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. 

Aging and cancer: The importance of taking a hard look at the numbers

The table below is from a study by Hayat and colleagues (). It illustrates one common trend regarding cancer – it increases dramatically in incidence among those who are older. With some exceptions, such as Hodgkin's lymphoma, there is a significant increase in risk particularly after 50 years of age.

So I decided to get state data from the US Census web site (), on the percentage of seniors (age 65 or older) by state and cancer diagnoses per 1,000 people. I was able to get some recent data, for 2011.

I analyzed the data with WarpPLS (version 4.0 has been just released: ), generating the types of coefficients that would normally be reported by researchers who wanted to make an effect appear very strong.

In this case, the effect would be essentially of population aging on cancer incidence (assessed indirectly), summarized in the graph below. The graph was generated by WarpPLS. The scales are standardized, and so are the coefficients of association in the two segments shown. As you can see, the coefficients of association increase as we move along the horizontal scale, because this is a nonlinear relationship. The overall coefficient of association, which is a weighted average of the two betas shown, is 0.84. The probability that this is a false positive is less than 1 percent.

A beta coefficient of 0.84 essentially means that a 1 standard deviation variation in the percentage of seniors in a state is associated with an overall 84 percent increase in cancer diagnoses, taking the standardized unit of the number of cancer diagnoses as the baseline. This sounds very strong and would usually be presented as an enormous effect. Since the standard deviation for the percentage of seniors in various states is 1.67, one could say that for each 1.67 increment in the percentage of seniors in a state the number of cancer diagnoses goes up by 84 percent.

Effects expressed in percentages can sometimes give a very misleading picture. For example, let us consider an increase in mortality due to a disease from 1 to 2 cases for each 1 million people. This essentially is a 100 percent increase! Moreover, the closer the baseline is from zero, the more impressive the effect becomes, since the percentage increase is calculated by dividing the increment by the baseline number. As the baseline number approaches zero, the percentage increase from the baseline approaches infinity.

Now let us take a look at the graph below, also generated by WarpPLS. Here the scales are unstandardized, which means that they refer to the original measures in their respective original scales. (Standardization makes the variables dimensionless, which is sometimes useful when the original measurement scales are not comparable – e.g., dollars vs. meters.) As you can see here, the number of cancer diagnoses per 1,000 people goes from a low of 3.74 in Utah to a high of 6.64 in Maine.

One may be tempted to explain the increase in cancer diagnoses that we see on this graph based on various factors (e.g., lifestyle), but the percentage of seniors in a state seems like a very good and reasonable predictor. You may say: This is very depressing. You may be even more depressed if I tell you that controlling for state obesity rates does not change this picture at all.

But look at what these numbers really mean. What we see here is an increase in cancer diagnoses per 1,000 people of less than 3. In other words, there is a minute increase of less than 3 diagnoses for each group of 1,000 people considered. It certainly feels terrible if you are one of the 3 diagnosed, but it is still a minute increase.

Also note that one of the scales, for diagnoses, refers to increments of 1 in 1,000; while the other, for seniors, refers to increments of 1 in 100. This leads to an interesting effect. If you move from Alaska to Florida you will see a significant increase in the number of seniors around, as the difference in the percentage of seniors between these two states is about 10. However, the difference in the number of cancer diagnoses will not be even close to the difference in the presence of seniors.

The situation above is very common in medical research. An effect that is fundamentally tiny is stated in such a way that the general public has the impression that the effect is enormous. Often the reason is not to promote a drug, but to attract media attention to a research group or organization.

When you look at the actual numbers, the magnitude of the effect is such that it would go unnoticed in real life. By real life I mean: John, since we moved from Alaska to Maine I have been seeing a lot more people of my age being diagnosed with cancer. An effect of the order of 3 in 1,000 would not normally be noticed in real life by someone whose immediate circle of regular acquaintances included fewer than 333 people (about 1,000 divided by 3).

But thanks to Facebook, things are changing … to be fair, the traditional news media (particularly television) tends to increase perceived effects a lot more than social media, often in a very stressful way.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

...on with the show

Why oh why the SUN burning? Well, it was on the street just blowing around like a piece of trash. Why not the MAIL? Good question, but it was just time and place. Often the dear old BBC show us images of people in far-off places, waving flags and pictures of our illustrious leaders - whilst setting fire to them - and shouting this and that. I thought I’d simply do a restrained and uptight northern version - I just wouldn’t have wanted to wrap my chips in it. 
Worthless bilge. 

Sorry this weeks blog is slightly shorter and slightly more functional than normal! I’ve got my work cut out over the next few weeks. HOWEVER, I urge you to keep a-checking this blog as I’ll shortly be updating you on the Dementia and Imagination research. Some interesting jobs are imminent. I’ll be facilitating two networking events in January - one in Liverpool, the other in Manchester. They are going to be focused on substance recovery and have a BIG FAT EUROPEAN MANIFESTO feel to them! More soon. Next year will see the return of a Pathways into Arts and Health Course for Artists + responding to your requests, something similar aimed specifically at those of you with medical or public health inclinations - Good Grief! 

So - on with the show...

I am thrilled to be invited to speak at the 5th Art of Good Health and Wellbeing International Conference on Arts and Health in Sydney. Organised by Arts and Health Australia, this years conference will welcome the Director of the Baring Foundation, David Cutler and I'm thrilled to say, Arts for Health 'alumni' - Claire Ford who will be sharing her work on the iPad engAGE project. For my part, I'll be exploring some ideas about authenticity in arts and health, particularly in the way we understand our cultural value. If you've not seen it, the short film below is a 'teaser.'

Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund 
As part of the Cabinet Office Centre for Social Action, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), will run a £14 million Innovation Fund to support the growth of innovations that mobilise people's energy and talents to help each other. The Innovation Fund will focus on four areas. These include:
· Helping people to age well, particularly by supporting people over 50 to have a purpose, a sense of well-being and to be connected to others
· Enabling people with long-term health conditions to have a better quality of life, particularly through the use of peer to peer networks and groups
· Supporting and encouraging young people to succeed and find employment, for example through mentoring, coaching, and peer-to-peer networks
· Using new approaches to "impact volunteering" to mobilise volunteers to increase and enhance the outcomes achieved by public services.
Through the programme, charities, social enterprises, public services and for-profit businesses can apply for grants of between £50,000 and £500,000.  While applicants can be established in any part of the UK, the benefits of their proposals should focus primarily or significantly on England.  To apply organisations need to submit an Expression of Interest form by the 31st October 2013. Read more by clicking on the birds nesta (sorry)

Artist/Designer for Learning Resource
Tate Liverpool and Mersey Care NHS Trust are seeking to recruit an artist/designer with demonstrable experience of designing learning resources in a variety of settings. 

This is a temporary fixed term freelance opportunity, for a six-month period commencing November 2013 – April 2014. The fee is £6,000.
 The successful candidate will be expected to research, design and evaluate a prototype for a portable accessible learning resource. The purpose of the learning resource is to support individuals or groups in facilitating self-directed learning and engagement with art in gallery and community settings. We expect that within the design concept full consideration of digital tools be explored.
Closing Date for Applications: Friday 1st November 2013. 
Interview Date: Monday 11th November 2013.

For an Artist Brief and information about the application process  contact Alison Jones Programme Manager Public and Community Learning on email:

Tuesday Sessions
Mai Abu ElDahab and Anthony Huberman
Tuesday 22nd October, 6.30pm
Camp and Furnace, 67 Greenland St, Liverpool L1 0BY
For the first time, curators of the 2014 Liverpool Biennial Mai Abu ElDahab and Anthony Huberman will discuss the material and methods that have informed their thinking for the forthcoming edition of the Biennial.
Mai Abu ElDahab is a curator from Cairo, living in Brussels. From 2007 to 2011, she was director of Objectif Exhibition, a non-profit contemporary art space dedicated to producing and presenting solo shows by international emerging artists, as well as curating many related events and publications, co-published with Sternberg Press. Most recently, she produced a record of artist songs performed by the band Concert entitled Behave Like an Audience, also with Sternberg Press, 2013.
Anthony Huberman is a curator and writer from Geneva currently based in San Francisco, where he is the Director of the CCA Wattis Institute and Advisor/Founding Director of The Artist's Institute in New York. Previously, he worked as chief curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, curator at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, curator at SculptureCenter, New York, and director of education and public programs at MoMA PS1, New York.
Free, booking required. To book your place, follow this link.'s a song that a friend played to me - shared because its lovely.

Goodbye for now...C.P.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Should you drink your coffee filtered?

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Arguably a key reason for this is that coffee has psychoactive properties that we may be hardwired to value, even if subconsciously. For example, it increases alertness; possibly a fitness-enhancing effect in our evolutionary past. Here the term “fitness” in “fitness-enhancing effect” means “reproductive success”, and does not mean having great athletic ability or having shredded abs.

The two most common sources of coffee beans, which are roasted and ground prior to brewing, are the widely favored Coffea arabica, and the "robusta" form Coffea canephora. The arabica form accounts for 80 percent or so of world consumption. The graph below, from a study by Bonita and colleagues (), shows the per capita consumption of coffee in various countries. As you can see, Scandinavian countries are big consumers.

Most people probably drink filtered coffee. However, there are many unfiltered coffee preparation methods that are also widely used. Greek coffee, Turkish coffee, coffee prepared with a French press, and “cowboy coffee” are all unfiltered.

In the photo below (from:, illustrating cowboy coffee, note that the coffee pot is placed near but not over the fire.

What is “cowboy coffee”? This method of preparation has many variations. A simple one involves mixing ground coffee with hot water, and then keeping the coffee simmering on very low fire for a while. It is called cowboy coffee due to its association with coffee drank by cowboys around a campfire.

After brewed, coffee tends to rise and spill out of the pot if heated at a high temperature. To avoid this, one should turn off the fire just prior to the coffee boiling, heat the coffee in a pot on very low fire, or heat the coffee by placing the pot near but not too close to a campfire. The same is generally true for tea.

With cowboy coffee you need significantly less coffee per measure of water, and the coffee ends up with a stronger flavor – if prepared properly. You also keep two key oily components of the coffee, namely the diterpenes known as kahweol and cafestol; its polyphenols, most notably chlorogenic acid; and some of the coffee particles.

Both kahweol and cafestol seem to be associated with reduction in certain types of cancer in humans, and show strong anti-cancer effects in rats (). The same seems to be generally true for chlorogenic acid (). The coffee particles, if ingested, would probably be treated as indigestible fiber and promote colon health. This is usually the fate of indigestible and partially digestible plant matter.

Why is filtered coffee often recommended? Well, unfiltered coffee is believed to promote heart disease. But that is not primarily due to any strong association having been found between unfiltered coffee consumption and heart disease. In fact, the absence of evidence in favor of this hypothesis in long-term studies is rather conspicuous ().

The belief that unfiltered coffee can promote heart disease is due to evidence showing that consumption of 4 cups per day of unfiltered coffee raises total cholesterol by up to 10 mg/dl ().

Only diehard proponents of the lipid hypothesis would look at total cholesterol increase as a marker of heart disease, in part because total cholesterol may increase due to an increase in HDL cholesterol – a much more reliable marker, but of protection against heart disease, particularly within certain ranges. And yes, unfiltered coffee consumption is associated with an increase in HDL cholesterol ().

Moreover, some of the metabolites of caffeine, 1-methyxanthine and 1-methyluric acid, appear to help prevent LDL oxidation; caffeine metabolites also seem to have potent anti-inflammatory properties ().

Some research provides evidence of the importance of moderation in coffee consumption as an important factor in its relationship with health. In this respect, coffee is like almost anything that can be ingested, including water – the dose makes the poison. In a study of 40,000 post-menopausal women in the US reviewed by Bonita and colleagues (), the hazard ratio of death attributed to heart disease was 0.76 for consumption of 1–3 cups/day, 0.81 for 4–5 cups/day, and 0.87 for ≥6 cups/day. Interestingly, the same study reported that the hazard ratio for death from other inflammatory diseases was 0.72 for consumption of 1–3 cups/day, 0.67 for 4–5 cups/day, and 0.68 for ≥6 cups/day.

Frequently you hear about the possible connection between coffee consumption and gastritis. The most widely cited study I could find that looked into this link found no association between coffee consumption and reflux-associated gastritis ().

By the way, if you have gastritis, you should consider getting tested for Helicobacter pylori (), especially if you like eating raw fish.

Stress and coffee consumption may have similar effects in those who test positive for Helicobacter pylori (see, e.g., ). In those individuals, past research has found a link between: (a) stress, coffee consumption, and other purported “stomach irritants”; and (b) exacerbation of gastritis symptoms, stomach ulcers, and stomach cancer.

This discussion on gastritis is largely unrelated to the issue of drinking unfiltered coffee. It is unclear based on the past studies that I reviewed whether coffee filtration has anything to do with any possible connection between coffee consumption and exacerbation of gastritis symptoms caused by other factors.

As a side note, it is important to keep in mind that the acidity of coffee is nowhere near the acidic of gastric acid, which the stomach is uniquely designed to handle.

I may be wrong, but from what I can see, if you drink coffee regularly and it causes no problems for you, drinking unfiltered coffee is not a bad idea at all.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Set Fire to THE SUN

Ohhh, so much to say this week, but lets start with the popularist toilet tissue that offers radiant heat and robust forensic analysis of current affairs. This week, perfectly timed to enhance the importance of World Mental Health Day, it chose to report on the underfunded state of our mental health care system, which all too frequently misses out against more sensational health priorities. I’m often mindful, that our mental health - our resilience and wellbeing - are important factors in all health conditions. So the SUN are quite right to point out that the care system is on the brink of collapse and that the poorest people - the most unequal people - are the ones at the most risk of ill-health. Hmmm, but is that exactly what they were hinting at? Did they emphasise the horrible isolation caused by mental distress, or all those other associated health problems? Or perhaps they sensitively explored the potentially self-destructive nature of mental ill-health? Lest we forget, the same rag ran the front cover “Bonkers Bruno Locked Up’ in 2003 and its then, (ever-so-slightly-politically-connected) editor Rebekah Wade, was forced by public pressure to change the headline to, "Sad Bruno in Mental Health Home", going on to describe the boxer as a "hero".

This week’s front cover ran the legend, ‘1,200 KILLED BY MENTAL PATIENTS’. If this week, you’ve been facing up to your anxiety, your stress or depression - if you’ve been experiencing the extremes of bi-polar or the isolation of psychosis - this will have really lifted your spirits. I’d like to question, just who are the semi-human monsters that it portrays - the increasingly marginalised people that it stigmatises, or those who write such pernicious crap.

Would I ban the SUN? NO, I like having a free press. I like it that it’s virtually impossible to buy in Liverpool, where solidarity over its wretched ‘reportage’ has seen it removed from shelves (insidious, mainstream, lowest-common-denominator-consumer-porn-light). I just wouldn’t buy it and better still if I found a copy in the street, (I did - it was slightly soiled) I wouldn’t have it in my earth closet, I’d set fire to it.

New pathways into Arts and Health Training 2014
I’ve had a few people contacting me by phone and leaving messages about the arts and health training that I offer. Thanks so much for your interest and the key point about training in Manchester, is that it won’t be happening again until the spring 2014. I’ll advertise it on the Arts for Health website and this blog. So I can’t give any more details than this just yet - but thank you for showing interest.

Working in Lithuania this last week has been an inspiration. Working with Socialiniai meno projektai and meeting artists and designers wanting to develop their practice in arts/health, feels a bit of an honour. Aciu. I spent a good deal of time at the Vilnius University Oncology Institute as a guest of the British Council, and developing arts/health training in such a real and emotionally charged environment was a rich experience for myself, as well as the participants. Thanks for looking after me in Vilnius and for taking me to the Kaunas Biennale and introducing me to the wonderful Fluxus Ministerija. Inspiring and beautiful. The training continues until mid-December, when I’ll feed back on the process and outcomes.

Artist Grayson Perry will be giving the Reith Lectures this year on BBC Radio 4 starting on 15th. They will be available as podcasts too. Click on the quality gauge for more details.

All That is Solid Melts into Air
Not seen it yet, but this Jeremy Deller curated show in Manchester is going to be juicy! Click on the image for more details.

The Central Laser Facility produces some of the world’s most powerful light beams, providing scientists with an unparallelled range of state-of-the-art laser technology. The Beam Time residency offers a unique opportunity for an artist to engage with scientists and their research using state-of-the-art lasers including – Vulcan, Gemini, Artemis, Ultra and Octopus - which can recreate the extreme conditions inside stars and planets; reveal intricate detail of molecular interactions on a microscopic scale; act as 'tweezers' holding the individual micro-droplets that make up clouds; and take snapshots of chemical reactions in action and electricity travelling through material.

On offer: £3000 artist fee, £350 travel expenses
Deadline for applications: 10am Monday 25 November 2013
Eligibility: Any visual artist living and working in England who has been practising outside of undergraduate education for a minimum of 5 Years is eligible to apply. Applicants may not be enrolled on a course of full-time or part-time study during the residency period.

Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grants Programme 
Organisations and schools in the UK that wish to develop links with Japan and Japanese schools are able to apply for funding through the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. The Foundation makes small grants to support activities that support the study of the Japanese language and culture, School, Education and Youth exchanges. In the past the Foundation has made grants towards visits the between the UK and Japan between by teachers and young people and the teaching and development of Japanese language and cultural studies in schools.
The next closing date for applications is the 15th December 2013. Read more at:


What can I say? Thank you...C.P.