Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hidden Mothers, Artlines, Music, Money and more...

Looking up images of the niquab to enable a succinct contribution to the debate as to whether doctors and nurses should be able to wear the veil at work, I found myself rather distracted not by the usual images, but something I’d never seen or heard of before: HIDDEN MOTHERS. Good grief! In early photography, if the subject for the image was your squirming bundle of joy and poor old mamma was to be kept out of shot, the photographer would drape a suitable swatch of damask over her bonce! So - the resulting historical images are known as Hidden Mother Photographs. As to the ‘debate’ on the niquab, I’d much rather hear what the women involved think, rather than politicians and hacks putting disquiet in our minds where it never was in the first place. The molecular biologist and activist, Sahar Al Faifi at least talks about wearing the niquab, first hand and perhaps sets the scene less sensationally.

And with fleeting thoughts on misogyny in mind, news that Tony Abbott has appointed himself as minister for women's issues in a cabinet of 19, where there is as yet, one female minister, brings no surprises. I wonder if UKIP will offer the ludicrous MEP (‘’re all sluts’) ((Oh - and 'everybody laughed, including all the women.' Well that's alright then)) Godfrey Bloom to serve on Abbott’s crack team, I’m sure there’ll be some old post-colonial sabbatical opportunity for him. 

Back to Blighty and some excellent news from my colleague Langley Brown, to whom my biggest thanks.

Arts for Health and Special Collections at Manchester Metropolitan University have received an award from the Wellcome Trust to commission an archivist and a conservator to assess the extent and condition of archives relating to arts and health, and to make recommendations as to how best to preserve, link, develop and promote these collections.

This award follows an AHRC funded audit by Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt of archives held by organisations across Greater Manchester, and a UK national consultation by Arts for Health Research Fellow Dr Langley Brown as to the wishes of organisations with regard to any archives held. Those organisations who expressed appreciable interest in the archives project, and whose work is representative of the field, will form the first strand of a long-term project to link such archives worldwide, and to grow ARTLINES as an evolving timeline and family tree connecting culture, health, the arts and wellbeing across time and place, and among domains of knowledge and experience.

The time from today back to the expansion of the arts:health movement in the 70s and 80s represents a career span; this means that those who were involved at the beginning of this journey are approaching or have attained retirement age. Some have died. If we are to gather together the patchwork of histories that have formed the arts:health phenomenon, we must act quickly to ensure that the documentary evidence is preserved, coherently managed, and made accessible to researchers and public, whilst the pioneers are still around to help contextualise the material.

Those represented in this first phase of the archives project are the network of 13 Greater Manchester organisations including Arts for Health and Lime, the Centre for Medical Humanities at the University of Durham, Healing Arts Isle of Wight, and Artlink West Yorkshire. 

Archivist Judith Etherton and conservator Helen Lindsay will be based at Manchester Metropolitan University during November, and their report will inform the next phase of the ARTLINES project. If you’d like to know more about ARTLINES, email 

Music for Health has moved from the RNCM to become part of the award winning charity Lime, forming Lime Music for Health which will deliver a comprehensive music programme at Central Manchester University Hospitals. You can read more about this on Music for Health patron, Jules Holland.

With the continued support of the Charitable Funds Committee and a significant investment from Youth Music, the Music for Health team is now looking to recruit three new Apprentice Musicians to join a team of Experts (Ros Hawley, Mark Fisher and Holly Marland) and Mentors (Cecily Smith, Ruth Spargo and Tom Sherman) for the Medical Notes Programme which will run for 2 years at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. 

A description of the programme, the brief for Apprentices and application details are available on the Blog.

Esmée Fairbain Trust
Esmée Fairbairn aims to improve the quality of life throughout the UK. They do this by funding the charitable activities of organisations that have the ideas and ability to achieve change for the better. The Foundation like to consider work which others may find hard to fund, perhaps because it breaks new ground, appears too risky, requires core funding, or needs a more  unusual form of financial help such as a loan. They also take the initiative where new thinking is required or where we believe there are important unexplored opportunities. Main Funds are within four areas of interest – the arts, education and learning, the environment and enabling disadvantaged people to participate fully in society. They prioritise work that:
· Addresses a significant gap in provision
· Develops or strengthens good practice
· Challenges convention or takes a risk in order to address a difficult issue
· Tests out new ideas or practices
· Takes an enterprising approach to achieving its aims
· Sets out to influence policy or change behaviour more widely.
Application Deadlines: First stage applications can be made at any time, if successful applicants will be advised by the Foundation on how to proceed with the next stage. Full details of the application process can be accessed via the following link: 

British Academy Small Research Grants 
The British Academy, the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences, has announced that it is planning to issue a call for a further round of Small Research Grants on the 4th September 2013. Under the Small Research Grants programme grants of between £500 and £10,000 over two years are available to support primary research in the humanities and social sciences. Funds will be available to:
· Facilitate initial project planning and development
· Support the direct costs of research
· To enable the advancement of research through workshops, or visits by or to partner scholars. The closing date for applications will be the 16th October 2013. Read more at: 

And finally, my massive thanks to the artist Sarah Lawton this week, who has helped me with a big NHS Modernisation project that I hope to reveal over the next few weeks.  

Thank you as ever for reading....C.P.