A culture of received ideas

Last night was the opening of Bill Ming’s exhibition at New Art Exchange in Nottingham, his first substantial solo show in Britain for almost 10 years, though his work has been celebrated in his native Bermuda. I’ve known Bill since 1982, and worked with him on several occasions, most recently on Bread and Salt, Stories … Continue reading A culture of received ideas

“Roots & Wings” – Dug Up and Flown

This work, and so much more like it, goes on across the country year after year. It depends on hard work, belief and imagination, as well as resilience in the face of official neglect. It creates memorable, even life changing experiences, and is far too little celebrated by an arts world dazzled by celebrity, novelty and its own (reputed) cleverness. But this is what matters to so many people: powerful artistic experiences where they live, when it matters.

Centre for Medical Humanities Blog

Roots and WingsMike White, Senior Research Fellow in Arts and Health in the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University, writes: Last week I visited, probably for the last time, Chickenley Primary School in Dewsbury which has been the base for Roots & Wings, CMH associate Mary Robson’s extraordinary arts and emotional health programme for children which has run for over ten years. The occasion was an upbeat valediction for the project closing down and moving on. A long-standing problem of sustaining day-to-day partnership support has been exacerbated further by funding difficulties and changed priorities in (Gove)rnment meddling with the education system such as the downgrading of arts in schools and the scrapping of the healthy schools standard.  Setting aside a sense of loss, at the invitation of the children and their artist mentors I attended this finale day of celebration and positive reflection.

In the art room base of “Roots…

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Volunteers and candlelight ‘Above all there are more men,’ says Roberta Megias Alcalde, a librarian working in a village near Granada, La Zubia. ‘Whereas before you’d mainly have housewives coming in for novels, now there’s a lot more unemployment and everybody in the household is borrowing books.’ Her library, though, has faced dramatic cutbacks, with … Continue reading Recuperada

A question of evaluation (MCV5)

It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it It had been a wonderful performance, the culmination of a year long community project in a small town. The theatre was packed and the applause had rung loud and long. The work itself was serious, moving and thought provoking: a real artistic achievement. … Continue reading A question of evaluation (MCV5)

Artists (still) teaching art

Many people read the post about the problems faced by artists teaching in Further Education recently, which described the threat of redundancy over many of those lecturing at Chesterfield College. Mik Godley, who worked with me on Winter Fires, producing the wonderful portraits of older artists, was one of those whose very part-time job teaching … Continue reading Artists (still) teaching art

Regular Marvels, in Theory (RMT)

Regular Marvels

Geese 2One reason for creating Regular Marvels is to look for better ways of writing about people’s experience of art and culture. That experience is important and endlessly interesting to me, but any understanding of it, indeed the experience itself, is shaped by how it is told. So Regular Marvels sets out consciously to question how stories about artistic experience are created and shared.

It does so by trying out different ways of discovering, thinking about and recounting those experiences. If it is research—and it is deliberately not research in the sense that is currently approved by universities and research boards—it is research through practice. A Regular Marvel, for me,  includes the 18-24 month process of exploration, its evolving presence on this blog and the final book with its artwork. (I use the term ‘Regular Marvel’ rather than ‘project’ or ‘research’ precisely to free this work from association with existing theories…

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Art’s alternative economies

It’s been hard to escape the Glastonbury Festival in the past couple of weeks and clearly many people had no wish to do so. It has become a very English success, capable— without losing its credibility—of embracing Prince Harry and Elvis Costello singing Tramp Down the Dirt. Who would not admire this optimistic celebration of … Continue reading Art’s alternative economies