ARU Magic Me - ARCH Project - Dare To Imagine

Full Report 61 and themes during the residencies. Throughout the programme Magic Me encouraged both artists and care homes to think about how they could keep the lines of communication open with the residents, for example by leaving something physical in the care homes as a reminder of what’s happening and what’s coming up. The time between sessions and especially the time between the R&D phase and the residencies was a concern for care home staff, which was further and significantly delayed by the pandemic. Some arts organisations and care homes were able to keep in touch, for example with artists providing sessions on Zoom or through windows and via radio or sending resources to the homes; however, others lost touch due to staff changes. Both care home staff and artists raised the need for ongoing support in embedding creative practice, which was achieved to some extent through the legacy phase of the ARCH programme for example through regular check-ins. For one arts organisation, this was about providing really practical support, structure, advice, and accountability. I’m not coming from a creative point of view, I’m coming from more of a kind of supporting [Lifestyle Coordinator] and going, “Okay, what do you need? Alright, let’s check in…” just being an outside support…that they can check things with, and give a little bit of advice on how they can maybe organise things…if we can, follow up with emails to management. That’s something we’re going to do over the next year, set some goals and then check in with them regularly. Arts organisation post-residency However, one care home felt “there is so much help we need” and emphasised that although they were doing their best, increasing workloads meant they were incredibly stretched while Covid-19 had undermined staff morale, which was also recognised by arts organisations. …the constant difficulty in continuing that legacy is the practicalities of it, and the fact that the staff are working 12 hours daily and they don’t have much time…I felt for [Lifestyle Coordinator], because I could see that she was really keen to do more. Arts organisation post-residency Accordingly, the ARCH programme identified the need for funding to enable continued collaboration between arts organisations and care homes to sustain the momentum and impact of creative practice – as one artist put it: “we just should be here all the time”. I just feel there should be…something in place. That we’ve got the resources to be able to have artists coming to the home on a regular basis, or even a couple of times a year. There should be that facility. Because we know what they can bring to the table and the impact it can have on residents’ and the staff’s wellbeing. Care home post-residency Spending time and sharing skills Spending time physically in the care home with care home staff was identified as vital for embedding legacy, as one artist remarked “there’s something in the meeting of the flesh and the minds and the sensory spheres of me being here”. They explained how just leaving resources may not work, but talking with care home staff about their ideas for what could happen in the future encouraged them to take ownership.