Manifesto of Care

12 August, 2020

During Frequency Festival 2019, author, storyteller, kindness campaigner and theatre maker, Bernadette Russell, walked the streets of Lincoln and chatted with people about how they would like care to be now and in the future. Here is the result, in which Bernadette has tried to honour everyone’s thoughts, questions and ideas. It’s a co-created, carefully constructed architecture of hope, declaring our plans and actions for building a better, more caring tomorrow.

“On a rainy weekend in October 2019, during Frequency Festival, I walked the streets of Lincoln, to chat to people about care. I sat with strangers on orange plastic chairs in charity shops and on velvet cushioned wooden chairs in hotel dining rooms, I sat in cosy vegan cafes and on a damp bench on the High Street, I spoke to the recently widowed, to octogenarians in rude health, and to thoughtful teenagers. I spoke with all of these people about care,  and asked what they wanted care to look, sound, feel, taste, smell like in the future and now. This manifesto  contains the gathered thoughts and sayings of those I met that weekend. It is in part a list of wants. It’s the words and music of a song for us to sing together, composed of thoughts, complaints, dreams, hopes, frustration, anger, memories.  It’s a collage of  borrowed words and pictures from  half remembered daydreams, an article in an out of date magazine found in a doctor’s waiting room, and a dusty photograph album nobody’s had out for years.”

Bernadette Russell

Manifesto of care


Download the Manifesto of Care as a PDF.

Read Bernadette’s blog here.

All of the posters bearing the words of the manifesto, designed and created by Dan Thompson, are available to download via Flickr.

A podcast of the manifesto is available to listen to here.


The manifesto was made for everyone, so please feel free to download and/or share using #ManifestoOfCare on social media and follow:

Twitter: @betterussell @TS_Studio @artistsmakers

Instagram: @bernadetterussell @thresholdtv @danthompson33

#howtobehopeful #hope #bekind #kindnessmatters

Manifesto of Care
Poster text: Accept that care is a human right
Poster text: Ensure the cared for and carers are seen as equals
Manifesto of care
Poster text: Allow the dying to speak about death if they wish to
Poster text: Campaign for care systems that are more flexible, less bureaucratic and based on compassionate practice
Poster text: Always allow space for joy, fun, laughter and spontaneity
Poster text: Demand better pay, working conditions and support for our carers
Poster text: Share the work of care amongst all of us

About The Project

Developed as part of the OPCARE Artist Commissioning Partnership, commissioning Care(less) by artist, Lindsay Seers in 2019, this artwork and accompanying programme responded to new research looking at the experiences of older people receiving care which they pay for themselves. The Manifesto of Care was produced as part of this programme of activities that seek to explore the value and meaning of care in human relationships. 

The OPCARE Commissioning Partnership comprises research teams from the University of Brighton (Lead Researcher), University of Lincoln and University of Birmingham and arts organisations FabricaIkon gallery and Frequency Festival and funded by Wellcome Trust (Research Enrichment).

Manifesto of Care, Bernadette Russell and Friends

Kindness activist Bernadette Russell was commissioned to create the Manifesto of Care as part of Frequency Festival 2019. The Manifesto of Care has been made into a blog, podcast, and social artist Dan Thompson designed and created posters bearing the words of the manifesto.

Care(less), Lindsay Seers

Care(less) uses Virtual Reality technology to allow the audience to feel what it might be like to be in the body of an older person, facing a gradual reduction in capacity. It shines a light on attitudes to ageing and the nature of relationships centred on care. Care(less) has been created in response to ground-breaking research being undertaken by University of Brighton, University of Birmingham and University of Lincoln, that looks at the experiences of older people receiving care which they pay for themselves. Early findings indicate that care provision feels precarious for many. People feel a sense of helplessness and find it difficult to deal with the unpredictability of their care situation. It also shows how the social construction of ageing shapes the manner in which care is given.

Find out more about Care(less) here.


The Activism of Caring

As part of Frequency Festival 2019’s Café Conversations series, Bryn Williams and Frequency Co-Director Barry Hale unpicked the possibilities of ‘Activism’ within a spectrum of caring actions with kindness advocate and performance author Bernadette Russell, award-winning Social Artist Dan Thompson, internationally exhibited visual memorialist Lindsay Seers, photo-documentarian Matt Snellin, Care Researchers and members of the general public. 

The Activism of Caring Part 1 (29:37)

The Activism of Caring Part 2 (30:50)

About the Artists

Bernadette Russell

Bernadette is an author, storyteller, kindness campaigner and theatre maker who has worked with National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Birmingham Rep, National Trust, BFI, Turner Contemporary and LIFT Festival amongst many others. She has been Freelance Community Theatre Director at the Royal Albert Hall since 2018 and is Artistic Associate of Teatro Vivo. Bernadette’s latest non-fiction book “How To be Hopeful” is out Sept 10th 2020, published by Eliot and Thompson.

Dan Thompson

Dan is an award-winning social artist, writer, and speaker living in Margate. His work is about people and places, and the stories that connect them. He is interested in the creation of social capital, in activating abandoned or underused spaces, and in DIY approaches to art, culture and social action. Your England, shown at Frequency 2019, was backed by Arts Council England, and supported by partners including the Towner Gallery, Dreamland,Turner Contemporary, Theatre Absolute and Threshold Studios. Your England is a book, a show, and was also an exhibition as part of the Turner Prize 2019 offsite programme.

Lindsay Seers

Lindsay Seers works in London and lives on the Isle of Sheppey. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (BA Hons, Sculpture and Media 1991-94) and at Goldsmiths College, University of London (MA Fine Art 1999-2001), where she now works as a lecturer on MA Fine Art (0.2).

Her works are in a number of collections including Tate collection, Arts Council collection, Artangel collection and the collection of MONA, Tasmania. She has won several prestigious grants and awards such as the Sharjah Art Foundation Production Award, UAE; Le Jeu de Paume production award for the Toulouse Festival, France; the Paul Hamlyn Award; the Derek Jarman Award; AHRC Award; a number of Arts Council and British Council Awards in support of her works and she also received the Wingate Scholarship from The British School at Rome 2007/8.

She has shown her large scale works internationally at a number of museums and art centres including SMK (National Gallery of Denmark); Venice Biennale 2015; Hayward Gallery, UK; MONA, Tasmania; Bonniers Konsthall, Sweden; Smart Project Space, Amsterdam; Kiasma, Finland; Turner Contemporary, UK; Tate Triennial, UK, TPW, Canada, Sami Centre for Art; Norway; Centre for Contemporary Art ‘Poland and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. She has forthcoming solo shows in UK, Norway, Australia and Sharjah.

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