Our new Inside Out project for 2021 sees care professionals in three care homes in East London working in creative collaboration with Magic Me artists. Pooling knowledge, skills and expertise, care professionals and artists will work together to understand the unique challenges care homes face – developing creative interventions and activity to benefit the residents and each home during this time.
During lockdown many care home residents had become disengaged from meal times as they could no longer be communal, social event events. Residents had meals in their rooms, which meant an increased workload for care staff, providing one to one support. In response artist Kathy Horak-Hallett created an activity called ‘Dream Dinner Party’ – participants were asked to imagine their dream dinner party – draw up a guest list, create a menu and decide on a soundtrack or entertainment. The activity was successful in gently bringing residents back to thinking positively about food, providing opportunities to instigate conversation and stir the imagination. Dream Dinner Party was part of The After Party which was our first remote project with care homes in April 2020’s lockdown.
The way in which the artists worked with the care homes to deliver it was part of the inspiration behind Inside Out 2021. With 30+ years of intergenerational work behind us, Magic Me has the experience and understanding to begin this new project. The After Party saw how the feedback from our care partners could help shape creative activities that responded to the needs of residents, and of staff, working through some of the most difficult months of the pandemic. The value of care staff as collaborators and facilitators was a vital part of the delivery of The After Party, and this new project encourages care professionals and artists to combine their specialist knowledge. Our aim is that activities will meet the unique needs of each individual home, benefitting its residents and staff (and, hopefully, as restrictions lift, family and friends.)
In the long term, Magic Me hopes learning from Inside Out will add to the range of ways in which creative work in care homes is developed. Our current 4 year Artists’ Residencies in Care Homes programme in Essex is also exploring how artists and arts organisations can work with, and in, care settings and we will exchange knowledge and learning back and forth between the two groups. The three care homes were chosen after a careful recruitment process, to continue to build our relationships in the Waltham Forest community. Magic Me has been working in care settings in the London Borough of Waltham Forest since 2014 with our Cocktails in Care Homes Project and Inside Out in 2019 which was part of the London Borough of Culture.
We have recruited care professionals and artists eager to share and combine their knowledge, skills and expertise, keen to experiment and try new ideas. The care professionals are given protected time by their employers to take part and the artists are contracted directly to Magic Me: we view both as equally important to the success of the project.
Our Inside Out creative collaborators are:
Artists Chuck Blue Lowry and Paula Varjack with Care Professionals from George Mason Lodge, Leytonstone
Artist Georgia Akbar with Care Professionals from Alliston Road Care Home, Walthamstow
Artists Ishwari Bhalerao & Leonie Rousham (Kneed) with Care Professionals from Mapleton Road Care Home, Chingford
Inside Out 2021 funders:
Postcode Neighbourhood Trust
The Rayne Foundation
Woodroffe Benton Foundation