15. October 2020

Watching life through the eyes of a young person in care

A Curious Monkey film project using VR technology has proved to give a moving account of what it is like to be a young person in the care system. Three new films are now being made to train staff working with young people.

Even with the best of intentions, it is not always easy to imagine what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. To be misunderstood, undermined or lonely. The theatre company Curious Monkey’s 360 film brings that reality a little closer for the viewer.

The theatre company’s Troupe project, for young people in care homes and care leavers, are involved in the production of the films, helping to make the deeply personal content feel accessible and real.

In 2018, with the support of Kavli Trust, Curious Monkey used VR technology to make the impactful 360 film. Wearing a VR headset the viewer is transported into the shoes of a young person in care, being taken on a journey through the different experiences young people face when living in the care system.

The films have been presented at conferences and events including Derby Theatre Culture Cares conference, Barnardo’s Scotland Positive Journeys Conference, and Our City Our Story at Live Theatre. The response to the films has been hugely positive.

“The most powerful thing I’ve done in two years in this job. Awe inspiring”, said Kirsten Hogg, Head of Policy at Barnardo’s, after watching the film.

An attendee at the Curious Monkey event Care about Care? during Care Leavers Week in October, said:
“This video should be compulsory viewing for all social workers and trainee social workers.”

New funding from Kavli Trust means this may become a reality. Curious Monkey is now working on three new 360 films, which will be shorter and more suitable for use in training settings for those working with young people, as well as other events. The films will be made available online.

“In order to create long lasting change through the films, we will work with young people and professionals in the care system to identify the most important issues to be explored in the films” says Amy Golding, artistic director at Curious Monkey.

She adds that they will also work closely with an evaluator from the consultation stage to develop a robust impact assessment for the project.

“Young people will be integral to the process of making the films from the start, sharing their voices and supporting their learning through shadowing and creative input”, Golding says.

Young people from Troupe will also be trained as facilitators and will deliver the training workshops to professionals alongside Curious Monkey staff.

Gillian Firth, Amy Golding, Orion and Jenny Dewar in Curious Monkey during Kavli Trust’s visit in January 2020. Photo: Hanne Eide Andersen/Kavli Trust