ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

52 Dare To Imagine “What might it be to be in their shoes...?” I remember initially thinking, “How might this feel for me to be [Lifestyle Coordinator] and to have me come in? What might she perceive about that and what that could be?” / For me, it was just remember that we are in their home. They’re not living in our workplace. We are working in their home. Arts organisation post-residency Artists described the need for a certain degree of trust, freedom, and artistic licence from care home staff, but they also emphasised flexibility and adaptability in their approach. Arts organisations needed to adapt their creative approach for the care home, be responsive to their needs, and be willing to change if something wasn’t working. In a care home, you can have a plan, but you have to be totally prepared for that to change completely… you have to learn to go with that flow…it’s the most person-centred project I have ever worked on…it has been so responsive to each person on every level involved in it. Arts organisation post-residency Photo: Stephen Daly Both artists and care home staff talked about the importance of “being bold”, ambitious, daring, and taking positive risks for the residencies to be successful. This also involved care home staff needing to keep an open mind and being willing to try new approaches. ‘Be bold’ is a big one…/ I guess my reflection on working in different settings is treading softly…going, “Oh, the staff are going to be very protective. They’re not going to want them to do that” or “The residents aren’t going to cope with it,” and actually just erasing all of that and approaching it like you would approach anything else and letting the experts answer you, which is the people that work with them every day. I think I was really surprised that that answer was, 9½ times out of 10, “Yes, do it.” So I think that was liberating and led to a more ambitious kind of approach. Arts organisation post-residency It’s definitely about trying to take some risks…to step out of the box. And actually, life goes on. We’re not caged animals when we come into a care home, we are living a life. It’s just a life we’ve got now, but to live it to the full. Care home post-residency As the quotes illustrate, care home staff appreciated this and one care home suggested that they would have welcomed an even bolder approach; however, one of the arts organisations felt their creative vision had been somewhat constrained and some ideas and activities “blocked” at different points in the programme by the bureaucracy and decisions of the care home management. Understandably, care homes needed to ensure the safety of everyone and sufficient care for