Realities of care work highlighted in innovative exhibition

The Conversations with Carers exhibition aims to highlight the role of the ‘invisible workforce’ across the country.

Created by Rashmi Becker, the founder of inclusive dance company Step Change Studios, the exhibition exposes the ‘scary’ and ‘traumatising’ role carers undergo in a series of podcasts, articles, and innovative dance films, which examine the realities of paid and unpaid care.

Rashmi, who has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an MBE, wanted to explore the reality of the 7 million carers in the UK, some of whom work on the frontline in social care, whilst others are unpaid carers for family members.

Rashmi is a carer herself and commented on the project: ‘I know first-hand the exhausting pressures carers face on a daily basis. While carers advocate for people they support, their own health and wellbeing is often neglected. During the pandemic, the isolation, stress, and poor treatment that carers experience was magnified. This motivated me to create Conversations with Carers and provide a platform that highlights the realities of care work.’man kissing woman on check beside body of water

Throughout the podcasts, articles and art, carers speak out about feeling invisible, having to suppress their own emotions to prioritise the needs of people they support, as well as the toll on finances and mental and physical health.

One frontline carer speaks out about choosing to leave her work completely due to the stress she experienced as a carer at the height of the pandemic. The dance films explore the themes that the carers discuss, and are performed by disabled and non-disabled dancers, some being carers themselves.

According to Carers UK, 3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives, whilst half of the working-age carers are living in a household with nobody doing paid work. 8 out of 10 carers have felt lonely or socially isolated because of their caring role, showing how important it is to give adequate support and a voice to these workers.

Rashmi went on to say: ‘I firmly believe in the power of the arts to engage and connect people and wanted this work to provoke our perceptions of care work in thoughtful and creative ways.

‘Dance provides an alternative form of expressing emotion and experience. I hope that Conversations with Carers, in all its forms, will help society to acknowledge the realities of paid and unpaid care work, and that it will help make the case for urgent change in the way we treat, support and recognise carers.’


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