Live and Learn Evaluation Report
Live And Learn
Full Evaluation Report
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
An Introduction Collective Encounters Background to our work with dementia Live and Learn
The Statistics Planned and achieved outputs Workshop and performance venues Partnerships Funding
Description, Evaluation and Analysis Third Age Theatre: creative workshops Third Age Theatre: performances Working with an arts and dementia consultant Developing the Toolkit for Carers Research: process, outputs and dissemination Overall impact and successes
The Future Recommendations for Collective Encounters’ practice Moving Forward
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
1 An introduction Collective Encounters Collective Encounters is a professional arts organisation specialising in theatre for social change through collaborative practice. We use theatre to engage those on the margins of society, telling untold stories and tackling the local, national and international concerns of our time. There are three main areas to our work: • Participatory workshops: we work with young people, homeless people and older people locally using theatre to build confidence, develop skills and explore the issues and ideas which
matter to them; we also work more widely across the north of England with marginalised communities Productions: we mount exciting productions that explore pressing social and political concerns, often transforming non-‐theatre spaces into magical performance places Research: through academic and practical research we contribute to the wider national and international field of theatre for social change and spearhead best practice in the UK
Toolkit workshop, Leighton Dene Day Centre 2013
Background to our work with dementia In 2010 PSS (a national social enterprise providing social and health care services) commissioned Collective Encounters to produce a new play Now And Then, that was to use theatre to explore and platform the experiences of people with dementia and those who care for them. Collective Encounters undertook both practical and desk-‐based research into the situation facing those with
Live and Learn Evaluation Report dementia and their carers; and ran a drama workshop programme to support this process. Now and then became a 40-‐minute piece of forum theatre, which told the story of one woman's journey through the stages of dementia and the experience of her daughter, who became her carer. The piece was created and performed by members of Collective Encounters' Third Age Theatre group (3AT) and one carer; supported by a professional director/facilitator, designer and composer. It reached over 400 people, playing at conferences, training sessions and health care events. 96% of audience members considered it to be a high quality piece of theatre, 81% said it helped them to understand the situation differently and 100% felt the subject matter was well handled. An evaluation of Now and Then can be found at: http://collective-‐encounters.org.uk/?p=2428 The project was extremely successful, and the collaboration, which brought together two organisations with very different expertise and skill-‐sets but a shared ethos and value system, worked well. The project enabled both partners to identify some key gaps in provision locally and specific needs in relation to taking a more creative approach to dementia care. These gaps and needs directly informed the development of ideas for Collective Encounters Live and Learn’ project; and PSS was to be a key partner in this new initiative.
3AT performers at In Our Times, 2012
Live And Learn Some of the key findings that informed Live and Learn were: that there was little or no professional arts provision in care homes on Merseyside; that there were very few opportunities for people with dementia and their carers to engage in fun, creative activities together; that there was not a wide-‐ spread understanding of how creative activity could be beneficial to people with dementia; that there
Live and Learn Evaluation Report were very few opportunities on Merseyside for people in their third age to act as positive role models or deliver creative training to others; and finally, that understanding of dementia amongst the wider public was very limited and largely negative. Live and Learn aimed to combine research into new and emerging practices in the field of arts and dementia, with practical delivery. It hoped to impact on people with dementia and their carers (both family and professional) and to have a wider impact on the third age community as well as resonate with the wider public. Building on the successes of Now and Then we wanted to combine our work with people with dementia with our regular provision for our 3AT Company. We aimed to work closely with health and care sector partners to help us identify potential participants, and ensure that our creative work was relevant in a health/care context. As we were relatively new to the field of arts and dementia, we would employ an experienced consultant to support the project. Live and Learn’s objectives were to: 1. Provide high quality arts experiences for 3AT participants, involving: theatre and creative reminiscence training; inter-‐disciplinary collaborations with professional artists & dementia specialists; performance opportunities. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Provide high quality creative interventions with people with dementia in care homes and private homes which break isolation and enable enhanced communication with those without dementia. Provide a high quality creative training experience to both paid and family carers. Provide high quality performances by 3AT actors, which raise awareness of dementia and related issues, validate lived experience and are performed in non-‐traditional venues. Provide a platform for 3AT participants to function as positive role models. Carry out research into the benefits of and best practice in arts and dementia. Disseminate research findings/case studies through (inter)national and regional networks with a view to contributing to the development of the field and its knowledge base. Use taster workshops to prepare the groundwork for the 2½ year body of Live and Learn.
3AT performers at In Our Times, Crofts Social Club, 2013
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
2 Statistics Outputs Planned Outputs
1) 10 people will participate in 3AT and be accredited
15 people attended 3AT sessions regularly
2) 25 people living with dementia in their own homes will benefit from a workshop
3 people each had two workshops
3) 25 family carers of people with dementia living in their own homes will benefit from training
21 family carers benefited from training
4) 12 paid care workers will be trained in creative techniques
11 paid care workers benefited from training
5) 65 people with dementia living in Care Homes will benefit from a workshop
134 people with dementia took part in a CE workshop
6) 50 workshops/training sessions will be delivered per annum (to include 3AT and dementia outreach/training sessions)
140 workshops/training sessions
6) 300 people in care homes benefit from performances
356 people in Care Homes/Day Centres benefited from a CE performance
7) 6 shows created and performed
The Third Age Company produced 8 shows
8) 1 toolkit published
Toolkit published 5th November 2013 to provide support for carers post-‐intervention
9) 1 (inter)national publication 10) Stakeholder Events 11) 150 audience/participants at stakeholder sharing events 12) Different venues used for performances and events
2 publications were produced and 3 conference presentations were made (Manchester, Slovenia and Ontario) 9 Stakeholder events took place during the project 334 audience members attended a stakeholder event 11 different venues were utilised during the project
14) Deliver 40 outreach workshops as part of a taster programme
42 outreach workshops were delivered
15) Recruit 20 third age volunteers to the project
15 third age volunteers were recruited
Venues Workshop venues included: • • • •
Hope University (Dementia Hub) Redholme Memory Care Home Leighton Dene Day Centre Norris Green Day centre 6
Live and Learn Evaluation Report Performance venues included: • • • • • • • •
The Bluecoat Hope University Redholme Memory Care Home Leighton Dene Day Centre Liverpool City centre Bandstand The Casa The Croft Social Club The North West Pensioner’s Convention
Partnerships Partnerships developed included: • • • •
PSS – Liverpool Personal Service Society Inc. Redholme Memory Care Home Leighton Dene Day Centre League of Welldoers
Funders Live and Learn was funded through a 3 year grant from Baring Foundation; with additional funds from Collective Encounters’ core funding fromo Liverpool City Council and Arts Council England.
3 Description, Evaluation and Analysis 3AT Creative Workshops Introduction Collective Encounters’ Third Age Theatre (3AT) is a participatory company of older people who meet once a week at Collective Encounters workshop space to take part in Theatre for Social Change workshops. These sessions use drama as a tool to explore the ideas and issues that are relevant to participants, and to develop new skills whilst having fun. They are both an end in themselves, and a means to create new theatre that enables participants to have a public voice: using theatre to air their concerns; or to make work that responds to a particular topic. Workshops use drama games, theatre exercises, master-‐class training and discussion; and are supported by a theatre trips programme. Throughout Live and Learn we delivered a two-‐hour session every Tuesday afternoon, between 2pm and 4pm, 39 weeks of the year. Although there was some movement (some people joining and some leaving) the group average remained between 7 and 9 members; with a total of 15 attending regularly at different points in the project. There was an initial recruitment drive with outreach workshops taking place across Liverpool with older people’s organisations, but because the outreach work did
Live and Learn Evaluation Report not continue throughout the project, the group dynamic became quite static as the project progressed.
Feedback/evaluation methodology Collective Encounters has a policy not to overload participants with feedback forms. Our Quality and Evaluation Framework ensures that we collect feedback regularly but that most of this takes place within a session, is conducted creatively and is recorded by the lead artist. Twice a year our core groups (which include 3AT) undertake a creative evaluation session, exploring their progress towards key aims, their feelings about the process and their ideas for development of the work. These use both creative and discursive methods and are recorded.
Some participant feedback and the evolving process The following looks at feedback from the group relating to their participation at weekly sessions. It will describe the findings that came out of this feedback/evaluation and how our evaluation processes changed through the course of the project to respond to the needs of the group and the project. At the beginning of the project feedback was collected every session on an informal basis. When participants offered a comment or statement that referred to their direct experience of taking part in a session, the lead artist would ask if she could record it for feedback purposes. Examples include: “It was interesting to discuss a mixture of memories.” “At first, it went a little bit over my head. I thought, ‘Am I in the right place?’ I enjoyed being with the women here. As I’m getting older, I’m like a sponge – I don’t want anything to pass me by.” “It was really good. It was nice getting ideas from other people in your team.” “I wanted to get stuck in. I found myself getting aggressive. I thought I was in Parliament.” Although this approach allowed spontaneous responses it did not offer us any consistency, so we looked at how we might introduce a regular feedback exercise into each session. It was important that the feedback exercise was fun, that it integrated into the overall activity of the session and that all participants knew that the responses were being recorded for reporting purposes. The first exercise introduced involved asking participants for just one word to describe their feelings at the end of each session. Some examples: “Hilarious”; “Interesting”; “Inspiring”
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
3AT performer In Our Times, 2012
Although the single word evaluation exercise was interesting, on reflection we all felt that it was too limiting. Also the information that it offered was open to multiple interpretations. We recognised that we needed some sort of measure, a way to find out what participants felt at the beginning of each session, and what they felt at the end. This would then enable us to interpret the results and identify what sort of impact our work was having on individual participants. So, we introduced two interventions, asking participants to describe their feelings at the beginning, and then at the end, of each session. Often, we’d ask people to describe themselves as a piece of clothing, a piece of fruit, etc. Here are some examples: Before: After:
I feel like a switched off TV I feel horny now!!! I haven’t laughed all week but today I’ve laughed so much. A really good session.
I feel like a fish. I feel marvellous! Like a shark!
I feel like a nice Steak. I’m now ready for Afters!
I feel like a lemon. Tired – well squeezed.
These exercises integrated well into the overall session and once introduced they indicated that most people felt an increase of happiness at the end of each session.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report In addition to this weekly feedback we ran bi-‐annual creative evaluation session. Feedback from these included: •
Feedback on the programme of work 100% of participants felt artistically challenged. 100% of participants felt their ideas were incorporated into the programme.
Feedback on the quality of the work 85% of all participants felt the quality of the weekly sessions was excellent
90% of all participants felt the quality of the performances was excellent
Feedback on personal development 90% of all participants reported an increase in confidence
100% of all participants felt empowered
Ideas for future programming 90% of all participants recognised that their ideas for future programming were incorporated. “I feel that, initially, when I joined the group I realised that people had been together for a long time. And I just wondered how I would fit into it. But as the weeks have gone along, I feel that any ideas I’ve had to contribute towards things have been listened to and taken on board. So I’m really happy about that and I think there’s a lot of sharing of ideas.” “I didn’t know where to begin but now, I’ve got a lot of confidence. And you get listened to. You can put your opinion over and people take it on board. And I just love being with the girls. So fantastic. I wouldn’t do without them. Just like one happy, big family.” 3AT Company Members
Toolkit workshop, Leighton Dene Day Centre 2013
Live and Learn Evaluation Report Initially, we created exercises to enable the group to show and discuss their responses to set questions. As a company, we are reluctant to offer standard forms as a means to gather feedback, because not everyone is comfortable completing such forms and often the question and answer option is too limiting. Creative activity, followed by discussion, offers us a clearer picture of the real issues. For example, in the January 2013 evaluation the lead artist felt that there were some group dynamic issues and wanted to identify a positive way forward. A discussion took place about each core participant’s relationship with the group that resulted in all saying the group was equal and inclusive. However, when asked to create a still image of their group, the result showed elements of hierarchy. The lead artist then asked them to create the image of a perfect group and, without hesitation, they formed a circle. The lead artist then asked what they needed to do to change the hierarchical group picture into the perfect group picture. It was at this point that core participants recognised that they needed to improve the way they worked and new group rules were identified and adopted. By undertaking the creative evaluation sessions, the lead artist acknowledged that discussion-‐based activities did not always highlight all issues. They were concerned that perhaps some people found it hard to disagree or offer a negative comment in front of other participants. A short questionnaire, consisting of five questions, was put together and people completed these anonymously. As suspected, a few people illuminated some issues that were not discussed openly within the group. Finally, at the end of each evaluation, participants identified subjects they would like to look at in the future, or art forms they would like to explore. These ideas and suggestions were then worked into the programme, wherever possible. At the beginning of the next evaluation the suggestions were reviewed and participants could see how their suggestions had been included. We recorded that 90% of all participants’ suggestions were acted upon by being included in the following six-‐month programme.
Analysis of the Project Coordinator/lead artist Participants needed a long time to work on development of ideas, the group didn’t respond well to changing focus too often. Successful delivery resulted when clear plans were introduced to the group at the beginning of a term and when sessions were comfortable and not too outcome focused. The group enjoyed developing characters and performance ideas. However I did find that it was important to offer a structured approach. Many participants had real problems learning and retaining lines, although styles of performance that didn’t require a traditional script based learning approach were introduced, there was resistance. In rehearsal these approaches were embraced but when it came to preparing for performance, participants wanted to set a scene or monologue, set it so much that they started to take improvisational notes and use them as script and begin to learn lines. This had the potential consequence of making the scene flow less well, feel less authentic, but although participants watching each other could see this, the fear of being on stage without knowing what to do or say overcame most individuals. Longer rehearsal periods worked best with a final intense period of rehearsal prior to performance.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
3AT Performances Introduction Throughout Live and Learn the 3AT created three different kinds of performance for three different audiences: performances in care homes; performances for training/health care sector settings and public performances. The performances in care homes were specifically for people with dementia. Members of the 3AT interwove the performance of poems that had been created during workshops with people with dementia (see below); songs they had developed and written themselves; and dancing with audience members to pre-‐existing songs that audience members were familiar with. Often pre-‐performance sessions were held in centres to identify songs that would be appropriate and pleasurable in this context.
Toolkit workshop, Leighton Dene 2013
Performances in training/health care sector settings involved performing scenes that highlighted issues connected with dementia; scenes drawn from their existing play Now and Then; personal memories, monologues and poems that connected to the work they’d been doing; new sketches specifically created to address issues related to caring practice; and were occasionally preceded by elements of ‘invisible theatre’ (where the audience does not know if they’re watching a performance or if the situation is real). Events were for carers, health care professionals and those with an interest in dementia.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report Public performances included: participation in Collective Encounters’ annual event In Our Times, which tackles issues of poverty and inequality in the UK; performances at Liverpool’s public Bandstand (Summer and Christmas); for which the 3AT created new songs and satirical sketches. They have also created a series of podcasts: the Hetty podcasts, which present a satirical agony aunt who tries to tackle pressing issues of pensioner poverty; and Bits that Stick to Your Mind, recorded readings of the poems that were created by people with dementia. The podcasts were released monthly on our website over the past two years. Hetty has also been performed live.
Feedback/evaluation methodology Feedback from 3AT participants was gathered at the following weekly session, notes were taken and inputted into the lead artist diary. Further feedback was gathered during the 6 monthly creative evaluations, where participants were prompted to reflect on each production undertaken. Collective Encounters is committed to taking theatre to new audiences and consequently many of our performances are in non-‐traditional spaces. During this project the 3AT company performed at Day Centres, at a Working Men’s Club, at a Trade Union Centre, on a bandstand in the centre of Liverpool, at a regional pensioners convention, and in several gallery spaces. Because of the nature of the performance spaces and the nature of the audiences (sometimes drifting in and out, sometimes not physically able to complete printed forms) most of the feedback gathered was from direct interviewing immediately after the performance. Very occasionally audience feedback questionnaires were used.
Performances in care homes: participant feedback The 3AT Company members first engaged in a Collective Encounters performance in 2011 when they attended a poetry reading. The readings had been produced by care home residents working with poet Karen Hayes, which were then performed by her and the lead artist. Participants watched the performances and then talked to the care home residents who had written the poems. Responses were mixed, some were inspired by the poetry produced, others were upset by perceptions of the restrictions that were operating within the care home setting and some were deeply affected by conversations they had with some of the residents: “The hardest thing for me was in the nursing home, there was a lady there, pretty young really to be in a nursing home with dementia. She was talking to me and Edna and the fear – she wanted to get out – the fear in her eyes… No matter how much you tried to talk to her, she didn’t have much of a voice so she was pulling on our hands and on our clothes and stuff to get out of there. We tried to cheer her up and find out what she was saying for a long while, but all I can remember is in the end, she just laughed because she knew she weren’t getting through to us. She couldn’t get through to us. I and Edna spoke about it afterwards and her eyes and her face will stay with us all our lives. I don’t think we’ll ever forget her. Because – I know it sounds a bit thingy-‐o – she was so attractive, but so frightened. You know, you thought, ‘Thank God that’s not me.’ I know it sounds a bit thingy-‐o, but you wouldn’t want to wish that on anybody. That was the hardest thing out of everything for me.” 3AT Participant
Live and Learn Evaluation Report In relation to the poetry performances at Leighton Dene, the 3AT company members, in general, had positive experiences. However, during the development of the piece, participants were unclear as to why they were being asked to perform poems written by people with dementia rather than material generated by the group. This issue was discussed in detail and once it was understood that by performing these works they were giving voice to those without a voice, group members supported the idea. This was based on the premise that they also had opportunities to perform their own work, with their own messages, at other events.
3AT Performers, Live and Learn Launch Event 2011
Performances in care homes: audience feedback The 3AT Company always received a warm welcome at whatever day centre they performed at. Performances were often in response to a request by the day centre for the group to perform to celebrate a specific date or occasion. In preparation for such events staff would work with Day Centre users to collate song lists and prepare visual material to support the performance. As a company we always ensured we arrived in plenty of time and that we fitted into the timetable of the day centre itself i.e., performances were usually requested to begin at 1.30pm, after lunch and to finish by 3pm before people started to leave. Staff were always supportive offering cups of tea to the company and helping setting up seating. Day Centre users often directly engaged with the performances by vocally calling out, dancing to the music and on a few occasions requesting the microphone and singing along. “I liked the dancing” – Frank, Day Centre User
Live and Learn Evaluation Report “Are you coming again?” – Elsie, Day Centre User “Really enjoyed the show.” -‐ Irene, Relative of Day Centre User
Performances in care homes: lead artist’s analysis Performances in Day Centres were popular and we were able to respond directly to a number of requests to perform to celebrate a specific day or event. In relation to the poetry readings at Leighton Dene we hadn’t been sure whether the audience members would listen to or enjoy the poems. Recognising this risk we had designed the performances so that a popular recording of a song from the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s or 70’s followed each poem. A lot of work has been done to demonstrate that music and dancing to music is a successful performance medium for people with dementia and so by interspersing the poems with songs we felt that the audience would engage at some level. However when the poems were read there was a high level of concentration and engagement from most people, some people even shushed others so that they could hear better. One benefit of this approach to performance was that it didn’t require a long rehearsal period or much preparation. As long as participants had a session to rehearse readings and discuss which song they would like to follow their poem, no extra time was required. All participants were given a running order and their own specially prepared poem on arrival at the venue; the shows were technically straightforward and ran smoothly. The real impact of these performances is that they demonstrate how sophisticated performance material that directly engages the audience can be successfully delivered to people with dementia. To ensure successful performances, performers need a microphone, music needs to be played through a good PA system and seating must be organised so that audience members can easily get up and join in with the dancing.
Performances in training/health sector settings: participant feedback The 3AT Company developed a number of pieces specifically designed to support training and development of carers working either professionally or non-‐professionally with people with Dementia. These included the Launch Event at The Bluecoat in 2011 and three further events which were delivered in partnership with PSS at Hope University in 2012. Participants in general enjoyed the experience of performing to Health Care Professionals and working in a training environment. They felt that their work was informative and productive and valued the opportunity to share their own research and personal experience with others. However, in one or two cases there were some room changes, which meant the company had to move at the last minute prior to the performance, and this did leave some people feeling unsettled.
Performances in training/health sector settings: audience feedback At all events the audience responded well to the performances, they took part in the debates that resulted from the invisible theatre interventions and participated in the forum elements of the plays.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
Performances in training/health sector settings: lead artist’s analysis The performances created by 3AT Company designed to be delivered for Health Care settings had a strong impact and were highly effective as training interventions. They were based on research that had been undertaken by 3AT Company members which was both desk based and active i.e. They had met and talked to a number of people working as carers both professionally and non-‐professionally. There were some technical issues in the delivery of the performances, for example, in some performances there was no access to microphones which meant that the company members could not be clearly heard and occasionally there were room changes which meant last minute moves/set ups etc. On reflection I believe that many of these issues could have been resolved if a Stage Manager could have been brought in to ensure smooth running of all such aspects. If we were asked to do similar work again I would recommend that our current model of a long, well-‐ funded research period followed by creative development and performance should be once again adopted with the addition of a small performance budget allowing us to employ a Stage Manager to offer full technical support.
Public performances: participant feedback The three act public performances consisted of two In Our Times events 2012/2013, in which the three act company worked collaboratively with other participant groups and professional performers to present a show in a working mans club; two city centre bandstand events, these were in response to an open culture request for performances to be held at the centre of Williamsons Square on an octagon shaped wooden structure, with technical support; and the Hetty podcasts, a character created by the group initially developed as scratch pieces which were ultimately professional recorded and published online and on local radio. During the process of the two In Our Times performances all participants enjoyed the intense development and rehearsal period leading up to the performance. Participants had also enjoyed the opportunity to work collaboratively with the other Collective Encounters groups. Despite the overall success of these events there were additional pressures during this period for company members, to learn new lines and new blocking in a short time frame, which some participants found difficult. The bandstand performances were challenging for participants as the time frame between being invited to perform and the performance itself was restricted, there was no offstage for people to change costume and as audience members could view from all sides, choreography and blocking was key. Although the rehearsal periods for both were intensive, participants agreed that the final performances were very successful and were happy that they had managed to attract large audiences. In the production of the podcasts, all enjoyed creating the character of Hetty and loved playing her as they did in the original scratch performances. However for the professional recordings, for the sake of continuity, it was decided that a professional actress would play Hetty. Some participants were upset about this decision but most accepted that ,from an audience perspective,to have one person playing her made more sense. There were some concerns about the use of comedy that resulted in
Live and Learn Evaluation Report discussions exploring who was being targeted. What were we laughing at and why? Generally it was agreed that the comic target was not the person asking for the advice, but the character of Hetty, rich and privileged, never having had to live on a pension or a budget of any kind, using her influence/her connections to get work and power. Her advice was therefore out of touch and irrelevant to everyday life. Most felt happy that they had got across what they had wanted to say.
3AT Summer of Love Bandstand Performance 2012
Public performances: audience feedback The 3AT Company had good responses to their public performances. The two In Our Times events, (Summer 2012 & Summer 2013), were both held in Working Men’s Clubs and so had a restricted audience. The 3AT Company performed alongside other Collective Encounters groups and received strong support from the audience. In the case of the two Bandstand performances (Summer 2012 & Christmas 2012), the 3AT Company were working independently and in a street setting and so had to engage, attract and secure a passing audience. The following responses were gathered by Collective Encounters Artists and Volunteers from passers by at the two Bandstand performances in 2012: “Good to see older people taking control!” “Loved the colourful costumes. What they had to say.” “You got the biggest audience of the week!” “Very good, what you’re doing here. They don’t usually allow politics, but it’s time people had their say. A very good effort.”
Live and Learn Evaluation Report “Political content is great. Spot on about the cuts. Good to see people doing theatre like this even at Christmas.”
Public performances: lead artist’s analysis The bandstand performances offered the 3AT Company an opportunity to challenge a mainstream audience about its perception of older people. They offered participants the chance to work in a street theatre context, develop new material as a group, utilise some existing pieces and to make personal statements, both in written form and in the choice of their costume. The most challenging for the company was learning the choreography that enabled participants to circle the whole stage and show audience members on all sides the various slogans. In addition, we had to practise passing the five microphones between each other in the rehearsal room as we had no dress or tech in the space. The key learning from developing work for these performances was the creation of storytelling/performance structures that enabled participants the opportunity to communicate their ideas, both as a group and individually. In each case, after initial discussions, the lead artist introduced the concept in which the ideas voiced could be effectively communicated. For example, for the Christmas Bandstand, the group wanted to discuss the potential impact of the forthcoming cuts and look at the effect they would have on the citizens of Liverpool. The concept introduced by the lead artist, in order for them to do this, was a street theatre version of Scrooge, where Scrooge represented the Government. The key learning from the two In Our Times performances was that song and dance is highly effective in a cabaret style. However, for this to be effective, the 3AT company needed several months performing both in writing and learning the song/dance in question. For example, in the 2012 show, the group wrote a song ‘Stand Up’, written with the support of a professional musician between February and March. Once the song had been written, the group then rehearsed it once a week as a warm-‐up during March to June in preparation for the performance. This process enabled the group to perform the song confidently and effectively. In the 2013 event, the idea was that a group song would be written by all participants three days prior to performance. Although the idea was to be inclusive of all Collective Encounters participants, 3AT company members struggled to learn both words and tune in such a short period. This meant that some people were quite stressed during the performance of the song. Therefore, in preparation for any such work, it would be recommended that 3AT participants had plenty of time to learn and rehearse prior to performance. The character of Hetty was developed through a serious of improvisations between September and December 2012. In response to the learning from the development of the Christmas Bandstand, the lead artist edited the material into script format prior to the first rehearsal in April 2013. Participants were encouraged to change lines if they wanted, even to improvise, but having the scripts from the beginning gave everyone more confidence. Line-‐learning for the 3AT company members was normally an issue but, in this instance, as the pieces were being recorded professionally as audio podcasts, participants could work directly from script.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
3AT Performers, In Our Times 2012
Working with an Arts and Dementia Consultant Introduction Karen Hayes was employed on a two-‐year contract and undertook a number of workshops in Redholme Memory Care Home, Leighton Dene Day Centre and in the homes of people with dementia modelling her process of creating poetry with people with dementia to train Collective Encounters in this approach. Through a series of structured discussions she also offered a wider set of understandings and capacity building to artists within Collective Encounters around working through the arts in a dementia specific context. Karen contributed to the development of our toolkit; and ran a six-‐week training course for 3AT members focusing on exercises and creative interventions designed to work with people with dementia.
Karen’s poetry workshops Karen and the lead artist in 2011 undertook a series of workshops at Redholme Memory Care Home. They worked with individuals and Karen consequently produced a number of finished poems that we later performed within the care home setting. In 2012 Karen worked with a new lead artist at Leighton Dene Day Centre. The Day Centre users worked on a 1-‐1 basis with Karen, during their conversation Karen took extensive notes. Day Centre users were fully engaged and appeared to enjoy their conversation with Karen. Although she informed them that they were working with her to create poems it was obvious that most were unaware of how this was to be achieved. When she returned to present them with the poems and read them in front of the others, they were overwhelmed. May, in particular, took her poems away and held on to them, reading them and holding them, as though they were very precious things.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report “It was lovely to hear my poem read out. I couldn’t believe I’d written it.” May, Day Centre User, Leighton Dene We visited three different individual’s homes; one person was very welcoming. He had met the lead artist already and understood that he was doing some poetry writing in his own home, but the other two ladies were suspicious. Where possible, we separated the person with dementia (and the person caring for them) on the second visit as we felt this would enable Karen to form a 1-‐1 relationship with the person with dementia, enabling them to talk more freely to her on their own. This worked well in one case but, in the other case, the person with dementia became quite negative.
Training the 3AT In the Autumn of 2012 Karen worked over a period of 6 weeks with the 3AT Company delivering a series of Arts based training workshops designed to be tried and tested within a day centre/care home setting. The sessions included an introduction, drama skills, creative writing, singing and visual arts. The sessions helped develop company members in two ways, firstly it helped the group develop new material and secondly it enabled participants to develop facilitation skills. “I loved the sessions. At first I was very anxious as to what to expect about the group. After the first session I was very excited to come again. I loved how Karen is versatile and how she pushed us to use our own imagination.” “I thought that the atmosphere was so friendly and exciting. The sessions reminded me of being in school, and having the enjoyment of learning. The workshops have beaten the expectation I had. Karen is lovely, patient and has clear instructions and is very encouraging. Overall the workshops have been homely and very inclusive. 3AT Participants, 6-‐Week 3AT Training Course At the end of the training period the group performed some of the work they had developed alongside Karen at Leighton Dene Day Centre. Later in the Spring and Summer of 2013 a number of 3AT Company Members worked regularly alongside the lead artist in Day Centre settings, during the testing period of the Toolkit.
3AT Workshops in care homes/day centres In the Autumn of 2011, Karen and the Lead Artist performed a series of poetry readings of work created by residents at Care Homes in Liverpool. The 3AT Company were invited to join the audience and to meet the residents who had taken part in the project after the show. Some company members found this experience quite difficult;
Live and Learn Evaluation Report Later in 2013 after some Arts & Dementia Facilitation Training from Consultant, Karen Hayes, a number of 3AT Company Members elected to support the Toolkit testing within a Day Centre setting. The Toolkit testing took place over 16 sessions during which we worked with a variety of different groups. All Company Members that took part engaged fully and enjoyed supporting the work.
“Great to see everyone come alive.”
“Very enjoyable, made us happy.”
“I enjoyed listening to everyone’s stories.”
3AT Company Members, 2013
Project Coordinator/lead artist Analysis At the beginning of the Live & Learn Project in 2011 we recognised that although we had previously undertaken one Arts & Dementia project, effectively the company were embarking on a new area of work. As a research lead organisation we wanted to develop a deeper understanding of the field and insure that our arts practice was of the highest standard. We consequently took a two-‐pronged approach: We commissioned a literary review, undertaking desk based research increasing our academic understanding; We employed an experienced Artist to support us in a consultancy role to support the lead artist development and to offer Artistic guidance. Karen Hayes is a poet with more that 20 years experience of working in the field of Arts and Dementia. She was able to share with us: • • • •
Her understanding of best practice. Her knowledge of how to work effectively and creatively with people with dementia. Her understanding of how to work in various day care and care home settings. Her understanding of how to engage with both professional carers and home carers.
• • •
Her practice by enabling the lead artists to observe her working on a range of settings. By offering 3AT Company Members facilitation training. Her practice by directly co-‐writing the development of the toolkit.
Having access to Karen’s thinking and practice enabled the lead artists to contextualise the desk based research and their own experience giving them a broad understanding of the field. Karen also offered them the opportunity to discuss and explore in detail complex ideas, ways of working and new approaches. The relationship between Collective Encounters and Karen was generally positive, difficulties that arose were mainly due to the fact the Karen lived in Bristol and consequently had to travel quite a distance to undertake workshops or training sessions in Liverpool. The cost of Karen’s travel also had a financial impact on the project. However Karen was employed as a consultant because she is one of a
Live and Learn Evaluation Report very few leading practitioners in the field and her contribution to the Live & Learn Project and Collective Encounters in general has been hugely beneficial. I therefore suggest that we should adopt a similar model when working in relatively new areas and support such work by incorporating a substantial travel budget to enable us to work with the best leading artists, wherever they are geographically based. Working with Karen offered Collective Encounters the unique opportunity to interrogate in practical terms best practice in the area of Arts & Dementia. Ensuring that the artistic work we offered to people with Dementia and their carers was of the highest quality.
Toolkit Workshop, Leighton Dene Day Centre 2013
Developing the Toolkit for Carers Introduction We made the decision to design a toolkit as a resource for carers as we felt that this would have the most positive impact in relation to people with dementia accessing regular creative interventions. From the beginning of the project we were interested in looking at how creative activity could be more firmly integrated into regular caring practice, rather than being a stand-‐alone activity requiring the entry of a professional artist. Since we wanted the toolkit to be user-‐friendly, design was important: we created a pocket-‐sized book with wipe-‐able pages and a spiral binding. We also colour coded the sections to make it easy to use. All these design points were tested out and were positively endorsed. We included sections on best practice and person-‐centred care to support and underpin the creative sections. In the spring of 2013 Karen and the lead artist wrote a draft Toolkit.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
Developing and testing the Toolkit Developing a Toolkit as part of the Live & Learn Project was a pre-‐identified outcome. However, determining whom the Toolkit would be for and what it would contain was left open so that we could respond directly to the needs identified during the project. At the beginning of 2013 the lead artist worked with Karen, alongside Collective Encounters’ Artistic and Executive Directors to ascertain who the Toolkit was for, what it would contain, how it would be used and what format it would be produced in. The following was agreed: • • •
The Toolkit would be designed to be used by both professional and home carers. The Toolkit would contain easy to follow creative exercises and ideas. The Toolkit would offer tips on how to introduce creative practice as part of a daily care
routine. The Toolkit would be designed to be used both in professional and home settings. The Toolkit would be pocket size, colour coded and printed on wipe clean paper.
Once the parameters had been agreed, Karen and the Lead Artist wrote a draft Toolkit for testing purposes. The exercises and ideas that were included were mainly drawn from personal delivery experience. Once the draft Toolkit had been completed the lead artist introduced it to Care Staff at Leighton Dene Day Centre. The centre Manager and Care Staff agreed to support the testing of the toolkit and the Lead Artists proceeded to run a series of approximately 16 sessions to run the various exercise and activities with a range of day centre users. A number of 3AT Company members supported these workshops and their feedback and advice supported the development of the final product. Some of the key feedback points from carers had included: “I’m worried about leading sessions, worried it will be too much of a struggle.” “I’m not sure who is supposed to lead the session, me or the service users.” “I wouldn’t want to run any exercise that upset people or brought up bad memories. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with that.” Feedback from participants with dementia in the testing workshops included: “I liked that everybody could join in” “I liked talking about places I haven’t been to for a while” “Everything was good. Everything fitted in – even the exercises.” “Very enjoyable. Made us happy.” “Joining in. Being sociable. The sing-‐song. More entertainment like this is needed.”
Live and Learn Evaluation Report “Being together, exchanging each other’s lives. Nice to know about people you sit next to-‐day-‐ to-‐day.” After the testing process a number of exercises had to be changed or re-‐worked. The key learning from the process included: • Any game that was viewed as ‘childish’ was disliked. • Any game that included someone having to tell a lie was disliked, it made people very uncomfortable. • Any game that involved too many instructions became unworkable
At the end of the testing period the Lead Artists had a meeting with care staff and managers to reflect on the process. Both the Care Staff and Managers all felt that the workshops had been successful and that the impact of the creative interventions had led to and increased communication between staff and Day Centre users. “Brilliant! The Service Users have found it brilliant – they loved it!” Care Worker, Leighton Dene Joan Lightbody, Leighton Dene Manager, subsequently wrote the following letter of support: Dear Collective Encounters The workshops that you have delivered have had a very positive impact on our service users. I think it is fair to say that they really enjoyed the sessions and that service users who are normally reticent in speaking out in a group, suddenly found their voices and felt comfortable and confident enough to share their experiences. In one of the workshops someone had talked about a certain food that they had last eaten many years ago. Her daughter was very surprised that she had remembered this and was still talking about it when she went home. Her daughter therefore went out and bought it for her….result! Because people were sharing experiences in a group setting, service users and staff learned new things about each other. The workshops have given staff experience and the confidence to facilitate similar sessions themselves using the toolkit.
Disseminating the Toolkit On November 5th 2013 we published the final revised version of the Toolkit, having produced a run of 50 hard copies. We also made it available to download free from the Collective Encounters website and from the Baring Foundation ‘Age Of Creativity’ website.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report The publication date coincided with the lead artist running a demonstration workshop at The Baring Foundation ‘Coming Of Age’ Best Practice conference in Manchester. This launch event was to start the dissemination process of the Toolkit amongst the wider sector. Between November 2013 and March 2014 the lead artist ran a series of workshops for both home carers and professional carers promoting the Toolkit. Feedback included: “Loved it. I love trying to find the talking point, so this really helped. The activities are really useful.” “Love the simplicity of the booklet, certainly going to use poetry exercise.” “Loved it. Go with the flow of person’s reality, great lesson. Really good morning.” “Lots of laughs, great to have a break from dementia based work, would love to know about more work.” “I can’t thank you enough for giving me the details of the arts workshop for dementia. Bill and I had a lovely afternoon with really nice friendly people. We laughed so much and it was a real tonic. At the end of the session we had written a poem of Liverpool, which gave me goose bumps! To be honest, most of my life now revolves around Alzheimer's. Everywhere we go and all the events and every conversation I have is about Alzheimers but today was 2 hours of complete relaxation. Thank you so much.” At the end of this process all fifty pocket guides have been disseminated. The next stage of the research, yet to be undertaken, will be to contact all those who have a Toolkit to analyse they have been utilised. We also intend to seek further funding to roll the toolkit out further
Project Coordinator/lead artist Analysis The Toolkit has been designed to be used by carers who may not have had any arts based training and the exercises contained are standard drama, creative writing, movement or music exercises. We have not created new ways of working, but exercises have been chosen because they are simple to use and have been proven to work with people with Dementia. Whenever we introduce the Toolkit to a Care Home or Day Centre, we are clear to make the point that the Toolkit is designed to introduce creative practice on a regular basis and not to replace work undertaken with professional artists when the opportunity arises. The Toolkit is Unique because we have made it freely available to download to anyone supporting someone who is living with Dementia. It has been colour coded so that it is easy to use and offers a range of activities that have been proven to work. The testing of the Toolkit was hugely successful and consequently the final product was dramatically different from the original draft. However the process was not without it’s challenges or difficulties. During the project it had been difficult to develop relationships with care homes and day centres so once we had established a strong link with Leighton Dene we decided to test the Toolkit at this one Day Centre. When the Toolkit was initially introduced to staff there was a lot of nervousness and
Live and Learn Evaluation Report some reluctance to the idea. However, because of the relationship we had developed, people were open to supporting us and by the end of the process staff were completely committed to using the Toolkit themselves. The next challenge with the Toolkit is to increase it’s dissemination and gather feedback to identify whether it is having a positive impact.
Research: Process, Outputs and Dissemination Introduction There is a vast body of academic and grey literature pertaining to arts and health, and some key publications related specifically to arts and dementia, but very little that pulls this together and makes it useful to either artists or health care professionals who might consider using the arts with people with dementia. The first stage of our research then was to commission a research intern to undertake a literature review and pull together the findings about the benefits of arts and dementia; and good practice guidelines in relation to this emergent area of work. This was an internal document: An evidence review of arts in dementia care. The review drew on more than 60 published texts, as well as many case studies of existing good practice. The next stage was to create a series of publications/advice sheets that made the information accessible.
Arts and Dementia: Bringing Professional Arts Practice into Care Settings This publication is targeted at health care professionals and care home managers. It highlights the evidenced benefits of using the arts in a dementia context; it connects the potential of the arts to current UK thinking about dementia and addresses how the arts can help health professionals achieve government dementia targets; and offers case studies to illustrate. The publication has been made available on our website and on arts and health related sites in the UK. We are currently developing our dissemination strategy for this document, which is likely to include targeting care home managers directly, as well as presenting at conferences and events.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
3AT Performance, In Our Times 2013
Master class Programme Collective Encounters has begun to run a bi-‐annual master class in Arts and Dementia which shares our knowledge and experience with artists who are interested in working in the sector; and provides take-‐away support materials including: an introduction to Dementia; Good Practice in Care Settings; and Advice for Using the Arts for People with Dementia. In evaluation of this training to date 100% of participants have said they learned new things and felt inspired by the training. Feedback has included: “The practical guides on the issues that might come up when working collaboratively with people with dementia, the government policy information and guidance on the best way to approach potential partners in the sector with this info.” “Clear, practical ideas of how to plan and deliver arts workshops. Exercises given which I am confident will work in these settings.” “Felt the ethics were spot on and everything else followed.” “A really informative and engaging session – thank you.”
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
3AT Performer preparing for Summer of Love Bandstand performance, 2012
Overall Impact and Successes Objective 1: To provide high quality arts experiences for 3AT participants, involving: theatre and creative reminiscence training; inter-‐disciplinary collaborations with professional artists & dementia specialists; performance opportunities. The 3AT six-‐monthly evaluations explored the issue of quality relating to weekly sessions based on the definitions outlined in Collective Encounters Quality Indicators, which states that drama processes should be: inclusive, creative, challenging, empowering, responsive and developmental. All agreed that the weekly sessions offered were of a high quality by these standards. The 3AT worked with the Arts and Dementia consultant both at Redholme in the autumn of 2011 and over a six-‐week training course in the autumn of 2012. Although not all enjoyed the work at Redholme, because of the care home setting, all enjoyed the training course. The course offered by
Live and Learn Evaluation Report Karen was of a high standard, introducing exercises and activities that resulted in the creation of strong and relevant pieces. The 3AT Company have delivered twelve performances with seven different shows. They particularly enjoyed working with a professional musician to write the ‘Stand Up’ song, also with a professional actress to record the Hetty podcasts; and performing live with her for ‘In Our Times’ 2013. They also enjoyed working with the other Collective Encounters participatory groups and the professional actors involved in the two ‘In Our Times’ events.
Product For Collective Encounters, a high quality product is: Exciting: in its theatricality, invention, ambition and communication of ideas; reinforcing the value and distinctiveness of live performance. The 3at performances were diverse in their settings and exciting in their use of space and in their range of theatrical approaches. Ideas were communicated dramatically with the spoken word, visually with props and costume, Audibly with sound and music. Provocative: in stimulating its audience to think in new ways, ask questions they might otherwise not have asked, offering new insights to old problems, and challenging the status quo. The ambitions of the 3AT performances were evident in the themes they covered. Exploring the issues of dementia, how society views and dismisses older people and challenging the financial cuts that they believed would have a huge effect on families an children in Liverpool. . Performances also offered individual performers to express personal concerns, these included participants who wanted an end to all wars, participants who wanted to still be regarded as sexy and attractive and participants who wanted to let people know that being older didn’t mean you couldn’t still have fun. Overall messages from the whole group that were communicated with all performances: older people wanted to be visible; older people wanted to be involved in the community and supporting other people; older people still have opinions. Technically accomplished: demonstrating an appropriate level of technical expertise, sound production values and seamless delivery. Most of the 3AT performances had no additional budget and therefore no specific technical support. The group and the director generated all sound, props and costume. The quality of the overall performances was good but could have been better if such support had been available. Important: in helping us to make sense of our place in the world, lifting the audience above the realm of the day to day, offering something beyond simple entertainment; and holding the possibility of change. The 3AT performances were important and challenging to audiences as they placed older people, and issues relating to older people on stage. Over a third of the UK’s population are over 50 and yet we rarely see older people taking the lead and setting the agenda. The Live and Learn project enabled older people to use theatre to identify changes they wanted made within the current social and economic structures, and gave them the forum in which to explore the possibilities of such change.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
Objective 2: To provide high quality creative interventions with people with dementia in care homes and private homes, which break isolation and enable enhanced communication with those without dementia. The 3AT Company performed 3 times in Leighton Dene Day Centre and the work was well received. The Arts and Dementia consultant worked creating poems with individuals in Redholme care home, Leighton Dene Day Centre and in three people’s homes. The poems created were of an extremely high quality and all involved stated that they were very pleased with the whole experience. The lead artist has delivered a series of workshops with the support of the 3AT Company at Leighton Dene and also with home carers at the Merseyside Play Action Council building. Feedback has demonstrated that the creative work undertaken with people with dementia has had a positive impact on both them and the people who care for them, forging a stronger relationship and an increased understanding.
Objective 3: To provide a high quality creative training experience to both paid and family carers. In November 2013 we offered a series of four Toolkit workshops to both professional and non-‐ professional carers. The training sessions took place at MPAC and were marketed in partnership with PSS. Home carers, professional carers and some people with dementia attended them. The training consisted of and introduction to our work, a demonstration workshop, and a Q & A and all attendees received a free copy of the toolkit. In April 2014 we also undertook a toolkit workshop for professional carers at Sedgemoore DementIa Hub.
Objective 4: To provide high quality productions by 3AT actors that raise awareness of dementia and related issues, validate lived experience, for performance in non-‐traditional venues. The 3AT Company have performed a number of high quality productions that highlight some of the issues for people with dementia such as: a launch event in November 2012; three performances for PSS in January 2012; and three poetry performances at Leighton Dene Day Centre in the spring and summer of 2012. They have also undertaken several performances that explore issues relating to being an older person. The 3AT Company have performed in a range of non-‐traditional theatre spaces including art galleries, trade union centres, day centres and the Liverpool Bandstand and have reached an audience of 729 people with their work.
Objective 5: To provide a platform for 3AT participants to function as positive role models 3AT Company have offered positive role models at all their performances. Throughout this project Liverpool Community Radio has interviewed 3AT Company members and they have had their ‘Teatime With Hetty’ podcasts broadcast on Liverpool Community Radio. The 3AT Company have also performed their song ‘Stand Up’ at the regional Pensioners Convention.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report
Objective 6: To carry out research into best practice in arts and dementia We have undertaken a major literature review and condensed this vast information into useful formats for both health care professionals and artists. In addition we have engaged with artists and companies internationally to discuss their practice and look at innovative models.
Objective 7: To disseminate research findings/case studies through (inter)national and regional networks with a view to contributing to the development of the field and its knowledge base. Collective Encounters has produced an Evidence Review of the benefits of Arts And Dementia Care; and has published and disseminated a Toolkit for Carers; has published Arts and Dementia: Bringing Professional Arts into Care settings; and a series of advice sheets for artists. We have presented at conferences and events on our findings through the Live and Learn project and have begun a programme of master classes to up-‐skill the sector.
Objective 8: To use taster workshops to enable and prepare the groundwork for the 2 ½ year body of Live and Learn. Collective Encounters used taster workshops at the beginning of the project at Redholme Memory Care Home with the Arts and Dementia consultant, supported by the 3AT Company. Collective Encounters decided to utilise the second series of taster workshops to test out the Toolkit, which they did at Leighton Dene towards the end of the project.
Conclusions The Collective Encounters Live And Learn project has made significant progress in its aim to create, test and evaluate new models of creative practice with people with dementia. Through the development and publication of the Arts And Dementia Toolkit, it has introduced creativity into the lives of people with dementia. Designed to be used by carers, the Toolkit offers the opportunity to introduce creative activities to engage and develop relationships with those people they care for. By empowering carers to use creative practice with people with dementia, we hope that the identified benefits will become widespread and improve the overall quality of life for people in residential care, day care and those being cared for at home. Through the relationships built with care homes and the publication of the Arts and Dementia report (Arts and Dementia: Bringing Professional Arts into Care Settings) we continue to work strategically to influence the care sector. During this project, Collective Encounters has achieved most of the original Live And Learn targets and, in a couple of instances, targets have been exceeded. For example, the target to provide workshops for people with dementia in Care Homes and Day Centres was more than doubled, three more shows were created than planned, and audience numbers trebled. However, there were some instances where targets had to be re-‐examined in response to participants or because we were unable to reach the people we had originally planned to reach. For example, there was an original target to offer 10 3AT Company members accreditation, but participants didn’t want to undertake a formal qualification (although they did want the training). We therefore offered a six-‐week course run by our Arts and Dementia consultant which 15 people attended. Also, the original project aimed to deliver arts intervention in people’s own homes, but we found it difficult accessing any data which would
Live and Learn Evaluation Report enable us to contact people who were Caring at home. We managed to gain access to a number of home carers through Leighton Dene and from those we met during performances, but we were nowhere near achieving the target we had originally set. To offer an alternative, we ran workshops at Merseyside Play Action Council for home carers and we had an excellent response to this. This enabled us to almost achieve the target relating to home carers but we were unable to find an alternative approach to engage directly with people who have dementia, in their own homes. The intense period of delivery over a three-‐year programme has enabled us to develop a greater understanding of how to work successfully in the field of Arts and Dementia and of how to fully support and run a 3AT company producing high quality and relevant performances. We have gained a better understanding of how to monitor and evaluate this work and have developed specific approaches and creative responses to engaging directly with participants to tackle difficult questions and identify appropriate solutions. We have also produced an Arts and Dementia Toolkit as a legacy, to offer continuing support for all carers working with people with dementia.
The Future Recommendations for future Collective Encounters’ practice 1. That, to support a healthy 3AT group dynamic, we need to run short outreach programmes with older people’s groups alongside the core delivery. 2. That scripts should be structured, within which creative moments occur that are either devised or supported in some way so that large numbers of lines do not have to be learned. 3. When creating a new production, a long development period of about three months is recommended. 4. That rehearsal schedules are written up in advance and the final two weeks prior to performance has a more intense programme. 5. That to ensure high quality performances where the participants are well supported, we need to include small production budgets against each production target, to cover the cost of a Stage Manager, plus basic set and costume. 6. That work is less stressful for participants if the lead artist introduces clear performance structures, or edited scripts, based on improvised work the group has already undertaken, at the beginning of a rehearsal period. 7. That volunteers or other company members need to be available prior to performances to offer individual support. 8. Bringing in an Arts and Dementia consultant to work alongside the lead artist was highly effective and it is recommended that Collective Encounters continues to take this approach when working in a relatively new field. 9. The 3AT company of older performers did not always respond well to the work with dementia, therefore it is recommended that in future we develop distinct projects for the 3AT and the arts and dementia work. 10. The testing of the Toolkit was hugely valuable and it is recommended that Collective Encounters would undertake a similar approach for any future practical publication.
Live and Learn Evaluation Report 11. That workshops designed to reach those with dementia living at home, and the people caring for them, should be offered at an external accessible venue within easy reach rather than in their own homes. 12. We should develop a dissemination strategy for research earlier on in the process so that as soon as publications are ready, we are poised for appropriate dissemination.
Moving Forward Although this three-‐year project is coming to a close, we believe that we are only at the beginning of our creative journey in this field and plan to continue to grow our understanding and develop our practice. Since the conclusion of Live and Learn we have been commissioned by National Museums Liverpool to create an an innovative experience that would educate carers about dementia and new thinking in best caring practice; as well as encourage them to use objects as a tool for reminiscence and to aid communication. The piece is a five-‐hour long immersive theatre experience and an innovative model of Theatre for Social Change, integrating character-‐driven drama, documentary theatre and audience intervention. The piece toured Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham and Leicester in 2014. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with carers stating that it was the “most valuable training” they had ever experienced; that it was “unique” and “extremely powerful”. In our 2014-‐18 Business Plan we state that we will to go on to develop our work in the field of arts in dementia care and have identified this as a key part of our programme. We plan to continue our two-‐ stranded approach working with both the Third Age Theatre Company, and people with dementia and those who care for them; we will do at both grass roots and strategic levels. There is only one other professional arts organisation offering practical opportunities for local older people, and only a handful of organisations nationally working to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia by influencing care practice. We aim to increase our understanding of best practice by observing international work, such as, the radical approach to dementia care offered by Hogewey in the Netherlands, and to use this learning to directly influence our future practice.