Pioneering initiative to embed art and cultural practice into social care services goes digital - FAD Magazine

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Pioneering initiative to embed art and cultural practice into social care services goes digital

Launched on 18th November 2021, New Town Culture is an innovative programme that brings art and culture into the heart of social care services has gone digital. New Town Culture is a pioneering initiative that explores how artistic and cultural experiences can reframe the work of social care to support adults and children in need of social care services.

Whats Your Plan Courtesy New Town Culture

With partners including Serpentine Galleries, Tate, South London Gallery and Goldsmiths University London, as well as many local creative organisations, since its inception in 2018, over 600 young people have benefitted from New Town Culture being embedded within safeguarding services. This includes children and young people in foster care, unaccompanied asylum seekers, care leavers or those at risk of sexual exploitation. 

The initiative is a cultural exchange of ideas and expertise between the arts and social care sectors, and through its digital reach at newtownculture.org, the programme will now share its research, podcasts and resources with the aim of seeing its practices reflected in social care policy.

Courtesy New Town Culture

“Young people using social work services can get trapped by narratives fixed within bureaucratic records which reduce their identities. Creative work in social care can support systems and processes to be more engaging and accessible, to uncover knowledge about individual needs, to build new trusted relationships, to build confidence, to support change, to shift fixed narratives and to provide a space for exploring cultural identity. 

New Town Culture humanises the experiences of all involved in front line social services – it gives a voice to vulnerable young people, it listens to artists to facilitate new ways of communicating, and it provides the necessary tools for social care professionals to inspire and engage vulnerable young people at the point of need.” 

Gayle Chong Kwan, artist
New Town Culture courtesy Jimmy-Lee

In addition, to mark the 1970 Equal Pay Act and the momentum for change created by the Dagenham Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968, New Town Culture and Serpentine Galleries are partnering to develop a series of collaborative artists residencies and commissions that examine the future and histories of work. The commissioned artists for Radio Ballads are Helen Cammock (Turner Prize winner 2019), Rory Pilgrim (Prix de Rome 2020), Ilona Sagar (Research in Film Award, BAFTA HQ 2018) and Sonia Boyce (representing UK at Venice in 2022).

Visit newtownculture.org for more information.
New Town Culture is made possible through funding from the Mayor of London and Barking and Dagenham Council.



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