Thursday, 17 October 2019

Carer's UK AGM

I was awarded a bursary to attend the Carer's UK AGM and Carer's Summit in Canary Wharf, without which, I would not have been able to travel down to London at the current time due to austerity.

Located at Clifford Chance, at the heart of London's financial capital.

The tea game here is strong, with teaspoons contained in a holster!

Professor David Grayson CBE chairs the Carers UK AGM


Energy bills are the biggest source of stress for me. They are always far higher than my income (which is far too low) and whenever I ask for help for them, it seems obligatory to punish us with even higher bills, not any reduction.
My son complains that the heating is not on when he is awake in the night.
He is pretty lucky it's on at all and hasn't been cut off, because I often contemplate cancelling the direct debit, and am convinced there is an open portal to hell in the meter box.

A proper lunch spread

Carers UK seems to require a lot more funding than it currently receives.
I did not get the opportunity to speak to any of the financial representatives about how to address the problem of carers not being properly paid. 
This is because of the random nature of such events. By the time it's lunch, you need the toilet and food as a priority, then instead of the people you were aiming to speak to, you get distracted by the sort of people that you really do not need to talk to at all.

Carers UK are still aiming for carers to stay in work. I've been economically exiled from the arts, due to people replacing my job with volunteers at every opportunity, the lack of tick boxes for carers on Equal opps forms, and always losing out on job opportunities to people with more experience - normally people that can do the voluntary opportunities that I cannot do, or have not had to take time out for caring.
I'm still challenging this at every opportunity, and I should remind arts organisers that paying me a proper wage is the best thing for my wellbeing as an artist. 
Not lying about how fantastic volunteers are - those lies actively HARM my wellbeing, as my work IS fantastic, especially when the bills are paid!!

I'm lucky to receive some respite funds so I can travel to visit family. And I will be taking a respite break at the beginning of November for the first time since March!! The funding was rather late coming through, so I've had a pretty stressful summer, all my birthday plans were postponed, and I ended up doing too much, not getting enough of a break, which I regret.

But stories of carers in London not getting breaks at all, and the importance for us to not only have these breaks, considering we are often working 50 hour weeks looking after relatives with considerable health needs, but also for paid leave from work, and actual holidays.
Carers often use any respite breaks to look after their own health issues.
And with increased funds for respite, carers can take part in more therapeutic arts activity, which again increases my wellbeing. 

Here's one carer who probably would commission some work if she had the time and funds available. But she said she sources these shoes cheaply elsewhere.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

The Wellcome Collection - Being Human & Misbehaving Bodies exhibs, London

Gormers - it's 10 years since I was a plinther!

I was awarded a bursary via Carers UK to attend the Carers UK AGM and Summit in Canary Wharf, London, which also coincided with #WorldMentalHealthDay

I took the opportunity whilst visiting, to go to the Wellcome Collection to see the exhibitions Being Human and Misbehaving Bodies.

This sound piece about the impact of austerity and welfare reforms that are affecting disabled people and their carers is accurate. 

This was my favourite piece, a jukebox with a glass sculpted turning component, which played 10 songs on the theme of infectious diseases.

The laser shines through the glass part to play the songs.
This one was Jimmy Somerville representing HIV.

Misbehaving Bodies is an exhibition by Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery.

I didn't have time to watch through all of the video pieces, even though they looked really interesting. 

The use of phototherapy here is something that I'm interested in for Arts in Health workshops.