Monday, 30 December 2019

Almost another year...

First things first. I hope 2020 is a grand year for you and regardless of the impending political discontent and unfolding climate catastrophe, that you find some peace and love in your corner of this world. This dear old blog will be going through changes very shortly, but in the tradition of postings to date, here are some events, opportunities and thoughts for the new year.

Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance
This little old blog began as the mouthpiece of the North West Arts & Health Network in 2007 and with some modest funding from Arts Council England, enabled me to work with communities around the region to facilitate small and large events. Following an event called North West Frontier in 2009, which I hosted with Richard Parrish, then CEO of the Royal Society of Public Health, we began to work collectively. It was at this event that we crafted the first iteration of the Manifesto for Arts & Health, which in 2011 we published with passion and which in part, influenced the National Alliance for Arts, Health & Wellbeing’s’ National Charter (though both things were distinctly different). As the regional representative for the new Culture Health & Wellbeing Alliance, I’m really keen to nurture and support new blood in the arts and health field, and as someone who wants to transition slowly out of the role, I’d really like to mentor someone living/working in the north west, who is committed to this fast developing agenda, particularly somebody from an under-represented group or community. The key is - passion - and a belief that the arts (in all their forms) have the potential to influence the factors that underpin health and social change. The Alliance don’t pay a wage for this, but expenses are paid. More very soon – but good to mull over.

Bud Petal - "Sydney" from Bud Petal on Vimeo.

A Master’s in Arts, Health & Social Change
I’m very thrilled to have a brand-spanking-new master’s programme (full and part time) accredited and due to commence in autumn 2020. Big thanks to HF for your work on this with me. Please note that this course puts people at its heart – as artists, citizens and activists. We very much hope this will be a counter-blast to some of the more turgid and prescriptive courses on offer, equipping participants for the real world – placing both social determinants of health and the global climate catastrophe at its core. As a starting point, we acknowledge that individual and environmental health are inextricably connected – and that culture is a force for social change. You can see me speaking very briefly about it by clicking on the bizarre image below and the programme draft outline is available HERE. The course brochure is at the publishers and will be online too very shortly.

As recoverism continues to thrive across the arts, health and voluntary sector, Professor of Social Research at UCLAN, Ali Roy, will deliver his inaugural lecture on 22nd January at 4:00pm in Preston. His lecture is intitled, Recovery Stories in Art and Social Research. He comments: “In this lecture I begin by exploring the relatively recent move to a recovery orientation in drug policy in England, setting it in the context of a longer history of policy. I explore the idea that recovery is a ‘policy story-line’ which privileges particular ideas about solutions to drug problems and I argue that this policy move has created new troubles for some of those who use drugs (Needham, 2011).” 

“I introduce a series of arts and social research projects which in different ways have sought to explore recovery, considering the potential of these different approaches for generating detailed and contextualised understandings of the subject. I conclude by arguing that understandings of recovery benefit from careful consideration of people’s everyday lives, hopes and struggles and that there are serious tensions between the policy story-line and the everyday stories of people who have problems with drugs.” For full details and registration, click HERE. 

Footnote #1 - That crescent moon has been a beautiful presence in the winter sky over these frigid nights, its shimmering mass just present. Last night it hung fast under spectacular flouncy, orangey crimson clouds - a beacon through dark days. Then in the cold grey of a fresh day - flying north, high wild geese fill my eyes with warm salt tears.

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