Blue Monkey Network
Pick and Mix!

This month we’ve got a busy evening with a range of activities going on. We’ll be following up on our June event in which Blue Monkey member Paul Bartholomew galvanised us into action by setting us a drawing challenge following an inspiring talk about drawing. We’ll be setting aside a little time for people who want to get together to review what they’ve come up with so far and see how the work is developing.

As well as this, Blue Monkey member Gaynor Sadlo will be reporting back from the #ArtsCan Seminar taking place at UCL on the 3rd July. The seminar is being run as part of a Wellcome Fellowship project led by Dr Daisy Fancourt from University College London and will offer an overview of the latest research into the role of the arts on health behaviours and outcomes in the UK. The seminar will include a summary of the opportunities available for the arts to support public health in the UK and an overview of new research findings into the protective effects of arts engagement on depression, and dementia.

Gaynor practices ceramics and stone carving and recently joined Eastbourne Studio Pottery for a new start after a period focusing on other responsibilities. She has a deep interest is the link between the arts and health and practised in rehabilitation and mental health settings in Australia and the UK before entering academia in the 1980’s.  Gaynor’s research interests centre around the links between health and the arts – and in particular, explaining the effects of deep engagement on our physiology, psychology and brain activity. During the last two decades, as Professor of Occupational Science at the University of Brighton, and since her retirement, she has been searching for a deeper understanding of the process of “FLOW”, with an emphasis on Flow within the arts. Flow is a favoured psychological state that humans experience when they become deeply immersed in an activity that takes all of their attention.  One of the curious positive aspects of Flow is self-forgetting. Neuroscience can now help us understand how the self-awareness areas of the brain ‘switch off’ during deep engagement – and how this in turn can be calming.

As if this isn’t enough, we’ve also been given the opportunity for an exclusive out of hours viewing of At Altitude, Towner’s current exhibition in partnership with the Arts Council Collection and Omer Fast’s 5000 Feet is the Best, a film about drone warfare and the pilots who operate these machines. The film weaves together the operator’s account of his life and work to explore the shifting divisions between reality and representation, truth and memory. Its eerie effect is in the way it uncannily brings drone vision close to home, enabling us to visualise events taking place in landscapes we have no direct access to, while the consequences of killing at a distance remain hidden.

We hope you can join us for a packed and varied evening.

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