Friday, June 01, 2007

A prospectus for arts and health

A new publication from Arts Council England and the Department of Health, with a foreword by both the minister for health and the minister for culture:

"This prospectus produced jointly by the Department of Health and Arts Council England celebrates and promotes the benefits of the arts in improving everyone’s wellbeing, health and healthcare, and its role in supporting those who work in and with the National Health Service. The prospectus shows that the arts can, and do, make a major contribution to key health and wider community issues.

This publication stems from the recommendations of the Review of Arts and Health Working Group, commissioned by the Department of Health. A copy of the review can be downloaded from"

Taken together with pronouncements from the Scottish Executive on the arts and mental health and also the requirement for all NHS Boards in Scotland to have design champions for new healthcare buildings, there is the potential for quite a head of steam to build up behind these initiatives...although it's not yet clear what the new SNP administration thinks about arts in health, if anything. So the discussions around "Creative Scotland" will be interesting to follow.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Completed and upcoming projects

Just completed but not yet published:

a study, with CapeUK on the role of the arts in the community radio sector in the UK

Projects in the pipeline:

some music for a film about the London Development Agency's work supporting projects through the European Social Fund made by Anton Califano

mediated conversations at a cultural trading post: a study of the possibilities and problems of teacher-artist partnerships (with the TAPP programme)

Scoping for Creative Partnerships on their possible engagement with the further education sector (with CapeUK)

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra professional development residency at Smoo Cave, Durness

Projects ongoing:

AHRC-funded study on young people, performing arts and social exclusion, with Alice Sampson at UEL - examining four youth arts settings in the UK

mentoring a nesta-funded project at Lister Community School in digital media for year 8 students

Projects just beginning:

Work with Burns Owens Partnership on a meta-evaluation of 'partnership' in Creative Partnerships' schemes

Work with the British Council in Spain and Gao Lettres, Barcelona examining ways of connecting education and cultural policy agendas to support teacher-artist partnerships and creativity in schools (with CapeUK and the Tapp programme)

Projects under consideration:

a wider international project examining the connections between curriculum design, situated learning and community regeneration, based on international case studies of successful innovation and engagement, particularly through cultural partnerships

an irregular general praxis podcast? Could be fun.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Girl Chewing Gum

This superb little documentary from 1976 not only depicts a fascinating slice of London east end life but also raises some important questions about truth, fiction and representation in documentary film-making. Godardian in its ambitions, it uses the representation of a street corner in a Dalston neighbourhood to produce a hilarious montage of effects and questions. To begin with you might think that the narrator is adopting a Tati-esque micro-choreography but the perspective soon shifts...

Watch it for yourself and then you will see...

For a more thorough analysis of John Smith's work, see here.