ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

Full Report 45 The power of the participatory arts was also conveyed by the artists in realising the importance of their work in the care home setting for residents who are apart from their families and coming towards the end of life. This was particularly true for some of the freelance artists and support team who had not worked in care homes before and were particularly affected by the experiences. And that really hit for us…when we were filming, we couldn’t film there, it was like, “Oh.” And I was like, “Will you just please tell her family that we love her and she has inspired an entire piece of choreography.” I think it really brought home to us how important what we were doing was. We really want families to see it, so they can see how these stories, that their relatives… inspired dance, inspired a film. Arts organisation post-residency I think the ones [in the arts organisation] that hadn’t had any experience in a care home before were quite profoundly moved by the whole thing…it was just so special to see that reaction of: “This is the power of the arts. I can see it up close and personal. I can feel the impact that it’s having.” I think when you’re working on a big show and you’re backstage, you don’t necessarily get the audience’s reaction…especially for the technical stage manager, I think, just for him to be so connected to that power that we all know that arts can have...I think it was one of the first times that he’d seen it so viscerally, and I think will be forever changed. Arts organisation post-residency Reflecting on the power of the arts, Care Home Managers expressed how “there is so much need” for projects like ARCH and the pandemic made these findings even more pertinent as both artists and care homes talked about how long the residents went without having contact with anyone apart from the care home staff. We’re so desperate for it. And not just this home, all homes are desperate for this input. Care home post-residency I think it is such a special thing to be able to do. And I think one thing that has come from the pandemic is it has shone a light on care homes… because of all the stuff that went on in care homes and how awful it was… last summer, and we still couldn’t go into the care homes, so we were outside, the residents were inside but behind the French windows…and it was the first thing they had had through the whole pandemic. It was the first entertainment or people coming in. And you could see they were so excited just to have different people… Something new happening. I think it has made people think about that sort of situation. What it is like to just be stuck somewhere where you need things to come in and make people’s lives better, you know? Arts organisation post-residency Photo: Stephen Daly