Friday, 17 January 2020

a little ray of sunshine. . .

The Festival of Brexit.
As culture continues to be offered up as the answer to all life’s problems, it’s heart-warming to read that the great ape of little England politics has set out his plans for the £122m Festival 2022 - now widely described as the Festival of Brexit. Its director (or is it PR man?) Martin Green comments: “On a very basic level, we are probably due a bit of joy and hope and happiness, and art is really good at that.” OK - we get the gist - art’s really good on a basic level, feeding the masses their quick hit doses of happiness and subduing any potential social disarray.  Yes - “let’s celebrate our insular nationalism as institutions fall apart around us, because the wealthy love art and need more of it to spend their undeserved wealth on*.” Let’s remind ourselves too that the 2012 Olympics cost over £11billion and to which the tax payer contributed over £3billion! As funding cuts to our schools continue and hospitals and social care continue to be in disarray, (despite all those sound bite electioneering promises) we just carry on masking systemic inequalities. You can bet your bottom dollar that there’ll be a significant ‘wellbeing’ quota in this festival - and there’ll be a bun fight over funding, but isn’t it more important than ever to really get to grips with those austerity induced factors that undermine people’s health - and whatever ‘wellbeing' might be?

Lime Arts Pop-Up Expo
Lime is excited to be presenting for public display artworks produced during our 2019 ground breaking Artist in Residency Programme at the Central Manchester Hospitals, which included printmaking workshops, ward based printmaking activities, music, film, animation and drawing to engage, support and increase the well-being of NHS staff and patients. NHS staff have enjoying using Lime Art’s new on-site hospital print making studio and also benefited from ward-based workshops with artist/ printmakers in Residence Jacqui Symons, Lisa Clare, Louise Wilde and Collette Whittington and collaborating guest artists and musicians. The programme has involved using the process of printmaking to explore; the nurses experience, reduction of associated stress in patients prior to elective Caesarean, and storytelling to access the imagination for young people accessing long term mental health services.

The exhibition + pop up gallery was officially opened by Manchester Universities NHS Foundation Trust Chairman Kathy Cowell on Monday 20th January 2020 in St Mary’s Hospital Atrium. If you need any more details, just email:

Masters in Arts, Health & Social Change
For those of you who may have missed the earlier posting about this, this is the new masters that I have established at Manchester School of Art (MMU) alongside my colleague Helen Felcey. You can find full details HERE. You can watch the very brief film above to give you a taste!

Dementia & Imagination Impact Questionnaire - we need your help (but no pressure)
We would like to find out what impact the Dementia & Imagination (D&I) project has had on people's understanding of arts for dementia and on their practices in this area. One of the outputs from the project was the 'Yellow Book' (aka "Dementia & Imagination: Research Informed Approaches to Visual Arts Programmes"). We are using this survey to help us find out more about what (if anything) people took away from reading it. If you have read it but not for a while and would like to refresh your memory, please click HERE to remind yourself before returning to this survey. Likewise, if you have not read it but are interested in doing so, please follow the same LINK and read the book before returning to our survey. (If this is the case, you might have to respond to some of our questions more speculatively.) This is the SURVEY LINK.

That little ray of sunshine
(or footnote #3)
Over the last month or so I have found myself unexpectedly inhabiting what Susan Sontag described as the kingdom of the sick. Here's her quote in full - it's still spot on by my thinking: 

“Illness is the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”

So as your blogger becomes 'a patient' for some time - these pages may offer an outlet of sorts: please bear with me - as it could cause offence! My first observation from the GP's, clinics and hospitals of my dear little city, is the foul and lazy wallpaper covering of local 'artist' Chas Jacobs. Good god - it's everywhere this stuff. Sentimental idealised fictions of the places I know and which bear no relevance to anything, yet these childish pastiches are consumed hook line and sinker. Does it really offer salve in the waiting rooms of our most worrying moments? I wrote about it some years ago under the pithy title, In Praise of the Ugly Bastard. Subtle eh? You can find it HERE and by scrolling down the page!

More soon(ish).

*Correspondence with an unnamed rogue.

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