ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

24 Dare To Imagine a knowledge of English or other languages. Where English is not a participant’s first language, we may use their mother-tongue. Voice is not the only tool we have to communicate. There is so much we can say and express through a look, an outstretched hand, a squeeze. The use of breath, eye contact and touch is a vital part of the process and creates a shared human language. This ensures engagement is accessible on multiple levels – sonically, visually, emotionally – inviting residents to participate in their own way, allowing, accepting and celebrating their own version of engagement and understanding of the creative journey. Photo: Rich Rusk Many of the residents live with dementia, and are at different stages on this journey, and thus verbal conversation and communication can have varying results. Our embodied approach allows us to communicate with the residents in a different way, which has delighted and surprised the staff at Lime Court. “It empowers the staff because I think they see reactions from very simple movements, music, reactions that…you’re not aware that could happen. Through movement and time, you know putting that combination together, the reaction that you get is amazing.” Suzanne Moore, Care Home Manager, Lime Court. Human connection At the centre of our methodology and approach is connection with people. The success of the residency hinged on the authentic relationships we built with staff and residents. This is something that we built over time and could not be forced or rushed. It was essential to take the time to get to know the individuals and understand how the home worked. As a united front, we were able to take risks, be bold and ambitious, meet each other’s needs, and adapt to any challenges. The personal connections we forged allowed us to encourage and support profound moments of lucidity, engagement, and expression. Delivery and engagement shifted from a didactic method of demonstrate and copy, to an exchange and a conversation. The bonds we created opened up safe spaces for residents, staff and practitioners alike to nurture a sense of belonging, acceptance and togetherness. Together, we returned to a pure state of being human, untouched, and uncontaminated by societal pressures, conventions, and injustices. We were not afraid to explore a full range of emotions that are part of being human, regardless of age. Our methodology, combined with the connection and relationships we nurtured, allows for the stimulation and expression of many feelings, which are safely held and navigated, with movement being a tool to transition from one emotional state into another. That is what the Gecko methodology is all about, transcending into a state of deep human connection. It was important for us to bring the full Gecko experience and methodology to the home, not diluting or compromising on our commitment to quality and ambition for profound expressive experiences. This was only made possible due to the relationship we created with the incredible Lime Court staff. We capitalised on the mutual playfulness we discovered and brought them on board to trust our bold vision, encourage our risk taking, and support our process.