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Sector comes together for “A Night of Social Care Improv”

‘A Night of Social Care Improv’ saw Community Integrated Care team up with FACT (The Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology, Liverpool) and the artist Hwa Young Jung to explore hypothetical futures for the care sector through audience participation and role-play.

The sold-out event, which took place at 81 Renshaw Street Theatre, was attended by academics, artists, care leaders and people who access support. In doing so, it shared valuable insight and created a much-needed discussion on key issues for the sector including technology, funding, community engagement and human rights. The event was part of FACT’s The Future World of Work programme, which aims to bring together creative and research organisations to explore the potential for innovation, change and development in major industries within the Liverpool City Region.

This programme responds to estimates that 50% of all current jobs in the Liverpool City Region will no longer exist within the next 20 years, with economic change and the advancement of technology. As one of the biggest employers in the Liverpool City Region, and a national organisation that works at the forefront of the care sector, Community Integrated Care was selected to represent the social care sector – an industry that contributes 50bn to the UK economy, annually.

The production was developed during a three-month residency, which saw Hwa Young Jung spend time working in Community Integrated Care’s specialist services, alongside people they support, their families and staff. The inclusive production saw people with lived experience of receiving care and support take to the stage and was assisted by people supported by the charity.

This project will now go on to be exhibited at the Liverpool based gallery, FACT, in 2019.Research from the project will support Community Integrated Care and FACT to develop new products and innovations to enhance the social care sector.

Martin McGuigan, Executive Director of Innovation at Community Integrated Care, says: “The social care sector plays a vital role in society today, so it is important that we can explore how it might change, develop and innovate in the years ahead. It has been an exciting opportunity to have an artist spend time with people at all levels of our organisation to review how they perceive both the challenges and opportunities for the future, and to bring this insight to life in such a creative way.

This innovative production was engaging, entertaining and inclusive, and gave the audience a clear sense of the value of high-quality, person-centred care. We were delighted to bring together a diverse range of thought-leaders from across the care, political and cultural sectors, as well as members of the public, to help inspire positive change.”

Hwa Young, resident artist added: “Through the production, I wanted to shine a light on the social care sector, which is often overlooked. Tonight, we achieved that. By developing on people’s lived experiences and presenting it to the public in a theatre setting, we have been able to highlight the crucial personal interactions of being a good care worker. Art allows us to envision multiple possible futures. We were able to show how technology can be used for good, enabling a carer to deliver more personalised support.

While in contrast, also showing how technology can create a bad future, where care is just a checklist, forming a barrier for support. It was incredible to see the audience connecting directly with the stage through the improv nature of the performance, giving everyone a glimpse of the exceptional work carers do every single day.”

Tom Rowlands, Creative Producer at FACT added: “FACT are delighted to have partnered with Community Integrated Care on The Future World of Work. Hwa Young’s creative process engaged carers, providing an authentic and sincere tone to a humorous theatre production.

Through the playful form of Improvisational Theatre and developed alongside The Coach House, Hwa Young’s work sensitively addresses serious issues for the care sector, from austerity to new technology. Using performance, Hwa Young urges the public to reflect on the importance of care work both now and in years to come. Going forward, working with Culture Liverpool and Liverpool City Region, we are keen for insights gathered in the residency inform positive outcomes for residents of Liverpool City Region and beyond.”

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