A collection of case studies and stories from BCA programmes.

Creative Arts and Dementia: Case Study

In this project, BCA applied its use of John Heron’s Cooperative Enquiry method (a cycle of ‘idea, action and review’) to working with people with dementia. A BCA team of professionals and volunteers carried out projects using arts activities and simple listening skills with clients, care staff, school and business volunteers in residential homes and day centres. The BCA Team and community volunteers, including those recruited from business and schools, gained insights and skills, and satisfaction from knowing they helped to make a difference. ******************************************************************************************************************** Elizabeth’s story illustrates the various stages by which a lady with interfarct dementia came to produce a meaningful image and caption which helped her to relate back into her own life, and with her family. Cooperation: Bessie was introduced to the activity in a small group which included an artist volunteer. She was not left to flounder on her own. Experimentation: The medium used in [...]

2022-11-01T11:47:15+01:00By |Categories: BCA Experiences|Tags: |

Learning together – skilled volunteers

In a number of situations we met with professionals who were experiencing degrees of dissatisfaction. Working with them they succeeded in changing their perceptions and attitudes from boredom, depression and frustration to renewed vision and enthusiasm. This happened so many times, more often than not, that we came to trust in the process of sharing ideas, actions and reviews, to bring us to a much greater sense of our own and other’s potential. However, this way of working as equals, exploring questions, challenging our assumptions, and reviewing our stereotypical prejudices was not always welcome. For some the releasing of their own sense of status and hard-won expertise was too uncomfortable and they left saying that they preferred to work in situations where they knew they were in control of others and themselves. For those who stayed with the experiment the rewards were great and often re-ignited a sense of passion [...]

2015-07-31T16:35:21+01:00By |Categories: BCA Experiences|Tags: |

Overcoming stereotypes together – care staff and business volunteers

The staff at the Residential Home were nervous. Welcoming a group of businessmen into their environment was not something they had ever done before. They did not number international consultants amongst their acquaintance and found the idea of hosting a day for such visitors intimidating. It was a challenge to their already fragile sense of self-esteem, faced as they currently were with reorganisation, possible redundancy and chronically low pay scales. For their part the business people felt that all their undoubted communication skills would be severely challenged by working with people with both cognitive and physical problems, being cared for in a rundown residential home. It was not something they had ever done before and they wondered what issues it would raise for them. They were very uncomfortable. What neither group realised was that during the course of the day they would come to share a common understanding of both [...]

2015-07-31T16:35:27+01:00By |Categories: BCA Experiences|Tags: |

Creating hope and positivity when faced with closure and relocation – a bank clerk and his boss

It had been a long time coming but was now definite – the local branch of the bank was to close and all the staff were to relocate. The manager was tired and depressed with the whole business! The bank had agreed at national headquarters that they wanted to take part in a pilot programme of Building Community through Arts with a residential home, a charitable trust, a school and a community arts studio. One of the younger members of staff was wanting some kind of change from banking – he wanted to do something in the community but had little confidence in his freedom to choose and in his capacity to do much for anyone. The manager nominated this frustrated young colleague to be the one to take part on the bank’s behalf, and left for a much deserved week off. Uncertain what to expect the young man turned [...]

2015-07-31T16:35:37+01:00By |Categories: BCA Experiences|Tags: |

Changing attitudes to others and life – some pupils and a teacher

In one programme we had both a teacher and her pupil sharing secrets, sharing their vulnerabilities. It was a challenging and revealing experience for both of them which culminated with the pupil writing a beautiful poem, entitled ‘From Stranger to Friend.’ She moved from seeing her teacher purely in role to seeing her as a fellow human being, temporarily carrying the role of teacher, just as the pupil herself carried hers but was not defined by it. In another programme we had a young girl sharing her frustrations over the competing expectations adults have of the young: “You can’t do this because you are too young! Don’t behave like that – you are too old to do that!” The pressures of career and life choices weighed heavily on her and she was angry at the apparent injustice of her situation. Sharing her fears and expectations with participants at very different [...]

2015-07-31T16:35:58+01:00By |Categories: BCA Experiences|Tags: |

Changing attitudes – moving from customer to partner – relatives of clients in care

Watching someone you love fade, lose their knowledge even of the world around them, and their recognition of you, can be traumatic. So much so that for some their visits to relatives in care homes become less and less frequent until, as we heard in one case, he did not come into the home at all. He just left flowers. The staff understood and longed to help. With other relatives who continued to visit they watched the bewilderment as the visitor could never be sure how much their loved and ailing relation could understand. Did she know, they wondered, that her son (their father) had died? Could they talk about this together? Could they grieve together? Or had she gone from them herself? The staff could not help until one day, in a workshop, a drawing with just a few words came: ‘Mushrooms – how Tom loved them – and [...]

2015-07-31T16:36:39+01:00By |Categories: BCA Experiences|Tags: |

Changing attitudes – moving from client to participant – older people and others with disabilities

For one woman, diagnosed with MS, her long years as an invalid had drained her confidence. She no longer saw herself as a competent human being, certainly not as an artist and was astonished to find herself facilitating a fellow participant. At the end of a long programme she referred to this as the highlight: ‘finding I could help someone else do something they never thought they could!’ For another woman, suddenly struck down with a hospital infection resulting in the amputation of both legs, life had turned very bleak indeed. All offers of support and encouragement were turned away and this strong, erstwhile leader of people, retreated into a private hell. Eventually she accepted an invitation to take part in a pilot programme Social Services was running with BCA. From that first afternoon, faced with hearing so many different stories of the predicaments and possibilities of others, and playing [...]

2015-07-31T16:37:25+01:00By |Categories: BCA Experiences|Tags: |

Forming the intention – two social workers and their wish list

The Shopping List – don’t be afraid of it! It is your expression of intention and magical stuff happens when you all work together clear about what you are wishing for and looking out for any ways, very small often, of beginning to get there! Two social workers in an early BCA pilot had an impossibly, or so it seemed to us, list of things they wished to achieve with management, staff and clients through undertaking a shared enquiry programme together. It is truly surprising what is possible when you come together in inquiry that is not possible when you simply ask the other to do it for you or blame yourself for not being able to do it by yourself! At first, faced with this long list, we panicked because we thought we had to supply all the solutions to their problems (and clearly couldn’t). However what we were [...]

2015-07-31T16:37:16+01:00By |Categories: BCA Experiences|Tags: |

Creating hope and positivity when faced with closure and relocation – a manager and his care staff in a residential home

There have been many times over the years we have worked with care organisations when we have faced the despair and demoralisation of staff. Even the idea of providing creative activities for residents could prove a real nightmare to some of the less confident members. One told us how she used to hope that the Bingo sheets would be in the cupboard when it was her turn. If not, then perhaps she could manage to get residents to colour in some of the printed outline drawings. She kept saying –‘I can’t paint! I was no good at art at school. I don’t know what to do!’ Over a period of three months, gaining in confidence, she learned how to facilitate activities, how to include other members of staff, how to teach others! She developed a clay workshop and when she eventually left this home going to another some way away, [...]

2015-07-31T16:36:50+01:00By |Categories: BCA Experiences|Tags: |
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