- Lewis Church
The Sick of the Fringe writing programme aims to develop a rich context of critical analysis for artistic work engaged with issues around medicine, mental health and the junction between art and science. In Edinburgh 2015 and 2016 this centred around the creation of ‘Diagnoses’ for performances at the Fringe: critical engagements that avoided judging success and instead expanded on context, offered links between works and suggested supplementary ideas. The Sick of the Fringe writers have produced over 200 Diagnoses of shows and events, which are all available for free at thesickofthefringe.com/diagnoses-roundup.
For this London festival the writers are looking to consolidate and open up this body of work further, charting themes and connections across the programme, arts, sciences and everyday life and applying them to our current situation. We are adapting another medical term, 'prognosis', to describe these new pieces of writing. A diagnosis suggests an analysis that examines the content of a show and identifies its key characteristics, just as in a medical context it refers to identifying what is going on. Prognosis suggests what the ultimate outcome of these issues might be: a longer-term assessment of its significance and potential for development.
The Sick of the Fringe Prognoses will identify and interrogate the broader themes of the festival, linking to relevant diagnoses from our Edinburgh archive and offering new perspectives on broader issues and trends. Each Prognosis will be written by a Sick of the Fringe writer and focus on a particular theme, such as mental health, ageing or neurodiversity. It will be available online alongside the full archive of diagnoses. Prognoses offer wider-ranging analysis than the diagnoses, but are still committed to their core purpose – offering new ways of writing about art and performance that illuminates the links between the strategies and concerns of artists, scientists and medical professionals.