Sunday, September 8, 2013


“MILLIONS of dollars in taxpayer-funded grants for obscure research projects - such as the role of public art in climate change - will be scrapped or redirected to find cures for dementia and other diseases as part of a Coalition crackdown on government waste.”

There’s a sentence to strike fear into our hearts eh? Sounds like histrionics? Well actually, its from the Australian press last week and preceded the ‘landslide’ victory of Tony Abbott as the new premier. Worrying times ahead eh? Great news that he’s going to find a ‘cure’ for dementia, but in the meantime, perhaps invest in some research around how arts and culture might just improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. Click on the apparition above to read the article.

A Small Scale Global Phenomenon
Working with colleagues across the UK and more recently in Lithuania, Italy and Turkey, I've had the opportunity to begin to understand some of the complexities of working in the arts and health field across different cultures and in different languages. This podcast is a version of a paper that I gave as the opening address to the Art of Good Health and Wellbeing International Arts and Health Conference, in Australia 2012. This was work that I had been developing in Lithuania (in Menas Žmogaus Gerovei) and which I presented at the first UK Arts and Health Research Network seminar at the University of Nottingham in March 2013. More recently, I worked this up into a journal article (Inequalities, the arts and public health: towards an international conversation) with Mike White for Arts & Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice. This podcast then, is an early iteration of these thoughts. If you find it too turgid listening to my ramblings, let me know and I’ll send you a pdf.

Arts Council England (ACE) Guidelines in Paying Artists
ACE has issued some handy guidelines for all applicants to their GfA lottery grant programmes on information on rates of pay for artists. The guidelines are available by clicking on the typology above:

As far as I can see, their key piece of advice is: “Following a ruling by the Office of Fair Trading on competition law, we are not able to offer guidelines on rates of pay for artists.”

If you find this sage advice a little too benign, I suggest shouting from the rooftops - I WANT A DECENT LIVING WAGE! Perhaps then, my advice isn’t to click on the not-so-ace guidance, but go for the jugular instead.

BLAST TWO ( B A N G ) - Why not read the excellent David Pledger’s, Re-Valuing the Artist in the New World Order published by Currency House. Here’s a taster, but click on the book cover below for more details.

“What is the real value we put on our artists? The author examines the long-awaited National Cultural Policy and finds it offers much to praise but fails ‘to penetrate the lower depths wherein the independent artists hang out’. His paper addresses the problems and achievements of the independent artist and their role as outriders of the arts, sometimes so far ahead they are out of mind. What kind of an industry do we work in, he asks, when its primary producers live on or below the poverty line? What would happen if artists decided that they would no longer work under these conditions? Pledger proposes action to find out.”

OK - a pause for some uplifting music, because music can remind us, life is beautiful...

Department of Health Innovation, Excellence & Strategic Development Fund (England)
The Department of Health (DOH) has announced that its 2014-15 Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund (IESD) is now open for applications. The fund is open to not for profit organisations that are be carrying out activities that involve  providing a service similar to a service provided by the National Health Service or by local authority social services.  The Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund (IESD) provides funding to support proposals in the health and care field, supporting projects with the potential for national impact in line with DH objectives of better health and wellbeing and better care for all. Organisations can apply individually, or in partnership with others. All proposals under this Fund will need to demonstrate they will have a national impact. The closing date for applications is 12 noon on the 25th October 2013. Read more at:

Can I recommend something? Am I allowed?
"nous magazine is a Manchester based publication dealing with contemporary philosophy. If you look up the word nous in your dictionary it will tell you that the ‘nous’ is necessary for understanding what is true or real. It is the processes working within us - our mind or our soul. nous is taking its readers on a journey to a land we may never completely understand even though it lies within us. A land we often pay no attention to in our hectic everyday life. What do we care about? What is really important to us? How do we share our compassion with the ones around us? We believe that dealing with our fears and hopes in a creative way and being more conscious of this part of ourselves can not only help prevent and deal mental health issues but also make living in our society easier. We give young creatives of all fields a platform to present their work addressing the nous but also will make mind culture gain centre stage again. nous is published quarterly with changing topics orbiting the depression and mental illness. More details by clicking above."

                              Vladas Urbonavičius
I’m thrilled to be working with friends and colleagues in Lithuania this autumn, delivering artist’s training for practitioners new to the arts and health field. This builds on the bespoke training that I offer each year here in Manchester, which explores individual artist’s practice and some of the knowledge and skills needed to embark on this ever-evolving field of work. This work is being developed in partnership with the Vilnius University Oncology Institute, the British Council and the team at Socialiniai Meno Projektai.
For more details, click on the pipe above!

I am working away this week, so please excuse the lack of response to email. 

                                                         Clean Mad Vision...