A blog entry by Duncan U Fisher,
Research Associate, Sustainable Care Programme

Between the 24th and 26th of June, the Transforming Care network’s fifth international Transforming Care conference took place online.  The conference was hosted by Cà Foscari University of Venice, Italy, which is where the conference would have been had the coronavirus pandemic not compelled the organisers to go virtual.  Both CIRCLE and the Sustainable Care Programme (SCP) were well-represented in a vibrant, varied schedule showcasing cutting-edge international research on care across various policy areas.  The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Time in Care: The Temporality of Care Policy and Practices’, and in this blog I discuss the contribution I made to a symposium alongside colleagues from the SCP.

Duncan U Fisher

Duncan U Fisher

The format of the conference included symposia wherein scholars convene sessions on particular topics, and these sessions incorporate relevant papers and in-session presentations as well as input from discussants and other conference participants.  Alongside SCP Co-Investigator Diane Burns, I co-convened the symposium on ‘The negotiation and regulation of time in formal care arrangements’, and we were lucky enough to have the contributions of some excellent presenters and discussants.  With the SCP drawing to a close this year, the session offered a good opportunity to share findings from the Delivering Care at Home work package (which Diane leads) with national and international colleagues.

On the day, Diane and I opened the symposium with a presentation based on research from our cross-comparison case study of emerging models of homecare provision, undertaken with SCP colleagues Kate Hamblin and Cate Goodlad.  In the symposium, we discussed the ways care providers negotiated, managed and controlled time within their model of homecare.  We examined how, within these models, job quality was shaped by the allocation of work time, illuminating how the use of paid and unpaid time supported care delivery.

Delivering care at home

Emerging models and their implications for sustainability and wellbeing

Our work was followed by the presentation ‘Nursing home employees’ experiences of person-centred care: Responses to work intensification and working-time extension’ authored by Lander Vermeerbergen (Radboud University, the Netherlands/KU Leuven, Belgium), Juliane Imbush, Valeria Pulignano and Ella Petrini (KU Leuven), and Aoife McDermott (Cardiff University).  Juliane and Lander presented the work, which explored temporal dimensions of care work in nursing homes in Germany and Sweden.  They examined how models of person-centred care shaped time, and how workers responded to this, including how the models interacted with care norms operating in the nursing homes to extend and intensify working time.

The final presentation was delivered by SCP colleague Obert Tawodzera, with his paper ‘Live-in care: Migrant care workers’ negotiation of time across boundaries and borders’.  Based on empirical research done alongside colleagues, Obert presented findings on the ways in which migrant care workers negotiated time across four different life-work contexts.  Using an intersectional analysis, Obert drew out some of the temporal tensions migrant live-in care workers faced when trying to balance the demands of a specific form of care work with their wider life quality.

Following the presentations, we were fortunate to have the input of discussants, Norah Keating (University of Alberta, Canada), and Helena Hirvonen (University of Eastern Finland).  Both discussants offered generous and insightful feedback on all three papers, and each brought different perspectives and suggestions for development.  For our own paper, Norah encouraged us to think anew in terms of some of the concepts – for example ‘innovation’ – we used/placed emphasis on, whereas Helena suggested some political economy literature that could strengthen the theoretical elements of our work.  Diane has since received positive comments from other presenters and attendees about the session, and we agreed that it has given us much of use to take forward and apply to our work.

Beyond the symposium, I presented a paper based on my recently completed PhD research, and again found this to be a collegiate and engaged space.  For me, getting the perspectives of colleagues across different national and policy contexts, and with different levels of experience, makes the Transforming Care conference an important part of my research practice.  Looking forward to hopefully participating again in Sheffield in 2023!

Duncan U Fisher

Duncan U Fisher works on the Sustainable Care programme on the research team studying ‘Delivering care at home: Emerging models and their implications for sustainability and wellbeing’. Click here to learn more about this research.

Learn more about the Sustainable Care programme here

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