Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Little Society, Joy in People, Rethink Consumption, Huffington Post, New Research and Reading Well Conference...

I don’t want to lay it on with a trowel, and I accept this is only my perspective, but if I were to recommend a current exhibition, it would have to be Jeremy Deller’s Joy in People, which runs until 13th May at the Hayward. It is a retrospective of one of the few contemporary artists who works with, and gets to grip with, a range of social issues, without being condescending or banal. It’s a good opportunity to see, It Is What It Is, which I’ve referred to in numerous presentations.

I can’t help wondering how it will hold up against the summers blockbuster Hirst extravaganza at Tate Modern? After a long walk back to Euston, I thought I’d go and visit the now iconic ‘Pebble’, or Monolith and Shadow as its formally known. This is the sculpture outside the London University College Hospital by John Aiken that in October 2000 caused outrage in the Sun. After my recent paper, FCnK, I was curious to see how the sculpture had aged and if it had secured a place in the cannon of public art (or at least in the minds of patients). Needless to say, the woman who was having her fag, by the side of the monolith on a congested Euston Road, was none too impressed.

The 18th Asia Europe Foundation University (AU18), themed “Conscious Consumers for Environmental Sustainability”, will take place from 18 August to 1 September in the Estonian city of Tartu. The programme offers opportunities for up to 46 promising (under-) graduate students, young professionals and educators from ASEM countries to broaden their horizons and deepen their insight into contemporary issues in a multi-cultural setting. AU18 aims to stimulate dialogue on environmentally sustainable consumption. One week of lectures and interactive workshops will be followed by one week of international volunteering awareness campaign, which will reach the young people in Estonian communities. Presentations will be given by highly regarded academics and experts from universities, research institutes, governments and international organisations from Asia and Europe.
All the details for this amazing opportunity can be found by clicking on the image below. 

in the Huffington Post
"Whether it is seen as a bridge back into daily life, an exercise in self-realisation, a means of exerting and regaining a sense of ownership, or just an outlay for expression, the arts have the potential to contribute positively to the UK's mental health crisis. A former lecturer in Fine Art at the University of Leeds, John Holt went on to found AiM as a way of publishing works by artists and initiating spaces for creativity and healing in projects with artists and service users. "At AiM we do not encourage the label "mental illness" and prefer to use the phrase "those who are in emotional and spiritual crisis" which in some ways alludes to a causation and an often temporary period of distress and anguish people experience in a variety of ways." Click on the photo below for the full article.  

A new study by Lynn Froggett et al…
This study asks how socially engaged visual arts practice can change individuals and communities – or put it another way: what are the ingredients of transformation through the arts. Four intensive organisational case studies characterise and compare distinctive approaches to socially engaged practice. Artangel (London), CCA (Glasgow), FACT (Liverpool) and Grizedale (Cumbria) were chosen because of their significance in this emergent field and the ways in which they combine local embeddedness with international resonance. Particularly striking are the ways these institutions are re-imagining civic action and forging partnerships with communities and other sectors, showing that the arts can be a key connector, point of provocation or tool of individual and community self-development. Each of them offers particular insights into the opportunities and pitfalls of socially engaged practice from episodic events to open-ended and immersive processes.

The study has evolved new concepts to account for the transformational function of socially engaged art via the ‘aesthetic third’ – the point of mediation between artwork and audience that explains what happens when the unique biographies of individuals meet the collective cultural resources of communities. As such it has implications for artists, commissioners, funders and policy makers and allows us to imagine how things might be different. Click on the Andy Goldsworthy image below. 

the little society
Visual poetry by Philip Davenport
Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, UK. April 3-14.
This exhibition questions the idea of a BIG society by focusing on the voices of the little and the lost.

Davenport’s poems APPEAL IN AIR and POLLINATORS OF EDEN erupt from the page into dizzyheaded sequences of word/space, spilling across the large gallery. Rhetoric of politicians is replaced with uncertainty; the grandiose scale of the works (70 metres) is undercut by semantic dissolve.

APPEAL IN AIR is a celebration of quiet voices, the people at the fringe –- and the songs of birds. Texts bend into the shape of birds and weave a city skyline. Children mimic birdcalls as a soundtrack for the space. Language morphs into code: Davenport’s poem is a song of “Liquid morse.” APPEAL celebrates the many voices, languages and un-languages that make up a world – including those that get lost in noise.

POLLINATORS OF EDEN replays the form of a child’s educational book, complete with an instructional animation of a drowning shark. The piece documents encounters with people in North Manchester, an area of stark economic hardship, and is cartoonishly illustrated by local school pupils, in bright counterpoint to the dark tone of the poem.Much of the material in the show derives from Davenport's recent book APPEAL IN AIR, published by Knives Forks & Spoons Press, which subverts the form of the spreadsheet into an expressive tool. More details by clicking on this image.

Reading to Live Well CONFERENCE
Thursday 17th-Friday 18th May 2012
British Library Conference Centre, Euston Road, London

Engagement in a weekly Get Into Reading group increases personal confidence and reduces social isolation, improves mental, emotional and psychological wellbeing, provides stability and support, and nurtures a love of literature.
Our conference will explain ‘how and why’ Get Into Reading works. It will also disseminate key findings of two recent research projects by the University of Liverpool on the impact of the Get Into Reading model on people with depression/dementia. Click on the image below for more details.

Arts and Health Intensives 2012
...and finally, please note that the application date for expressions of interest in the Arts and Health Intensives has past, so no more applications at the moment please. Thank you...C.P

...and for those of you who know Charlotte, she's just had a baby - big congratulations on the arrival of the little fella!!