Friday 8 July 2022

An institution run by clowns...

Not quite the end of Johnson yet...
I baulk at the arrogance of Johnson and his self-serving supporters in parliament. Good riddance. Who do we have to replace him? - former Health Secretary, the rather privileged Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt, (pronounced like Strencham Service Station on the M5)! Well, Hunt has a book out! Remember him? - the favoured politician of sickly arts n health events for ‘decision makers’ back in the day; the Health Secretary who wanted to strip out the NHS section of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. This is the same man who pledged to increase the NHS workforce, a workforce that on his watch, instead shrivelled to numbers lower than before his term in office - and who made an oh-so innocent error with his expenses and was found ‘in breach of the rules’ when he was rumbled. How dare he cash in on the pandemic, when the party he stands for (and wants to lead) is governed by immoral and criminal clowns.

I’m trying to remember what happened to the guy who succeeded Hunt? - Oh - I remember, that cherubic faced ‘Randy’ Hancock - who left his job in disgrace for breaking lock-down rules, yet I see he was a speaker at a UCL recent event singing the virtues of low-cost arts interventions as part of social prescribing, yet again. It seems that the arts and health community is a key part of his rehabilitation! Good grief. But back to Hunt and his book-flogging, doesn’t he realise the pandemic isn’t quite over just yet - if he’d just take a look further than the white cliffs of Dover! His new book is called Zero: Eliminating unnecessary deaths in a post-pandemic NHS. I’m barely able to contain my bile over this disreputable lot, so here’s a pithy comment, taken from a well balanced review of his book, by the palliative care doctor, Rachel Clarke.

“Political choices, in short, are causing avoidable deaths here, now, in every NHS hospital in the country. Hunt knows this yet chooses not to voice it. Presumably he still has one eye on Downing Street. And that’s the thing about candour. You can’t credibly advocate total transparency while dipping in and out of being candid when it suits you. A true patient safety champion would lead by example, speaking out about all kinds of patient harm, including those inflicted by their party in government.”

Tory Scorn for the Arts Spells a Second Dark Age
There was a wonderful (if depressing) opinion piece by Stewart Lee last weekend - in which he lanced the pustule that is Dominic Rabb and his recent attack on Angela Rayner for going to the opera. The print version of the article was called Tory Scorn for the Arts Spells a Second Dark Age. You can read it online HERE.   

The BIG Arts Council England job in arts/health
Having only recently stepped into this role, the recent incumbent leading on all things arts/health at Arts Council England has flown the coup, so a rather splendid job is on offer. Read on...

Director, Creative Health and Change Programmes
Can you inspire others to make change happen?  Do you have senior level skills and experience in public policy and project delivery? We have an opportunity to direct the Arts Council’s work in creative health and change projects in line with our strategy Let’s Create.  The role is a 50/50 split between: 
Implementing our ambition to support people’s health and wellbeing through cultural and creative activity. Leading cultural sector change projects to support Arts Council England’s ten year strategy “Let’s Create.” 

This is a full-time role, and it comes with a salary of £54,593 per annum and some excellent company benefits. To succeed in this role, you will be a strategic thinker and entrepreneurial in your ability to form partnerships and attract resources.  You will adapt quickly to new challenges.  You can demonstrate inspirational leadership skills and a strong track record of idea generation, project management and delivery at a senior level. You will also need to be familiar with the public policy landscape and understand processes of change within society and organisations. 
For further information about this Director, Creative Health and Change Programmes role, or to arrange an informal conversation, please get in touch with Arts Council England at
Full details are HERE.   

Celebrate the birth of your baby with dazzling beams of light!
An extraordinary public art event at The Factory will mark every new arrival in Manchester and Salford this January. So if you're expecting a baby in January 2023 the Manchester International Festival would love to hear from you. All the details are HERE.    

Closer to home, there’s a wonderful freelance commission on offer with Contemporary Visual Arts Network North West (CVAN NW) with a £13k fee and an application date of the 21st July. They are recruiting a Creative Producer exploring the role of visual arts in developing Health & Wellbeing in the region! What a superb opportunity! 
Full details HERE.  

I recently wrote a thought piece on - well - on - amongst other things, tokenism in arts/health and Derek Jarman. Read it and weep. It was in the regional newsletter and you can fin it HERE or by clicking on the sublime Jarman image above.

Creativity & Wellbeing Week
I know many weeks have passed since this glorious week of arts and health activity, but what a treat it was this to see so many parts of the country embracing the arts as part of a health and social change agenda! From my own immunocompromised-isolation, I had the real pleasure of venturing out to hospital! But miracle of miracles, it was to visit LIME Art who were holding a three day festival in the grounds of the Manchester Hospitals site, just off Oxford Road. This cracking event was focused on the workforce of the NHS and centred around a large performance space under an open tent. It was just wonderful to hear the stories of the workers, who’d been taking part in the work that LIME have been quietly delivering through the pandemic. For my part, it was lovely to share some words/film/sound with people, and feel something of the burgeoning possibilities of this creative/health renaissance across the region, and in the wider world too. You can see lots from the festival HERE.  

CALL OUT: Outside In is now accepting submissions for its 2023 National Open Exhibition, which has the theme of ‘Humanity’ and will be the first to tour venues across the UK. Showcasing artworks by 80 Outside In artists, it will open at Sotheby's, London, in January 2023, before heading to Project Ability in Glasgow and Brighton and Hove Museums at the end of 2023. The first prize will be a solo exhibition for the winning artist. Full details are HERE.  

Nanking reticulated basket, c. 1750, mended with metal staples

Recruitment Open: The Repair Works
Participation recruitment for The Repair Works is now open
Register your free place here for Autumn 2022 
The Repair Works invites participants to explore the relationships that exist between Kintsugi, recovery from substance use and artistic acts of self-repair, and to creatively apply these ideas to individual journeys of recovery.  

Participation is open to people who live in Salford, Trafford, and Bolton. Priority is for those in substance use recovery, but is also open to family, friends, and significant others. We recognise that addiction impacts all and others are entitled to their own recovery. Full details and registration HERE.  

If you know of anyone who may be interested in registering for the project, please share this page and/or contact Claire:
 Cody Dock (Climate, 2021)

Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance Awards 2022
The CHWA Awards 2022 are live!
Deadline: 5pm, Sunday 31 July, 2022
Although the world and life as we know it has changed since we launched the CHWA 2020 Awards in the winter of 2019, we and our partners believe that the themes of collective power (partnership), practitioner wellbeing and climate are ever more relevant and important. We also recognize that we cannot go forward without addressing the connections between our work and health and cultural inequalities – and specifically the impacts of racism.  During the pandemic, we have seen the culture, health and wellbeing sector respond with creativity, imagination and kindness to meet global crisis, local need and individual loss. As partnership and collaboration have driven innovation and greater reach, the need systematically to support wellbeing across the sector, respond to the climate and ecological emergency and its relationship with global and local inequalities is becoming clearer. We were looking for projects, organisations and people who led the way through lockdown or are learning from this challenging time to build a better future. The categories are: Climate, Collective Power and Practising Well. Share your imaginative & innovative responses to the collective challenges we face...
Find out more and apply HERE.    

Masters in Arts, Health & Social Change
People constantly ask me why I left Arts for Health, and it’s a tricky one to answer, but safe to say, my even trickier health problems were the catalyst. Bodily frailties force our hand and make us consider what’s important. Do remember Arts for Health was, for a long time, the brain-child of Peter Senior and a completely independent organisation to MMU. When I took over, it was already very much part of the university - and for me - being part of a large institution, tended to draw me away from the heart of the work, which for my part is about social change and the factors that influence all our lives. So, it’s been a year since I left the university and right here, right now - I’m focusing on what’s important.  

The amount of inquiries I get about the MA, Arts, Health & Social Change is quite something, so first of all - thank you! It means a lot that so many of you are interested in new ways of exploring the space between culture and inequities and ultimately, social justice, while simultaneously challenging the ‘normal’ ways that higher education delivers a relevant post graduate offer. Now here’s the tricky bit - I’d written this masters with my colleague Helen Felcey, and during my heady period of sick leave, the MA metamorphosed into Design for Health and Wellbeing. Here's course leader, Professor of Design Kristina Niedderer, who you can see in the promo video HERE. She says, “Promoting health and wellbeing have become even more important since the COVID-19 pandemic…Design can help in so many ways, including the design of PPE, the delivery of wellbeing-related activities, as well as services, products and environments.”

It is certainly a very different direction from the one I was taking, and I had no part in the new design-focused course, so I am unable to answer questions or advocate for it. Thanks everyone for letting me know the short film advertising the original course is still online HERE as are my staff profile page and the old Arts for Health website, like ghosts in the machine! Still, you can you can compare and contrast, not least how ridiculously lined my forehead is!

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