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A new work by Kate Adams, Artist Director/ CEO, explores Cosmology of Care on a larger scale. The work welcomes visitors in the Project Art Works exhibition Residential at Baltic, Gateshead, open till 25 February 2024.

As a tool for navigating individuals circles of support Kate has used the design for drawing the complex systems many of our community has to navigate on a daily basis. Often produced in a workshop setting Kate has used this technique in the studio, during the Turner Prize exhibition in 2021 and documenta fifteen in 2022.

Cosmology of Care

The Cosmology of Care drawing (2023), on the outer gallery wall, attempts to represent the possibilities and barriers in England’s health and social care system. It is complex and often adversarial; navigating it requires knowledge, advocacy and persistence.

In the centre is the individual, alongside their family or caregiver. Around them, in the second circle, are different types of ‘home’.

In the third circle are various structures and systems for achieving the right kind of care and support to meet individual preferences and need. For example, up to the age of 25, children and young adults may be entitled to an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) that aims to be holistic and identify needs and how these might be met. In adult life, care and support can be discretionary, variable and hard to achieve and then sustain – hence reviews and tribunals.

The fourth circle represents the different welfare benefits and allowances for which people can apply for financial support. Also, two specific bodies for the management and administration of health and social care provisions – Adult Social Care and NHS Continuing Healthcare.

In the final encompassing circle are government departments such as the Department of Health and Social Care (DoH) that ‘support ministers in leading the nation’s health and social care to help people live more independent, healthier lives for longer’, or the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) that ‘helps people in England and Wales to stay in control of decisions about their health and finance and make important decisions for others who cannot decide for themselves’.

In the outer open zone of this ‘cosmology’ is life and all the freedoms we take for granted such as acting on free will, choosing who we live with and how we spend our time. If you rely on the support of others in all aspects of your daily life, the outer ‘free’ zone may only be available to you if you are successfully able to navigate the inner circles – the systems.

Knowing your legal entitlements is one thing. Realising them is another.

Kate Adams, 2023

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