The CC

(R) Researcher

Gillian Grason Smith

Chair of Carers User Panel

(R) Researcher

Nicky Thomas

Research Associate

(R) Researcher

Jeremy Dale

Professor of Primary Care, University of Warwick

Read the research

How can we better support the health and wellbeing of carers online?

Care Companion (the CC) is an online tool providing support to friends and family members in care roles. It provides a personalised experience for people looking for help, advice and support, and is freely available to those in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Over the past few months, the CC has been has never been more important, with carers facing added feelings of isolation and loneliness in lockdown, where some have been shielding to avoid putting the ones they care for at higher risk.

This kind of collaborative approach was very new to us. Research is often very structured, it has a protocol to abide by with specific aims to meet. The Coventry Creates project allowed us to engage with the Care Companion in a completely different way, guided by the artists.

Collaborating with the artists opened the project out in new ways – we had discussions about the challenges carers face, delving deeper into how we could communicate their experiences in a way that positively engages with their health and wellbeing.

The CC Workshop

 

It allowed us to reflect on the CC through emotion – considering how it might feel, sound or look helped us to think deeper about how we can engage the public with our research. The insights we got from discussions and workshops with Lucy and Emily will influence future research, and how we present the CC to people, whether they are in need of it now, or at a later point in their life.

By referring to it as The CC it took on a familiar identity, giving it more character as a virtual companion.

For us, the piece of art captures the varied experience, uncertainty, challenges, heartache and feelings of isolation that carers are faced with, while the CC acts as an accessible, informal virtual confidante, welcoming you to its space and accompanying you on your journey.

Visit www.carecompanion.org.uk or www.warwick.ac.uk/go/carecompanion to find out more.

Download the research paper

Coproduction of a Theory-Based Digital Resource for Unpaid Carers (The Care Companion)

(pdf 485.10 KB)

(A) Artist

Lucy Hutchinson

(A) Artist

Emily Warner

The CC, Digital Video, 4m09:
 

The CC is a digital video that explores how we can understand the role of care and support in society. Created during the course of 6 weeks the work was informed by workshops and conversations with unpaid carers and researchers from The University of Warwick. Through experimenting with sound, video, and performance we aimed to explore how research can be interpreted in alternative ways by creating new metaphors and stories.

From the early stages, it became clear to us that the perception and understanding of what care is, and who administers and receives that care, is fluid and evolving – almost indefinable. Identifying the parameters and boundaries of the care roles that people find themselves in, is equally unclear and entirely unique from person to person, species to species.

The challenge of illustrating that which is unseen, appealed to our processes of shaping narratives and future scenarios, through film and digital imagery. Week by week we gathered metaphors, language, textures and imagery that resonated with the issues that the medical team were researching. Through creative activities, we not only looked at the universal tropes of care, but also opened up personal experiences.

The final artwork presents an invitation to a future; a creative depiction illuminating some of the aspects of care, with The CC as a supportive tool to accompany carers on their journey. You can watch our video diary below.

 

A digital exhibition of artworks created during lockdown and inspired by university research. Amongst these 18 artistic responses to research, you’ll discover poetry about Coventry, Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matters movement. Find stories about what Coventry means to refugees, and learn about Coventry’s twinning history, women’s suffrage and how interactive games can help break down the complexities of homelessness. Hear the words of healthcare workers during the first peak of Coronavirus, and explore creative connections forged by ‘The Artist and the Prof’.

Coventry Creates is part of the ongoing work by Coventry and Warwick universities in the lead up to the City of Culture. The University Partnership has funded over 30 creative research projects, involving over 50 Coventry organisations and local communities.

 

More information about Coventry Creates