Sunday, May 20, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: FREE PUBLIC LECTURE with Richard Cork - David Beckham - Sex and Politics - Competitions, Films and New Arts/Health Tender in Cumbria...

What a speedy couple of weeks: Richards show is down, the Royal Northern College of Music have had the most excellent two day conference on Music and Health, at which I was privileged to share the manifesto.  It was a conference full of passion and possibility and I am thrilled to have hooked up with Musique et Sante once more - exemplars, who alongside Holly and her colleagues, really work out the synergies between notions of music therapy and music and health, and for me, the political power of music for the individual and society. Brilliant and inspiring. Thank you.

Thinking no doubt, about the Olympic Flame and its progression through our bunting filled cities and villages, I dreamt last night of David Beckham, proudly pounding the pavements, torch held high in honour of Queen and country. Only, as in all good dreams, he shouts ‘flame on’ and takes off into the night sky, (St Beckham of Trafford in ascension) to fall to the earth seconds later, like some tousled Icarus - some spluttering spitfire, shot down and impotent. I rush over to him, only to find it's not his coiffured broken body, but that of humiliated and impoverished street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi who self-immolated in Tunisia and kick started what we now call the Arab spring.

And with my increasingly inflamed feelings of patriotic positiveness to the Jubilee and Olympics, I’m thrilled to note that the once vilified athlete, John Carlos (who alongside his fellow American Tommie Smith, so splendidly drew global attention to inequalities in the US by bowing their heads and raising their black-gloved hands in salute on the winners podium in the ‘68 Olympics) is in Liverpool on the 26th May at 6:00 at FACT, in conversation. 
(details here: )

He comments, "Coming to the UK on the eve of the Olympics is a very exciting opportunity for me to talk with the new generation about why we did what we did back in 1968. When Tommie Smith and I raised our fists on that medal platform at the Olympics, we knew that we would catch hell but we didn't care. We didn't care because we wanted the coming generations to live and breathe as full citizens with equal rights. I was just concerned with right and wrong. We went out there for humanity. We are here 43 years later because the fight is still to be won." 

To make a very unsubtle segue between Carlos and the potency of music, here’s a beautiful piece of music by Marvin Gaye that needs no introduction: loaded, potent and sublime:  What’s Going On?

Building further tenuous connections between 1968, and current olympic-sized spending in a time of austerity and inequality - step forward French philosopher Alain Badiou who in his new book, Polemics makes interesting connections between sex, love and politics. Here’s a quote from an article in Saturday’s Guardian -

He defines his "real politics" in opposition to what he calls "parliamentary cretinism". His politics starts with subjective experience, involves a truth procedure and ends, fingers crossed, in a communist society. Why? "It's necessary to invent a politics that is not identical with power. Real politics is to engage to resolve problems within a collective with enthusiasm. It's not simply to delegate problems to the professionals. Love is like politics in that it's not a professional affair. There are no professionals in love, and none in real politics." 

...and finally, (before we get to the opportunities and events) in the presentation of my paper,  A Brightly Coloured Bell-Jar, I’d discussed the role of psychiatry, in the demonisation of people who are gay, reducing people to morbidity and pathological disfunction in secular society.  Well the psychiatrist Dr Robert Spitzer, (and architect of modern classification of mental disorders) the name behind research that posited that gay people could successfully become straight if they were motivated to do so: has retracted his long-held claim. More than that, he has apologised. I quote: "I believe I owe the gay community an apology...I also apologise to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works."

OK...back to business.

I am thrilled to announce that Dr Langley Brown has been appointed as Research Associate and will be working with me on new research in Arts and Health. One of Langley’s first coups has been to secure a free public lecture by acclaimed art critic Richard on...

Arts for Health presents:
The Healing Presence of Art
A History of Western Art in Hospitals
An illustrated lecture by acclaimed art critic and author
Richard Cork
on his new book of the above title, followed by a discussion
6.30 pm, Wednesday 13th June 2012
Lecture Theatre LT3, Geoffrey Manton Building,
All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, 
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, M15
The event is free, but booking strictly in advance:

To celebrate the first year of the Arts for Health Archive, and to help place contemporary arts and health practice within a long-standing yet little-studied tradition, Arts for Health has invited Richard Cork to talk about his new and beautifully illustrated book on the history of western art in hospitals. His lecture will be of interest to anyone concerned with the arts, the human environment, and wellbeing.

Between birth and death, many of life's most critical moments occur in hospital, and they deserve to take place in surroundings that match their significance. In this spirit, from the early Renaissance through to the modern period, artists have made immensely powerful work in hospitals across the western world, enhancing the environments where patients and medical staff strive towards better health.

Distinguished art historian Richard Cork became fascinated by the extraordinary richness of art produced in hospitals, encompassing work by many of the great masters - Piero della Francesca, Rogier van der Weyden, El Greco, William Hogarth, Jacques-Louis David, Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Fernand Leger, Marc Chagall and Naum Gabo. Cork's brilliant survey discovers the astonishing variety of images found in medical settings, ranging from dramatic confrontations with suffering (Matthias Grunewald at Isenheim) to the most sublime celebrations of heavenly ecstasy (Giovanni Battista Tiepolo in Venice). In the process, he reveals art's prodigious ability to humanize our hospitals, alleviate their clinical bleakness and leave a profound, lasting impression on patients, staff and visitors.

Richard Cork is an award-winning art critic, historian, broadcaster and curator. Formerly Art Critic of The Evening Standard and Chief Art Critic of The Times, he now writes for The Financial Times and broadcasts regularly on BBC radio and TV. He was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge University in 1989-90, and Henry Moore Senior Fellow at the Courtauld Institute, 1992-5. He has acted as a judge for the Turner Prize and curated major exhibitions at Tate, the Hayward Gallery, the Barbican Art Gallery, the Royal Academy and other European venues.

Cork’s many books include a ground-breaking study of Vorticism, awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1977; Art Beyond the Gallery, winner of the Banister Fletcher Award in 1986; a major monograph on David Bomberg, 1987; A Bitter Truth: Avant-Garde Art and the Great War, winner of the Art Fund Award in 1995; Jacob Epstein, 1999; four acclaimed volumes of his critical writings on modern art, 2003; Michael Craig-Martin, 2006; and Wild Thing: Epstein, Gaudier-Brzeska, Gill, 2009. He was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy in 2011.

"A comprehensive and magisterial monograph... Cork brilliantly conveys the extent to which hospitals provided a public arena for the display of art, long before the existence of museums."—Charles Saumarez Smith, RA Magazine

"There have been many studies linking aspects of art and illness but Richard Cork’s scholarly and elegant book is the first to show just how closely the two have always been intertwined and just how various have been the responses."—Michael Prodger, Literary Review

"Cork's prodigiously researched book documents how art in hospitals developed and provides a solid foundation for its future role."—Colin Martin, World Health Design

Pallant House Gallery presents the launch of Outside In: 2012, a unique open-entry arts prize for Outsider and marginalised artists. Submissions remain open until 20 July 2012. Selected works will be showcased in a major exhibition at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex from 27 Oct 2012 – 3 Feb 2013.

LA COLIFATA (gracias D.P)

Película documental dirigida por Carlos Larrondo. Producida por Bausan Films y Filmanova Invest. LT22, Radio La Colifata es una radio hecha íntegramente por los internos del Hospital Psiquíatrico J.T. Borda de Buenos Aires. Se graba y se emite desde los jardines del Hospital; se escucha en todo el mundo. Una radio que cuestiona el limite entre locura y razón. Una radio que rompe el muro que separa cuerdos de locos Se da la palabra a quienes la han tenido negada por mucho tiempo: los locos, que, además, pueden mostrarnos todas esas cosas que nosotros los cuerdos, no somos capaces de ver.

Here is an 8 minute short film, shot on location at Alder Hey Children's Hospital by long-time Arts for Health collaborator, Hafsah Naib and which features patients performing ideas about medicines of the future. The participatory and engagement technique used to generate child-led authentic performance is based upon an artistic approach that she has been developing for several years and which has been the subject of collaborative and academic research presented at art and education conferences in Japan, Austrailia and more recently Hungary.

Copeland Borough Council are seeking expressions of interest from organizations or groups who have an interest in tendering to continue delivering the Pathways to Art project and who can fulfill the following criteria:
  • The aims and objectives of the organisation must reflect those of Pathways to Art.
  • There must be a legal framework and constitution in place which will allow applications to various grant/funding bodies.
  • Demonstrable experience of successful funding applications.
  • Members of staff working on the project must have demonstrable skills in project management in the arts and delivering arts workshops with clients who have mental and/or physical health problems.
Project Summary
The Pathways to Art project has been successfully operating in West Cumbria since 2007, although in the last year it has been running in Copeland Borough only due to budget constraints. The changing economic climate means it is no longer viable for the project to continue operating within the Local Authority, however Copeland Borough Council recognise the benefits of the project to its residents and to that end wish to see it continue, either as a project of an existing organisation or by a group who are interested in establishing the project as a Social Enterprise in its own right.  In order to assist this, the council is offering a one- off grant of £15,265, which is mainly, matched funding for further grant applications.

How to Apply
Through an expression of interest which outlines:
How you meet the criteria defined above, including CV's of any staff working on the project, both initial planning/fundraising and workshop delivery.
Why you are interested in this opportunity.
Initial ideas for running the project in the first instance and how you might develop it over 3 years, bearing in mind the following:

Contract NWCE-8U5MWK
Title Project 611: Pathways to Art
The tender will go live today ( 16 May 2012) at 14.00pm on The Chest ( organisations or groups wishing to tender will need to register on The Chest which is free. All relevant guidance and documents are on The Chest and expressions of interest should be submitted through The Chest no later than 17.00pm on Friday 8 June 2012.

The UK Medical Collections Group
Thackray Museum, Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7LN
This inspiring and practical one-day conference will bring you up to date with new structures and priorities in the health sector, and will explore how heritage organisations can contribute to government agendas around all aspects of health.  Whether you are already involved with the UK Medical Collections Group, or if you are a curator or educator who is keen to join the debate about what heritage can offer to health, we hope that you can join us on 29th May.  You will hear from speakers from the heath sector, as well as museum and arts professionals who have worked towards health agendas. You will also have the chance to explore how you can link your work to health outcomes. We aim to bring together existing practice and new information to develop a long-term vision of how museums can contribute to health outcomes.

Tuesday 29th May, 201210am-4pm
For enquiries or to make a booking, please email:

Thank you as ever...C.P.