ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

48 Dare To Imagine So, the staff members that have easily accepted any changes, they are playful, and they are not so over-protective…they are more welcome to engage and to do things, “Yes, we can do that”. While we have other staff members, they are a bit, “Ah, this is not for me. I am here to work. I am here to care for this resident, not to play around. I am not here to dance or to sing. So, I am here to provide care and I have to protect them” …that is our major challenge. Focus group R&D These difficulties were linked to the need for wider communication about the values and vision for the ARCH programme. For example, it appeared that in some homes only management and certain staff members were aware of this, which was perpetuated by staffing changes, particularly in management, during Covid-19. However, wider care home staff may have been more willing to engage if they had had a better understanding of the programme and what to expect. Specifically, it was suggested that care home staff should be reassured that they were not expected to be or become experts in dance or theatre, for example, but that engaging with the creative practice may support different ways of communicating and caring for residents. However, the timing of the interruption of Covid-19 made communicating and embedding the values and vision of the ARCH programme in the care homes challenging. In some homes the final R&D sessions didn’t get to happen due to the timing of the first lockdown. Although the attitudes of some care home staff did not change throughout the programme, many others immersed themselves in the creative and collaborative processes, gaining a different perspective and feeling pleasantly surprised by the experience and outcomes. This highlighted the importance of clear and open communications about the ARCH programme and more time to establish shared understandings and manage expectations. Building trust and relationships Building relationships, collaboration, and communication was central to the ARCH programme, which echoes previous research highlighting the importance of care home staff and artists working together to enable residents to engage with participatory arts activities (Bungay et al., 2020). The introduction days provided the opportunity for the artists and staff, and artists and residents, to get to know each other. Care home staff were enthusiastic and welcoming, and the artists valued learning about the care home context and practice of the care home staff. The tour of the care home was key to this learning, as care home staff became more comfortable and confident in sharing their knowledge and experience, and artists were able to ask questions and see how care home staff interacted with residents. Meanwhile, the taster activity delivered by the artists provided an opportunity for care home staff to learn about what the artists do and understand the intention of the arts activities. …your artistic endeavour is not the most important thing. The important thing, initially, is to get to know those people as people, that home as a home. What happens, what they’re interested in, that’s much more important…that layer of building the relationship with everyone in the care home – staff, residents, families, and your team. Arts organisation post-residency Artists and care home staff conveyed the need to build trusting relationships with each other, to get the most out of the residency and to have the most impact on the residents and the home. Care home staff needed to be able to trust the artists, who were often proposing things that hadn’t been