ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

Full Report 51 …every evening we had the check-in with the staff about how it went and what residents responded in what ways. They were sharing with us what was unusual for some residents to do or not do. We were both learning all the way along. For us, that was key to the development of the week and it will be key as well for the development of this year of the project. Arts organisation reflections R&D However, whilst artists talked about encouraging care home staff to voice their ideas and provide constructive feedback, there were concerns that they may not feel confident to share if something was not working well. Artists also reflected that working collaboratively was challenging at times. Linking back to expectations, care home staff perceptions of their role as providing care rather than engaging in the arts were compounded by time constraints due to workload and staff shortages; artists were left unsure how to support their involvement. Some suggested that this needed greater input from the care home management and a shift from acting as the host for the ARCH programme that the artists were responsible for delivering to taking on a more collaborative role. After the residencies one Care Home Manager emphasised the need to embrace this collaborative approach to working. I just think you’ve just got to roll with it really, haven’t you…don’t be scared, because if you all work together, it will work. Care home post-residency Artists’ approach and challenges One of the key facilitators to the success of the residencies was the individual skills and experiences of the artists, underpinned by the ethos and values of the arts organisation. They brought a depth of artistic and creative skills, along with their confidence in communication developed from working with different groups of people in various settings, and thorough organisation and preparation as “they always had a backup plan”. The artists were described as easy-going, happy, welcoming, friendly, fun, calm, comforting, accommodating, patient, intuitive, responsive, tactile, passionate, and energetic. This led to engagement from residents, who were open and wanted to talk with them, and both residents and staff enjoyed their presence and the new energy they brought to the home. …the residents respond so well to them… because of their way, their personality…I said if we could bottle that, just hearing them laughing and joking. And they’re very tactile. Even with the masks, their faces just lit up…it is their persona and the residents react to that. They’re kind of drawn to it…they managed to actually coax [new things] out of the residents… in a fun way, it wasn’t intrusive. Care home post-residency Two of the arts organisations and one of the care homes specifically described the importance of the artists taking a human and empathetic approach to working with the residents, for example by carefully considering how the residents and care home staff might be feeling about the artists coming into their home.