Sunday, 30 June 2019

A big welcome to Clare Devaney

I’m thrilled to welcome Dr Clare Devaney to the Arts & Health team. Clare is an experienced researcher, strategist and communicator and a strong advocate for socially engaged practice. She is founding Director of Citizen-i Ltd, a platform for citizen-led research and civic innovation. As a Research Fellow with the Royal Society of Arts, she led its “Heritage, Identity and Place” between 2014-7 and its “Citizens and Inclusive Growth” programmes in 2017. You can find out much more on her personal website HERE. Over the next 12 months Clare is working with me on the development of the Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change and associated collaborations. Great things ahead.

Steven Poole's word of the week in the Guardian focus on a word familiar to all of us in the arts/health community - Craftivism. Poole describes how: “The online knitting and crochet platform Ravelry banned patterns for MAGA hats and other pro-Trump creations that, it said, promote “white supremacy”. Could this be an example of what is known as “craftivism”: the use of crafts to advance a political agenda?” Read on HERE. This is one for Sarah Corbett and the Craftivist Collective to embrace.

From Western Australia this week, a small film from DADAA (Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts, Australia) and artist Patrick, a 32 year old Aboriginal man who was born with Down Syndrome. The short film above, gives you a taste of his work and the way DADAA continue to support artists reach new heights. Great stuff and wonderful as ever to see DADAA thriving.

Assisted dying in Victoria
As the state of Victoria in Australia embraces Assisted Dying, it is great to see intelligent and considered responses from the Palliative Care community. In his own words, Dr Will Cairns who “is on the verge of retirement from his medical career, first as a GP, and subsequently as a specialist in palliative medicine,” writes HERE.

World Destruction
As the leader of the ‘Free World’ begins circling Tehran in preparation for implementing his next self-appointed global policing policy, (land-grab) and our silly little island prepares to anoint its own affable, charismatic, popularist (but far more machiavellian than the good old British public are prepared to accept) ‘leader’ - your blogger clings on to anything remotely positive in this world.

Women with Moustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity
I came across a remarkable book by Afsaneh Najmabadi, called Women with Mustaches and Men without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity (2005). It sheds light on notions of male and female beauty under the Qajar dynasty (1785 – 1925) in her native Iran. At the beginning of that period, male and female ideals of beauty were remarkably similar. In a lecture to accompany the book, Najmabadi revealed images of women with “heavy brows and faint moustaches – considered so attractive that they were sometimes painted on or augmented with mascara – and young beardless men with slim waists and delicate features. In 19th century portraits of lovers, the genders are barely distinguishable, identified only by their headgear.” This is completely fascinating work and the image below is from the photo archive of the Institute for Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies and shows two Qajar women standing as a couple. The bilingual website SharheFarang focuses on collecting, documenting, and presenting visual material from Iranian daily life and culture. 

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