Sunday, April 28, 2013

Food Variety, Calorie Intake, and Weight Gain

Let's kick off this post with a quote from a 2001 review paper (1):
Increased variety in the food supply may contribute to the development and maintenance of obesity.  Thirty-nine studies examining dietary variety, energy intake, and body composition are reviewed. Animal and human studies show that food consumption increases when there is more variety in a meal or diet and that greater dietary variety is associated with increased body weight and fat.
This may seem counterintuitive, since variety in the diet is generally seen as a good thing.  In some ways, it is a good thing, however in this post we'll see that it can have a downside.
Read more »


Culture Secretary on 'culture's economic impact'
A slight  s h i v e r  this week for me, on hearing our dear Culture Secretary pronounce on the arts during her first big speech. Maria Miller delivered her missive at the British Museum in London on Thursday, claiming that British culture was "perhaps the most powerful and compelling product we have available to us", especially after the success of last year's Olympics and Paralympics. Product eh? She went on to say: "When times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture's economic impact." Commenting that: “British culture and creativity are now more in demand than ever before... The world clearly thinks this is a commodity worth buying into." Ms Miller could almost be talking about the Arts and Health agenda with economic impact and a bright-shiny-product being the presumed desired outcome, influencing the NHS and saving hard cash. I know there are plenty out there attempting to reduce the arts to the bland mainstream through ultra-orthodox clinical measurements - and who will lap this up. 

I think its widely understood that the arts are going to take a larger than expected hit in the budget and Ms Miller did nothing to reassure the cultural sector (of which you are a part, if you are reading this blog). BBC Arts Editor, Will Gompertz comments more generally on the speech -

“The arts budget will be cut come the next spending review; the Culture Secretary will not be pleading for special treatment. The sector as a whole has not made its case regarding the economic benefits it delivers to the country convincingly enough to the Treasury. Nor has the DCMS. She talked enthusiastically about the success of the arts sector in helping drive the economy forward by supporting - and being part of - the creative industries, and by providing a valuable magnet for tourism. I spoke to some attendees who wondered why, if she truly believed this to be the case, would she not argue for increased, not decreased investment in the sector in order to fully realise its potential?”

Whilst I understand that artists and small arts organisations working in arts and health may not have direct access to funding streams like the Arts and Humanities Research Council, it should still be noted that the focus of some of their work isn’t bound by rigid reductionist approaches. In particular, their recent call for research around the cultural value of the arts has never felt more important, or welcome.

Its two-year Cultural Value Project, will attempt to make a major contribution to how we think about the value of arts and culture to individuals and to society. Recent years have seen many attempts to capture that value in straightforward ways, not least in order to make the case to governments for public funding, but none have commanded widespread confidence. The AHRC decided that something more ambitious was needed and its priority lies in developing a much better understanding of arts and culture across the diverse ways that it is organised and experienced. You can read more about this by clicking on the very hand roll of cultural value above! 

Of Miller's speech, Shadow Culture Secretary, Harriet Harman said she supported attempts to persuade the Chancellor of the economic value of the arts and creative industries. "But she needs to persuade her education secretary as well, that for the sake of all children and the future of arts and creativity in this country, arts must be at the heart of the curriculum," she added, "and she needs to promote the fact that arts and creativity is about much more than the economy: they're about a sense of identity, of community and the potential of each and every individual."

To read more about this speech, click on the photograph above of the character Susan Wright, (a local busybody and misanthrope in the TV drama Broadchurch) played by the excellent Pauline Quirke.

So absolutely no mention whatsoever from me, that the rich legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics isn’t quite yet clear. And no mention from me doubly whatsoever on the expenses scandal that Ms Miller was embroiled in recently, or the £90,000 second home expenses she claimed for the house in which her parents lived. You can click on her face (just above) to find out more.

A Bird in a Gilded Cage

A Bird in a Gilded Cage is a song composed by Arthur J. Lamb (lyrics) and Harry Von Tilzer and was one of the most popular songs of 1900. This is a 1904 recording sung by Harry Anthony. I have written a new piece of work for the public arts think tank, ixia which explores some ideas around how we live and die post Francis Report. This is the first part of a two-part teaser for the paper. A Bird in a Gilded Cage will be published in May 2013. 

On Neuroscience and Strictly Bipolar
An interesting article on fiction and neuroscience in the Guardian this weekend from Charles Fernyhough, but in his quest for novels that explore neuroscience, isn’t the danger that the art form will just be a vehicle for teaching and not a work in its own right. Ian McEwan’s post 9/11 work of fiction, Saturday, comes under scrutiny, but is much more than a useful investigation of its central characters role as a neurosurgeon and offers us insights into power and powerlessness, fleeting happiness and perhaps, political apathy. A really interesting piece of writing. (to read, click on the centillion neurones and synapses acting with free-will, but with a common purpose, yet unheard by those in power - below)

In the same rag this weekend comes a taster from Darian Leader of his new book, Strictly Bipolar which extends contemporary thinking on public understanding of what it is to be bipolar, from the medical journal to the celebrity testimonies stacked up on high street bookshelves. Leader’s article is crammed with interesting detail including the quantitative factors that enable you to qualify for your diagnosis, which he eloquently argues, miss the point. He discusses the first hand accounts of people affected by both mania and depression and with a diagnosis that once applied to less than 1% of the population having risen to around 25% of Americans and 5% of people in the UK, he suggests that we are ignoring individual biographies.

Commenting: “Medical staff with little time on their hands to explore the exact circumstances of the manic episode or the depression may opt for a purely pharmaceutical response” […] “We live in an age that pays lip service to history, yet which continually undermines the ties we have to the past. The narrative of human lives is more or less absent in healthcare economies, where symptoms are seen as problems to be treated locally, rather than as signs that something is wrong at a more fundamental level.”

Interesting and deeply engaging work. Click on the sublime Spike Milligan for more info.

Wednesday 15th May 2013 15:00 – 17:30
Recovery is the new orthodoxy in the field of substance misuse in the UK and for the first time it is an explicit goal of treatment. Recovery is contested both as a concept and as a policy objective and the UK evidence base is currently limited. This seminar presents initial interpretations from a Wellcome Trust funded project called ADDICT. Developed by Portraits of Recovery, a socially engaged visual arts charity based in Manchester, ADDICT is an interdisciplinary research project exploring processes of recovery. It is delivered as a collaboration between artists, social and biomedical scientists, treatment agencies and people in recovery. The project uses socially engaged arts both as a form of engagement as well as a mode of inquiry into recovery. 

In the project International Lens Based Artist Melanie Manchot is working collaboratively with people at differing stages of recovery in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Oxford over a six month period. Portraiture as dialogue is the main conceptual premise. The arts practice is accompanied by a series of interdisciplinary discussions and two visual imaging matrices. These are used as different devices for understanding what emerges through the practice as well as exploring the subject recovery.

Prior to the seminar will be convening a Visual Matrix which will give attendees a direct experience of one of the methods being used in the project. The Visual Matrix is simply a form of discussion, where participants can share images, feelings, thoughts and dreams without the need to explain, describe, justify or argue ideas and points of view. Please contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you on the day.

Visual Matrix 3:00-4:00pm  Harrington Building 338
Seminar 4:00-5.30pm Harrington Building 337
Both are free and open to all. Refreshments provided.    
To confirm a place please email:

Clore Social Leadership Programme (UK)
The Clore Duffield Foundation has announced that its 2014 Social Leadership Programme will open for applications on the 29th April 2013.  During 2014, the Foundation will be offering 20 Fellowships to exceptional individuals who have the potential to take on a significant leadership role in the wider social sector.  A number of these will be Specialist Fellowships, which are funded by particular organisations to target specific groups or address particular needs. In the past, bursaries of up to £20,000 have been available to help train and develop a new generation of leaders for the third sector in the UK. The Fellowship can be undertaken intensively over 12 months (the full-time option), or part-time, over a period of up to 24 months.
The closing date for applications will be the 10th June 2013. Read more at: 

Wellcome Trust Small Arts Awards 
The Wellcome Trust has announced that the next application deadline under its Small Arts Awards is the 28th June 2013. The Small Arts Awards provides grants of up to £30,000 to projects that engage the public with biomedical science through the arts. 

Grants to Help New, Innovative Visual Arts Projects 
The Elephant Trust has announced that the next deadline for applications is the 10th June 2013. The Trust offers grants to artists and for new, innovative visual arts projects based in the UK. The Trust's aim is 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 now being given to artists and small organisations and galleries who should submit well argued, imaginative proposals for making or producing new work or exhibitions. Arts Festivals are not supported. The Trust normally awards grants of up to £2,000, but larger grants may be considered. Read more at: 

European Integration Fund 
The UK Border Agency has announced that it is now accepting applications for funding under the European Integration Fund (EIF).  A total of £31 million is available to support innovative projects that support the integration of third-country nationals of different social, cultural, religious, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds within the UK. The EIF is aimed at projects assisting third-country nationals who have a potential route to legal settlement in the UK, to fulfil conditions of residence and integrate into British society.  Applications will be accepted from NGOs, charities, academic institutions, central and local government, intergovernmental organisations, limited companies and any partnership made up of these organisations.  The minimum EIF grant that can be applied for is £200,000 per project; there is no maximum amount that must be applied for. Projects can last a maximum of twenty-four months depending on the start date. The fund will run until February 2014 and the next losing date for applications is the 10th June 2013. Read more at: 

Collective Encounters: Youth Theatre Director
Collective Encounters is a north Liverpool based theatre company specialising in using theatre as a tool for social change. Our youth theatre programme is now in its eighth year and we are seeking to employ a Youth Theatre Director to lead on all aspects of delivery. Our youth theatre programme involves a regular youth theatre as well as significant outreach provision in settings used by marginalised and hard to reach young people. The new Youth Theatre Director will have at least two years experience of working within a theatre for social change context, ideally with young people.

The contract is offered on a 4 day a week basis and the salary is £20, 160. This salary is subject to tax and national insurance contributions. The contract is offered on a 2 year fixed term basis.

For more information and an application pack please contact Anna Rymer on 0151 291 3887 or e mail

Deadline for applications 9thMay 2013. Interviews will be held 13thMay 2013. This post is financially support by Children in Need. Collective Encounters is an equal opportunities employer.

...and finally, a Brilliant and Blistering Blog
I’d like to recommend Mike White’s recent blog posting on the Centre for Medical Humanities in Durham. In this new piece of writing, he questions the sometimes superficial re-branding of organisations in the name of self-aggrandisement. Powerful and relevant work Mike. CLICK HERE


Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: Salt, Sugar, Fat

Michael Moss is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist who has made a career writing about the US food system.  In his latest book, Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, he attempts to explain how the processed food industry has been so successful at increasing its control over US "stomach share".  Although the book doesn't focus on the obesity epidemic, the relevance is obvious.  Salt, Sugar, Fat is required reading for anyone who wants to understand why obesity is becoming more common in the US and throughout the world.

Read more »

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Eno - Ono - Oh No

Brian Eno and 77 Million Paintings  
A couple of weeks ago, I had the call from the BBC to be interviewed for the Radio 4 flagship news programme, Today. The story was embargoed until broadcast, so of course, I could’t really share my mounting excitement!

It emerged that Brian Eno had produced some new work for a hospital in Hove and they wanted me to comment on it and talk more widely about the field. First thoughts were - my mind-set is more around public health, wellbeing, participation and democracy - second thoughts were - all publicity for the field is good publicity. So off I went to Media City primed to talk about all things arts and health - from the conference in Bristol, to the National Alliance, and armed to the hilt with anecdotes and evidence. 

The Today Programme health correspondent Jane Dreaper was delightful, welcoming and had done her research, and we spoke for ages, recoding snippets of conversation that I hoped would be a helpful contribution. There’s no denying Eno’s place in art and culture, so it was good to be thinking about work that is not only generative and visually lush, but that conjoined visual imagery alongside music.

You can get an idea of the type of work this is from the above video, but this isn't the actual work.

That the work was in a private hospital*, did come as a bit of a blow - but Jane and I talked about the NHS and how the arts add something to the quality of patient experience within health settings and of course, I waxed lyrical about the potential of the arts and design in the lives of people with dementia, particularly my ongoing collaboration with designer, Darren Browett. We discussed quality of experience in light of the Francis Report and that work goes beyond the ‘icing on the cake’ of healthcare, and of how the small-scale, but beautifully designed Maggie’s Centres transform people’s experience of serious illness.

Thankfully I had clinical research in mind and some of the evidence from the literature around pain management, reductions in anxiety and stress and of course, what every NHS manager wants: reduced patient stays. With a relatively confident interview under my belt, I returned to the reality of MMU and waited.

Embargoed until the Thursday to coincide with the Eno launch, the feature was dropped following the news of the fertiliser factory explosion in the US. I was told it would be rescheduled for the Friday and when the allotted moment came, I waited with baited breath - what on earth would they use? Then in those last glorious seconds following Eno’s anecdotes and passing conversation with someone being treated for cancer, an ‘excited’ blogger was given his fifteen minutes of fame - well 15 seconds to be precise! You can hear Jane's report by clicking on the early Eno below.


So, what would I have talked about, if I’d have managed to squeeze in an extra couple of minutes - or better still - had the opportunity to share what it is the arts/health agenda is all about?

Being a great one for preparing, I’d scribbled key points that I’d somehow hoped to cover and I want to share some of the things we talked about here.

I shared the work of the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing and how we relate to other international networks. I had exemplars from the region (I am always impressed by my colleagues in the NW) and gave a plug to the international conference in Bristol this June. But more than all of this, I tried to plant the idea of arts and culture being somehow central to how we think about health and wellbeing in the 21st century. I wanted to sew some seeds around primary care, public health and the medical humanities - and I wanted to suggest that some of the more interesting research around music and health, demonstrates that it is ‘self selected’ music that seems to have potency in clinical settings - and this doesn’t even touch on what we know about participation.

Brian Eno is an advocate for long-term thinking and if his contribution to the field is truly something stripped of ego, his deeply considered and beautiful work is appropriate to heath settings and could perhaps suggest a move from passive background music to patient controlled environments. You can read a fuller interview by clicking on the older Eno below. 

There’s always a danger that a big name from the art world might distract from the story that we are trying to tell: that creativity, culture and the arts are a potent force for health and wellbeing. Eno’s 77 Million Paintings for Montefiore and The Quite Room are a different breed to the off-the-peg prescribed mural of Michael Craig-Martin’s, Kids in Oxford’s, John Radcliffe Hospital. For me though, the kind of immersive experience that Eno has created should be accessible to everyone, and although the Montefiore** supports 35% NHS patients, I hope that Eno won't see this as a one-off and might want to explore what impact the work has on people and potentially look to an NHS setting for future collaborations.

Over this last decade, we’ve seen some serious investment in the NHS estate and rich art/design collaborations, but we’re only just beginning to enter a new age of austerity and new political ideologies that inevitably question previous government thinking. It seems a lifetime ago that the Department of Health, in A Prospectus for Arts and Health established a policy commitment to the arts, and with a foreword by the then Minister of State for Delivery and Quality, Department of Health, Andy Burnham MP and Minister for Culture, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, David Lammy MP. Let’s remind ourselves of what the very first page declared.

“The Departmen’s policy is that the arts have a major contribution to make to wellbeing, health, healthcare provision and healthcare environments, to the benefit of patients, service users, carers, visitors and staff, as well as to communities and the NHS as a whole.

As inequalities in health and wellbeing seem to be widening, perhaps health settings might be one of the few places that people marginalised by ill health associated with poverty and reduced opportunities, might encounter beautiful and challenging art. Maybe these encounters offer not only fleeting moments of wellbeing, but an introduction to something beyond the tedium and monotony of functional day-to-day survival, giving those working in these settings, the opportunity for meaningful dialogue and exchange. Cultural inequalities take a bizarre twist when you think that, as the NME reported, Eno's compositions wouldn't be available to the general public, with his people stating: "It's true to say that 'The Quiet Room For Montefiore' is an album that can only be heard in the Montefiore Hospital." 

                                   Oh No!

So for my 15 seconds of airtime, what did I achieve? Aside from some introductions to interesting people in the BBC and further afield - and some very kind email - for me at least, it has made me revisit some of the earlier efforts of colleagues in field and the wealth of research that exists that can be built on, and which illustrates the evolutionary nature of the field: a very rich and very diverse thing.

Of course a peak-time feature like this on national radio, is a rare opportunity for sharing ideas more widely, and with an audience of around 7 million, its an opportunity we should embrace. I’m thankful for my small part in it and only hope it opens more opportunity for more debate.

Two PhD Studentships
The Psychosocial Research Unit invites applications for two part-time PhD studentships approved within the School of Social Work at the University of Central Lancashire. The studentship is tenable for up to 6 years for a PhD (via MPhil route) [subject to satisfactory progress]. The studentship will cover the cost of tuition fees at UK/EU rates. The successful applicant will start on 1 October 2013.

Applicants should bring a psychosocial orientation to their work. Subjects we are particularly interested in at present include the field of socially engaged arts practice, addiction recovery, embodiment, psychosocial wellbeing and psychosocial visual methods. Many of our projects are embedded in community and third sector settings. However, we very much welcome applications from candidates with other interests. Full details at:

* Late News: Did you know that the Montefiore Hospital offer a wide range of cosmetic procedures and you 'can experience state of the art body sharpening and skin tightening? This April, they'll be holding two, yes TWO complimentary cosmetic surgery events, where you can ask as many questions as you like!

** Even later news: Montefiore hires TOP AWARD WINNING CHEF, Mark Haddock - (sorry Hancock). James Dempster, the Commercial Manager at the Montefiore Hospital, said:  “We are making every effort to ensure our patients are as comfortable as possible.  With our theatre-style*** open kitchen and a sushi-bar, food plays a key role in the hospital."

*** good grief - this gives a slightly macabre slant on harvest festival! 

Thank you...C.P.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Music and Wellbeing? 
Music and Politics more like! 
If you’re Brassed Off with the Thatcher funereal histrionics? Here's Pete Postlethwaite at his sublime best.
Thanks to J.A. for the suggestion. 

Prisoner Soul
In the 1960s and early 1970s, a number of U.S. prisons allowed inmates to form bands and produce commercially available LPs. Today, many of those records are collectors' items. Gary Younge tracks down some of the men who were in these groups, finding out how the music shaped their lives and hearing from those who supported this progressive initiative in the face of the old punitive regime. Click on the image below to hear this excellent programme. 

Standardised Schools
Great article here from Rowan Moore about the new wave of Michael Gove’s ‘standardised, templated buildings for our children’s education.’ Click on the image below to read it.

Two Networking Events in the Pipeline
Some of you attended the networking event where Claire Ford presented her reflections and learning from time spent in the US as part of her Churchill Travelling Fellowship. I’m pleased that Claire has agreed to come to share some of her more recent work around the arts and dementia and her iPad engage project. I expect to announce a date for this evening session over the next couple of weeks. For now, and to whet your appetite, here is a small film that has been produced by my colleagues at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies at Newcastle University. Although this doesn’t explore Claire’s work using digital technology, it is refreshing and informative and is a very English piece of work when seen alongside the Meet Me at MoMA film - a kind of Mike Leigh and James Cameron comparison perhaps, but do watch them both. They are equally splendid and impacting on the lives of people who could be so disenfranchised from wider society and specifically, from culture and the arts.

Watch the Meet me at MoMA film by clicking on the image below.

I’m also thrilled that my friend and colleague Sarah Lawton is going to share something of her time in India at a networking evening too. Here are some of her thoughts.

An alternative India Report 
Santosh sabse bada dharm loi!!!
The presentation at the North West Arts for Health Network meeting will reflect upon the ‘senses’ and ‘impressions’ of cultural values in India. Sarah Lawton studied for five months at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and undertook a number of personally driven research projects for her MA in Textiles at Manchester School of Art. Engaged in a curriculum, which included the International Open Elective, ‘thrive after fifty five’, she enquired into the cultural differences regarding ageing in Gujarat for people living at different economic levels, in an emerging economy. 

Her research is primarily focused on how engagement with print processes can benefit wellbeing. She is curious about how craft practice and industrial production methods impact on physical health and may benefit psychological balance. Participatory workshop concepts that had previously been tested in an NHS dementia assessment unit in the UK with patients, were revisited and built upon with older Rabari embroidery ladies in Sumrasar, Kutchi. In addition, Sarah worked with block printers in Vasna, carvers in Pethapur, tailors in Ahmedabad, herbal dye specialists in Lambha and applique artisans in Paldi.  The research connected Sarah to people and helped her to understand place, powerfully grounding her practice. Key themes for her future work include ‘the social object,’ the nature of labour division and value of human inter-dependence. Her plan is to trial her Indian artisanal objects in participatory workshops and commercial settings in order to sustain connections between local and International partners.

Arts and older people in care commissioned grant
A £1million Arts and older people in care programme has been launched, jointly funded by the Arts Council and The Baring Foundation. We are seeking proposals from partnerships or consortia led by either residential care providers or arts organisations to deliver a three-year programme providing access to high quality arts experiences for older people in residential care. The starting point for Arts and older people in care programme is that people continue to be creative as they age but in some circumstances they may need specific support from arts organisations to unlock and develop these talents. Click on the photo below for more details of this important opportunity.

Venture Arts Celebrates a Voice Through Art
The Lowry, Salford, Quays from 12th April 2013
Venture Arts are proud to announce their fourth major art exhibition ‘Articulate’ at the Lowry, Salford Quays celebrating the talents of their brilliant team of over 70 people with learning disabilities. This new project highlights the importance of personal expression and explores different forms of communication interpreted in creative ways. Many people who work with Venture Arts are non-verbal, have hearing impairments or find it difficult to express themselves through speech; ‘Articulate’ gives these people a Voice Through Art. Click on the image below by Tom and Stephen for more details.

The Wellcome Trust Broadcast Development Awards (UK)
The Wellcome Trust has announced that the next closing date for applications to its Broadcast Development Awards (BDA) is the 26th April 2013.  The BDAs support the development of broadcast proposals in any genre that engage the audience with issues around biomedical science in an innovative, entertaining and accessible way. The Trust are interested in funding individuals and organisations with brilliant early-stage ideas for TV, radio, new media or gaming projects. The funding will enable these ideas to be developed into high-impact, well-researched proposals that can be used to secure a broadcast platform and/or further funding. Development funds might be used to undertake thorough research, create a taster tape, develop a script, or build a game prototype or mood reel. The project should primarily be aimed at a mainstream UK and/or Republic of Ireland audience in the first instance, although the subject matter can be international. Broadcast Development Awards are up to £10 000, for a maximum of one year. Read more at:

Funding for Links with Japan (UK)
The Daiwa Foundation which supports closer links between Britain and Japan is seeking applications under its small grants programme. Grants of £3,000 - £7,000 are available to individuals, societies, associations or other bodies in the UK or Japan to promote and support interaction between the two countries. Daiwa Foundation Small Grants can cover all fields of activity, including educational and grassroots exchanges, research travel, the organisation of conferences, exhibitions, and other projects and events that fulfil this broad objective. New initiatives are especially encouraged. 

The next closing date for applications is the 30th September 2013. Read more at: 

£100k Funding Available for Charities in Tameside 
The Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales has announced that as part of its Community Programme it has over £100,000 available to award to charities working in Tameside that support disadvantaged people.  The Foundation supports registered charities whose core work helps disadvantaged people to play a fuller role in communities.  The Foundation is particularly interested in work that achieves this through improved social and community involvement; improved life choices and chances and helping people to be heard. Charities and take the short eligibility questionnaire or call 0870 411 1223.  Read more at:£19,700GRANT.aspx  

Healthy Hearts Grants (UK)
Heart Research UK has announced the next funding round under  its Healthy Heart Grants Scheme will open on the 1st July 2013.  Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Grants support innovative projects designed to promote heart health and to prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease in specific groups or communities. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to community groups, voluntary organisations and researchers who are spreading the healthy heart message. The closing date for this funding round will be the 31st August 2013. Read more at: 
Thank you for visiting this blog and get in touch about anything...C.P.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Яна памерла

Crushed by the weight of all things, this week sees a sparse blog. Sorry. To mark the passing of Mrs Thatcher, I offer some snippets from the real world. Relevant to us? Relevant to you? You decide. 


The designer Katharine Hamnett is depressed at the ongoing nuclear arms debate. You can read an interview with her by clicking on her photo above and you can find out more about the world of Trident by clicking on the poster below.

I’ve shown it before and I make no apology for showing it again. Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a series of works about nuclear weapons. This one is titled “1945 - 1998”and shows a history of the world's nuclear explosions. Over the course of fourteen and a half minutes, every single one of the 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are is plotted on a map.

Here’s great article about Rachel Whiteread too. Here’s an interesting quote:
"What I'm not into is what I call 'plop' art. Making things and just putting them in places for the sake of it. I don't like much sculpture in the street. It really needs a reason for being there, but when it does, it can be a wonderful thing. I don't think art changes the world in terms of stopping people dying of Aids or of starvation or being homeless. But for an individual, seeing a great piece of art can take you from one place to another – it can enhance daily life, reflect our times and, in that sense, change the way you think and are."

Writer, Iain Banks announced he is "officially very poorly" with cancer and may have only months to live. He commented: "I've withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I've asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry – but we find ghoulish humour helps)."  This week there have been one or two deeply interesting articles by and about Banks including, why he refuses to let his work be sold in Israel and supports a cultural boycott.

That’s it. Short and sweet. Nothing else, Nada - Gone.