Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bush Telegraph…

This phenomena is real. Let me explain. In the outback of Australia I lost my lap-top - worse than that - I left it in a donga! In a place called Quilpie. I hand’t realised this until I’d got to Windorah and crashed out in the Western Star Motel, over 5 hours up an unsealed road. I felt sick. My life is on that machine and it wasn’t backed up. (my life wasn't backed up?) Near to tears I asked the motel owner Marilyn, if we could ring the roadhouse that ran the donga. She got straight onto it and within five minutes, she was speaking to road-train drivers, bakers and DJ’s (seriously...DJ Duck) and had identified the whereabouts of my machine and a driver to bring it out. Within 10 hours, my laptop was back in my arms. Can you imagine if you lost your laptop in Manchester? It would never be seen again, yet here in a vast landscape with so few people (6 children at the school here) the bush-telegraph works, people go out of their way to help. So it was, I met up with Geoff in Birdsville, the guy who so kindly had driven my laptop out to me, without any fuss, just as a favour. Now that’s another story.

This week, the Arts and Health training I’ve been delivering in Lithuania with Socialiniai Meno Projektai comes to a close. My work has been part of a rolling programe of activity supported by the British Council and has seen the input of amongst others the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival, Pia Strandman, Jenny Elliot and Carmel Garvey. This Thursday I am thrilled to be speaking at the National Gallery of Lithuania. Following my presentation I’ll be joined for a discussion by participants in this years artists training: Eglė Gudonytė, Ulijona Odišarija, Gailė Prackūnaitė, Kunigunda Dineikaitė, Gretė Siliūnaitė, Kamilė Klevinskaitė, Rasa Baradinskienė, Gabrielė Ganžaitė. I very much look forward to meeting up with friends and colleagues again.

UIA Charitable Foundation 
The UIA Charitable Foundation has announced that the next deadline for applying to its grants programme is the 31st December 2013. The Foundation is funded entirely by donations from UIA (Insurance) Limited, a mutual insurance company providing household insurance to trade union members, their families and other like-minded individuals.  Since inception the Foundation has made grants in excess of £450,000 to projects based in the UK and Internationally.  The aim of the charity is to support projects under two main categories. These are:
· The Community Support Programme
· The World Programme. 
In both areas the Foundation will consider projects that empower individuals and communities to improve their lives and the prospects of the community.  The Foundation will not usually provide grants to organisations with a turnover of more than £500,000.  The Foundation's grants range in size from a few hundred pounds to £5,000 for individual donations but they will consider funding for development projects on their individual merit. However applicants will need to be clear about the specific amount required, the timescales for the achievement of objectives and how the project will be monitored and evaluated. Read more at:

The Wellcome Trust – Broadcast Development Awards 
The Wellcome Trust's Broadcast Development Awards(BDA) 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. The next closing date for applications is the 24th January 2014. Read more at:

Until very soon...C.P.        

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dried mussels: A little plate with 160 g of protein (plus some comments on high-protein low-carbohydrate dieting)

Many hunter-gatherer groups employed various methods of drying to preserve meats. Drying also increases significantly the protein content of meats; this is the case with dried mussels. I discussed this effect of drying before here with respect to small fish (). The photo below is of a plate with about 240 g of dried mussels that I prepared using the simple recipe below.

To prepare your mussels as in the photo above, you will have to steam and then dry them. You can season the mussels after you steam them, but I rarely season mine. Almost none of the food I eat requires much seasoning anyway, because I use nature’s super-spice, which makes everything that has a high nutrient content taste delicious: hunger ().

- Steam the mussels for about 10 minutes, or until all are open.
- Remove the mussels from the shells; carefully, to avoid small shell pieces from coming off into the mussels (they are not kind to your teeth).
- Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the mussels in it (on a tray) for about 1 hour.
- Leave the mussels in the oven until they are cold, this will dry them further.

About 240 g of mussels, after drying, will yield a meal with a bit more than 160 g of protein – i.e., the proportion of protein will go from about 20 percent up to about 67 percent. In this case, most of the calories in the meal will come from the protein, if you had nothing else with it, adding up to less than 800 calories.

This comes in handy if you need to have lunch out, as the dried mussels can be carried in a plastic bag or container and eaten cold or after a light re-heating in a microwave. To me, they taste very good either way; but then again anything that is nutritious tends to taste very good when you are hungry, and I rarely have breakfast. I often eat them with pre-cooked sweet potato, which I eat with the skin (it tastes like candy).

You may want to think of dried mussels prepared in this way as a protein supplement, but a very nutritious one. You will be getting a large dose of omega-3 fats (3.11 g) with less omega-6 fats than you usually get through fish oil softgels (where n-6s are added for stability), about 1,224 percent of the recommended daily value (RDV) of magnesium, 461 percent of the RDV of selenium, 1,440 of the RDV of vitamin B12, a large dose of zinc, and (interestingly) almost 100 percent of the RDV of vitamin C.

Since mussels are very low in the food chain, accumulation of compounds that can be toxic to humans is not amplified by biomagnification (). But, still, mussels can be significantly affected by contaminants (e.g., petroleum hydrocarbons), so sourcing is important. The supermarket chain I use here in Texas, HEB, claims to do very careful sourcing. Telltale signs of contamination are developmental problems such as thin shells that shatter easily and stunted growth ().

For those readers who are on a low-carbohydrate diet, please pay attention to this: there is NO WAY your body will turn protein into fat if you are on a low-carbohydrate diet, unless you have a serious metabolic disorder (see this post: , and this podcast: ). And I mean SERIOUS; probably way beyond prediabetes. Do not believe the nonsense that has been circulating in some areas of the blogosphere lately.

A high-protein low-carbohydrate diet is one of the most effective diets at reducing body fat, particularly if you do resistance exercise (and you do not have to do it like a bodybuilder). That is not to say that a high-fat low-protein diet (like the "optimal diet") is a bad idea; in fact, the optimal diet is a good option if you do not do resistance exercise, but that is a topic for a different post.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

...out of office (part 2)

As time in the outback draws to a close, here is another one of those wonderful 'willy-willy's.' Sitting in a hotel (at last) in one of the most remote places on this continent, I'd like to rant just a little, about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty, which considering my presentation on Big Pharma last week, has never seemed more relevant. Click on the flowers below to find out a little more why we should be interested in this. TPP will make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to have greater control in our lives and even provision that allows surgical procedures to be patented! Sounds irrelevant? It's not! This is about our creative and intellectual freedom. are some funding opportunities, including this first international opportunity, which I have had the pleasure to support successful applicants with, over these last few years.

Artists International Development Fund 
The Arts Council England has announced that its new Artists' International Development Fund is currently open for applications. Through the Artists' International Development Fund the Arts Council offers grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to individual freelance and self-employed artists based in England to build links with artists, organisations and/or creative producers in another country.  The fund is open to individual artists, including creative producers, curators and editors.  Although the Artists' international development programme is aimed at individual artists, small groups of artists who normally collaborate in their work can also apply. This could include, for example, musicians and visual artists who usually create work together, or writers and their translators. 

In parallel with the Artists' international development fund, the British Council are administering a separate fund for film makers designed to help emerging UK film talent travel with their work and reach new international audiences. The Travel Grant Fund will support makers of short films in the UK in showing their work at international film festivals.
The closing date for applications is the 7th February 2014. Read more at:

Hyperlocal Media Competition Launched 
Innovation agencies Nesta and Technology Strategy Board have announced that they are seeking entries for Destination Local Demonstrators - a new hyperlocal media competition which will invest £2.5 million in projects that provide online news or content services to local communities.  The competition is looking for entries that:
· Demonstrate the potential for technology-led news or content services to specific geographical locations across the UK
· Enable people to connect more easily with their communities
· Provide evidence for the commercial and social potential of new services. 
Between three and five projects across the UK will be backed by the competition to support the development of new forms of hyperlocal media information and content services. It is estimated that projects will range in size from £700, 000 to £1.4 million. Entries to the competition can be submitted by technology, content and community focused organisations of any size that will go on to form business-led partnerships.   Projects will commence by May 2014 and last between 12 and 18 months and may be deployed in specific geographical areas.
The deadline to register to take part in the competition is the11th December 2013. Read more at: 

Government Launches New Vulnerable & Disengaged Young People Fund 
The Cabinet Office Centre for Social Action has announced the launch of a new £2million Vulnerable and Disengaged Young People Fund to inspire England’s most vulnerable young people. Administered by the Social Investment Business, organisations looking to create or further develop inspiring projects for young people can apply for a development, evidence or scale-up grant of between £30,000 and £250,000. The funding can be used towards:
· Setup costs
· Frontline delivery
· Evaluation
· Mentor/volunteer expenses
· A percentage of core costs (e.g. overheads). 
The grants can only fund up to £5,000 of capital expenditure.  Applications can come from the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, public bodies (for example Local Authorities) and businesses with a social mission or a clear objective in their corporate social responsibility policy towards increasing social action, or businesses involved in the delivery of public service.   The closing date for applications is the 6th December 2013. Read more at: 

Healthy Hearts Grants 
Heart Research UK has announced that its Health Hearts Grants Programme will re-open in January 2014. 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 28th February 2014. Read more at: 

Thank you Wills for the photographs and company. To anyone who's emailed me, but not yet had a reply, I promise to get back to you over the next week or so.

...I really hope you are well and thank you for popping by...C.P.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

...out of office!

...please excuse the self-indulgent nature of this blog whilst your blogger is outback, chasing tornadoes! OK, well maybe not tornadoes, but Australia's very own, 'Willy-Willy's'! I promise normality soon. : |     ...C.P.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Having made a 30 min version of my presentation and fended off those appalled by the 'drone', I have responded to the call to create something smaller, more compact, without the melancholic drone and with just a sense of the subject matter. Sensitive to this request, here is a gentle haiku version for you to unwind to.  C.P.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

...from Australasia

What a blur this week has been! The conference has probably been the most interesting and engaging of all those I’ve recently attended. Whilst its been great to spend quality time with colleagues and friends from the UK, it has been fantastic to catch up with old friends from other parts of the world and make new ones too! (Be lovely see more friends from non-English speaking countries though) Thank you to anyone who’s gone out of their way to say hello to me. Its great to meet kindred spirits in this arts and health field.

There are so may people I’ve met whose practice I’d like to share, but of course that’s not practical, so, to shine a spotlight on just one of the many new things I’ve seen and heard, here’s a link to just one organisations work that’s of exceptional vision, quality and impact.

Vic McEwan runs an organisation called Cad Factory and I had the pleasure of chairing a session he spoke at about his year-long exploration of a community in recovery, actively seeking the stories from the town of Yenda in the wake of the 2012 floods. Click on the shop front to find out more.

A few conference-connected highlights include having a breakfast with the philanthropist (and advertising magnate!) Harold Mitchell. Organised by Currency House Press, the breakfast saw Mitchell emphasising the need for creative leaders to have imagination and courage. Thanks to N.S. for arranging this. Being invited to the residency of the Governor of New South Wales for a drinks reception was something I felt a little uncertain about. Those of you who know me, will know why! But what a woman Professor Marie Bashir is! With a background in medicine, public health and psychiatry, she was quite a sensational host, and completely in tune with the potential of culture and the arts in the 21st Century. The final day of the conference has seen a contingent meet the Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, John Ajaka and an exploration of research, policy and practice in creative ageing. Brilliant work Margret Meagher.

As for my presentation at the conference this week - I had the chance to share some of my thinking around the constant, (and in my opinion, deluded) assertion, that to understand the impact of the arts and cultural activity of health and wellbeing, we need to measure our work using the Randomised Controlled Trial, as exemplified by big pharma. You can make your own opinions (although, I am bored rigid with the myopic mantra of dull-eyed pseudo-scientific sycophants) so enjoy - (or not) - this quickly recorded version. Some people loathed the music, some loved it, so good look with it - but remember, it’s there to drill into you, not placate and soothe you. Click on the CONTROL image, above.

I had to reduce many elements of my presentation, to keep within the allotted 30 minutes slot and another time, perhaps we can share some of those things I edited including: the soft-drinks industries influence on government policy; the ‘gatekeepers’ of our hyper-inflated and gated-community-of-interest ‘journals’; (overpriced-exclusive and just a tad-self-congratulatory) - oh, and Barry Manilow drug endorsements + dogs on sedatives! 
So much to say and play with - so little time.

And on the over-priced books front, I’m thrilled to have a new book-chapter out. It’s called Towards Sentience and is text developed from my thoughts on how art and design might be relevant to the ways in which we live and die. Its in a book called: The Handbook of Interior Architecture and Design, by Bloomsbury and only costs around £90. Cheap eh? I don't want to dig my own grave ; ) but I think the publishing industry is outrageous! I’m sure most libraries can’t afford books like this, let alone the hallowed journals.

Whilst I’m away, I can announce that the first of the Dementia and Imagination posts is open for applications. I’m very excited by this, but have to advise that this is a research post working with me and is pivotal to the three-year programme, and we are looking for post-doctoral candidates. Very soon, we’ll be recruiting an admin role and research-artists to work across the UK in our various research sites. Keep an eye out for the details. To find out more about the Research Associate post, click on the researcher below.

Whilst we are developing the Dementia and Imagination research, we’d love to share this simple survey with people who are involved in arts/dementia work. This will help inform our theoretical framework. thanks in anticipation, and feel free to circulate. 

The Glasgow Centre for Population Health is currently recruiting a Public Health Research Specialist to work on a project called Representing Communities: developing the creative power of people to improve health and wellbeing. The project involves understanding how community representations produced through creative arts practices (e.g. storytelling, performance, visual art) can be used as forms of evidence to inform health-related policy and service development. You will be involved in both the facilitation of these creative outputs (in partnership with Impact Arts) and leading on parallel research which will describe and report on the process. This post will be based within the Glasgow Centre for Population Health. Click on the mob below to find out more.

Thanks as ever for reading this and your email correspondence...C.P.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Latitude and cancer rates in US states: Aaron Blaisdell’s intuition confirmed

In the comments section of my previous post on cancer rates in the US states () my friend Aaron Blaisdell noted that: …comparing states that are roughly comparable in terms of number of seniors per 1000 individuals, latitude appears to have the largest effect on rates of cancer.

Good point, so I collected data on the latitudes of US states, built a more complex model (with several multivariate controls), and analyzed it with WarpPLS 4.0 ().

The coefficient of association for the effect of latitude on cancer rates (path coefficient) turned out to be 0.35. Its P value was lower than 0.001, meaning that the probability that this is a false positive is less than a tenth of a percent, or that we can be 99.9 percent confident that this is not a false positive.

This was calculated controlling for the: (a) proportion of seniors in the population (population age); (b) proportion of obese individuals in the population (obesity rates); and (c) the possible moderating effect of latitude on the effect of population age on cancer rates. The graph below shows this multivariate-adjusted association.

What is cool about a multivariate analysis is that you can control for certain effects. For example, since we are controlling for proportion of seniors in the population (population age), the fact that we have a state with a very low proportion of seniors (Alaska) does not tilt the effect toward that outlier as much as it would if we had not controlled for the proportion of seniors. This is a mathematical property that is difficult to grasp, but that makes multivariate adjustment such a powerful technique.

I should note that the 99.9 percent confidence mentioned above refers to the coefficient of association. That is, we are quite confident that the coefficient of association is not zero; that is it. The P value does not support the hypothesized direction of causality (latitude -> cancer) or exclude the possibility of a major confounder causing the effect.

Nonetheless, among the newest features of WarpPLS 4.0 (still a beta version) are several causality assessment coefficients: path-correlation signs, R-squared contributions, path-correlation ratios, path-correlation differences, Warp2 bivariate causal direction ratios, Warp2 bivariate causal direction differences, Warp3 bivariate causal direction ratios, and Warp3 bivariate causal direction differences. Without going into a lot of technical detail, which you can get from the User Manual () without even having to install the software, I can tell you that all of these causality assessment coefficients support the hypothesized direction of causality.

Also, while we cannot exclude the possibility of a major confounder causing the effect, we included two possible confounders in the analysis and controlled for their effects. They were the proportion of seniors in the population (population age) and the proportion of obese individuals in the population (obesity rates).

Having said all of the above, I should also say that the effect is similar in magnitude to the effect of population age on cancer rates, which I discussed in the previous post linked above. That is, it is not the type of effect that would be clearly noticeable in a person’s normal life.

Sunlight exposure? Maybe.

We do know that our body naturally produces as much as 10,000 IU of vitamin D based on a few minutes of sun exposure when the sun is high (). Getting that much vitamin D from dietary sources is very difficult, even after “fortification”.

Critical Mass

This week sees people from around the world gathering for the 5th International Arts of Good Health and Wellbeing Conference, organised by Arts and Health Australia and this year, with a fantastic contingent of people from the UK...and a positive posse of people from the North East! The first event today, saw Mike White from the Centre for Medical Humanities, facilitate the 3rd Critical Mass event. This brings together international collaborators from the field - artists, researchers, health managers and educators - to explore synergies and collaboration. Evidence of previous partnerships include the joint work between DADAA (Australia) and First Movement (Derbyshire) and the publication of a special edition of Arts & Health: An International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice dedicated to international perspectives in community based arts and health. In today’s session we focused on the question: What could produce effective international collaboration in practice and research in community based arts and health? Participants came from countries including amongst others, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA and the UK.

Tomorrow, the conference kicks off in earnest and I'll be doing my bit with Fiction-Non-Fiction. More on that very soon.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

lost for words...

 ...just a few small words from your disjointed blogger...following last weeks news of the inequalities in cultural spending up and down England, as if by magic, this week’s blog brings you the state’s response - well Arts Council England’s ‘refreshed’ version of Great Art and Culture for Everyone. As with last weeks news on inequalities in spending on the arts, this latest fanfare comes with no comment from me. Why? Because vitriol and bile come easy to me. You decide what you think, but considering the expose last week, I feel the manifesto is due an update!  Black clouds over Sydney. I'll update this blog for anyone who's interested in all things Australian as the week progresses.

Great art and culture for everyone
The purpose of this Arts Council England update is to bring together our remit for the arts with that for museums and libraries for the first time.
The following five goals are at the heart of our strategy:
Goal 1: Excellence is thriving and celebrated in the arts, museums and libraries
Goal 2: Everyone has the opportunity to experience and to be inspired by the arts, museums and libraries
Goal 3: The arts, museums and libraries are resilient and environmentally sustainable
Goal 4: The leadership and workforce in the arts, museums and libraries are diverse and appropriately skilled
Goal 5: Every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts, museums and libraries
The refreshed framework aims to be clearer about what success looks like, and how we will know whether we're achieving our mission of Great art and culture for everyone.

Wellcome Trust – Arts Awards 
The Wellcome Trust is inviting organisations and individuals to apply for funding through its Arts Awards. The Arts Awards support projects that engage the public with biomedical science through the arts including dance, drama, performance arts, visual arts, music, film, craft, photography, creative writing or digital media. Applications are invited for projects of up to £30,000 through their small grants programme, and for projects above £30,000 through their large grant programme. The aim of the awards is to support arts projects that reach new audiences which may not traditionally be interested in science and provide new ways of thinking about the social, cultural and ethical issues around contemporary science. The scheme is open to a wide range of people including, among others, artists, scientists, curators, filmmakers, writers, producers, directors, academics, science communicators, teachers, arts workers and education officers. The next application deadline for small projects is the 28th February 2014, and the 24th January 2014 for large projects. Read more at

Wellcome Trust - Peoples Awards
Awards of up to £30,000 are available under the Wellcome Trust's “Peoples” Awards for projects that encourage public debate and understanding of biomedical science. Projects can include:
· Workshops and seminars; arts projects for a variety of different audiences and age groups
· Teaching materials or techniques to encourage wider discussions
· Projects that utilise the collections of the Wellcome Library and the Wellcome Collection at the Science Museum.
Funding can be for up to three years. Applications can be made by a wide variety of individuals, organisations and partnerships. The next applications deadline is the 31st January 2014.  The Trust also makes “Society” Awards.  These are grants in excess of £30,000.  The next preliminary application deadline for “Society” Awards is 5pm on the 28 March 2014. Read more at:

I really hope all is well and thank you...blah, blah, blah...C.P. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Short and sweet this week, but of newsworthy comment are the plans of Narendra Modi, the chief minister in the state of Gujarat, to commission the worlds tallest statue, at an estimated cost of £200 million!  The 182 meter cement and steel, bronze-clad effigy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first leader after independence, is due to be completed in 4 years time. 

The number of poor families in Gujarat's villages have risen by at least 30 per cent over the last decade, going by the state government's own data, and with hours to go before Modi laid the foundation stone for the statue, the Gujarat Police foiled a protest due to take place at the site. The protesters were villagers from 66 tribal dominated villages located near the Sardar Sarovar Dam where the statue is to be built. They had planned to protest during the foundation laying ceremony. The coordinator of the protest, Rohit Prajapati, is now claiming that he is being kept under house arrest.

Whoever said big wasn’t beautiful...?

...talking of which! News coming in from the golden streets of London.

Rebalancing Our Cultural Capital, an evidence-based report addressing the balance of arts funds between London and the rest of England. The report has been produced – independently and at their own expense – by Peter Stark, Christopher Gordon and David Powell. The research reveals the extent of bias towards London in public funding of the arts provided by taxpayers and National Lottery players throughout England.
  • 15% of the population of England lives in London.  In 2012/13, Arts Council England (ACE) distributed £320m of taxpayers' money to the arts with £20 per head of population(php) allocated in London against £3.60 php in the rest of England.
  • In the same year the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) distributed £450m of public funds from the same source directly to major 'national' cultural institutions with - the report estimates - £49 php in London against £1 php in the rest of the country
  • In total in 2012/13 taxpayers from the whole of England provided benefit to London of £69 php against £4.60 php in the rest of the country.
  • A pattern of public funding that favours London has existed since the foundation of the Arts Council. A trend to enhance the imbalance has been consistent for at least 30 years.
  • During this period successive Governments and Arts Councils have acknowledged the imbalance but argued that it would need a significant new injection of funds to enable redress.
  • Since 1995, Arts Council England has had stewardship responsibility for - and has distributed - £3.5 billion of 'new and additional' funds for good causes in the arts from the National Lottery.
  • The report argues that funds from the National Lottery - derived disproportionately from the less well off in society - carry a different ethical mandate for the Arts Council: this suggests at least geographically proportionate distribution based on size of population.
  • In fact, Arts Council distribution of its £3.5bn of new Lottery funding has provided benefit to London of £165 php against £47php in the rest of England over the 18 years of the Lottery to date.
  • Last year's figures, combining taxpayers' and lottery players' funds distributed by Arts Council England show benefit to London of £86 php against £8 php in the rest of England a ratio of over 10:1.
  • One way to begin redress would be to allocate London its fair 'per capita' share of arts Lottery funding, for an initial five year period.
  • The 'core' treasury funding of arts organisations and cultural institutions in London would not be affected. Funds available to London overall would reduce by just over 10%. Cultural production outside London could then benefit over the five years by a total of £600m. This is still less than the cost to the Lottery of the Millennium Dome.
Click on the gold for more details

Dementia and Imagination...
I could do with your help. If you have a moment and explicitly, in terms of the Visual Arts, would you email me with your answers/thoughts to these simple questions? 


* How can the visual arts impact on people with memory loss?

* How can Visual Art appreciation/engagement affect the symptoms of memory loss?

* What evidence do we have to ‘prove’ any of this?

* How can Visual Artists inspire and enhance the lives of people with memory loss? 

* How can Visual Artists challenge the stigma associated with memory loss?

Thank you for this. Who needs survey monkey's anyway?

Maybe an obvious tribute, or perhaps reflections on a personal perfect day...

Collective Encounters Company Stage Manager Required
Fee: £3470
Based in Liverpool Collective Encounters is a national company specialising in theatre for social change. The company has recently been commissioned by National Museums Liverpool to deliver the drama element of the House of Memories Museum training for social care staff working with people living with dementia. The play will be written and directed by Sarah Thornton and will include elements of audience/performance interaction. We are now looking for a Company Stage Manager to support a tour of the piece to venues in the Midlands and Liverpool. Contract period: 3 weeks rehearsal week beginning – 16th December, 6th January, 13th January. 14 performances (between the period January – March 2013) – dates for these have been confirmed.

To apply send your CV by 1st November to or call 07811175095 for more information.

This little blog may be quieter than usual over the next few weeks, but please check for the smallest updates, as I travel to Australia for the 5th Annual International Arts and Health Conference. 

Thank you as ever for your time...C.P.


Monday, October 28, 2013

...notes from a beautiful world

The fog, The Fog, The FOG, THE FOG
This week, I’m digesting the fact that my dear little island home is hell-bent on the development of Hinkley Point in Somerset. For our international readers, Hinkley Point is a good old-fashioned nuclear reactor. Hinkley Point A (now closed) was a real magnox-charmer and producer of plutonium. Hinkley Point B is a gas-cooled-reactor, and a ‘second generation’ (so it must be safe). A new Nuclear plant - Point C - has been commissioned and a joint venture between the Chinese and French to build a new Nuclear Power station is planned. HOORAH!

As someone who has spent his life paddling in the fetid waters of Morecambe Bay, gently warmed by Heysham Nuclear Power Stations 1 and 2 (both ‘advanced cooled’ - even better) and the Mother of all Nuclear ‘reprossesing’ facilities -Sellafield, AKA - Windscale, AKA - Calder Hall…(so good they named it  thrice)

Lest we forget, the Windscale Piles were shut down following a fire on 10 October 1957 which destroyed the core and belched radioactive material into the surrounding environment. AKA - The Lake District.

Lest we forget part 2, on 19 April 2005, 83,000 litres of radioactive waste was discovered to have leaked in the Thorp reprocessing plant (at Sellafield) from a cracked pipe into a huge sump-chamber. Oh yes, discovered 9 months after the leak started...reassuring eh? 

Lest we forget part 3, between 1950 and 2000 there were 21 serious incidents or accidents involving some off-site radiological releases that warranted international concern.

((...think dear old Bob Peck in Edge of Darkness and the wonderful Clapton soundtrack. (didn’t Bob turn into black flowers??) Bloody Marvellous))

So what the hell does this have to do with arts and health? Hmmm. Where do we start? (+ we don’t forget Three Mile Island - Chernobyl - Fukushima either)

OK, so you don’t like windmills clogging up your rural idyl, as I’m sure others before you didn’t like those beautiful pylons that feed you and keep you warm. But if we are really - and I mean REALLY - going to consider arts and health as important - as relevant - should’t we be thinking of health beyond the confines of our sentient little selves? 

Health and wellbeing stretch way beyond our simple individualistic confines. Surely arts/health is concerned with life beyond selfish-individualism - ultimately, beyond our own pathology - so, as concerned as we are with our own health and  self-preservation, should’t we embrace a more global and environmental perspective? Whist I’m dubious about the profit-driven motives of our new nuclear masters, I can flag up some artist/designers who are thinking big about our dear old mother-earth. Dutch artist, Daan Roosegaarde, is at least is trying to reimagine solutions to burgeoning environmental problems. His aspirational system SMOG imagines ‘hacking the landscape in a poetic way.’ Roosegaarde has plans to use an electrostatic field of buried copper coils, to pull out the smog from the fetid air of China. Go Roosegaarde, go! This is the stuff we want to hear about. BOOM! to your wonderful imagination.

It's only a few weeks ago that the World Health Organisation announced that they acknowledge the impact of airborne pollution on all sorts of respiratory disease, including lung cancer, so the air in Shanghai, Beijing or even walking down Oxford Road, should be a concern for all of us. Now I notice that Beijing are proposing to spend £102 billion (yes, billion) on tackling air pollution. The Guardian reports that a Beijing based artist, Matt Hope (the key is in his surname) has developed , ‘a prototype for an air-purifying-bicycle out of a mesh rubbish bin,  a fighter-pilot mask, a moped helmet and a peddle-powered wind generator.’ COME ON MATT! KA-BOOM! Surely this is the kind of Heath-Robinson approach that’s needed, and without the plutonium spillage!

Finally, Xiaowei Wang has a project called FLOAT in which Beijing residents  attach small air-quality monitors onto hand-made kites. The kites have little LED lights on them and at night time, these flash different colours to reflect different states of air-quality, and there are workshops to make kites and fly them at night. This is great...stretching beyond the individual, enabling people to understand the issues, monitor the science behind the issue - and I’d hope - take action. BANG goes Wang!! Here’s the Million Yuan question though. In the face of bags of profits to be made by the smog-creating factories that pepper China, the real public health issue isn’t necessarily about the big-tidy-up, but about reducing the causes. Now then Beijing, there’s your challenge. Mind you, you can always build a reactor on our already nuclear-drenched landscape.

Of course, a hell-bent advocate for sound-economic-pollution-production, could eat me for breakfast with their statistical facts on the pros and cons of the split atom, and other than recommending a billion works of social/science/fiction (think Riddley Walker here) - all I can do is SCREAM from the sidelines at those in control. This week however, has seen the peoples bearded buddhist, Russell Brand have a splendid confrontation with Jeremy Paxman

My gut instinct was not to engage with his new/old-age mystic and the web-frenzy over his encounter/interview/mentor-mentee relationship with Paxman.  But I was forced into begrudging admiration. He spoke from the heart - both facetiously - and with a tempered call to arms, for a revolution. Ohhh, that this were imminent. My overriding joy in this 10 minute skiffle, was Brand’s beautiful (maybe naive) honesty. He showed no fear in front of Paxman, who I think, showed a rare respect for Brand. The beard comments and something on the lines of looking doe-eyed into the fire, were quite sublime.

So I’m back in beautiful Vilnius for the second stage of the Arts and Health training at the Oncology Institute and will be working with artists and designers who have been developing proposals around new commissions here. Can’t wait to see their ideas. Working closely with the British Council and the wonderful team at Socialiniai Meno Projektai who are facilitating a seminar for public mental health specialists. I’m thrilled to be speaking alongside the inspirational Lee Knifton after the recent Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival and Isabella Goldie from the Mental Health Foundation, Scotland. For my part, I am revisiting my fascination with the way we pathologies our everyday lives, whilst handing over the curation of our wellbeing to the wonderful world of pharmacology. Hey Ho!

Coffee anyone? Why not go for the small-scale and local? Try STARBUNG and to hell on a hand-cart with the big-bucks!

Tudor Trust grants for voluntary & community groups
The Tudor Trust is an independent grant-making trust which supports voluntary and community groups working in any part of the UK. The Trust particularly wants to help smaller, community-led organisations that work directly with people who are at the margins of society, and support positive changes in people’s lives and in their communities.
Grants can go towards core organisational costs, projects, buildings/equipment and grants to help strengthen your organisation. Tudor doesn’t have specific funding programmes, but is looking to fund the following types of organisations/projects:
· Organisations working directly with people who are at the margins of society
· A focus on building stronger communities by overcoming isolation and fragmentation and encouraging inclusion, connection and integration
· Organisations which are embedded in and have developed out of their community – whether the local area or a ‘community of interest’
· High levels of user involvement, and an emphasis on self-help where this is appropriate
· Work which addresses complex and multi-stranded problems in unusual or imaginative ways
· Organisations which are thoughtful in their use of resources and which foster community resilience in the face of environmental, economic or social change
You can apply at any time, and there is no minimum or maximum amount.

30k bursary for emerging artists aged 18-30
Sky Arts and IdeasTap are giving away five bursaries of £30,000 each to emerging artists aged 18-30. The bursaries are designed to help talented individuals from a range of creative disciplines focus on their creative practice for a whole year. In addition to the funding, winners are paired with creative and business mentors to support their development. The Futures Fund is open to UK and Irish applicants working in the following fields:
·  Performing arts ­ theatre-makers including directors, producers, puppeteers
·  Dance ­ including dancers and choreographers
·  Music ­ including composers, conductors, musicians and songwriters
·  Visual art ­ including painters, photographers, animators, digital artists
·  Creative producing – for people who bring together different artists 
·  Creative writing ­ including playwrights, novelists and poets
Find out more and apply at

Baily Thomas Charitable Fund 
The Baily Thomas Charitable Fund is a registered charity which was established to support projects in the area of learning disability and to aid the care and relief of those affected by learning disability by making grants to voluntary organisations within the UK and the Republic of Ireland working in this field. The Trust consider under learning disability the conditions generally referred to as severe learning difficulties, together with autism. In this area, they consider projects concerning children or adults. Funding in the past has ranged in value from £100 to £150,000.  The next deadline for research funding is the 1st January 2014, and the 13th January 2014 for general funding. Read more at:

Digital Makers Fund Opens for a Second Round of Applications 
Digital Charities, Nesta and the Nominet Trust have announced a second open call for ideas to significantly increase the number of young people who participate in digital making activities. Through the Digital Makers Fund, grants of between £20,000 and £50,000 are available for projects that use young people's existing interests, passions and pastimes as a gateway to digital making, inspiring young people to become creators, not just users of digital technologies.  Alongside the grant a package of tailored support will be offered; this includes expert advice and mentoring and access to Nesta and Nominet Trust's expertise, networks and event space.

To apply, applicants will need to attend a Digital Makers workshop or webchat before deciding to submit an application. Applicants will the need to submit a short video pitch of no more than two minutes and a short application form. The deadline for applications is the 14th November 2013. Read more at:

BBC Children in Need Main Grants Programme 
BBC Children in Need has announced that the next applications deadline for its Main Grants Programme is the 15th January 2014.Funding is available to organisations that work with young people who are suffering from:
·  Illness
·  Distress; abuse or neglect
·  Are disabled
·  Have behavioural or psychological difficulties
·  Are living in poverty or situations of deprivation.
The Main grants programme is open to applications for over £10,000.  Read more at 

Actors Needed
Based in Liverpool Collective Encounters is a national company specialising in theatre for social change. The company has recently been commissioned by National Museums Liverpool to deliver the drama element of the House of Memories Museum training for social care staff working with people living with dementia. The play will be written and directed by Sarah Thornton and will include elements of audience/performance interaction. We are looking for:
· 1 x female performer with a playing age of 65+.
· 1 x female performer with a playing age of 50 – 65.
· 1 x actor/joker (male or female) with substantial experience of forum theatre facilitation.
All performers are required to play a variety of characters and will have adeptness for regional accents. All performers will need to have excellent improvisation skills as well as experience of or an understanding of interactive theatre. 

Rehearsals: Rehearsals will take place in Liverpool. Rehearsal weeks are split to take into account the Christmas break. Rehearsals dates are
· Monday 13th November – Saturday 21st December 2013
· Monday 6th January – Saturday 18th January 2014

Performances will take place during the hours of 10am – 3pm. From the 20th January until the 28th March there will be a total of 14 x performances in Liverpool and the Midlands. Venues are the Museum of Liverpool and a key Midlands cultural venue (actual venue tbc).

Contract: The 4-week rehearsal is offered on an ITC/Equity contract at £430 p/w. Fees for the 14 performances are offered on a freelance contract basis at a rate of £150 per performance. Expenses for relocation can be negotiated. Auditions will take place in Liverpool on 13th November 2013. To apply please send your CV and headshot to by Monday 11th November. For more information call 07811175095.

Through the dismal light I can see the beauty of polar stars. 
All is good. All will be fine...

Thank you as ever for visiting this place...C.P.