounded in Nothing but Love

'X was sleeping rough last night, came in here soaking and shivering. You can’t solve all of people’s life problems but you can give them a chance for just being. Just sitting and being. That’s what I saw him do today in the workshop, he was writing a poem, but also sitting quietly with his thoughts. Looking around a little, listening. Being a person*.'

I could write reams about the constantly evolving work of
arthur+martha but the words of the people they collaborate with are far more revealing. Click HERE for their latest blog posting. *Karen, project worker at The Booth Centre

Artists Practising Well... a new research report by Nicola Naismith, which focuses on the topic of affective support for creative practitioners working in participatory arts in health and wellbeing. The report has been prepared with a wide readership in mind: creative practitioners, arts commissioners, organisational leaders, funders and policy makers. The research is informed by the experiences of creative practitioners working in arts for health and wellbeing, collected via an online survey. Want to know more? Click HERE.

The Age of Creativity Festival... 
...celebrates the extraordinary range of Age Friendly creative and cultural work taking place across England and reaches out into our community to help more people get involved. On May 2nd the Festival held an opening event at The Whitworth and across May there are lots of events happening across the UK. You can check out their website HERE.

I was really pleased to be involved in the event last Thursday and deeply impressed by the broad range of thinking - particularly by the lovely group of people I spent much of the day with as we explored how attitudes to ageing might evolve and how culture and the arts might play a critical part in that evolution. I’d been asked by the festival organiser Farrell Curran, to be one of three people providing ‘provocations’ on the day - so not providing simple answers to complex problems - but getting people thinking. I’ve been asked to share the provocation I made, and it’s got a voice-over on this online version. I can publish the text too, but perhaps not on this blog. It’s short, sweet and just a tad bleak - but hey - what the hell.

For my part I get a little tired of dimming down, so I wanted to explore some of those broader political and environmental factors, while at the same time thinking a bit more abstractly and not avoiding the darker issues we try not to engage with (and are right in front of us, in plain sight). Wonderful to see the skills of different artists capturing the day and particularly Leslie Thompson who with a clear eye and deft hand rendered something of the humour, edge and diversity of thinking. One of his images is above this text and you can find out more about his stunning work HERE. More compelling than any work be an artist rapporteur
 that I've seen. Below is my very short provocation: Cold Dark Matter.

Artist Training around Young People and Mental Health
42nd Street are delighted to be offering a one day training course for artists working with young people experiencing mental health issues.
Training content
- Understanding common mental health issues experienced by young people

- Risk assessment & management when working with young people
- Barriers to engagement for young people and how to address them
- An exploration of the relationship between the facilitator/ artist and the mental health professional /organisation during project delivery
This free event will sell out, so hurry. Click HERE.

Can We All Keep Ourselves From Being Crazy?
'Because so much in our society shares with Trump an appetite for hyperreality rather than reality and is so deeply entrenched in spectacle, spin and celebrity and armored within the illusions of personal autonomy, we are now incapable of pulling back the curtain and exposing the Wizard as a sham.'

Here's an extract for a cracking piece of writing by Joseph Natoli at counterpunch. Superb and succinct. Read it HERE. 

Selfie #1 (institutional malaise)


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