ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

50 Dare To Imagine Artists and care home staff collaboration Collaborative working was essential in delivering the ARCH programme, as well as the artists’ approach, Lifestyle Coordinators, and wider care home staff engagement. Photo: Lime Court Collaborative working Working collaboratively was identified as essential to the ARCH programme, which required everyone being open to change rather than plans being “set in stone” and respecting and valuing the different skills and expertise that each other brought to the partnership. Artists talked about going into the R&D phase without fixed ideas but involving care home staff from the start in creating new ideas together. This was facilitated by defining care home staff as “experts” and valuing the knowledge, skills, and experience they had in relation to working with residents in the care home sector. Rather than… “We’re going to come in and show you how we do…” it’s like, “Can you teach us how care homes work…you are the experts. Can you teach us, as artists, how this care home works day to day and how you work?” Arts organisation post-residency Some care home staff needed encouragement and time to adapt to the new approaches and – just as with the residents – artists needed to get to know the wider staff members to encourage participation. It’s also important to get to know [staff] – not all of them will want to participate. Need to encourage people to be open and honest – don’t push people but encourage those who will really enjoy it and make sure there is staff understanding. Care Home Manager R&D observation Best practice was identified in terms of creating time and space for artists and care home staff to come together within the structure of the ARCH programme. …our structure…of what we planned allowed that equality of that relationship to be there. There was enough time for us to reflect with them, listen to them, check in with them and make sure that day-to-day impact on their home worked well... Arts organisation post-residency This often took the form of check-ins before and after sessions, which allowed care home staff to inform artists of any changes in the home that might impact their work, reflect together on what worked and incorporate learning into future sessions, and more broadly promote mutual feedback and idea-sharing to ensure equality of relationships.