Creativity in Care: A Day of Inspiration and Imagination with ARC England

Creativity in Care: A Day of Inspiration and Imagination with ARC England 14th May 202414th May 2024, Bridge Conference Centre, Leeds

9.30am – 4pm

The ARC England Creativity in Care Unconference was an amazing day with our members and guests from the wider learning disability community.

We came together to hear from some incredible speakers and explore the marvellous creativity that is happening every day in learning disability and autism support services.

We are very grateful to our sponsor Marr Procurement whose generous contribution made such a difference to the event.

Clive and Christoph welcomed everyone



Clive Parry, ARC England Director, and our sponsor Christoph Marr from Marr Procurement welcomed everyone and explained why we decided on theme of creativity.

Another World is Possible, Clenton Farquarson

Clenton Farquharson spoke powerfully about Umbutu

Clenton spoke about how ‘another world is possible’ and introduced the concept of Umbutu – ‘I am because we are’ – a South African philosophy, what it might mean every day and its significance to care and support. He spoke inspiringly about how we move from social care framed as a series of services and how we can reframe it to focus on people’s relationships, dreams, hopes and wishes.

Dr Clenton Farquharson CBE is a disabled person with lived experience of health and social care. Amongst his many roles, he is the Chair of the Think Local Act Personal board and a Social Care Institute for Excellence trustee.




Putting the ‘Me’ in Social Media, Michelle Rebello, Social Media Officer, Dimensions

Autism advocate, illustrator and Dimensions’Social Media Officer Michelle brought her trademark energy and enthusiasm to show us how to create authentic content with people with lived experience and how to get your social media message across. Her social media channels as Stars Wars characters was a big hit!

Drawing monsters and conquering fears

Michelle then led everyone in a creative activity that invited drawing your own monster on the table cloth and using it to face your fears. This got everyone creating and was a great way to get everyone chatting.






Becky and Sophie from DanceSyndrome sharing their creative process
Peter from DanceSyndrome speaking about performing

DanceSyndrome Performance and Inclusion in Action workshop
Next up, DanceSyndrome looked at inclusion through the lens of co-production, They gave us an insight into their methodologies, shared why co-production is important to their organisation and shared a performance extract from their latest show ‘SENse’.

Sophie, Becky and Peter then lead us in a creative exercise to think about co-production further. Everyone created their own dance moves and movement in response to the words love, kindness, support and dreams and each table shared them with everyone.

MC Rod Landman and the Making Space team practise their choreography


Paul de Savary, Home From Home Care


Paul de Savary, Home From Home Care

Paul de Savary, CEO of ARC England member Home From Home Care, wasn’t able to join us in person but did appear in a short video to say hi and speak about what creativity means in their services.


DanceSyndrome After-Lunch Energiser

Post-lunch energising dance moves

DanceSyndrome energised us for our afternoon activities with a mass participation inclusive dance. It was a great way to start the afternoon.



Dr Liz Croot chats to participants

Storytelling Workshop, EQUALD, University of Sheffield

Dr Liz Croot and her team from EQUALD and the University of Sheffield led a storytelling workshop looking at ways to provide support using Individual Service Funds.

They explained how this work feeds into their research.


Workshops led by ARC England: Three sessions by member organisations (choice of 3):

The Henshaws team lead a performance workshop

– Drama and Performing Arts, Henshaws

Drama and performing arts workshop leader Douglas, plus art makers from Henshaws, led participants in a drama performance and then shared what creating performances means to them personally. They talked about how to make dramatic involvement affordable, available and accessible to everybody.


New Beginnings’ Sid Turner shows off his colourful artwork

– Visual Arts, Zoe Gilmour, Age Exchange, Community Integrated Care

Age Exchange facilitated a creative, visual arts-based session, inspired by the Paralympics. Bringing together participants from Community Integrated Care’s creativity clubs and Zoe Gilmour, an arts engagement specialist from Age Exchange, led participants to explore different arts techniques and think about what the spirit of the Paralympics means to them. The artworks produced in the session will be shared with athletes ahead of the games – inspiring them to go for gold!  

The Age Exchange team and Zoe Gilmour pose in front of the art work produced in the workshop

Age Exchange is an integral part of ARC England member Community Integrated Care and uses the power of arts, culture, and creative expression to enable people who draw on social care to live their best life possible. We value the unique identity of each person we collaborate with, supporting them to find their inner artist, celebrating individuality and encouraging connection. 

Attendees were invited to kick off their shoes and leave them in the Shoe Park


– Small Supports, David Barras, Positive Support For You

This session was about building support around what the person wants, not what’s available. Dave encourage participants to think differently and maybe even work differently.

Graphic minutes were creatively recorded by Michelle Rebello

NHSE is sponsoring a National Programme to promote Small Supports development across the Country and it’s seeing exciting opportunities for bespoke and highly individualised care and support being developed. Dave leads a Small Supports Provider organisation and is part of the National Team. He draws on these experiences and is keen to challenge others to be brave and creative!



Graphic minutes review

Throughout the day, Michelle Rebello recorded events and ideas in illustrated form using graphic minutes techniques. At the end of the day, MC and ARC England’s Lead Trainer Rod Landman took us through them to reflect on our amazing and inspiring creative day.



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