Creative Quarter

A series of case studies exploring the role and effectiveness of the creative arts in supporting positive outcomes for people being supported by social services.

This series also includes Creative Bites (Bite-sized chunks of creativity). We invited 40 people to share their thoughts and ideas to inspire creativity and imagination in the social services.

Going undercover

Undercover Boss is one of my TV guilty pleasures. The premise of each episode is simple: the head of a large organisation leaves their ivory tower to go ‘undercover’ to find out what everyday life is like for frontline workers inside their organisation. This means rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to do the dirty jobs, as well as facing no-holds-barred feedback on what the company's doing right and what it needs to do better.

By the end of the show, the leader is humbled, often contrite, and certainly better educated and more appreciative. And I’m in tears.

On encouraging storytelling

More and more of my work revolves around storytelling. I co-lead Swansea Digital Storytelling (see ) and at least one day a week I train staff and make stories for the health service – this encompasses stories about things that have gone wrong as well as things that show best practice and stories of people’s personal journeys. I plan to share a number of ideas of how I encourage storytelling in Creative Quarter blogs over the next few months.

Encouraging Storytelling Idea no. 1

I’ll tell you what we really really want

The new miracle cure is . . .aspirin! No, wait, that was last week. Must be a heart pill then, it’s difficult to keep up with all these tabloid stories.

Me, I’m waiting for the Daily Mail to report that the new miracle cure is . . . singing. Well, it probably does some good for those with COPD or for strengthening the voice in people with Parkinson’s.

Green Juice

Everyone has an attitude towards eating greens. We may like them or not; but we all know that they are good for us. However, we don't always prioritise eating them or other healthy foods. We tend to blame our busy lives for not taking sufficient care to give our bodies the nutrition they need unless we have had a recent illness or health scare.

Sharing stories about individualised funding, individualised supports and lifestyle arrangements

My previous note was about facing with the emotions that arise in a specific transition: that from receiving traditional support services to making lifestyle choices and then purchasing the support needed to implement these. How do you encourage people to be creative when in the past they have been used to be the passive recipients of ‘services’?.. with peers sharing transition stories!

The importance of leisure

One of my biggest criticisms of the way social care currently works, and where there is a conflict with the principles of independent living, is its distaste for leisure activities. When social workers seemed focused on the basics of keeping people alive and healthy, leisure is frowned upon as a luxury only available to those who are creative enough with their personal budgets, particularly also only for people with learning difficulties.

Q&A: the art of academic blogging

Amy Genders at Cardiff University recently interviewed Kip Jones to find out more about how he uses social media to share his research and his advice for other academics who want to try their hand at blogging.

Q: You have created quite a prolific online presence with regular blog updates and use of Facebook and Twitter to share your research. Why is this important to you?

Facing our fear of the future… to embrace it

Exploring future lifestyles or professional options with disabled people and their families is a creative process – albeit often in an unfamiliar territory. Too many people feel ‘stuck’ and don’t dare dreaming about a meaningful future for a disabled loved one. So they organise carers who focus on solving the problems of day-to-day living. 

Crossroads often force us to plan – like when leaving a service or joining a personal budget-type scheme. However the most common emotion around change is fear. 

…… and my next question is!!

I went for a cliffhanger approach at the end of my last Creative Bite when the first question was "Is there time to be creative?" My argument was that there was a lot that we could do to create time through collaboration and sharing. When I reflected on the examples that there were of this, it made me think about another question, which is why we seem so ready to accept activity as a substitute for action?