Goldsmiths to help bring art and culture into social care

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Academics from Goldsmiths, University of London are collaborating on a pioneering programme to bring the power of art and culture into social care services in Barking and Dagenham.

The three-year ‘New Town Culture’ programme, supported by the Mayor of London and the Serpentine Galleries, was launched today (28 February 2019) at a special event at Barking Town Hall.

The programme will take culture into care settings across the borough and will enable residents to tell their stories and exhibit work with some of London’s leading cultural institutions. Bringing together social workers and artists, the initiative aims to embed cultural activity within core social care practice. Goldsmiths will work with the borough to develop new training for social workers to enable them to deploy creative approaches in their work and to ensure that the legacy for this programme is embedded within social care delivery.

Adam Dinham, Professor of Faith & Public Policy at Goldsmiths said: “We look forward to working with artists and local groups to transfer the learning and best practices that come from these relationships into tools that social care professionals can use to work with some of the most marginalised members of the community. This work breaks new ground in research, training and policy development.”

New Town Culture will include a new series of Radio Ballads for the 21st Century, made by artists and people living and working in Barking and Dagenham and commissioned by the Serpentine Galleries. Inspired by the BBC Home Service broadcasts of the same name, the series will explore important contemporary issues around work in collaboration with local people. Each Radio Ballad will be presented publicly in Barking and Dagenham in 2020, to coincide with the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act 1970.

Barking and Dagenham Council and The Foundling Museum have also joined forces to present ‘In Your Time’ - a major new programme to explore how artistic and cultural experiences can enhance social care services and support the needs of young people in care. The project will bring together artists, young people, carers and social care staff for a dynamic programme of workshops and courses, that will result in new art shared widely across the borough and at The Foundling Museum in 2020.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council said: “This project demonstrates how we all contribute to the beauty and vitality of our borough. The project presents a huge opportunity to engage and empower some of our most vulnerable people to be part of the culture of London. I hope this project will demonstrate the huge potential for art and culture to change lives and it is a pleasure to work so closely with the Serpentine Galleries and the Foundling Museum where art and social change are so intertwined.”

The programme is supported via the London Borough of Culture’s Cultural Impact Awards and is for social care services for children and adults.

Image: Coloured pencils by Marco Verch via Flickr.