A Night of Social Care Improv is the outcome of FACT’s Future World of Work residency. One of seven artists looking at working life in the future, I examined the social care sector. According the Oxford University study The Future of Employment (2013), the safest jobs from being taken over by robots are ones that involve building complex relationships with people. The top profession safest from automation are mental health and substance abuse social workers. (0.3%). I was interested to explore a sector that is struggling with budget cuts, dealing with long term impacts in the future as people live longer into pension age, and the types of technology that could be used and implemented, building on existing innovative work already being piloted (like Paro the Therapeutic Robot). The state of the social care sector at present can be read here.
I’m particularly interested in social care that takes place in people’s homes and living accommodations. Care workers coming into an intimate domestic setting can be a vulnerable situation. What sort of interactions arise in work that involves personal care and assessment of personal in/capabilities?
I wanted to use LARPing and role play to explore future scenarios, a form of interactive and collaborative storytelling. Events, characters, and narrative structure will be co-created with employees and employers within the care sector. Unlike a traditional narrative (play, TV show), LARPing allows choices that affect the story.
I worked in Community Integrated Care (CIC), a health and social charity based in Widnes. The research allowed time to create a consistent system of rules, grounding it just enough in reality but allowing imagination to exploring the future. A level of realism in the game is important, designing just enough internal consistency to set up a believable story whilst allowing free wielding imagination and spontaneity to arise.
The residency research culminated in A Night of Social Care Improv at 81 Renshaw Street on 23rd November 2018. The performance was produced with The Coach House, with professional, non-professional actors and members of the public.