Seven artists have been shortlisted for the inaugural Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize 2014, a single £10,000 prize for a creative work that explores the interface between art and medicine, including Manchester-based graphic novel author and cross-media writer Ravi Thornton.
Medicine Unboxed engages the public and front-line NHS staff with a view of medicine that is infused and elaborated by the humanities. Contributors include artists, writers, the clergy, poets, philosophers, lawyers, linguists, musicians, theatre, ethicists, academics and doctors.
“This prize, and the extraordinary entries we’ve seen, announce loudly that creativity and the imagination are central to medicine and at the heart of the therapeutic encounter,” says Sam Guglani, Director and Curator of Medicine Unboxed.
“The Medicine Unboxed Creative prize is unusual because we are aiming for the broadest possible definition of ‘creative work’ — we realise that there are many ways to engage with the theme of the interface between arts and medicine,” says Peter Thomas, Medicine Unboxed Creative Director of the Award’s aims. “It’s also unusual because we didn’t want just finished works. We know that artists might have work that speaks to our theme, may be exploring the theme in their ongoing work, or could be inspired to create entirely new work. Our aim is to unlock, explore and present the extraordinary creativity in the arts and medicine”.
“The inaugural Medicine Unboxed creative prize has been an overwhelming success in its mission to encourage thoughtful and creative responses to the dialogue between medicine and the arts,” notes Tom De Freston, Medicine Unboxed Artist in residence and prize judge. “The standard and range of proposals has been staggering, and the difficulty in choosing the seven shortlisted proposals is a testament to this. The fact that five of the seven shortlisted proposals have poetry at their centre is surely clear evidence of just how wrong Jeremy Paxman was to claim that contemporary poetry does not engage with ‘ordinary people’.”
HOAX, created by Ravi Thornton with Benji Reid and Ben McGarvey, is a cross-media project comprising the dark musical HOAX My Lonely Heart and the graphic novel HOAX Psychosis Blues.The project was inspired by a poem written by Ravi’s younger brother, Rob, who committed suicide in 2008 at the age of 31 after a long battle with schizophrenia. Rob wrote hundreds of poems during his illness that expressed his varying state of mind – sometimes lucid, sometimes confused – and this body of work constitutes an honest, very affecting and compelling firstperson account.
“I’m utterly delighted to have been shortlisted with project HOAX for this brilliant, illuminating prize,” says Ravi. “If we win, it’ll be a huge help towards funding Stage 3 of the project and fulfilling the purpose of [social enterprise project] Ziggy’s Wish.
The other shortlisted artists are Agnes Davis (poet and screenwriter), Helen Ivory (poet), Pascale Petit (poet), Eduardo Miranda (composer and researcher), Tiffany Atkinson (poet) and Victoria Hume (songwriter/performer).
The winner of the prize will be announced at the Medicine Unboxed: Frontiers conference that will take place on 22nd – 23rd November at the Parabola Arts Centre in Cheltenham.
The prize judges are: emeritus Merton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford John Carey, musician and performer Melanie Pappenheim, poet Philip Gross, novelist Rhidian Brook, and artist Tom De Freston. The Medicine Unboxed Prize 2014 is sponsored by D&D leasing UK Ltd, Noel and Goula Conway and Medicine Unboxed.
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