I’ll be here in the morning digital exhibition (ESRC Festival of Social Sciences)

17 September 2021

Submit your caring stories

We are looking for artistic submissions to create our own week-long digital exhibition (1-8 November 2021) titled I’ll be here in the morning.

A year ago, the Sustainable Care Programme in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield hosted a digital exhibition telling unheard stories of care. As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, the exhibition displayed creative submissions from carers and care workers, sharing their experiences of care during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, with daily life still dominated by the pandemic, we are asking anyone who cares for a loved one, a friend or a neighbour to submit their ideas for re-imagining care. You could be an unpaid carer, a professional care worker, or someone who receives care; we want to hear what changes, however small, would make a positive difference to you and your experience of care.

This is a timely call; the Government’s recently published plans to raise National Insurance contributions to fund increasing demands on the NHS and social care has brought the issue of social care to the forefront of the national agenda. But does it do enough to improve the lives of those who provide, and receive care?

Academic research in this area is crucial to help inform policy makers and social care professionals about the very real challenges the system faces as the world’s population ages. But it is just as important that we all see and hear from carers and the cared-for. Their experiences and voices too often get drowned out as others seek solutions to the challenges of their daily lives.

As researchers, we think we have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to keep those people and their experiences at the centre of public consciousness as the government develops its plans for the future of care.

This exhibition is designed to give a voice to the unheard and put faces to the unseen, those people who quietly give so much of their own lives to care for others.

Get involved

Even if you’ve never created art before, we want to inspire you to tell your stories of care, however you want to tell them. If you’re a care worker, an unpaid carer or receive care, we want to hear from you.

We would like your submissions to reflect on what changes would make life better as a carer or someone receiving care. Please also submit a short description of your piece, telling us a bit more about why this change would make such a difference.

We are looking for all kinds of entries including (but definitely not limited to):

  • photographs

  • drawings/paintings/illustrations

  • poems

  • short stories

  • short films (two minutes maximum)

  • recipes that you cook for a loved one to bring particular comfort

  • pieces of music or favourite songs, with a note of why they’re so important to you.

The exhibition will form part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, and the pieces will be on public display. Please keep this in mind if you decide to participate. Due to the sensitive nature of the subject, you must ensure you have the consent of anyone featured in your submission, and there will be options to anonymise your entry if you prefer.

We may seek to follow up with you about your submission, but any further participation will remain completely optional.

If you would like to submit, visit the exhibition website for full details of how to contribute.

Last year’s exhibition

A series of paintings entered into last year’s exhibition by Rachel Hankinson.

Artwork - Helping put on a sock after a hip replacement
Artwork - Reassurance - A kiss on the forehead
Artwork - A cup of tea and a biscuit on a tray