Saturday, 22 February 2020

The Deepest Shade of Green

This weeks blog offers a bumper harvest of excellent things and personal piffle. Enjoy.

Performing Medicine have announced an Open Programme of courses, open to all healthcare professionals and students. The five courses, running from April-July, will draw on techniques from the arts to offer practical, positive techniques to manage the physical and emotional demands of working in healthcare. Each is delivered by an expert artist-facilitator and co-designed with those working in healthcare to ensure that the content is relevant and useful to their working lives. 
Book now: HERE  
Read more about the Open Programme in this blog piece from Performing Medicine Director Suzy Willson: HERE 

Outside In And Fabrica Announce Call Out For Summer Exhibition -
Look Closer, Think Bigger

Outside In and Fabrica gallery, Brighton, are excited to announce an opportunity for two Outside In artists to exhibit at Fabrica in July 2020. The theme of this exhibition ‘Look Closer, Think Bigger’ is large and miniature artworks and we are inviting artists to submit artworks that fit into either of these two categories.
The exhibition will explore extremes of scale by creating small intimate spaces to display miniature work, contrasted with large artworks that resonate with Fabrica’s unique setting, a former Regency church in the heart of Brighton. As well as challenging perceptions of what types and sizes of artwork should be displayed together, this exhibition will also highlight why and how artists choose to work with scale, including how the space that artists have access to  create work may influence the size of the work they are able to produce.The two selected artists will each receive £1000 for exhibiting their work in the exhibition. There will also be a travel budget to support artists to visit Fabrica.
Applications can be made and further info is available by clicking HERE or on the image below. 

For further information please contact Cornelia Marland on  01273 381311   or email

Saolta Arts and Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture in partnership with Galway University Hospitals and Saolta University Health Care Group presents…
The Deepest
Shade of Green
Inspired by a 2006 publication by patients of Merlin Park University Hospital, in which older people shared their knowledge of the Irish landscape and its customs, The Deepest Shade of Green explores the importance of connecting our hospitals with the natural world outside and of listening to and learning from those who use them. Nature and familiar landscapes of the West are brought into the wards, corridors, and waiting rooms of Saolta’s hospitals and used to imaginatively escape the clinical environment.

Newly commissioned works include a song cycle by Ceara Conway, shared as a series of intimate performances for patients and as an album incorporating recordings of hospital equipment, plants, and the tools of sound healers. Deirdre O’Mahony creates an online audio-based artwork using a scripted voiceover and ambient recordings made in Saolta’s catchment areas to evoke the particular character of the West of Ireland. Sarah Fuller and Manuela Corbari collaborate to lead young patients and their families through an enchanting garden of stories, combining puppetry, storytelling, and shadow theatre in a tour of Saolta’s paediatric settings.

Offering to transform the experience of hospital, The Deepest Shade of Green brings Galway 2020’s cultural programme to the people, and to the people who stand to gain most from it. Find out more on there website and see some of the participating projects HERE. 

Image: Viriditas – Ceara Conway, 2019
Bridging the Gap
Bridging the gap between Arts and Play for Health and Wellbeing in Research, Policy and Practice. 

Over the last decade there has been a burgeoning interest in the benefit of arts and play for our health and wellbeing. However, despite evidence that shows the arts and play to have close connections in how they contribute to and achieve health outcomes for children and adults, there has been a dearth of action to encourage knowledge-exchange between these fields or to understand how the processes across these interventions may be similar. This conference aims to address this gap, encouraging shared learning and asking critical questions that will support us to move forward in arts and play with new-found insight. 

Call for abstracts
This is a free and creative conference and we are open to creative modes of sharing your ideas. We are offering 20-60 minute slots which can be filled with spoken or poster presentations, workshops, or group activities

When is it taking place?
Wednesday 9th September (9.15am - 6pm) and Thursday 10th September 2020 (9.30am - 5.30pm)

Where is it being hosted?
Chrystal Macmillan Building, The University of Edinburgh, 15a George Square

For all the details you need click HERE. 

Bill Drummond
Short Wave, Long Wave (or footnote #6)
As I recently slipped into the haze of technological explorations over my precarious health, one particular day really sticks in my mind, for somewhat obvious reasons. It was a day of full skeletal surveys and to round it off, an hour and a half in the MRI scanner. Now that’s quite something. Working with Vic McEwan at Alder Hey, I’d got within a reasonable distance of the outrageous honking and horn blasting of this particular machine, which he had so deftly transformed into a thrumming and worrying soundscape. The personal journey into one, however, with intravenous, silly kinky hospital gowns and all the paraphernalia of internalised fear, transforms that sound into a cacophony.

Prepared for this, I’d gone along in the understanding that a set of compliant headphones would be provided, and I could bring along CD’s to play. What - no vinyl? In truth, so much I have is now on a laptop, so taking a punt, I downloaded the Flaming Lips (to cover up any noise), Max Richter (to help me sleep - yeah right) and anything else that was on the USB. On arrival they told me it would be fine, so prepped and ready, I was slipped inside the white tube, loose fitting headphones ominously lolling from my head. I could hear tracks starting and stopping, skipping and then just before the first sonic blasts from the MRI began, and a voice announced - ‘don’t worry if you feel like your wetting yourself, it will pass’ - the tones of a long forgotten album by Prefab Sprout frontman, Paddy McAloon began to sparkle in my ears. An obscure little thing written when he was losing his sight (which I understand has been restored) and called I Trawl the Megahertz, spoken by Yvonne Connors and quite sublime. But then the waves of sound overwhelmed the song and I succumbed to the pounding noise, with odd words glimpsed in the pauses of technology: ‘all day her voice is balm’ - ‘carcinogenic threat’ - ‘so what if this is largely bravado?’ - ‘trains are late, doctors are breaking bad news, but I am living in a lullaby.’ You can hear this song by clicking on the photo of Paddy below.

But as I slip into this intermittent and almost violent soundscape, I am taken back to that time in the belly of a Scottish mountain, where Vic and I had indeed travelled with the precious cargo of another’s beating heart. Like pilgrims on some fantastic voyage, plunging into the inky depths of that great hidden chamber created to hide Britain’s oil resources for the Fleet between the wars. It was through that tunnel and into that black void I experienced more fear and euphoria than I can describe, as we shared the personal recordings of Elisha’s heart - a subterranean and ethereal thing that danced and flickered beyond what we understood of time and place. It will remain one of the most profound experiences of my life. Now, back in this white tube, I felt humbled and small in these shifting memories and let the foghorn mantra of the machine do its job. 

Watching the film Bait recently, I found some of the imagery utterly beautiful. A camera shot of a boy sorting out fishing nets on the beach, shot directly into the costal sunset; romantic and so hardwired into my own childhood - an unexpected rose-tinted mirror. It reminded me aesthetically of the high dive sequences from Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia (1936), beautiful but poisoned by history, and imagery which I'm considering in my 'provocation' around inequalities for the forthcoming CHWA conference in March. Then in a break between the storms this last week, I was at a local place I love so much, hunkered down in a green lichen covered cove as the wind howled off the Irish Sea - the tide was high, and the cool winter sun hurt my eyes.

Somehow, it all gets tangled up in transience; climbing through the belly of that mountain, precious cargo's and the flickering filaments of scientific exploration - an intoxicating and enormous blur - delicate sub-atomic particles caught on an eternal breeze. 

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