ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

60 Dare To Imagine Related to this, the wellbeing of artists was highlighted as a key concern, particularly for those who had little experience in the care home context given the potential for emotional and sometimes distressing experiences they may encounter, which was again exacerbated by the pandemic and how that had impacted on the care home staff and residents. For arts organisations this raised questions around how best to support their artists. …it can be a space which feels incredibly challenging to be in… I’ve been very much grappling with how we keep artists safe in these types of contexts and how we support them… Some artists really need boundaries to be able to create their work and other artists need that porosity, they need to feel it to be able to generate work. That is so challenging when you’re trying to keep everyone well. Arts organisation pre-residency Alongside artists’ wellbeing, the emotional impact of the ARCH programme was also discussed in more positive terms with regards to their emotional investment in the project and how it had changed them as artists and as people. …our freelance team…for them it’s had a really significant impact on them as humans…[one of them now] volunteers with a project…for people living [in care homes] you know, it’s literally shifted what he is interested in, where he wants to spend his time and energy outside of work. Arts organisations evaluation day Legacy and embedding The ARCH programme promoted legacy through thinking about this from the outset and ongoing; artists spending time and sharing skills in the care homes; cultivating creative outputs and sensitive endings; and embedding creativity in care home culture. Legacy from the outset and ongoing The ARCH programme was designed to build legacy from the start, with care homes and arts organisations invited due to their enthusiasm, time for research and relationship development before residencies, and time for embedding and legacy after residencies. It is really exciting to be doing something that is continuing and developing into something... there is going to be something that comes from this which is about those people. And that is really special. Arts organisation pre-residency Legacy was at the forefront of the artistic approach, demonstrated in their hopes and expectations to “develop a relationship with the home, the staff and the residents that would allow us to develop something which felt meaningful to that place and something which felt could exist beyond the life of the project”. This involved “a continual thought process and challenge” of embedding creative practices throughout the programme, which was seen in some care homes where they had been able to use some of the skills and activities they had learnt in the R&D phase during the pandemic and one Lifestyle Coordinator shared their plans to align their everyday activities with the artists’ ideas