Friday, 17 September 2010

research & development for Neonatal project, Phase 2 with Director, Rachel Clive

In September 2010 we asked writer and performance director Rachel Clive to work with us for a day to develop some techniques for working with the cut-up texts made with material from parents, midwives, doctors and consultants during Phase 1 of our residency in the neonatal unit. The intention was to test on ourselves some of the approaches we may develop for use with parents and medical staff during a second phase of the project. In particular during a workshop encouraging parents and staff to reflect on their own experience and perspective of the unit.

To provide context, we projected some of the images taken while in the unit, played some audio recordings of ambient sounds from the wards, and one interview with a set of parents. Rachel gave us some performance and vocal warm up exercises, and we created collaborative "body sculptures".

Rachel also interviewed us using the questionnaire we had devised for use with parents and clinical staff during the residency as the basis for her questions. She also directed us through some vocal exercises using the cut-ups from parents and medical staff, and we made several spatial arrangements of objects to create a space parallel to the environment of the neonatal unit. She then asked us to place ourselves in relation to this. We learned a lot throughout these exercises, and found it really useful to put ourselves in the shoes of the parents in this way.

our interpretation of an incubator & the space around this using found objects

We need to make this a safe, enjoyable and purposeful workshop for parents when the time comes. Our work with Rachel confirmed that when working with parents, the exercises and outcomes must be clearly relevant to them, especially during the discussion and deconstruction of the experience. 

We came up with a check list:
  • Have a clear idea of outcomes
  • a workshop for peers, ie parents with parents
  • a New-parent specific peer workshop
  • Prepare participants with clear information about our aims and provide a clear outline of the workshop activities.
  • Ask parents about what they would like to get out of the workshop in relation to our plans.
  • Speak to consultants at the neonatal unit about what could be gained from the workshop for parents and for themselves.