Saturday, January 1, 2011

Annus horribilis?

Mark Wallinger
A Plea for Pessimism...
Last November I had the pleasure of speaking at the 2nd Annual International Arts and Health Conference in Melbourne. My paper; A Brightly Coloured Bell-Jar explored the relationship between our aspiration to well-being and increased dependency on medication for all our ills. You can hear a podcast of this paper at and it will be available in print in February 2011.
Polly Morgan
Two pieces of writing that echo and expand on some of the themes I raised are below.
Is this the end of the children’s decade?
Polly Toynbee questions whether voters believe David Cameron's new year's message, that: "We're tackling the deficit because we have to – not out of some ideological zeal. This is a government led by people with a practical desire to sort out this country's problems, not by ideology. When we talk of building a bigger, stronger society, we mean it." Or will they believe Ed Miliband's view that the "irresponsible pace and scale" of the cuts is a "political choice by those in power, not necessity"?

Steve Bell; The Guardian
How to Stop Living and Start Worrying.
Since when did happiness, wisdom and contentment become the cornerstones of a fulfilling life? Whatever happened to doubt? Instability? Melancholia? 

This month, Polity Press are releasing How to Stop Living and Start Worrying, a collection of interviews with Simon Critchley, which playfully parodies the conventional self-help manual. Critchley sketches an alternative view of the role philosophy plays in our lives today, covering an ambitious range of topics: from science and religion, to poetry and politics, love and humour, life and death.

…and finally

The next  M A N I F E S T O  event will be on the 19th January at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool…details to follow.

...and don’t forget the first North West Arts and Health Networking session of the year on January 27th between 6:00 and 8:00 in the evening when I’ll be sharing some odd little films from the birth of the NHS in the 1940’s and I encourage you to submit material for sharing too. I’ll confirm the venue the week before, but for now, could you RSVP to