The week before the project launch we set up introductory sessions with the practitioners and students at separate times. The purpose of doing this was to make sure everyone knew the background to the project (where the ideas for the project had come from, the Reshaping Care Agenda and how it is being approached in Glasgow South) and the process we would be working through over the next 7 weeks. We also wanted to create a space in which people could ask questions, share ideas and get to know the other people on the project as well as discuss what it might be like working with students and/or practitioners.
We used some video clips to explain the project approach: one that responds to the question – who should drive innovation? Another that shares views on working together, with service users and across multidisciplinary teams, and the last addressing the idea of including designers in the change and development of social services.
There was a lot of energy in the session with some of the comments being:
- good to have the students bring a fresh pair of eyes
- interested to find out more about the students methods
- good to be making connections between the different sectors and bringing people together
- thinking about ways to engage the students at each workplace – excited to hear what they think!
- lots of discussion about how to engage with older people who may be more isolated than others and ways that the students might want to begin to think about this
- worried that we will be bombarding them with lots of information!
The students were a little quieter – but we expect that to change when the project process picks up. We played a quiz game so that we could understand how much they knew about social services, the demographics of older people and the new policies around older people. This was quite challenging as we have quite a few international students involved in the project who are just getting to know Glasgow – never mind all of our Scottish policies!
What was useful though, was to set the scene for the next 7 weeks. The students left with a feeling of wanting to rise to the challenge and willingness to get started – and it was important for us that they new the context of the project before meeting up with the practitioners. For much of the project we will be expecting the students to take the lead, so we wanted to make them as comfortable as possible from the outset – letting them know that the practitioners and IRISS will support them the whole way through the process.
Ian Grout from the Glasgow School of Art referred to this introductory part of the project process as being like an arranged marriage (!). To continue the metaphor, we hope its a good match and that the honeymoon period lasts a long time……!