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Issue: April Newsletter
Playing for Time

By Ruth Ben-Tovim
There are those moments in life when things come together, when what has been at the fertile edges comes into focus and occupies the centre… As a socially and ecologically-engaged artist, as a creative Movement Medicine facilitator, as a human being looking for ways to act in the world at this moment in time, this coming together has just happened for me with the publication of a beautiful book by Lucy Neal called 'Playing for Time: Making art as if the world mattered'. It's been two years in the making and I am very proud to have been part of a small team, writing for the book and supporting it to come into being.

I can’t really express what the book is about any better than the back cover does!

"This ground-breaking handbook is a resource for artists, community activists and anyone wishing to reach beyond the facts and figures of science and technology to harness their creativity to make change in the world.

This timely book explores the pivotal role artists play in re-thinking the future, re-inventing and re-imagining our world at a time of systemic change and uncertainty. Playing for Time identifies collaborative arts practices emerging in response to planetary challenges, reclaiming a traditional role for artists in the community as truth-tellers and agents of change.

Sixty experienced artists and activists give voice to a new narrative – shifting society’s rules and values away from consumerism and commodity towards community and collaboration with imagination, humour, ingenuity, empathy and skill. Inspired by the grass-roots Transition movement, modelling change in communities worldwide, Playing for Time joins the dots between key drivers of change – in energy, finance, climate change, food and community resilience – and ‘recipes for action’ for readers to take and try".

I feel really proud to be part of this cohort of practitioners, all of whom work outside of the art institutions with people of all ages and backgrounds, as if the world mattered. The book shares examples of transformative projects under different chapter heading, for example: Water, Land, Activism, Food, Rites of Passage, Street, Body.

For me, seeing all of this work together in one place is extraordinary, a marker in the sand, a milestone, a manifesto for the role of creativity in changing our world. It brings what is often invisible into technicolour! When I held it in my hands I felt myself relax. I felt a sense of being held, of belonging. It's hopeful; it reminds me of the silent revolution to bringing about the change to a more interconnected and sustainable way of being that Paul Hawkins talks about and which is happening everywhere. And... it has a whole chapter at the back called ‘Recipes for Action’ where lots of artist have very generously given away tips, project frames, ideas for others to use.

In this book I have written a case study about my creative practice as an artist and facilitator, which was challenging as I often find it hard to define what I do as it weaves between disciplines, contexts, situations. I’ve also written descriptions of about three or four projects I have been involved in over the years. 

If you’d like to know more about the work that I do visit, www.encounters-arts.org.uk, which is the website of the organisation that I run.

I would love for some of you to buy the book and hope that you enjoy reading it, sharing it, passing it on.

The book is available in the The Movement Medicine Shop.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www. schoolofmovementmedicine.com