CNMN > Projects > Stories of Care: Making Connections With and Between People with Severe Physical Disabilities

Louise Campbell

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  • Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
  • Found objects or art supplies
  • Voice
  • Digital devices
  • Adults
  • Seniors
  • Intergenerational

3 month residency

  • Education
  • Community associations
  • Health
  • Diversity
  • Family
  • 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 Sto­ries of Care 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!

Lis­ten here to the pod­cast series: Sto­ries of Care

Sto­ries of Care is pro­duced by the C.A.R.E. Cen­tre, Inno­va­tions en con­cert, Brady­works, with fund­ing from Que­bec’s Schools Host and Artist of Cul­ture in Schools.

Facil­i­ta­tion, con­cep­tion & mon­tage by Artist in Res­i­dence Louise Camp­bell.

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