ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

46 Dare To Imagine Setting up for success The findings highlighted elements of setting up the ARCH programme that intended to support successful residencies, including the role of Magic Me; forging new partnerships; understandings and expectations of ARCH; and building trust and relationships. The role of Magic Me As the host organisation, Magic Me facilitated the introductory days in each care home; though not part of the ARCH programme originally, these were found to be vitally important in building excitement, alleviating anxiety around the unknowns, and facilitating mutual learning between artists and care home staff. Throughout the programme, Magic Me’s role was vital, as “the broker, as the connector for the arts organisations and the homes” helping to build trusting relationships between artists, care homes, and Excelcare. It has been great to be able to be new at something…in their very safe and experienced hands. At the same time knowing that what we bring is a very unique thing as well. So it is this nice triangle of a partnership of [care home], ourselves and them. Arts organisation pre-residency Throughout the programme, Magic Me provided artists with encouragement, helped them to feel valued, and provided constructive and sensitive creative feedback, described as “very generous”, although the feedback could also at times challenge. They responded organically to the needs of each arts organisation and tailored their approach and level of support. This required a delicate balance in giving advice whilst also stepping back and allowing the work to emerge in an authentic way. In addition, the monthly group meetings for the arts organisations facilitated creative sharing and was valued by everyone. They’ve been incredibly supportive the entire time…I think they really understand how to support organisations in a way that works for them and their practice. Arts organisation pre-residency Forging new partnerships Partnering the care homes with the arts organisations was a joint process between Magic Me and Excelcare who considered the motivations of arts organisations and the culture of the care homes, as well as logistics and practicalities. In the R&D phase, participants raised the concept of ‘bringing two worlds together’ from the arts and care sectors. While these two worlds were seen to have different priorities, expectations, approaches, languages, and ways of working, which could present challenges, there was also excitement at the opportunities for generating new ideas and learning from each other. After the initial introductory care home visits, both care home staff and artists reported that they felt they had been well-matched to each other in terms of their energies, personalities, and approaches; however, some issues emerged later in the programme. Photo: Stephen Daly