Sunday, July 21, 2013


I’m writing a paper around the thorny issue of what constitutes evidence in our field of inquiry, particularly in light of our sometimes-desperate attempts to rigidly align ourselves to science. I am keen to gather insights into just how those notions of ‘evidence’ and ‘the gold-standard’ have been influenced and misused by the free-market and particularly the pharmaceutical industry. If you can direct me to any examples of where evidence has been exposed as being spurious, or even worse shown to be conflated or damaging, I would be very grateful.

I’d also be interested to hear about particular examples of research around the impact of creativity, culture and the arts on health and wellbeing that positively eschew attempts to measure and embraces participatory methodologies and the arts themselves as the significant factor. My final request: cast your net far and wide. I’d like to hear about the diverse and unusual, particularly where it allows us to question notions of authenticity and authority. Please feel free to get in touch about anything and a bog thanks to those of you who already have. Remember, those of you who read this blog in Mexico, in Pakistan, China, Russia, Germany and Belarus last week - I’d be very interested in your thoughts!

         WARNING: Video contains flashing imagery
The UK Arts, Health and Wellbeing Research Network held its first Seminar at the University of Nottingham in March this year. Its focus was on, Existing knowledge, contested approaches and future agendas, and it aimed to map the terrain of existing Arts, Health and Wellbeing research across different disciplines, identify consensus and conceptual tensions and building an academic agenda for cross-disciplinary research for the future. For those of you interested in the research agenda, you can now access the keynotes and extra materials from a dedicated web page, including my own spontaneous and incoherent gibberish. Be warned!

For those of you interested in those thoughts on global approaches to the arts and public health, which I explored at this event, I'm pleased to say that Mike White and I have been working up some of those ideas for a new paper to be published very shortly under the title, Inequalities, the arts and public health: Towards an international conversation. More of that, very soon.

A date has been set for the next research seminar on September 12th in Bristol. The ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) are very keen that investment in researchers of the future and with this in mind, 10 places will be allocated for registered Doctoral students specifically studying Arts, Health & Wellbeing topics. So if you are a PhD student and you want to know more, please email More details about these seminars and the multi-media downloads are available at:

The Small Delights of Turkey
Arts and Health Training...
I am regularly asked, when is Arts for Health running its next 6-week training course for arts/health practitioners, and whilst I’d love to be able to offer these courses more regularly, its just difficult carving the time up to do this. But this week I received an email from colleagues in Sefton, Merseyside who are running something very, very similar. Whilst I can’t vouch for the content as I’ve not participated in it, the people who are running it are great, the project is a good one and I think it will be a really useful arts/health course. Check it out by going to the Creative Alternatives website

Arts & Health Presentation at the National Eisteddfod
An Arts in Health presentation and discussion will be delivered at the National Eisteddfod (Pabell y Cymdeithasau 1) at 2pm on the 6th of August. For more information, contact Robyn Tomos: 

(Where you, the people, can apply to take on the role of police, libraries and so much more whilst nurturing the spirit of competitiveness and market greed in our young entrepreneurs and saving our bankrupt country buckets of cash at the same time.Welcome to the 21st Century world of funding)

Government Announces £4.3 Million Fund for Local Communities to Deliver Services 
The Government has announced that it is making £4.3 million available to help 100 local communities within England to design and deliver local services that focus on local priorities and reduce costs.  The expansion of the ‘Our Place’ programme builds on the success of the Neighbourhood Community Budget Pilots that for the past year have been pioneering new ways to improve local services in 12 areas. The 12 pilots range from inner cities and suburbs, to housing estates and small towns. They have all taken very different approaches, but all of them have seen partners working together to tackle the issues which matter most locally.  For example, In Balsall Heath, Birmingham, police officers and the community are developing fortnightly street patrols with residents, and priority policing actions to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. Their analysis has shown that at a cost of £35,000 per year, over 5 years, potential benefits of over £500,000 could be produced.  

In Ilfracombe, Devon, “One Ilfracombe” is working with its district council to transfer a £1 million budget, alongside an aligned budget from health, Jobcentre Plus, police, fire, housing and councils to work with the private sector and community to improve the health, economy, and living environment for local people. To express an interest in becoming an Our Place! neighbourhood, email or click on the officer of the law, above.

Government Launches Enterprising Libraries Programme 
The Department for Communities and Local Government has announced that Libraries across the country can now bid for additional funding to help budding local entrepreneurs. The funding will help entrepreneurs enter the business world by transforming them into catalysts for local economic growth and social mobility.   Ten libraries will be awarded up to £45,000 under the Enterprising Libraries programme which aims to bring together and develop existing business and intellectual property support. Winning bids will develop their own approach to supporting local enterprise but the range of services could include:
· Free access to business and intellectual property databases and publications
· Market research, company data and information on patents, trademarks, design and copyright
· Provision of dedicated space within the library building
· Advice on funding, setting up and running a business; etc.
The Enterprising Libraries grant programme is the second stage of the £1.3 million Enterprising Libraries project, a partnership between the Department for Communities and Local Government, Arts Council England and the British Library. Applications must be submitted by 5pm on Monday 29 July 2013. Read more by clicking on the shocked reader above!

Tycoon in Schools Competition Launched 
The Peter Jones Foundation has announced that the Tycoon In Schools 2013 Competition is open for entries. Launched in 2012, the aim of the competition is to support schools in England to run their own business.  In addition to the funding provided by  the Foundation, the competition has received backing from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with a funding injection of £50,000 to help roll out the campaign and encourage more school children to take part.  Secondary schools are now being invited to register their interest in taking part. Pupils will pitch their business ideas to their tutors, who will submit the best business plans to the Peter Jones Foundation in the hope of being granted seed funding to launch the ventures. Trading kicks off on Monday 4th November for a four-week period, with the overall Tycoon in Schools winner being announced in January 2014.  Over 500 children and 100 teams competed last year with business concepts ranging from a cure for arthritis in horses, to solar panelled phone socks for charging mobile phones. The closing date for entries is 5pm on the 9th September 2013. Read more by clicking on the tycoon above.

Goodbye for now and thanks for dropping by...C.P.