Conversations on Care and/in the Community

12.30 – 6.30

Keynes Library,

43 Gordon Square, Birkbeck, University of London

6th June 2019

Experiences and practices of care have changed dramatically in the past three decades. Since the passing of the NHS and Community Care Act (1990), healthcare, social care and short-term psychiatric care have been increasingly decentralised and delivered ‘in the community’. This shift has been both practical and discursive: altering the pathways by which care is accessed and the sites in which it is received; and changing perceptions surrounding the role of those receiving care in wider society. In the case of mental healthcare for example, it has led us to move from the ‘mental patient’ to the ‘service user’ as labels that define the relationship between persons receiving care and those providing it.

Thirty years on, community care continues to be a fraught subject.  On the one hand, it has been seen as having a democratizing influence, opening up the possibility for greater patient choice, and of integrating patients’ and service-users’ voices into care provision. On the other, it continues to be viewed as a chaotic cost-cutting exercise which leaves vulnerable people to fall through the cracks.

‘Conversations on Care and/in the Community’ invites researchers to engage in a series of conversations surrounding these new social and spatial conditions of care in the twenty-first century. It asks:

  • How do new spatial and temporal conditions of care shape the experience of being a ‘service user’?
  • What are the consequences of the decentralisation of personal and medical information for those entering into medical or social care networks?
  • What kinds of social experiences are created, enabled or denied by care ‘in the community’? How does the spatial dispersal of care impact the building and sustaining of community?
  • How have artists and theatre-makers engaged with the new spatialities of care in art works? And what can these interventions tell us about the relationship between care, service provision and subjecthood?

The symposium will be made up of an afternoon of curated panel conversations, in which panellists will provide a short introduction or provocation followed by an extended discussion on one of these areas.

This event is kindly supported by the Wellcome Trust, and is affiliated with the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre

Contact Leah Sidi on if you have any questions, or for accessibility requirements.

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