- Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
- Found objects or art supplies
- Digital devices
3 month residency
- Community associations
- Physical disabilities (e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Rett
- Mental health
Stories of Care: Making Connections With and Between People with Severe Physical Disabilities
The C.A.R.E. Centre, a recreational organization for adults living with severe physical disabilities, recognises the importance of art and expression for their clients, particularly for those clients who are non-verbal. In addition to incorporating art-making into daily programming, C.A.R.E. has hosted a number of artist residencies with Teaching Artist Louise Campbell, who has facilitated projects ranging in duration from 4‑days to 6 months, giving Louise, the clients and the caregivers an opportunity to get to know each other, and perhaps more importantly for Louise as a guest artist to understand the program and clients’ modes of communication.
The most ambitious of these projects was also the most surprising: the podcasting project was slated to begin in person at the C.A.R.E. Centre on March 23, 2020, ten days before the coronavirus pandemic was declared in Canada. Luckily, podcasting is an ideal project to do at a distance. In addition, one of the most beloved programs at C.A.R.E. is C.A.R.E. Radio, which converted well to Zoom. Caregiver Bruno moved seamlessly into being a fabulous host, just as he is in person at C.A.R.E. The online video platform became the bridge to our clients and a way to move forward with the podcasting project.
What really made this podcast project fly was Executive Director Olivia Quesnel’s amazing ability to think creatively about how to connect with people. As a regular part of her job, Olivia cultivates connections and communicates with C.A.R.E. clients using multiple platforms, adapting to each client based on their abilities and home situations. Just one example of Olivia’s creative use of standard technologies is her phone conversations with a client who is non-verbal. Olivia set up a daily phone call with during which she asked yes-no questions, to which he responded by pressing the touchpad once for ‘no’ (beeeeep) and twice for ‘yes’ (beep-beeeeeep!!).
Using the communication platform that was most appropriate for the client, a series of questions was used to prompt clients to talk, reminisce and share stories. One of these questions was ‘what do you hear around you right now?’ Clients’ observations were recorded and compiled in Episode 3: Here and there. A combination of archival recordings, short instructional videos of at-home recording activities, and recorded phone and Zoom calls, and musical gifts created by musicians Louise Campbell, Amy Horvey and Tim Brady gave us what we needed for a podcasting series: audio material!
Each of the podcasts was made in collaboration with C.A.R.E. clients and staff, with episodes being published and shared once final approval was given by Olivia and/or the appropriate client. Client involvement included recording audio to very detailed editing and authorship by C.A.R.E. Centre client Rachel and her caregiver Mischa in Episode 5: Tobii Stories, a Day in the Life of Rachel to an episode crafted as a gift from the musicians and caregivers to a client who was very isolated due to her living situation in Episode 6: Bliss, Communication and Giota’s Song
Of this project, Artist-in-residence Louise Campbell says, “I will remember and treasure this project for what I have learned about the power of human connection – that is, our ability and drive to connect with the people we care about.” C.A.R.E. Centre Executive Director Olivia Quesnel says, “Individuals with disabilities have so much to communicate and are very moved by sounds and music. The opportunity for our non-verbal clients to work with artists and musicians to create podcasts and to tell their stories is exciting. This project enabled those who often are not heard to express their thoughts and share their experiences.”
As Bruno would say at the end of a C.A.R.E. Radio episode: Stay tuned next time for more Stories of Care. Peace!
And the chatter begins from the clients and family: That was so fun! I loved your jokes! Are you coming to the Zoom dance party tomorrow? Hey, can we do a Zoom call later? Bye, everybody! See you next time!
Facilitation, conception & montage by Artist in Residence Louise Campbell.Read More +