Cultures of Care is an interdisciplinary exploratory research project that seeks to make a positive contribution to the current crisis of care. Building on scholarship and practice from many quarters, it is motivated by the possibility of transforming our understandings and practices of ‘care’ beyond either the professionalised health and social care sector or informal/domestic sphere of child and family care. In so doing, the intention is not to relativise or appropriate the care work that is so under-valued in society, but rather to use the centrality of care to all forms of productive and ‘good’ work to help re-value care for everyone. The project builds on two conceptual starting points:
Cultures – are conceived of as our ‘systems of value recognition’ (Wilson, 2020; Wilson et al., 2020)
Care – those practices that maintain, continue and/or repair the world in order to live as well as possible (Tronto, 2013); ‘the ability to see/hear others’ needs and to take responsibility to fulfil these needs’ (Held, 2006).
Cultures of Care is comprised of three strands of activity:
- Exploratory research – a literature review exploring the potential of ‘cultures of care’ as an umbrella concept for springboarding further enquiry.
- The development of this website to provide a virtual home for this research and network building – culturesofcare.com
- Establishing a network of interdisciplinary scholars, researchers, and practitioners, ascertaining the interest for developing an ongoing research area around Cultures of Care (in the first instance at King’s College London, where the project is based).
The first phase of research will be collated and disseminated in the summer of 2021. As a key component of this research is to undertake a methodology consistent with an ethics of care, the precise approach will be emergent and unfold with the involvement and support of the team involved.
The research builds on a range of research projects and interventions by the project team.
Wilson (2018) Creativity at work: Who cares? Towards an ethics of creativity as a structured practice of care. In L. Martin and N. Wilson (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Creativity at Work.
Wilson makes the case in this chapter that creativity is a practice of care. This is a theme that is being taken forward in Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Creative Economies (DISCE), an EU Horizon 2020 funded research project.
The project also builds on Caring for cultural freedom https://www.anewdirection.org.uk/research/cultural-ecology – a report for A New Direction (2017). The phrase ‘cultures of care’ focuses overt attention on the systems of value recognition that we rely on in society (or not) that promote, enable, and support caring practices – in all their forms.