Wednesday, 28 October 2020


 ...well at least it got your attention! More of that further down the page, but it does involve two new jobs, so do keep on reading. First things first.

Exposed: Special procurement channels for ‘VIPs’ and Cabinet contacts
Here's an extraordinary exposure of dodgy dealings in a time of covid by the Good Law Project, who I'd never heard of but who've been flagged up by flagged up by NS to whom my thanks. Here's an extract:

'Leaked documents seen by Good Law Project set out special pathways by which “VIP” and “Cabinet Office” contacts could be awarded lucrative PPE contracts at the height of the pandemic – and at inflated prices.

Lord Bethell, a junior Health Minister, promised that “suppliers will be evaluated by Departmental officials on their financial standing.” But questions arose over how enormous contracts came to be awarded to dormant or new entities and those of dubious financial standing including:

  • PPE Medpro won two contracts worth over £200m to supply PPE to the NHS. The £100 company, set up by the former business associate of Conservative peer Baroness Mone, won the contract just seven weeks after it was set up.

  • SG Recruitment UK Limited, a staffing agency, won two PPE contracts worth over £50m, despite auditors raising concerns about its solvency. Tory Peer Lord Chadlington sits on the Board of its parent company, Sumner Group Holdings Limited.

  • P14 Medical Limited, controlled by former Conservative Councillor Steve Dechan, who stood down in August this year, was awarded three contracts worth over £276m despite having negative £485,000 in net assets.'

if you are rightly outraged, click HERE to read the full article. 


Twenty Second Hand Wash
Loop from the Hiroshi Teshigahara film: The Face of Another - 1966.
Sound, Ryoji Ikeda -1111011111 from the album, matrix - 2001

Who Cares, We Care -
Oh yes we do!

The virtual North West Arts and Health event on the 16th November, in collaboration with the Culture Health & Wellbeing Alliance, is all about care this year - who cares for artists - who cares for health workers - and how do we care for each other? 

While we hear plenty of politicians spouting on about care - what do they really mean, and what's the action they take. From Trump to Johnson and most politicians in between go about modelling abusive behaviour as their bread and butter - what hope is there? We hope - lots. So sign up HERE and join members of this arts and health community alongside poet Jhilmil Breckenridge,  visual artist and LENS NW Champion Sue Flowers, LPM Dance (George Adams and Helen Gould), digital artist Shanali Perera, Clive Parkinson, Dancer Susie Tate, founder of In Place of War, James Thompson and Director of Manchester Museum, Esme Ward. So, lots to discuss and let's get some conversation flowing.

Branching Out by Ruth Flanagan

The Alliance website is crammed with interesting and very useful things at  the moment, so I urge you to check it out HERE. This month it includes a call-out to recruit for Directors! to join The Lived Experience Network (The LENs) of the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance - click HERE for details.

Report on a conversation: Evaluating remote or online creative activities during the pandemic
Dr Karen Gray and Jane Willis provide us with some new food for thought.
'Changes in approaches to evaluating creative activities for arts, health and wellbeing delivered remotely or online during COVID-19 have been prompted by increased flexibility from funders and the continuing desire to find appropriate, accessible and sustainable ways to access participant experience. Creative practice has shown itself capable of adapting at speed in response to Covid-19. In this context, evaluators and arts organisations and practitioners are also asking: “How do we use existing forms of evaluation without being limited by them?” They are reflecting on how participatory and creative approaches to evaluation might support its integration into project delivery, make participants feel more like people and less like data, and enable access to participant voices, authentic stories and experience.' Want to know more? - click HERE. 

One for Sorrow...
...Two for Joy. I wonder how many of you are old enough to remember the 1970's children's programme Magpie? Well, that little tune and nursery rhyme that it stemmed from were one of the influences on Vic McEwan and I when we began planning an event two years ago in 
Wagga Wagga, Wiradjuri Country. Well, time has played some strange tricks on us, and the event which originally planned to run for three days in a theatre in the city and explore the troubling area of suicide has inevitably been impacted on by covid and my own inconvenient health problems. Anything remotely performative in a theatre became untenable, as did any travel for me. But Vic has been working towards a collaborative performative event with a socially-distanced audience. Under the header One for Sorrow, Two for Joy commissioned for Art State 2020 he'll be sharing new work that includes a community choir, a narrative contribution by a wonderful community elder and a small sound/film piece by me that touches on walking and thinking over the last year and some reflections on what it is to be alive, here and now.  

Image: Melanie Manchot, Twelve (The Bronson Monologue), 2015, courtesy the artist and Parafin, London

Earlier this year Portraits of Recovery (PORe) secured two years organisation development funding from Arts Council England’s Elevate scheme. PORe is now seeking to appoint a Business Development Support Administrator and Digital Marketing Coordinator for K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid). If you want to have more details, or apply for either post which has a closing date of 5pm 22nd November, click HERE.

Always experimental, always relevant - a new work developed by arthur+martha - Whisper to me alone - is unfolding over twitter right now - pandemic epic by people who've been homeless or vulnerable. The CV-19 story is told in poems, songs & artworks, composed over the phone. @whisper2mealone

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