Sunday, January 20, 2013


This week I took on the role of chair of the National Alliance for Arts, Health & Wellbeing and it promises to be an interesting period of development in the field. More of that very soon. Not entirely unconnected, I would like to talk to anyone who has had experience of mentoring in this arts and health world. I’m particularly interested in exploring reverse mentoring, whereby people who are slightly (hmmm) ‘long-in the-tooth’ like me, might benefit from a younger and dynamic arts/health person, perhaps someone who didn’t knowingly start out on this path, but finds either their health or arts journey has led them to thinking about this work - or perhaps someone whose start in life hasn’t been ‘conventional’. So, a two-way street in mentoring to benefit both partners. Get in touch if you’ve ideas on this.

People laughing their heads off at a Networking Event 
The first networking event with a focus on arts and recovery is set for Thursday 7th February and details of timings will be sent out to those of you who have registered a few days before. As though that’s not enough for February, I’ll be holding another session on Thursday 28th February between 6:00 and 8:00PM! I’m exploring how we define this arts and health thing that we do, and talking with friends and colleagues in Lithuania, we’ve been unpicking a very early John Angus Arts and Health Framework that he produced for the Health Development Agency back in 2002. It’s got me started exploring how we can better tell our story in words and ‘pictures’... What on earth do I mean? Well, how are we evolving? Is it just the same old synergies, divisions and silos, or are we thinking differently? SO - I’ll have done some preparatory work for the session, but it will be an interactive evening where we all contribute to visualising where we feel the field is at this ever-evolving moment in time. The little film at the top of the page, is a starting point for me. To take part in this event, you’ll need to register here 

Did you know that Manchester boasts at least 153 languages, making it one of the worlds most diverse places? According to University of Manchester linguist, Professor Yaron Matras the list could get even higher! He comments that “Manchester’s language diversity is higher than many countries in the world. It is very likely to be top of the list in Europe, certainly when compared to other cities of its size, perhaps only outflanked by London and Paris. We do know that around two thirds of Mancunian schoolchildren are bilingual  - a huge figure which indicates just how precious its linguistic culture is.” To find out more click on the animals below.

Celebrate Chinese New Year
Thursday 7th February 8pm 
On the evening of the first networking event you can follow all the excitement and celebrate the Year of the Snake with a fusion of Chinese music, jazz, beats and inspiring tunes featuring the amazing Yin Ng. This renowned composer, arranger and performer was the “musician of the Year” in Hong Kong in 2012. Yin has worked with More Music for over 6 years which included working on the inspiring LONG WALK project in Hong Kong in 2009. This piece was created by Artistic Director of More Music, Pete Moser, as a response to the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004 and was made and performed in Morecambe, Gateshead, Liverpool and Hong Kong. More details about this event can be found by clicking on this Ai Weiwei snake made in response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing. Many of the victims were students who died when their poorly constructed schools collapsed on them.  Called "Snake Ceiling", it is made of hundreds of backpacks latched together in the shape of a snake. These are meant to represent children's backpacks left behind after the earthquake. Ai said he saw numerous piles of backpacks outside schools when he traveled to Sichuan following the disaster. 

Musical Spaces in Medical Places
A one-day training & workshop opportunity following our Music & Wellbeing agenda, in conjunction with the Royal Northern College of Music.
Published on: 10/01/2013 A fantastic Making Music training opportunity at the RNCM for musical groups who would like to take their music into hospitals or other medical places. Led by experts in this field, Ros Hawley and Mark Fisher, the day will equip you with new skills to enter this rewarding sector. Read more and register your interest by clicking on the sublime Musique et Sante musician, Dédé Saint-Prix.

Developing Supportive Design 
for People with Dementia 
There is growing awareness of the importance of the environment within health care. The King's Fund's Enhancing the Healing Environment (EHE) programme encourages and enables nurse-led teams to work in partnership with patients to improve the environment in which to deliver care. This publication seeks to provide practical, value-for-money examples to encourage and inspire staff and their organisations to provide an environment of care that better supports people with dementia. As well as case studies with before and after photographs from participating sites, Developing Supportive Design for People with Dementia includes information about the development and evaluation of the EHE assessment tool; overarching design principles for creating a more supportive environment for people with dementia; and a project directory detailing the artists and designers involved in each scheme along with costs involved. Click on the graphic below for more details.

Family Friendly Arts Campaign MA Contracts available, The Family Friendly arts campaign is inviting tenders for two major pieces of work:

The Big Venture Challenge (North West)
The Big Venture Challenge, a national competition seeking to find the 30 most ambitious social entrepreneurs in England, has announced that it is open for applications.  Big Venture Challenge is looking for people:
• With big ideas to transform disadvantaged communities across England
• Who have got what it takes to build credible ventures
• Who have the ambition to be scaled up fast.

To be eligible to apply applicants must be 16+, be founders of the venture, and be based in England. Those selected as one of the 30 Big Challenge Award Winners will participate in an intensive 12 month programme that is designed to help raise external investment (debt or equity) of between £50,000 to £250,000.  The Big Venture Challenge will run themed and regional cohorts every year in order to build deeper, more relevant strategic support networks around each cohort. In 2013 the themed cohort will be in Health and Social Care and the regional cohort will be in the North West of England.  The applications closing date is 9am on the 8th February 2013. Read more at:

People's Postcode Trust Small Grants Programme 
(England, Scotland & Wales)
The People's Postcode Trust has announced the first funding round for the 2013 small grants programme is now open. Through its small grants programme, the People's Postcode Trust offers grants of between £500 and £10,000 to small organisations and community groups for projects lasting up to 6 months in the areas of:

  • Poverty Prevention
  • Advancement of Health
  • Community Development
  • Public Sports
  • Human Rights
  • Environmental Protection.
This funding round is open to organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern England.  The closing date for applications is the 22nd February 2013. For further information on this and future funding rounds please click:

New Grants Programme for Gypsy Roma & Traveller Groups (UK)
The Travellers Aid Trust has announced the launch of a new grants programme for Gypsy Roma and Traveller groups.  Funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the programme will make grants of between £5,000 and £20,000 to Gypsy Roma and Traveller groups to help skill up young people, improve literacy and work with offenders.  The Travellers Aid Trust expects to award between 7 and 10 grants a year over the next two years.
The closing date for the first round of applications is the 8th February 2013. Read more by clicking the image above.

...and a song to keep you bemused with slightly creepy tigers and rabbits cycling into an inky dark place...