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Arts Debate - Is there a role for the arts in health?

March 20th, 2007

Arts DebateHow can public funding of the arts cross-stream with other public sectors? In their first round of research Arts Council England discovered that almost unanimously people agree the arts have a positive effect on health and well-being, and that this kind of social benefit represents one of the most important principles that should guide the public funding of the arts.

What are your opinions? Contribute to the debate here.

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Culture, Creativity, the Arts and Mental Health

February 28th, 2007

Please note, this article contains a piece of artwork, the title of which may cause offence to some readers.

Michael the Cartographer Michael the Cartographer
Untitled Felt tip pen on paper,
20 x 33 cm
Dublin, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, on loan from the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection

For anyone involved in the arts and health agenda, there’s always an assumption that you’re a creative therapist, or else you put pictures up on hospital corridors to brighten the place up. In truth, there’s so much more to creativity, culture and the arts than this. That’s not to be disparaging about those involved in public art and charged with brightening up clinical environments; and most certainly isn’t questioning the role of the Art Therapists, who have a key place in so much more than diagnosis and treatment. But that’s not the angle I’m taking here. What I want to do is share examples from both the arts and health agenda and from the mainstream arts world.

A useful place to start might be to define what the arts are and for this, I’m not going to refer to an Arts Council England definition, or look to some great philosophical tome, but say that the arts can be anything you want them to be; it’s all about how we look at things. There are a raft of art-forms from the performing arts like drama and dance, to the literary, visual and music based practice. But there is a danger that when we look at the arts, we initially think of paintings, opera and ballet; and more often than not our knee-jerk reaction is, ‘ Oh, it’s not for me’, or else, ‘ I can’t do that.’ Well the arts offer us a much broader pallet than this; what about popular culture like radio, television and cinema? And what about those galleries, libraries and museums on every high street? And what about the work that goes on in our Prisons? More of that later.

There is a danger that lots of us will feel that the arts are somehow owned by a small elitist group, that it’s nothing to do with us and looking at the money that’s thrown at high profile contemporary art, you can understand why. But there’s also a danger that those of us born without a silver spoon in our mouths will not aspire to get involved, consume, criticize or produce the writing, theatre or paintings that reflect our society, or our lives.

So, this area of the National Personality Disorder Website is about looking at the arts and how they might be of interest to you. For this first edition, I thought I’d divide things into two sections; the mainstream and explicit arts/mental health; and depending on the response to this page, future editions will reflect your comments.


In discussing the mainstream, it would be easy to fall into the hackneyed trap of talking about the giants of 20th Century art and their tortured genius; Jackson Pollock, Virginia Woolf or even Spike Milligan. I think it might be a little more interesting to look at artists working today. I must stress that I’m discussing the artists without any knowledge of their mental health status, or their perspectives on these issues and I’m not intending to treat them too disparagingly.

Tracey Emin

Over the last 10 years Tracey Emin has become arguably one of the British art scenes more successful figures. Media savvy and notorious for the unmade bed on which her Turner Prize nomination was based and which provided the public focus that fed both her detractors and admires appetite for sensation.

Tracey Emin
Hellter Fucking Skelter, 2001*
Appliqué blanket
99 5/8 x 86 5/8 in. (253 x 220 cm)
© the artist
Photo: Stephen White
Courtesy Jay Jopling/ White Cube (London)

Equally famous for her conspicuous consumption of alcohol and frequent descent into interview or game-show chaos, Tracey Emin is both bombastic and vulnerable. And it’s that vulnerability that runs through her painfully personal and beautiful work. Easy to dismiss as self-absorbed, her work is often described as therapeutic; in reality, it is meticulously crafted and whilst revelatory, it offers the viewer a real chance to understand how one artist makes sense of her experience of life.

Always at the centre of her own world, Tracey Emin uses all aspects of her life in her art, turning intimate autobiography into broader statements about sex, love, death, freedom and everyday life.

Her work has taken the form of diaristic drawings, paintings, films, sculptures and written stories, all of which convey the same combination of frustration, pain, compassion and wit. There is something about the role of the artist and their vision of the world, that is central to my understanding of both, creativity as an act that is in essence healthy and productive; and the role of the arts in communicating disparate experiences of life.

A mini biography and images of her work can be found at

Grayson Perry

Another visual artist is Grayson Perry, famous in the broader public eye as the Turner Prize winner who dresses up has his female alter-ego, Claire.

Grayson Perry courtesy of the Victoria Miro Gallery

Grayson Perry creates seductively beautiful pots that convey challenging themes; at the heart of his practice is a passionate desire to comment on deep flaws within society. Perry is a craftsman.

He scrawls savage satirical messages alongside sentiments of nostalgia for lost innocence. His work incorporates art history and the art world, consumer culture, scenarios of kinky sex and allusions to violence as well as images of himself, his family and his transvestite alter ego Claire. That he uses apparently traditional looking pots to address these issues, throws the unsuspecting viewer into turmoil.

The pots are graphic to say the least, but are inherently beautiful. Perry is a fine example of an artist who challenges what we think art is and who we think we are. His gallery; Victoria Miro have a number of examples of his work on their website

Inner Worlds Outside

The Whitechapel Gallery in their recent exhibition, Inner Worlds Outside raised the thorny old issue of ‘Outsider Art’ and what constituted the mainstream. Over the 20th Century, the term Outsider Art has encouraged a distinction between mainstream artists and individuals producing art from the ‘fringes of society’. Inner Worlds Outside sought to bring the mainstream ‘Insider’ art alongside Outsider Art as two sides of the story of modern art.

Outsider Artists have included psychiatric patients, criminal offenders, self-taught visionaries, mediums and other ‘eccentric’ individuals. Interest in Outsider Art has grown with the rise of psychiatry. Artists like Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, the Expressionists and Surrealists explored the psyche in search of autonomous creativity or childlike innocence, and turned to ‘outsiders’ for inspiration.

Adolf Wolfli
General View of the Island of Neveranger, 1911
Pencil and crayon on newsprint, 99.8 x 71.2 cm
Berne, Adolf-Wolfili-Stiftung, Kunstmuseum Bern

This way of looking at the art of people outside of the mainstream, as us and them, has obvious ramifications; not least by segregating and mythologizing people who are already marginalised. An overview of Outsider Art can be found at;

Inner Worlds Outside attempted to explode some of the myths surrounding Outsiders, showing the parallels between Insider and Outsider Art, and the impact of unknown Outsiders on some of the greatest artists of the 20th Century. The exhibition presents works by modern masters including Jean Dubuffet, James Ensor, Philip Guston, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Joan Miró and Emil Nolde alongside those of Outsiders such as Henry Darger, Madge Gill, Michael the Cartographer and Adolf Wölfli. An archive of this exhibition can be found at

So with this idea that mainstream artists are actually exploring what it is to be human and using their art-forms to share personal experience and reflect contemporary life; and seeing the credence that work described as Outsider has on mainstream practice, it’s worth looking at some of the work that explicitly sets out to support people affected by mental health issues, gives opportunity for expression and blows away some of the myths around mental health and illness.

The Arts and Mental Health

The programme that I manage at Manchester Metropolitan University is actively looking at ways we can understand the impact of the arts on health and you can find details of it at

Whilst across the UK there are a range of projects that claim to have an impact on mental health and well-being, there are one or two that could widely be held up as exemplars and the North West Region has a strong track record of creatively approaching mental health issues.

C.Parkinson (2004)
Arts on Prescription: Pill-Box
Arts for Health Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

Greater Manchester is home to three significant projects:


With an internet café, music, dance and art studios bluesci offers a drop-in centre with a difference. Promoting well-being through social engagement and creative activity bluesci works with individuals to achieve their aspirations and goals. Like so many of the really successful projects it’s led by an inspirational team and has
developed diverse partnerships.

Arts on Prescription at Start in Salford

START runs weekly studio-based workshops, outreach projects and residencies, an educational/cultural programme and an exhibition programme. START regularly invites professional artists to run specialist workshops with members as part of its visiting artists programme and actively seeks commissions and other opportunities for its artists to engage in, providing genuine and valuable work experience.

The philosophy behind START is that, through positive encouragement and support, members develop a sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. Arts on Referral/Prescription projects are becoming increasingly widespread and similar to the exercise on referral projects; offer people experiencing mental health issues the opportunity to take part in regular, creative and supportive activity.

The potential for evaluating the impact of a project like this lies in both the qualitative reflections of participants through reflective diaries and quantitative tools ranging from questionnaires, to both reduction in GP contact time and potentially the reduction in medication.

START in Manchester

Start mc helps people who have experienced mental ill health to get back on the road to recovery, using art as a tool to rebuild and reinforce good mental health. Their core philosophy is that everyone, given the right support, has the potential to succeed.

Over the last year they have delivered 2 stunning high profile projects:

Now, Voyager

Start mc delivered a series of workshops for participants exploring the work of Cornish artist, Alfred Wallis held at the Whitworth Art Gallery and culminating in a large exhibition there between January and May 2006.

Voyager at the
Whitworth Art Gallery
Photograph: Cathy Fortune

Royal Horticultural Society Show, Tatton Park

Judges awarded Start mc the prestigious commendation certificate in recognition of the Garden and the work Start mc has been doing in raising the profile of mental health amongst show goers. The garden incorporated embossed ceramic pebbles in a zen-style garden setting and reflected the positive aspects of health recovery.

Individual at the Heart

What all these projects offer in their work supporting people affected by mental health issues, is a positive, creative approach. I don’t think any of them claim to be rocket-science and like any other explicit arts and mental health project; they place the individual at the heart of their work, encouraging aspiration and selfrealization.

Whilst these examples illustrate the direction and success of projects aimed at people experiencing some level of mental ill-health, there are a myriad of projects that work to promote mental well-being with broader groups of people, or raise awareness around mental health issues and challenge stigma.

The BBC have worked closely with the National Institute for Mental Health in England, North West and Manchester Metropolitan University to plan, commission and produce a play for Radio 4 around the issue of self-harm. The play, STRIKE by Amanda Dalton received rave reviews by those affected by self-harm and illustrates the power that the media offers this agenda.

A Path with Heart

More recently, Cheshire Dance and women in custody at HMP Styal put on a powerful performance of dance and drama. A Path with Heart didn’t set out to address mental health issues, but to give its participants and audience an
opportunity to develop through a creative process, sharing memories, developing new skills and articulating their experiences of life.

According to the government’s Social Exclusion Unit, nationally, 63% of sentenced female prisoners have a neurotic disorder; over three times the level of the general population and of those, 14% have a psychotic disorder, double the population of male prisoners and 23 times the level of the general population. Incidences of self-harm and suicide are high across the national female prison population and HMP Styal has experienced six deaths in just 12 months — accounting for nearly 50 per cent of all female deaths in the year 2002/3.

Whilst I wouldn’t suggest that participating in a project like this will have a huge impact on the mental health of the prison population; the work of Cheshire Dance and the staff at HMP Styal reflects a desire to humanise the experience of these women whilst they’re in custody and gives a real chance for them to flourish. Whilst this creative input can’t address the underlying impact of poverty, domestic violence and lack of opportunity; it does offer its participants the chance to taste their own potential, perhaps articulate their experience of life and most certainly allows these women to shine.

A Path with Heart
Cheshire Dance
Photograph: Neil Kendall

A full review of A Path with Heart can be found on the News Page of the Invest to
Save: Arts in Health website at

The range of arts projects that have implicit and explicit impacts on mental health are huge and in the next update of this webpage, I’ll share some examples of evidence; but I’d really like this page to reflect your interests in creativity, culture and the arts and mental health, so do feedback your thoughts. There are lots of
things to whet your appetite with too:

  • Aidan Shingler an artist who uses his fascinating and evocative art to share his experience of schizophrenia
  • The Seed Project in which patients on a long-term mental health unit are working with architects and researchers to develop a new NHS build
  • A network of people, including artists who celebrate diversity and their experience of life through MAD-PRIDE

There’s been a bit of grumbling in the press recently around spending money on the arts and health agenda. It was the usual outcry about public art in hospitals; how can you spend money on the arts when people are waiting for surgery and there’s a shortage of nurses? Well in all honesty, the money spent on arts in hospitals was never destined for healthcare, but from charitable sources or grants; but the arts and health agenda isn’t just about hospital corridors, or therapy, is it?

The work we’re interested in is about making culture and the arts accessible to everyone and developing creative approaches to health and social issues.

Forget the grandiose posturing of plum-in-the-mouth critics and judge for yourself what you find exciting, irritating, sensational or beautiful. Culture and the arts are there for us all to absorb, create and reject. They give voice, texture and meaning to our experiences of life. Aspire, enjoy, express.

Author: Clive Parkinson

Invest to Save: Arts in Health

Manchester Metropolitan University

Comments (5)

KEAN: Mental Health in the Movies

December 8th, 2006

I saw the film, Kean last week. It’s a relatively obscure film that I’d not seen much publicity for, and by the hype surrounding Borat, Pan’s Labyrinth and Casino Royal, it’s probably not the biggest box-office hit of the moment. There’d been a review of it some months ago in the Guardian, but other than that, no great plaudits. So a few months after its release, I got to see it at Manchester’s Cornerhouse cinema and what a film!

The story centres on a few days in William Kean’s life as he searches Manhattan’s Port Authority bus station, looking for his 7 year old daughter who was abducted a year earlier. Now separated from his partner and living in a bed-sit, the hand-held camera follows his distress and anxiety as he tries to make sense of what’s happened to him. Or rather, what’s happening to him, because his life is unravelling in front of us. Like Borat, one of the films opening scenes sees Keane approaching strangers in the street and on the subway, but where Borats cameras, explicitly aim to ensnare, surprise, horrify and generate knee-jerk reactions from the unsuspecting public; those who Kean approaches, or shouts at, recoil in fear at the stereo-type of a ‘crazy guy’, talking to himself, or worse, screaming in the street.

Films that try to portray the story of someone affected by mental health problems often fall into the trap of either sensationalizing the subject matter, or else shmultzifying its audience to death with saccharine nausea. Brilliant Mind with Russell Crowe, sought to tell the story of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr, who experienced schizophrenia and to some extent did so, with compassion and mean special effects; for Hollywood, it wasn’t half a bad attempt; a far cry from the histrionics of misinformed and sensational flicks of the 70’s.

Well, Kean is obviously a story of a man whose mental health is fragile, but not once is the issue discussed; you, the audience are left to work out what’s happening through the film’s sometimes difficult 93 minutes. We follow Kean through frustration, distress, anger and despair; we share his needs, both sexual and chemical and ultimately witness his humanity. And yet, none of this is delivered with a trowel, it’s neither clumsy, nor obvious and I for one, didn’t think it played to stereotypes, or sensationalised its story.

Damien Lewis performed this part with great intimacy and considering the small cast, held the audience captivated for the duration of the film. It was a relief to see that someone with mental health problems could be both a sexual being and not the monster that in part, we’re led by our prejudices, to believe that, that’s what he is. Without giving the storyline away, Kean is a film that doesn’t shy away from the issues of mental illness and touches some thorny issues including homelessness, isolation, relationships, sex and drugs; but more than that, it paints a picture, stripped of soundtrack that forces you the viewer, to make your own decisions about Kean and the reality of his life.

Clive Parkinson

Details of the film:

KEANE (93 mins, cert: 15)

Directed by Lodge Kerrigan; starring Damian Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Amy Ryan

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A Path with Heart: Styal Prison and Cheshire Dance

August 4th, 2006

On Friday 28th July I went with a friend to see a dance/drama at Styal Prison in Cheshire. It was one of those hot and sticky days and the officer at the gate was feeling the pressure; as well as being responsible for the security of 450 prisoners, he now had to contend with 10 extra visitors coming for one of the day’s three performances. I’d not been to HMP Styal before and its’ odd layout of small villas surrounding a more traditional wing was rather like a cottage hospital, all red-brick arts and craft. The grounds were quiet as we were shepherded towards the venue and seeing the children’s play area gave a sad and stark reminder that this was most certainly a women’s prison.

The Gymnasium that we were to see A Path with Heart in, had been converted into a studio space with an auditorium to seat, I guess, 200 people; so as we stood outside, reading our programmes and making small-talk with Cheshire Dance company, the gym staff and officers, it felt a relief to be joined by women of the prison. And joined we were indeed, by upwards of 100 women all in high spirits and ready for a change in their routine.


I’m sure we must have looked like a right group of do-gooders and still making polite small talk, I felt a wave of hysteria creep over me when the officer announced that we could take our seats, as the women pushed and shoved to get their places regardless of the polite outsiders, who all hung apprehensively back. We stumbled in through the dark to get a seat together and I gingerly hung my jacket on the back of my chair, remembering the gatehouse officer’s overzealous concern that anyone shouldn’t take bags and coats into the prison. The woman behind me gave me a naughty wink.

The raked seating looked down onto a large blank space, illuminated only by a vast digital projection of blue rippling water, cool and hypnotic on a sweltering evening. The noise and anticipation from the audience was phenomenal and I felt for the cast who were waiting in the wings to give the first of their three performances. The screen image faded and the cast walked confidently into position; the audience was silent.

Over the next 30 minutes, 10 women performed confidently with humour, beauty and grace. The piece was all about memory and over an intense three week period, the women had worked with both a dance and drama specialist from Cheshire Dance to create a performance piece that used deeply charged experiences; some sad, others uplifting and infected with humour. Married with film and photography, the performers shone and noticeably grew in stature as the event continued.

With lights to fade and proud bows, the audience erupted in a deserved riot of applause, stamping feet and wolf-whistles. It was great and justly deserved. I turned briefly, checking my coat was still there and the woman behind, her face like mine, beaded with sweat, gave me a broader smile and an even more rakish wink.

The performance was over and save a brief word of thanks from the governor and the unnecessary detail that he’d just come home from a holiday in Spain, the audience belted out as quickly as they could. A few of us went out into the sunshine to talk to some of the performers, who seemed elated with their performance, but keen for constructive criticism.

One of the women we talked with described how she’d never done this sort of thing before and how she had been so nervous before the performance, but more than that, she’d been really worried about how other prisoners would respond to the piece. She was overwhelmed with the response. She expressed real insight as to how drama could be developed to help women in the prison express themselves throughout their lives.

According to the government’s Social Exclusion Unit, nationally, 63% of sentenced female prisoners have a neurotic disorder; over three times the level of the general population and of those, 14% have a psychotic disorder, double the population of male prisoners and 23 times the level of the general population. Incidences of self-harm and suicide are high across the national female prison population and HMP Styal has experienced six deaths in just 12 months — accounting for nearly 50 per cent of all female deaths in the year 2002/3.

Whilst I wouldn’t suggest that participating in a project like this will have a huge impact on the mental health of the prison population; the work of Cheshire Dance and the staff at HMP Styal reflects a desire to humanise the experience of these women whilst they’re in custody and gives a real chance for them to flourish. Whilst this creative input can’t address the underlying impact of poverty, domestic violence and lack of opportunity; it does offer its participants the chance to taste their own potential, perhaps articulate their experience of life and most certainly allows these women to shine.

Clive Parkinson

Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Neil Kendall

Comments (5)


July 24th, 2006

I’m currently involved with wide-reaching arts and health developments across the north-west region ranging from evaluation and research, to advocacy and training; and I’m acutely aware of how fed up everyone gets with being asked for their perspective; we’re all being asked, ‘can you fill in this questionnaire, so you can go on our database!’

We’ll the project I’m involved with is over half-way through and so far, I’ve not asked anyone to fill in a form! But I’m on the brink of it here. The thing is, there’s so much activity going on across the region; masses of it in fact. Whilst some of it describes itself explicitly as arts and health; there’s so much more going on out there that has an impact on our health, but would never call itself that. You know the kind of thing that I mean; it might be a project in a school around the PSHE agenda, or else some creative writing taking place in a drop-in centre.

Now, I’m really keen that when the Invest to Save: Arts in Health project is done and dusted, that it has some kind of legacy; and one of the roles I’ve got is to develop a North West Arts and Health Virtual Network and the last thing I want to do, is recreate the wheel. If I’m involved with a project like this I want it to reflect the needs, aspiration and vision of those of us working in the field across the region. So, I want to hear from you as to what a regional website should be about. Is it about job opportunities, funding, and evaluation; or is it about showcasing best practice – and if it is, who defines what best practice is?

The website is going to be hosted by the North West Public Health Observatory, but will have its own unique identity. There’s already a webpage there, but it’s not the most exciting thing you’ve ever seen.
It gives you the opportunity to upload details of your project, but we want something a bit more interactive than that; that looks good, is clear to navigate around and that’s useful to us all.

So, no forms then, but a request for you to say what it is that would be useful to you when it comes to web resources. And if you’ve been involved in one of the Networking Events and want to feedback on it, please feel free to post a comment here.
Go on; be proactive, stick your neck out and tell the world what you think!


Clive Parkinson

Comments (2)


April 27th, 2006

There’s been much criticism in the press recently of frittering public money on art. The attack on the London University College Hospital last year was focused on a confused argument around diverting funds from patient care to commissioning extravagant works of public art. The SUN newspaper captured the feverish feeling of the press in its October 26th 2005 headline; ‘Taking the Picasso, £9m NHS art bill’. This exclusive story went on to describe how, ‘barmy health bosses have blown an incredible £9 million on hospital art in just two years,’ within the NHS. The equation here is simple; spend the money on doctors and nurses and not art.


Whilst the article notes that the money for this work comes from charitable donations or Government grants, the implied message is that culture and the arts are not valued; moreover, when there’s a connection between the arts and health, there is outrage at the very suggestion that the arts happen in any setting other than cultural venues.

The role I have is to explore the potential impact of creativity, culture and the arts on the public health agenda, and that doesn’t mean looking exclusively at hospitals, but more broadly at how strong practice can question attitudes and behaviour and bring about change in settings that aren’t exclusively cultural or clinical. When public understanding of the arts and health agenda is skewed towards hospitals, and reporting generally, is knee-jerk and reactionary, this is a constant challenge.

Turner Prize wining artist, Grayson Perry further fuels potential misunderstanding of the arts and health agenda in his article for The Times on March 8th 2006. In his attack on Government spending on the arts he comments, ‘I don’t believe that thrusting mediocre culture at targets will improve health (or) enliven run-down cities…’ His argument here seems to be around the commissioning of ill conceived and uninspired public art. In my experience, the people involved in the arts and health field are concerned not only with the finished piece, but the process involved; a large number of truly effective projects steering clear of ‘public art’ in favour of processes utilising a range of art forms that inspire, provoke and engage.

The question of the subservience of the art form in relation to health targets is a realistic concern, and one that the artists involved in this agenda are acutely aware of. I think Perry is right in his view that local authorities, indeed the Government are, ‘…eager to foster spurious community identity, (parking) hundreds of anodyne public sculptures like tanks in a war of cultural aggression against the relatively uneducated.’ It does seem that the cultural box can be ticked by commissioning a quick fit sculpture and Perry’s comments that these ‘civic baubles’ can’t replace jobs and social capital are spot on, if a little obvious. Where I do disagree with Perry is that there is some ‘Government orthodoxy that the arts have healing properties’. If only there was orthodoxy; if there is Grayson, where is it held and who do I need to be talking to?

Grayson Perry_Balloon.jpg

In truth, we all know that the motivation behind much art commissioning is driven by token gestures and ego, but dig a little deeper in the field and you’ll find some rigorous and challenging practice. Much of the good practice I refer to never reaches the public platform of the gallery space or Turner Prize, but bubbles up from the ground in places where the cream of the art-world fear to tread; the real world. So, practice taking place in some of the arts on referral projects, which offer opportunities other than medication to people affected by mental heath issues, never really reaches the headlines; but as evidence suggests can have a profound effect on people’s lives.

I’ve heard awful poetry, seen terrible performances and read some dire books; these are my singular perspectives sometimes biased, always affected by personal baggage; but I have learnt to be open to challenges and other viewpoints. But it seems that often the people I’m interested in working with have their own entrenched camps; artists with their often unfathomable vision and those within health driving blindly towards their next target. I do think there’s a middle ground that doesn’t necessitate mediocre practice, or work that’s irrelevant to a health agenda. When Perry talks about his ‘community, the art community’ being damaged by the Government using the arts to further it’s social policy, he runs the risk of damaging the cultural and artistic opportunities of people already marginalised by poverty and it’s resultant impact.

In your article for the Times you describe how you’ve got a piece of art in the political community that you want to influence; I’d like to know how your etching will influence the political community it hangs in Grayson; and how will you influence a society where you have established your own, if not unique, certainly niche market? I’d personally like to see a Grayson Perry set of NHS disposable bed pans.

What we need are champions from both the cultural and health sectors to stick their heads above the parapet; who understand both the difficulties and challenges, but who can articulate with a passion and perhaps, some of the evidence that Perry asks for.

The arts have the power to liberate and enable people to make sense of the world, give excitement and challenge mind-sets; and don’t just exist so that artists can create there own elitist ghettos.

Clive Parkinson

To read the Grayson Perry article in full go to:,,585-2073668,00.html

Grayson Perry, Balloons photograph used with thanks to Victoria Miro Gallery

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