AMANZ logo/title

Newsletter #1 - August 1998



Introducing AMANZ and the Executive
What's On here and around the world
Ongoing Events


spacer Introducing AMANZ

Artists of all genres have long expressed a desire for greater understanding of their health by health practitioners.

At the same time, many working in the health profession are aware there is much more to learn about artists' health requirements.

Arts Medicine Aotearoa NZ has been formed by artists and health practitioners to address these issues jointly and to advocate for greater recognition by government health agencies, insurance providers and arts and medical organisations.

A strategic plan has been prepared and includes:
Seminars and Workshops (five 1998 dates are set)
Internet information sharing
Promoting Arts Medicine clinics
Telephone helpline
Database of arts specialised health practitioners
Ongoing lobbying and advocacy
Working with arts and medical educators

Meetings are scheduled for 31 August, October 12, November 23,
7.30pm at Wakefield Medifit, Newtown, Wellington.
All are welcome.
We would be pleased to have your input in this process.

Introducing the executive and the organisation

Dawn Sanders QSM - President:
Dawn trained as a dancer, rising to soloist with the New Zealand Ballet and International Ballet Caravan in London. A back injury and surgery ended her career, but a new one began as a lecturer to help prevent others injuring themselves. Dawn has a strong involvement and interest in other art forms.

It was October 4, 1996 that the first meeting took place of what became the Steering Committee of Arts Medicine Aotearoa New Zealand. After fifteen months of research into interest in the concept, discussion, and development of a constitution and objectives, Arts Medicine Aotearoa NZ was officially launched.

In a health disabilities television series screened in mid-1996, producer Peter Coates profiled four musicians whose careers had been severely affected by injury. Other people, including New Zealand Symphony Orchestra musician Robert Ibell and myself, as dance medicine lecturer at the NZ School of Dance, were interviewed in the course of the programme. This provided the catalyst to investigate the formation of an organisation in New Zealand to offer opportunities to health practitioners to learn more about arts injuries across the board, and for artists and their tutors, how to avoid and cope with them.

Difficulties faced by many artists of various disciplines when trying to receive appropriate treatment for their injuries, became an all too familiar tune. Interest in establishing an organisation to address this was considerable. Two very successful and well attended 'Arts Medicine' evenings were held.

While on an overseas trip in 1997, I met with key personnel from the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) including Justin Howse, dance medicine orthopaedic surgeon and BAPAM chairman. We had presented papers together at a Dance Medicine Conference in Hastings organised by Dr David Yates some fifteen years previous.

The Official Launch of Arts Medicine Aotearoa NZ took place on Thursday 19 February 1998 at Symphony House in Wellington, through the generous support of Mark Keyworth, CEO of the NZSO. The Launch was attended by more than seventy people.

Messages were read from Patrons Justin Howse, actress Dame Kate Harcourt , dancer Jon Trimmer - whose story about his misdiagnosed ruptured tendon was related, and orthopaedic consultant Jeremy Hopkins. Speakers included actress Davina Whitehouse, who told of her horrific experience when a television film set collapsed under her. Musician, Nicky Newton, from the NZ Symphony Orchestra, spoke about her injuries and her extraordinary search for cures nationally, overseas and even via the Internet. On a lighter note, a 7-year old Wellington violinist who has been accepted to the Yehudi Menuhin School in London, Ben Baker, played two pieces to a delighted audience.

Kate Coolahan shocked with her case presentations of visual artists who have permanent damage through their various 'tools of trade.'

Messages were read from arts medicine organisations in the UK, the States and Canada.

Simpson and I are developing a new prototype Fitness Training Programme at the NZ School of Dance which includes personal testing of each student by specialists at the Wakefield Sports Medicine Clinic. Through a generous donation by the Boys' & Girls' Institute, NZSD students will increase their cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility. BGI manage, John Alexander, welcomes this as "...the beginning of a long and happy association."

Amanda Skoog - Director of Dance Aotearoa new Zealand (DANZ), Wellington

DANZ is the national sector organisation for dance, an organisation at the forefront of enhancing the growth of dance in all its forms. Set up four years ago by the Arts Council (now Creative NZ), DANZ represented a new policy initiative to develop industry sustainability through promoting participation, improving access, providing professional development and advocating the long term growth and health of New Zealand dance.

In its short history, DANZ has initiated several schemes to promote 'the healthier dancer,' including Understudy Insurance and a Medicine Helpline. Unfortunately due to a low uptake, these services are no longer available.

It is really fantastic that an organisation such as Arts Medicine Aotearoa NZ is now in place. It is DANZ's hope that the insurance and helpline services can now be reinstated, and with the whole of the arts spectrum involved, they will survive.

DANZ's specific role with AMANZ will initially be to build up the resources available to dancers with regard to injury prevention and other dance specific health issues.

By making use of much relevant information available in the fields of sports medicine, physiology and psychology, the art of dancing can be enriched and individual dancers can look forward to a long and artistically satisfying career in their chosen profession.

"It is your body not just some body"

Roz Wilson - General and Sports Medicine Practitioner, Rotorua

I have been waiting for Arts Medicine Aotearoa to be formed for over ten years, and I congratulate Dawn Sanders for her perseverance and energy facilitating this organisation. Many, I'm sure, have shared her vision.

My background is in ballet and dance, learning ballet as a teenager with the Southern Ballet Theatre and Company in Christchurch with inspiration from Lorraine Peters and Russell Kerr. With no talent to go further, I went to Otago Medical School and felt every year dancing in varsity groups and classes such as Dance=Arts was a bonus. During my first house surgeon year at Napier Hospital in 1988, I was thrilled to see Dr David Yates convene a Dance Medicine conference to coincide with the RNZ Ballet tour to Hawkes Bay . At the conference, dancers were telling therapists their problems and therapists were telling dancers the medical stuff! I realised I knew both sides of their stories!! "So obvious!", I thought, "They need someone like me!!" I boldly approached Anne Rowse and asked whether she would consider allowing me to come to the NZ School of Dance as a student, a doctor wishing to learn the needs and requirements of a professional dancer. Generously they accepted me, and I became a full-time student in 1990. May I use this column to thank Anne, the School tutors and students for a wonderful year.

After finishing the year at NZSD I was accepted into the University of London Sports Medicine Diploma course, a full-time study year. My thesis was titled "Dancers as Athletes, & Their Therapists", in which I surveyed members and pupils of the major London ballet and dance companies and the therapists to whom they consulted for their injuries. With the survey, I studied the philosophies of the therapy groups including Pilates, Feldenkrais, Alexander, Chiropractic, Physiotherapy and Osteopathy. I received my first, one and only publishing rejection, so the results have been filed in my archives!

Coming home from London in 1993, I found the NZ dance community in disarray, with the RNZB facing possible closure and financial problems, the NZSD without a director or direction, and no-one ready for my services and expertise. Long story short, I have found myself in General Practice with a part-time Sports Medicine practice in Rotorua. I take an interest in the local ballet and American Jazz schools, still participating and sitting Advanced American Jazz exams myself! I always look forward to any excuse to come down to Wellington for a cultural visit, meetings or even the odd Sports Medicine locum! As an AMANZ executive member I will endeavour to help represent the 'outer' Wellington and Auckland regions, and with my membership on the Sports Medicine NZ national executive, will also use these channels to promote AMANZ to New Zealand Sports Medicine practitioners.

I wish AMANZ well and, Although not a regular attendee of meetings in Wellington, will endeavour to participate, contribute and support the organisation. Best wishes and congratulations.

Nicky Newton - Musician -AMANZ Internet Contact

Nicky Newton is a flute-player who is currently on medical leave from her job as Sub-principal Flute with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra due to a condition commonly known as focal dystonia. She has conducted a certain amount of her own research into this condition and in doing so has discovered a lot about the particular health complaints affecting musicians. Her search for answers has taken her to the Peter Oswald Clinic for Performing Artists in San Francisco - as well as being helpful for Nicky personally, her action was motivated by the lack of particular experience in musicians' ailments in New Zealand. She hopes that as a member of the Executive of AMANZ she can offer a players' perspective on being injured and help medical professionals, musicians and teachers to understand the issues involved.

Previously a technophobe, through her research Nicky has become an Internet junkie and has made contact with many health professionals of all modalities from all over the world, as well as musicians and fellow-OOS sufferers. This is the beginning of an important network of international contacts which Nicky hopes to develop as part of her commitment to AMANZ.

Robert Ibell - Musician/AMANZ Music Contact

I am a cellist in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and am infamous there for my interest in OSH issues. I chair the NZSO's health and safety committee and was assisted by the orchestra to attend and international conference on Health and the Musician in the UK last year.

I also have a strong interest in trade unionism and have benefited from union-run health and safety training courses both here and in the UK.

I am keen to make contact with health practitioners, music teachers and musicians (initially through their professional organisations) to tell them about AMANZ, find out what they're already doing in the area of arts medicine, and determine how AMANZ can be of use to them. I'd like to see AMANZ become a network for these groups to share knowledge, co-ordinate activities, and give each other encouragement.

There are already a lot of skills and enthusiasm among New Zealanders working in this area, and many people have benefited from international contacts. I would like AMANZ to foster and develop this.

Kim Crawford - Dancer

I am a third year dance student at the New Zealand School of Dance. I am studying full time at the school in both ballet and modern techniques. I really enjoy it but it is very stressful, tiring work and this often leads to injuries.

I think, as a student, I bring a younger voice to the AMANZ Executive. I am interested in making the medical field more aware of what dancers do and the conditions they must work under. I think there must be more education expressing how different dancing is to playing sports.

Loretta Lander - NEWZATS

As convenor of the Wellington Branch of NEWZATS (New Zealand Association of Teachers of Singing) I am very interested to foster a greater awareness of the Arts Medicine concepts. Our National President of NEWZATS, Judy Bellingham, and the Treasurer of the Wellington Branch, Geoffrey Coker, have also expressed great interest.

Singing teachers are always looking for a greater awareness of the vocal tract and the variations that occur from one student to another. These differences can be of a physical nature, but the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the student on a day-to-day basis affects the instrument with which we produce the musical (artistic) sound. Just as a ballet dancer creates artistic movement with their body, so too does the singer - the voice needs the whole body to be 'in tune.'

As we move towards the 21st Century, the opportunity to understand more of the human being - as a spiritual as well as a physical entity - becomes possible. In all artistic endeavour this must be recognised. Medical practitioners are working with this understanding and in some areas are having remarkable results. From personal experience both as a singer and teacher, I have become certain that the drawing together of medical/health professionals with teachers and practitioners is a vital part of artistic endeavour. Arts Medicine Aotearoa NZ will achieve this goal for New Zealanders.

Warwick Long - Awareness Through Movement Teacher

I guess my main contribution to this organisation is my experience as a performer and movement teacher of the Feldenkrais Method.

Coming from a movement background of 15 years in the performing arts (dance and theatre), and a recreational background in sport, I have a keen interest and knowledge of movement.

As a Feldenkrais teacher I am excited about the potential of AMANZ to create serious investment in the well being and improved health of all people in the arts and related fields.

I have been involved in the Feldenkrais method as a way of working since 1991. I am a qualified Awareness Through Movement Teacher currently finishing the final year of Perth Professional Training Programme. I am a member of both the Australian and New Zealand Feldenkrais Guilds. I am also completing a Graduate Diploma in Higher Education at UNITEC Institute of Technology.

In my dance work, I have performed, led workshops and given forum presentations at arts festivals throughout Australia and New Zealand. Since returning to New Zealand in 1995, I have toured and performed in independent dance and theatre projects as well as touring the self-devised show Stepping Ashore in both Australia and New Zealand.

My current work is tutoring in Dance Technique and Movement for Actors at The New Zealand School of Dance, Toi Whakaari The New Zealand Drama School and UNITEC School for Performing and Screen Arts. As an adjunct to this, I am also involved in the development of an injury management and movement education programme with the New Zealand School of Dance. This is in affiliation with the Wakefield Sports Medicine Clinic (Wellington) and consulting advisers in the field of sports and dance medicine.

Gillian Webb - Physiotherapist, Auckland

Gillian is a physiotherapist practising in Mt Eden, Auckland with a long interest in the treatment of the performing artist. She is postgraduately trained in manipulative therapy and acupuncture. She became interested in this area of physical rehabilitation when approached by the School of Music to run a series of lectures to the students on the prevention of Occupational Overuse Syndrome. Since then she, with Virginia Farnsworth, a Feldenkrais practitioner, and Jonathan Kuttner, a general practitioner, has worked to integrate physical rehabilitation for the performer by establishing the Performing Arts Clinic which caters for the needs of artists with musculoskeletal problems.

Arts Medicine Aotearoa is the organisation to promote the concept of integrated care for the artist on a national level. Gillian is hoping to initiate the development of a national register of all practitioners who offer skill to the rehabilitating artist.

Ruth Highet - Sports Medicine Doctor

My aim through being involved in the inaugural Arts Medicine Aotearoa group is to assist in working towards a network of healthcare providers for the performing artist so that hopefully, at the end of the day, this group will be better catered for in terms of injury treatment, rehabilitation and, even more importantly, prevention. The earlier the correct diagnosis is made and treatment is instigated for many of the problems affecting performing artists, the more likelihood there is of a successful outcome. Many of the performing artists I see in my everyday sports and musculoskeletal medicine practice have had their problems for a long time and as a result there are all sorts of secondary problems occurring. This is due to the favouring of certain areas and avoidance of specific muscle use and joint movements.

At our clinic we now have a comprehensive group of health providers able to assist in the care of the performing artist. Our association with members of the NZ Symphony Orchestra, NZ Ballet and dance schools goes back many years but we would like to improve our services and availability to all performing artists.

My own interest in the arts comes from a background in piano - I passed my Grade 8 exams in the mid seventies before starting university and then unfortunately had no spare dollars for continuation of music. I have personally been much more involved in sport than music in the last decade but still very much enjoy watching and listening to the arts and trying to help players, dancers and other artists with problems affecting their performance.

Libby Eglinton - Physiotherapist/Flutist - AMANZ Treasurer

As a physiotherapist and flutist I have find it difficult to separate health from music. Graduating from Otago Physiotherapy School in 1989, it took three years of full-time physio before I was able to pursue my passion for the flute. In 1995 I gained a BMus in flute performance at Victoria University. Since then I have graduated with a MA in applied music, from Western Carolina University. This degree incorporated a paper reviewing literature on musculoskeletal problems in musicians. Returning to New Zealand in February 1998, I am now mixing professions as a physio and freelance musician.

My main concern is that teaching of performing artists encompasses much more awareness of physical limitations and therefore will help prevention of injury in the performing artist.

Susan Simpson - Physiotherapist, Wellington

Susan began a dance career at the tender age of four and found herself some thirteen years later at the NZ School of Dance. An injury forced her to rethink her career plans and subsequently physiotherapy training resulted. A short stint working in a hospital in New Zealand was followed by four years working in London specialising in treating musicians, actors and dancers. She worked for The Central School of Ballet, The Rambert Dance Company, The Royal Ballet and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre Company and also New York City Ballet and The American School of Ballet.

Returning to New Zealand to complete post graduate manipulative therapy studies, Susie is very pleased to be involved in the planning and establishing of an organisation which promotes the health and well being of artists. She is currently working at The New Zealand School of Dance, The Wellington Performing Arts Centre and Wakefield Sports Medicine Clinic.

Sharon Callaghan -Musician/Sculptor- AMANZ Secretary

I spent four years as a violinist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand Chamber Orchestra before undertaking post graduate studies in the USA and two years training as a stonemason and sculptor in England. In 1994 I returned to New Zealand and an odd combination of stone carving, design, casual NZSO work, violin teaching and professional chamber music. Now an (almost) full time mother of an energetic toddler, I am pleased to be able to offer practical support within AMANZ.

Having needed help from health practitioners as a musician (notably in Alexander Technique and physiotherapy) and as a fledgling aerobics instructor, I was aware of the need to address my own physical difficulties, but without support or adequate solutions eventually opted for a more balanced range of career activities.

In my various roles I have become aware of many artists, some unprotected by fostering organisations or adequate information, who persevere in silence with pain and reduced work capacity. They work long hours towards deadlines and risk their careers and overall health.

My hope is that AMANZ will provide a support network of practitioners and fellow artists to enable artists to seek help early when required.

I hope to see artists become actively involved in distributing AMANZ information to as many artists, teachers and medical practitioners as they can. I want to see a change in New Zealanders' perception and ownership of the arts. I would also like to stop hearing phrases like "I finally admitted to my employer that I had OOS and it was the worst thing I could have done for my career."

You can contact Sharon c/o AMANZ for an Information/Membership Application Pack, to pass on information on conferences, seminars or workshops, or to provide contact details of any others who may be interested in AMANZ.

Deirdre Tarrant - Footnote Dance Company

Footnote Dance has a twofold role to play in New Zealand dance. The company travels and performs new New Zealand repertoire throughout New Zealand and (this year) overseas to Adelaide Arts Festival and to Korea.

Works include 'Nineteenseventeen' by Jeremy Nelson, 'Satellite Glances' by Michael Parmenter, 'Fast Forward' by Deirdre Tarrant,' 'Jink with me' by Jane Duncan, 'One More than Tu' by Catherine Gardner and 'Matter over Mind' by Sally Stopforth.

Thousands of students experience the innovative participation of Footnote's Dance-in-Education work which ranges from new entrants to tertiary with a specific brief and with an ever developing range of curriculum involvement - maths, language, physed, science - Footnote changes perceptions of dance and gets young people moving.

Directed by Deirdre, the five professional dancers show the positive role of health, physical activity, exploration and self esteem as well as pushing creative boundaries in their dance performance.

Deirdre is thrilled that Arts Medicine Aotearoa NZ has been formed and can see Footnote's extensive outreach to the youth of New Zealand and the dance profession being a really positive way to 'get the message out'.

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COMING SOON - John Feight and sixty artists are visiting Wellington to stay in homes and paint in a Wellington hospital (joint venture with the Friendship Force). Contact Nicky Newton at AMANZ or visit their website -

Irregular but well publicised - Arts Roundtable Forums (see next section) Phone Martin Rogers on 802 4176 or check for more details.

20 - 31 July International Summer School Dance Movement Therapy - use of expressive movement in a therapeutic context, Laban Centre, London. See next section for details.

February 1999 American Physical Therapy Associations conference, Seattle, Washington. Contact Nicky Newton at AMANZ or Nick Quarrier via email at

October 1999 International Association of Dance Medicine and Science annual conference, Hartford, Connecticut. Contact Nicky at AMANZ or

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The Artists' Roundtable is being established to provide a voice for artists, to raise the profile of the arts in New Zealand, and influence public policy issues affecting the arts.

The first forum, held during June at Bats Theatre, was highly successful and approaches have been made to key people within the arts community who will target and react to issues as they arise.

The second forum took place on 3 July at Te Whaea. The topic for discussion was 'Artists and Income Support'. The Roundtable Steering Committee also held their inaugural meeting.

For more information on the Artists' Roundtable and the next Forum contact Martin Rogers on 802 4176 or e-mail, or check the local media for details.

Open Yoga Class with Roger Livingstone or Kilda Northcott (Drama School Yoga Tutors) Thursdays 6pm, Te Whaea Drama Studio $3 students/unwaged $6 staff/others. A friendly Iyengar based class with elements of Chinese yoga, detoxifying procedures and good old deep stretching. A tension dissolving, refreshing session for the end of the day.
Enquiries Ph Roger 04 384 4956

Tutors - Laurence Higgens, Janet Kayle, Walli Meier.
Course 3 Introduction to Dance Movement Therapy £175
Course 4 Introduction to Dance Movement Therapy Level 2 £175
Laban Centre, Laurie Grove, New Crescent, London S514 6NW
Ph 0044 181 692 4070, Fax 0044 181 694 8749

Adult Beginners Tap - Wednesdays 6.00-7.00pm
Adult Beginners Ballet - Wednesdays 7.15-8.15pm
Adult Beginners Contemporary - Mondays 7.15-8.15pm
Partially Competent Adult Ballet - Mondays 6.00-7.00pm
Held at TeWhaea: National Dance and Drama Centre. Simply turn up and wear leotards or suitable close fitting clothes.
Tutor - Alice Capper-Starr Ph. 801 9116

Do you want to stimulate your creative side? Paint yourself out of a corner with this professional development course for counsellors and therapists. The course will focus on therapeutic practice giving opportunities to work on such issues as transference, countertransference and professional identity through writing and visual imaging. Participants can work deeply and effectively using an integrative approach to problem solving.

No experience or talent is required for participants to work powerfully with paints and drawing materials. This course will build confidence and skills and assist the participant to work with their own process in the safety of a peer group and under the guidance of a qualified art therapist. Participants are advised to be actively engaged in professional supervision outside this course.

WHEN: Six Fridays 3.00 - 5.00pm, Cost: $120.00 (includes materials). Limited to ten members.
Venue: Crossways Community House, corner Elizabeth and Brougham Street, Mt Victoria, Wellington. Start date to be announced.
Contact Mary Brownlow on 04 387 2303 evenings, 04 566 4535 during the day.

Marja Mosk is also a flute player and a Mensendieck Remedial Therapist/Teacher and specialises in treating musicians with occupational injuries. She has worked with members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and with music students in Amsterdam. She will be visiting New Zealand in September and there is the possibility of a demonstration/workshop in Wellington. Ms Mosk may also be available for private appointments. Her comments about this therapy:
"Mensendieck Remedial Therapy endeavours to resolve or alleviate the result of dysfunction in the activity pattern and to promote the patient's health by teaching correct posture and movement. In addition, the remedial therapist stimulates the patient to apply the acquired knowledge to his daily life activities."

For more details contact Robert Ibell c/-AMANZ.

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(Excerpts from Notice from Osteoporosis New Zealand)

It's time something was done about young women in New Zealand who are fit and active yet risking a painful and lethal disease. So we are doing it.

Do you know any young women who fit any of these descriptions?
She's training hard
She's lost a lot of weight
She's stopped menstruating
She combines exercise with dieting

Such women are at risk of developing osteoporosis NOW without realising until too late.

Free seminars have taken place in the main cities on the dangers of fractures and how to ensure bone health. These seminars were in conjunction with World Osteoporosis Day on June 24. Every year about 2500 New Zealanders die or are seriously disabled by this disease which is becoming a world epidemic. 7 in 8 of these are women and often the damage was done before they were 30. Early intervention can prevent or minimise the disease.

At the seminars Dr Anna Fenton, Auckland endocrinologist and New Zealand expert on Osteoporosis explained how to get the balance right between exercise, nutrition and exercise levels - without jeopardising immediate health or sports achievement goals. Success depends on the support of a healthy skeleton!

If you are in contact with women, especially those under 30, please contact Osteoporosis New Zealand, the Arthritis Foundation of New Zealand National Office: PO Box 10020, Wellington, New Zealand, Ph: 04 472 1427 or 04 474 6709 Fax 04 472 7066, or the office nearest you.


Warwick Long has been holding Awareness through Movement Classes (Feldenkrais Method) at Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre. The focus of the classes was to learn to ease back pain, reduce stress, improve posture, aid injury recovery and improve performance skills.

The Feldenkrais Method is a unique method of somatic education. It explores new patterns of movement that can lead to increasing ease and pleasure of movement improving function in daily life ie. work, sport, and recreation. People of all ages and abilities can expand their self awareness and learn more efficient ways of moving.

AwarenessThrough Movement lessons consist of precise verbal instructions guiding you through a series of movements and explorations. Attention is drawn to the process of each movement. Though subtle movements you will develop awareness, flexibility and coordination. You will learn how to observe the quality of change in the movement, leading to improvement of function and connecting this to your everyday living.

The Feldenkrais Method is named after its originator, Dr Moshe Feldenkrais, who was born in Russia in 1904. He was both an athlete and scientist and spent over forty years developing this method of movement education.

He received a doctorate in Physics from the Sorbonne, and is recognised as the person who introduced Judo to the West. The shortcomings of conventional treatment regarding a severe injury he sustained led him to a lifetime study of the structure and functions of the nervous system and the relationship between human development, learning and movement. He directed the Feldenkrais Institute in Tel Aviv until his death in 1984.

For more information visit the Feldenkrais Association web site .


Mark is a flute player who visited New Zealand during June/July. A successful lecture was hosted on July 12 by AMANZ courtesy of the NZSO at Symphony House, coordinated by Nicky Newton. He says:

"Since the beginning of my professional career I have been concerned for how little musicians know about their body. I believe that the bottom line is that we tie ourselves in knots for all kinds of reasons. I have always been an over-achiever, always pushing my body to its limits or beyond, until it finally would not take any more. Despite my extensive studies in body awareness and dance, I finally ended up with Focal Dystonia in both hands and jaw.

I could not play a single note four years ago.........I just played my first full recital in four years this past April...I did not know if I would ever see another day of playing after being sidelined (for that time). What a sense of freedom I feel now!"

Mark's recovery has been through his study of theatre movement, dance, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais and other techniques in body awareness, particularly Chi Kung. He is presently associate professor of flute at Tunghai University and has himself studied flute with, among others, Trevor Wye, William Bennett and Betty and Roger Mather.

ARTY-FACTS by K. Coolahan

It has been known for millenia that all activities, including being born, can be uncomfortable, dangerous and sometimes fatal. The arts are not exempt.

The last two centuries have seen a major shift in the human use of natural resources which has added to the range of qualities and effects and dangers that arts have to take into account.

And not only artists - the economic development of the middle and working classes enabled them to take up as a hobby or therapy activities that others did as work.

In recent times physicians have speculated that some of the illnesses of famous artists might have been the result of poisoning by their materials. The history of arts and crafts includes such terms as potters rot, painters colic, mad hatters and stonemasons disease. Ramazini, acknowledged as the father of occupational medicine, described in his book, "De Morbis Artificum" (Diseases of Workers), the illnesses of many occupational groups including craftspeople.

Under painters he says "I have observed that nearly all the painters that I know, both in this and other cities, are sickly: they are by no means long lived, especially the famous,...for their handling of, and smelling constantly, red lead, cinnabar, white lead, nut oil, linseed oil and the numerous pigments made of mineral substances".

There are many more new materials being used by artists now than there were in Ramazini's day, such as were described by Robert Mallory in an Art News article in 1963. He had developed repeated episodes of a flu-like illness after working for fifteen years with polyester and epoxy resins, spray paints, plastics and a variety of solvents. A toxicologist diagnosed liver and kidney damage caused by his exposure to solvents and plastics resins.

We now know that methyl/ethyl/ketone migrates through the pores of the skin, travelling to the liver and kidneys to be expelled as best those two overworked organs can.

Michael McCann PhD, from whom I have quoted freely, founded the Centre for Occupational Hazards, now the Art Hazards Information Centre at 5 Beekman Street, New York, NY 10038, USA. He collected and collated material and distributed it in pamphlet form until demand lead to the writing of his book, "Artists Beware" which covers the effects on the body of toxic substances encountered by artists. It describes the symptoms, acute and chronic, on specific organs of the body.

In the section on the liver, symptoms are presented eg. tenderness, nausea, loss of appetite, followed by examples of chemicals which can cause liver damage, eg. ethyl alcohol, the chlorinated hydrocarbons, cadmium, styrene, tuolene, xylene, phenol, nitrobenzine, methyl cellulose?, lead and arsenic.

There is a section on protection, and one on the "do not use at all" chemicals which cause mutations in the human foetus as well as the user.

Teratagens, gases, aerosol sprays, solvents, mineral and other dusts, biological dusts containing moulds, bacteria and fungi that can grow in plant and animal fibres (eg, flax and wool), dry or mouldy clay, yarns, woods and water based paints all show unexpected levels of toxicity. Mention of these materials, plus dyes and organic pigments, metal fumes, vapours and dusts, acids and alkalis ( which include photographic developing baths, ceramic glazes, cleaning solutions, paint removers and dye baths) is accompanied by precautions to be taken and guidelines for First Aid.

McCann includes more than fifty nine pages of ways to minimise the unavoidable hazards encountered under the heading "Safety, ventilation and protective equipment".

The statement which most impressed me was "Art materials are chemicals".

And it is wise to alter your work habits to maintain your health. McCann's book covers your area of the arts - the disciplines covered include Drawing, Printmaking, Ceramics, Glassblowing, Enamelling, Sculpture, Metalworking processes, Photography and photoprocesses, Crafts (covering fibre arts such as Spinning, Weaving, Macrame, Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting and Needlepoint) and it provides guidance for medical practitioners making diagnoses. One can ascertain the relative toxicity rating of everything from ammonia to mother-of -pearl (the dust of which can cause a pneumonia-like disease, and, especially in the young, inflammation and ossification of the tissues covering the bones). Included is a special section on why children are a high risk group.

The book "Artists Beware" is only one of the many books about the physical dangers facing any one of us when using hazardous materials. An index and an extensive bibliography are included. The book is available from the Wellington Public Library under 702.8 MCC.


"Artists Beware" by Michael McCann,, Watson Guptill 1979 ISBN 0-8230-0295-0 (Wellington Public Library, RC963.6.A78M32 Section 702.879-18982)

Arts Hazards News Column by Michael McCann

Art Workers News / 1974-1978

Making Art Safely by Merle Spandorfer / Aurlis & Snyder, Van Norstrand Reinhold 1993 ISBN 0-442-23489.9

De Morbis Artificum (Diseases of Workers) Second Edition. Ed. 1713 by Bernadini Ramazzini, Translated by W C Wright, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1940

Occupational Health Hazards of Painters and Sculptors by Jerome Siedlicki, Journal of American Medical Association, 204: 1176/1968


During Tareitanga, the biennial sculptors' symposium held at Frank Kitts Park, Wellington at the beginning of last year, steering committee musician/sculptor member, Sharon Callaghan, invited ex-dancer, Trish Popperwell to take daily classes for these artists. Trish takes daily warm ups for members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Membership Benefits

AMANZ offers benefits to members, including discounted admission to some related events where possible, and as time goes on we hope to offer benefits in other areas too (eg. discounted insurance premiums etc). To join AMANZ complete our form

Contact AMANZ:
P O Box 17 215, Karori,
Wellington, New Zealand
Ph: 64 4 476 8369 Fax: 64 4 476 8754
Mobile 025 283 6016

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Disclaimer: The opinions and statements of invividuals in this newsletter do not neccessarily reflect views held by AMANZ. We would, however, be pleased to receive your comments/complaints should you wish to contact us.
Newsletter design: Sharon Callaghan
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