Sunday, 22 April 2018

“nice and new and ‘smart!’”

Where do I begin..?
It’s been a few weeks since your erstwhile blogger appeared online, and now I come back at you with a bumper edition! But like I say - where to begin? A film from Arts for Health’s Champion, Maxine Peake: Chemical Attacks; the PM’s husband; a Dementia & Imagination road-trip and oodles more things. So, first things first - why the absence from blogging? Simple answer - work, and in particular finishing off a large and all-consuming monster, but which joyfully builds on the paper I wrote for Artlands 2017 - Weapons of Mass Happiness - which never felt more relevant to be honest.

And what with the chemical attack in Salisbury - on dear old Albion's soil! To be honest, being so close to Porton Down (which has featured here before) it makes me want to shout: 

‘What about the monkeys?’ 

Well to be more accurate, the thousands of mice, guinea pigs, rats, pigs, ferrets, sheep, and non-human primates who reside in Porton Down's bed and breakfast facilities! In a bleak and troubling feature, using data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act to explore the mind boggling amount of cash from the Land of the Free, who fund unseemly experiments on marmosets - Dilyana Gaytandzhieva writing exclusively for SouthFront - presents troubling data. Just don’t read the section on the experiments undertaken on the London Underground if you’re easily disturbed!

As they scrub up the town, I see Banksy is being “encouraged by council officials to make a cloak-and-dagger visit to Salisbury to brighten up the barriers being placed around sites contaminated in the nerve agent attack.” Yes - I’m sure that’s just the kind of thing he’d like to take on - decorating your hoardings! But hey - something he may be more interested in, are the screaming primates down the road. Now - some intervention around Porton Down would be interesting. Maybe if he digs a bit deeper, he might want to take on the husband and wife double act doing the comedy circuit - and I’m talking about real decision makers - not vaudeville arts and health horrors! 

Tom D. Rogers
writes online about Theresa May’s husband Philip, “who is a Senior Executive at a £1.4Tn investment firm [and] stands to benefit financially from the decisions his wife, the Prime Minister, makes.” Curious eh? Rogers astutely points out the huge conflict of interest this represents, particularly as the company Mr May is a Senior Executive of, is “Capital Group, an Investment Firm who buy shares in all sorts of companies across the globe – including thousands of shares in the world’s biggest Defence Firm, Lockheed Martin”. 

Rogers points to Investopedia, which suggests that “Philip May’s Capital Group owned around 7.09% of Lockheed Martin in March 2018 – a stake said to be worth more than £7Tn at this time”.

 We all know that Theresa May took the decision to take military action on Syria without wider parliamentary consultation in response to an apparent chemical attack on the city of Douma. Remember Turmp’s tweet: “…because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!”, well Rogers suggests that the air strikes, “saw the debut of a new type of Cruise Missile, the JASSM, produced exclusively by the Lockheed Martin Corporation,” with every JASSM used, costing more than $1,000,000. Rogers point is simple, the air strikes on Syria have “hugely boosted Lockheed Martin’s share price when markets reopened on Monday, Philip May’s firm subsequently made a fortune from their investment in the Defence giant”. Talk about an immoral conflict of interest!
As Steven Poole points out in his critique of May’s use of the word ‘normalise’:

“Like everything else in the world, our own bombs are also made of chemicals, and they blow human beings up, but they are defined as “conventional” weapons and therefore unobjectionable. Only the worst kind of cynic, indeed, would suggest that the only weapons allowed to be “normalised” are those we sell to other countries.”

Perhaps a Banksy has never been more needed - but not for some dim-witted decorative effect - but to give vent to our seemingly impotent anger at such appalling day-to-day outrages.

New data protection laws and our North West Arts & Health Network
Over the years that I’ve been facilitating events and keeping up this blog in the name of a loose  collective of like minded people across the region, the size of the database which I maintain is groaning under the weight of its membership. With just under 5000 people signed up, but at the very least, 20% bounce-back from my round-robins (both out of office and people moving on) it’s becoming untenable to mange and time to change. So over the next month, all those people on the database will receive an email from me asking to confirm that you still want to receive regular updates. Bounce-backs and non-replies will be removed from the list. Of course, all of you who live further afield are more than welcome to be part of this community, but just be sure to respond to the email. Many thanks. The newly formed Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance will be appointing its new director shortly, and this will be a welcome addition to our arts and health community of interest. 

The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change
I am very excited that in June we will be formally launching The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change, and bucketloads of information will be shared over the next couple of months. For those of you who were involved in earlier events at Manchester School of Art and particularly at Culture & the Arts as Social Determinants of Health in February, I am pleased that Maxine Peake will be the cultural champion of The Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change. Below is an edit of the longer film she recorded for us. Enjoy.

Dementia & Imagination goes on the road...
Over the next few months some of us involved in the Dementia & Imagination research project will be going on the road sharing learning and offering some artist training for people wanting to develop their practice. Our first port of call with The Imagination Cafe, will be in Llandudno this week at the Mostyn, with training led by Chris Lewis-Jones. I'll post details of the London and Edinburgh events on this blog soon.I'll be at the Mostyn on Tuesday 24th April helping frame Chris' work through the Yellow Book, so if you're living and working in North Wales and are interested, do come along.

Please send events, opportunities, conferences and work opportunities for inclusion on this blog to:  

The next posting will include details of the next Live Well, make Art event in Wigan (22 May); the next Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance meeting (9th May); A Life More Ordinary (17/18 May); The National Alliance of Musicians in Healthcare Conference (4th June) and a very special guest at the Manchester School of Arts to explore ideas around The Big Anxiety Festival on 6th June.

Youth Music's grants programme
Arts Council England is to invest £38.6 million of funding into Youth Music, a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people in challenging circumstances, between 2018 and 2022. Each year, Youth Music funds around 350 music-making projects nationwide, reaching more than 75,000 children and young people. This work supports the musical, personal and social development of children and young people, as well as developing positive outcomes for the organisations it invests in and their workforce by funding diverse, creative and inclusive music-making projects wherever they’re needed most. Youth Making's funding programme is made up of three separate funds:
Fund A offers small grants (£2,000 to £30,000) for high quality music-making projects.
Fund B offers medium-sized grants (30,001 - £100,000 per year for up to two years) for larger programmes of work.
Fund C offers grants (£100,000 to £160,000) for strategic programmes to help embed sustainable, inclusive music-making across a local area.
Click HERE.

Innovate UK supporting game-changing ideas 
Innovate UK has up to £15 million to invest in great ideas for new innovations in a range of technology and business areas. Projects must work on disruptive ideas that could lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others in the field. They can range from short feasibility studies to longer industrial research or experimental development projects. There must be a potential for commercialisation or economic impact.
 Click HERE.

Zadie Smith on Shame, Rage & Writing

Pink Ribbon Foundation Grants 2018 
Grants of up to £5,000 to UK charities which relieve the needs of people who are suffering from, or who have been affected by breast cancer or who work to advance the understanding of breast cancer, its early detection and treatment. Higher grants may be awarded if the trustees feel there is a special reason to do so. Any charity working in the field of breast cancer can apply for a grant. The funding is being provided by the Pink Ribbon Foundations. Applications from general cancer charities must demonstrate that the grants requested will be applied to benefit those affected by breast cancer. Where applications relate to general services, details must be given of how many (and what proportion) of the total number benefiting from the charity's work are affected by breast cancer. The closing date for applications is the 31st May 2018. Read more HERE.

CAN is seeking to recruit an Executive PA
Salary: £18,000-£22,000 per annum depending on experience. A company pension scheme is available after the six month probation period.
Deadline: 30th April
Community Arts North West (CAN) is a leading national organisation in the field of participatory arts, migration and social change. CAN’s work aims to create expression and visibility for the diverse people and artists based in the region through dynamic partnerships and inspirational programmes of work. CAN is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and a Manchester City Council Cultural Partner. We’re looking to recruit an Executive PA to join our talented team at our city-centre base, in the thriving Northern Quarter of Manchester city centre. As a new full-time post, this is an exciting opportunity for a highly-organised individual to work closely with CAN’s Executive Director to ensure smooth running of many aspects of the company’s business. This will include: responsibility for office management; monitoring of the company’s work and data collection; maintaining and updating the CAN website and social-media; as well as various elements of company administration including supporting event-management and reporting to our core funders.
 Deadline 30th April. Click HERE.


Thursday, 15 March 2018

...enter the void

This last week I have had the great pleasure of being the guest of the artist, Professor Yutaka Moriguchi in the Department of Cultural Design at Kindai University in Osaka. It’s been my first visit to Japan and not without some deep fascination at a culture so rich in tradition - quite alien to my own - I have been quite hypnotised. With the generous support of The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation we are establishing an exchange programme between Japanese and UK art and design undergraduates exploring health and wellbeing, alongside the preparation of a large-scale research programme between the two countries. I have been very honoured to be invited to be part of this work and will be reporting back on the Arts for Health website in due course. Thank you to all of you who made my time in Japan so rich, and your generous hospitality.

Whilst I’ve been away, the formal launch of the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance took place in Birmingham. This alliance brings together the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing with the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing and involves 50 leading organisations. The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance is a new national English organisation that will advocate for the work, provide training, resources and events, and develop understanding of how participating in cultural activities can help individual and community health and wellbeing.

As a free membership organisation it will work closely with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing to bring about a step change in policy and delivery and aims to focus on a strong regional infrastructure to support development and progress in the field. The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance is an Arts Council Sector Support Organisation, joining the National Portfolio of Organisations. To find out more about this work (and apply for the director position) please click on the new logo above. For those of you already engaged in the North West Arts & Health Network, please note that the new alliance aims to complement and support our agenda.

As the arts and health landscape evolves and grows in the UK, things in Finland are changing too, but then, the Finns have been doing extraordinary work in the field for years. It seems like only yesterday that I welcomed both Kirsi Lajunen and her colleagues from Arts Promotion Centre Finland, alongside Yutaka Moriguchi and a contingent of fifteen people from Japan, and my friends Ieva Petkute and Simona Karpavicute from Lithuania- all to to be part of 2020+ one of our free North West Arts and Health events. Subsequently Dr Kat Taylor was awarded a Churchill Travelling Fellowship and has spent some serious time in Finland exploring the arts and mental health, and you can read about some of her extraordinary work on her blog HERE.

Director of LIME Arts Dawn Prescott will be guest of Kirsi Lajunen speaking at an event about her work in healthcare environments at the Hospital of Espoo in Finland very shortly, and of course, as reported previously the connections between Arthur & Martha and their collaborative project with Ieva and Simona, exploring homelessness and called Sing Me to Sleep remains one of the most profound examples of social arts practice I’ve experienced, particularly as this work culminated in two exhibitions and people affected by homelessness travelling between Lithuania and the UK. So too, we’ve seen Julie McCarthy from 42nd Street and Stuart Webster from BlueSCI sharing their practice in Vilnius. Unexpected and surprising relationships form from these free events, some local, some international, but all exploring the fruitful possibilities of collaboration, learning and human exchange.

The heart of arts, culture and well-being in Finland
Taikusydän is a multisectoral coordination and communication center for activities and research among the broad field of arts, culture and well-being. Its aim is to make arts and culture a permanent part of well-being services.

Taikusydän encourages different actors to cooperate with each other. It launches a researchers´ network, joining together research in universities and other institutes. Taikusydän promotes proposals for actions suggested in the closing report of the national Art and Culture for Well-being programme 2010–2014. Over recent years, there has been increasing recognition that arts and culture have an important part to play in improving the health and wellbeing of people. Several studies have shown that experiencing the arts and culture may increase a sense of wellbeing and transform the quality of life for both individuals and communities. The unique role of the arts promoting, for example, social welfare, community engagement, participation in civic life, and improving living environments has been acknowledged. Research evidence has been gained to show the effectiveness of arts interventions in hospitals and other healthcare settings. By supplementing medicine and care, the arts can improve the health and welfare of people who experience mental or physical health problems. To find out much more, click on the wonderful image above.

As a young chap, I undertook a night class in my home town of Lancaster, and got an A-Level in sociology. It was quite revelatory for me, to insert some academic discipline into my otherwise empty head. This was where I was first introduced to sage figures like Durkheim (suicide) and the experiments of Rosenhan (THUD) that would go on an influence my thinking around what I do today. An essay I wrote at the time, was concerned with the British pub - not as some boozed up sleaze pit - but as the last bastion of working class community cohesion. 

Seems old hat now I’m sure, but as the gentrification of pubs, cafes and accommodation seems to move apace, wouldn’t it be a good idea to do something different in one of these dying places? Might people in a community whose pub is dying a slow death, reimagine one of these places, by doing something profound - and beyond my limited imagination. But does it need to be beer on tap, or something altogether more novel - some social glue.

Funding for communities to purchase their local pub (England)
Communities in England looking to take responsibility for and ownership of their local pub, through purchase or long-term lease can now apply for financial support through the Community Pub Business Support Programme. A total of £3.62 million is available over two years and the support package includes business development support, advice and loan and grant funding. The financial support includes flexible bursary awards of up to £2,500 to fund pre-feasibility costs such as public consultation and valuations and combined loan and grant funding up to £100,000. The programme has been extended and is now open for applications until the end of March 2019. Read more by clicking on Bet or Rita below. 

Manchester Museum appoints Esme Ward as its Director
Esme Ward, who is currently the Head of Learning & Engagement at Manchester Museum and the Whitworth, said: “I am thrilled to be appointed the new Director of Manchester Museum. The vision to use its collections to promote understanding between cultures and a sustainable world could not be more timely or relevant.”
Esme will take up her new role at the Museum, the largest of its kind in the UK, on Monday 9 April, succeeding Nick Merriman. She says her career has been driven by a social purpose and longstanding commitment to make museums even more inclusive and relevant to a wider audience. These range from babies to people living with dementia.

It is something Esme wants to explore even further in her new role, adding: “I am hugely excited to lead the Museum at this critical time, build upon its excellent work to date and realise its potential as the UK’s most inclusive, imaginative and caring museum.”

Esme joined the Whitworth as its Education Officer in 1998 before becoming Head of Learning & Engagement across the Whitworth and Manchester Museum in 2010. In recent years she also worked alongside Maria Balshaw to transform the Whitworth and help it win Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2015. Esme also recently completed a year-long Clore Cultural Leadership Fellowship, including a placement with the Heritage Lottery Fund. Read more HERE.

I extend my personal congratulations to Esme who I am thrilled to be working with co-curating the arts/health strands of the World Healthcare Congress - 2019 and 2020. She is a great asset to Greater Manchester and the UK’s heritage and cultural sectors and has some strong values that we should all aspire to share. Superb news.
Arts Council England announces new £14.4 million fund to cultivate individual talent
ACE has launched Developing your Creative Practice, a new £14.4m fund specifically designed to support independent creative practitioners. The programme is unlike any other current Arts Council fund, because it will give practitioners time to work on ambitious and innovative projects, without the immediate pressure of showing their work publicly. Recipients will be able to use the funding to support periods of research, to develop new work and ideas, work internationally, and for training, networking or mentoring.

£3.6 million will be available annually for four years for Developing your Creative Practice. Applicants will be able to apply for grants from £2, 000 to £10,000 from 12 April 2018. Application guidance will be published on Tuesday 13 March, more information is available HERE.

Grants of up to £10,000 for projects helping disadvantaged & neglected children 
Not for profit organisations such as schools; registered charities; voluntary organisations; churches; and community interest groups; etc. can apply for grants of up to £10,000 per year for up to 3 years for projects that help children and young people overcome the effects of:
Illness, distress, abuse or neglect
Behavioural or psychological difficulties
Poverty and deprivation.
The closing date for applications is the 13th May 2018. Read more HERE.

Funding for library innovators re-opens for applications

The Carnegie UK Trust has launched the third funding round of the ‘Carnegie Library Lab' programme. The Library Lab programme is designed to support and develop innovation and leadership in the public library sector across the UK and Ireland. The Trust are looking for applications from individual library staff working in early and mid-management roles across the UK and Ireland. Successful applicants will work with the Trust as Carnegie Partners for 18 months (June 2018 and September 2019). Carnegie Library Lab offers participants financial support of between £5,000 and £15,000 for participants to:
Develop and deliver an innovative, practical project in their local library service
Exclusive access to a bespoke online learning programme to support innovation, leadership and skills development
Access to an external mentor to assist with project management and personal development
Networking events including face-to-face meetings and online platform
An external evaluation.
The closing date for applications is 5pm on the 5th April 2018. Read more HERE.  

...foot note! Whilst I'm away I see Doddy has died!! The man did five hour shows in his 80's for goodness sakes. Just to think, I was going to ask him to be a special guest speaker at the Arts and Health Suitcase/Exchange & Mart on 19th April. Hey Ho.


Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Space Between

Don't forget to put the Big Arts and Health Suitcase or EXCHANGE & MART in your diary for April 19th. I've had a lot of interest in people attending and contributing, so I'll set up a dedicated page for this very soon.
The blog posting prior to this one has the basic gist of it for you.

For those of you interested in the machinations of the National Alliance for Arts, Health & Wellbeing here are two pieces of news - one, its imminent metamorphosis and two, as a consequence of this, a cracking job for the right person! Read on below the little film...

Future Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance announced
The National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing and the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing are pleased to announce that from April 2018 we will be merging to become a new Sector Support Organisation, the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA). Funded by Arts Council England as part of the National Portfolio Fund 2018-2022, the new organisation will be led by Arts & Health South West. For further information see the press release HERE.

Evening launch event for Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance

On 13 March between 5.30-7.30pm there will be an evening event to launch the new Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Please note separate bookings will need to be made for this event and the conference. For more information and to book visit Launch invite 13th March. Click on the invite below.

DIRECTOR of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance

The Director of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance will be responsible for developing the organisation over the next four years, from its launch as a new Arts Council National Portfolio Sector Support Organisation to its establishment as an independent charity. Deadline: Midnight 25th March 

Hours: Part time, 3 days per week
Salary: £40,000 per annum pro rata
Deadline for applications: Sunday 25th March 2018

Interviews: Wednesday 25th April 2018, The Thackray Museum, Leeds.

The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance represents the merger of the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing and the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing to create a dynamic new sector support organisation that will build on our combined strengths.

The Director of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance will be an inspirational leader responsible for developing the organisation over the next four years, from its launch as a new Arts Council National Portfolio Sector Support Organisation to its establishment as an independent charity. 

The Director will have a strong track record of work in the cultural sector and experience of working successfully with health and social care. They will have passion, drive, commitment and integrity with a creative approach to problem solving and high level communication and negotiation skills. They will be enthusiastic about engaging with the many challenges that cross-sector working presents and be a passionate advocate for the benefits of the arts and culture for health and wellbeing. 

The Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance and its alliance partners are committed to being an inclusive employer that welcomes staff members from a wide variety of backgrounds. Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people, as well as disabled people, are currently underrepresented in leadership roles in the field of arts and health. We welcome and encourage BAME and disabled candidates to apply for this post. In compliance with the Equality Act, we offer a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled applicants who meet all the essential criteria. 
To obtain a copy of the latest version of the business plan email Alex Coulter, Director of Arts & Health South West, at 

Please submit a CV and letter of application explaining how you meet the person specification (maximum 1000 words) to Alex Coulter at by midnight on Sunday 25th March 2018. 
We welcome any general queries about the application process and would be pleased to provide the application pack in a different format. Please contact Alex Coulter at or on 07973 345967. Full details HERE.

Report on the benefits of music for people living with dementia
New research by ILC-UK’s Commission on Dementia and Music, ‘What would life be – without a song or a dance what are we?  examines the existing offer and the future potential for using therapeutic music with dementia. The findings indicate that listening to music helps tackle anxiety, depression and agitation among people living with dementia.  Whilst recognising the budgetary constraints of local authorities and clinical commissioning groups, given the number of people living with dementia is expected to reach one million by 2025, the report recommends increased funding and more research into the cost effectiveness of such programmes.  The report also calls for a dedicated music and dementia task force, a campaign to raise awareness of the value of music interventions and a national database of local provision for people living with dementia. Download full report HERE.

SpareParts 2018 Jobs & Artist Call

Are you passionate about helping to transform the cultural landscape in the North of England? SpareParts is an outdoor arts festival dedicated to all things transport, travel and motion, and who are seeking an experienced Programme Manager, Participation Manager and a range of Artists to join the team that delivers 3 festivals in Sandbach (22nd April), Crewe (7th July) and Fleetwood (15th July). 

Programme Manager 
Deadline 28th February

Participation Officer 
Deadline 2nd March.

Artist call out 
Deadline 28th February.

Richard Creme
Some of you might have attended the opening of Richard Creme's solo show at Manchester School of Art in May 2012. This week, it is with much sadness that I hear Richard has passed away. My very best thoughts to his close family and I very much hope we will be able to mark Richard's incredible life, his huge contribution to Manchester cultural life and fashion, and of course his extraordinary and beautiful art that he only started to produce in the years since he had a stroke. For now, below there's a taste of the exhibition in this little film made by the Stroke Association, and hopefully there'll be something more substantial to celebrate his life, very soon.  

Funding to support artists & bands (England)
PRS for Music Foundation has announced that the next application deadline for the Momentum Music Fund is 6pm on the 29th May 2018. Artists or bands at a crucial tipping point in their careers who are showing current progression and growth can apply for a grant of £5,000-£15,000 to significantly develop their careers over the next two years. Activities eligible for support include recording, touring and marketing. Applications can be submitted by the artists themselves or those who are working on their behalf, for example, a manager, an independent label or publisher.

Priority will be given to those that haven't been funded by PRS for Music Foundation in the previous 12 months. Read more HERE. 


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Arts and Health - Exchange & Mart

Hold on to your hats, here's another completely free North West Arts & Health Network event!

What's all this? - another free event - and with a 100% genuine guarantee that there'll be no - absolutely no - arts and health free-marketeers taking your hard-earned cash. This is all about the people that drive social change, those who work in the field - artists, health and social care workers, volunteers and people who 'use' services. In short - the people who are part of this arts and health community because of their commitment and vision - those who see the bigger picture from a place of experience.

Arts for Health is partnering with Greggs* and the University of Life to present the umpteenth North West Arts and Health Suitcase! It will take place on Thursday 19 April 2018 at the Manchester School of Art. But just what's in the suitcase? - well, let's wait and see!

For now - and still keeping hold of your hats - let's think what we might be able to offer each other, and maybe what we need. What skills we have, what passions we are pursuing and even what resources we could share, or need. You might be bursting with ideas, that others could support you with. Individually and collectively - we've so much to learn from each other - and even more potential.

And this isn't about us trying to do things 'on the cheap' - on the contrary - it's about us thinking and doing things differently, gathering momentum and nurturing new possibilities.

Booking and much, much more very soon...

*denotes gibberish, but you must admit it got you hungry and kept you reading! Alas, there'll be no food, but I may push the boat out and get us some drinks! Plus I've tried to fit this event in at the end of the day, so most people that have daytime commitments, might be able to come along...

Liberace's first all singing and dancing music & health celebrity showtime

Grants to engage young people & adults in science & arts in the North West of England
Organisations (preferably with charitable status) based in the north-west of England are invited to approach the Granada Foundation with imaginative proposals for projects that will encourage and promote the study, practice and appreciation of science and the arts. The Foundation aims to make the region a richer and more attractive place in which to live and work. Currently, applications from projects that will engage and inspire people of all ages to take an interest in science are particularly welcome. Preference is given to new projects; festivals and other annual events are supported but there is no guarantee of year on year support. The Advisory Council of the Foundation meets to consider applications three times a year and the next closing date for applications is the 29th March 2018. Read more HERE.  

Grants to help new, innovative visual arts projects 
The Elephant Trust has announced the next deadline for applications is the 3rd April 2018. The Trust offers grants to artists and for new, innovative visual arts projects. It aims to make it possible for artists and those presenting their work to undertake and complete projects when confronted by lack of funds. The Trust supports projects that develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the fine arts. Priority is given to artists and small organisations and galleries making or producing new work or exhibitions. The Trust normally awards grants of up to £2,000, but larger grants of up to £5,000 may be considered. Read more HERE. 

Masonic Charitable Foundation Community Support Grants 
Registered charities in England and Wales can apply for funding to the Masonic Charitable Foundation's Community Support Grants Scheme. Funding is available for projects to:
Tackle financial hardship
Improve the lives of those affected by poor physical and/or mental health and wellbeing
Provide educational and employment opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people
Tackle social exclusion and disadvantage.
Charities can apply for large grants of £5,000 and above or for small grants of between £500 and £5,000. The next closing date for applications to the small grants programme is the 23rd February 2018. For large grants programme it is the 25th May 2018. If applying for a Large Grant, applicants must first submit a Grant Enquiry Form.  The deadline for submitting the Grant Enquiry form is the 4th May 2018. Read more HERE, or by clicking on those Masonic Women above!

What A Life!

And in our series of occasional films to mark the the 70th anniversary of the NHS, this week we present: What A Life!

British Public Information Films (1949)
Director: Michael Law
Sponsor: Central Office of Information

"This Richard Massingham film is a bizarre contribution from the Crown Film Unit, and addresses the challenges Britain faced in the austere post-war era. Wartime enthusiasm and self-confidence had become seriously eroded by the crisis-laden year of 1947.  Domestically, the continuation of rationing, including for the first time bread (between 1946-48) and the fuel and economic crises, together with Indian independence, 1947 was largely a year that dented the immediate post war assurances.

Although the wartime Lend-Lease agreement had enabled Britain to continue its struggle against the Axis Powers alone, it gave the misleading appearance of the nation as a first-rank power. In the immediate post war years it gradually became hard to understand how as a winning power, head of a great empire, second only to USA in influence, became so austere and destitute.

The film has no obvious point beyond, as the British Film Institute pointed out, displaying Massingham's fondness for black humour and parodying along the way that familiar complaint, "the country is going to the dogs!" In fact this film caused some controversy in Parliament.  On 15 February 1949, the Conservative MP for Twickenham, Edward Keeling asked the President of the Board of Trade in the House of Commons. "Has the Lord President seen this film? Does he know that it shows two men so depressed by the conditions of life the in England today that they try to drown themselves, but make a mess of it? Does he really think that this is the sort of film on which £9,000 of taxpayers' money should be spent?" "


Sunday, 11 February 2018

...we've only just begun

What on earth is this all about, I hear you cry? Maxine versus Maggie? Well, for those of you who came along to the North West Arts & Health Network event at Manchester School of Art on Tuesday, you'll know it's an extract from the film Maxine Peake very kindly recorded for us in which she highlighted Manchester's radical past and potent future. Full notes on the day and an edit of the film will be uploaded onto this blog very soon. For now - my biggest thanks to all of those who came and contributed - not least Maxine Peake and Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt. Expect more, much more, very soon - we've only just begun.

Arts Council England new funding programme for the arts 
From 1st March 2018 the Grants for the Arts fund will become Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants.  Project Grants is a new open access programme for arts and museum projects and for arts projects in and with libraries. A budget of £97.3 million per year means that funding will be available to support museums and libraries and offer more support to creative and digital media projects.  The fund will also continue to help support thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations. Some aspects of the Strategic Touring and Ambition for Excellence funds will be absorbed into Project Grants, with £14 million per year reserved to support nationally significant and national touring projects of over £100,000. The new programme, Project Grants, will open at 10am on Monday 5th March 2018. Further details and new application guidance will be published on the Arts Council England website in mid-February. Read more HERE. 

Rosa Awards Grants to promote gender equality 
Rosa, a charitable fund set up to support initiatives that benefit women and girls in the UK, has awarded grants totalling £36,450 to 20 projects across the UK through the second round of the Voices from the Front-Line programme. The programme aims to support women at the front of the fight for gender equality. Funding of between £500 and £2,000 is available to support projects that will increase the skills, capacity and credibility of women who wish to challenge gender inequality and promote awareness and change. The next round of Voices from the Front Line will re-open for applications on the 24th April 2018. The closing date will be the 15th June 2018. Read more HERE.  

British Public Information Films
As the NHS enters its 70th Year, the North West Arts & Health Network brings you an occasional series of films suitable to mark the anniversary of our National Health Service and the Welfare State. This weeks little ditty is Your Very Good Health, made in 1948 by Halas & Batchelor for the Central Office of Information for the Ministry of Health.

Henry Smith Charity: Improving Lives Grant Programme 
The Henry Smith Charity provides grants of between £20,000 and £60,000 per year for up to three years to charitable organisations that help people when other sources of support have failed, are inappropriate, or are simply not available. Grants can cover running costs, salaries and project costs for organisations that can demonstrate a track record of success and evidence the effectiveness of their work. Eligible organisations include charities and not-for-profit organisations (including social enterprises) in the UK with a turnover of £50,000 - £2million (in exceptional circumstances up to £5million). Applications can be submitted at any time and decisions are usually made within 6 months. Read more HERE. 

Saturday, 27 January 2018


Thank you to all of those who came along to HOME on Tuesday to be part of the Harmonic Oscillator and Critical Care. The book is available in 1/200 limited edition from the HOME bookshop, or online in the UK here and in Australia here. It’s been a profound journey and my personal thanks to those who’ve enabled us to create our work and share the stories behind it all. To all those who enabled us to share and develop including HOME, TATE Liverpool, Socialiniai Meno Projektai, The Big Anxiety Festival, Culture Health & Wellbeing International Conference and everyone at Alder Hey - thank you. To Jane R, Vicky C and to Vic who made it all possible - the biggest thank you.
To Emma and Elisha - words fail me this time.

Here’s a song to break up the blog!

Culture & the Arts as Social Determinants of Health
For those of you eager to attend the next North West Arts & Health Network event on 6th February - and if you’ve expressed an interest - I’ll be sending place confirmations out on Tuesday 30th. I have way more people than I can accommodate (sorry) and preference will be given to those from the region. You can read the details HERE, but the draft agent and timings will be emailed out on Tuesday. 

…and hot on the tail of Creative Health for those of you who doubted the value of the arts, here’s a systematic review of evidence around the impact of the visual arts on mental health and wellbeing. Phew it’s a relief to find out that the arts have some value on our psychic terrain. Who's have thunk it?

Visual arts, mental health & wellbeing: evidence review 
This review looks at the subjective, or self-reported, wellbeing outcomes of visual arts projects aimed at adults who are experiencing, or have experienced, diagnosed mental health conditions. The visual arts practices featured in the studies included forms of painting or drawing, art appreciation with selected art forms, artmaking culminating in an exhibition, and more general creative and craft activities that included visual artefacts such as ceramics or sculpture.
Overall, the evidence available in this review shows that engaging in the visual arts for adults with mental health conditions can: reduce reported levels of depression and anxiety: increase self-respect, self-worth and self-esteem
encourage and stimulate re-engagement with the wider, everyday social world: support in participants a potential re-negotiation of identity through practice-based forms of making or doing.
You can download a briefing and the full report by clicking on the sign with the sharp edges - but be careful.

Funding for creatives in England to build links with another country
Hoping to expand your international horizons? Apply to the Artists’ International Development Fund, an initiative from the British Council and Arts Council England to help artists and creative practitioners develop skills and collaborate internationally. Read more HERE.