ABC of Care
On Wednesday 14 December 2022 the work-life balance team of the RYA launched the ABC of Care project. An impression of this great and very inspiring evening.
‘Caaaare’ is the first word of the poem that Friederike Landau-Donnely, assistant professor of Geography and co-organizer, reads at the launch of the ABC of Care project. The launch takes place on Wednesday evening December 14 in restaurant Veggie Galore. The students and employees of Radboud University and bystanders listen attentively to the poem. It is no surprise that the theme of care is central to this project, which was conceived by the work-life balance team of the RYA. The project includes the creation of a collection of postcards reflecting on care and self-care in academia and beyond. The launch opens op the conversation about the matter: ‘How does care move you,’ and, ‘how do you move care?’.
When asking Meike Zandjans, contributor to the project and a student at Radboud University, about her perspective on this initiative, she says: ‘Throughout the project and during this evening we found out that many people experience stress at their workplace. So I think it’s really cool that we organized a project around this topic.’ When asked what self-care means for herself, she answers: ‘For me, self-care has not really taken shape yet. Right now, it’s mostly spending time with friends and family, taking moments to relax a bit. I believe that’s a nice part of self-care, it’s not a fixed term, it is changeable throughout your life.’
The ABC of Care project is thus intended to create more awareness about care, especially taking care of yourself. ‘With that,’ says one of the attendees, ‘I think the project ABC of Care is a novel one. Most of the time when we talk about care, we only think about other people but it is about time that we also think about ourselves and therefore “selfcare”.’
But how exactly, do you selfcare? To answer that question for yourself and others, the project consists of a series of postcards. Each card presents a letter of the alphabet, which highlights an aspect of care. For instance, an advice, a question or a thought that you can take with you. Many people picked up the card with the letter “s” for “sleep” that asks the question: “Remember what a good night of sleep can do to you?” Asking these sort of questions out loud, creates a moment to reflect on how you take care of yourself and others in everyday life and within academia. Something that we should perhaps do more often.
It gives hope for change. At least, the message of the evening is clear, as reflected in the concluding words of Friederike’s poem: ‘caring near and far, be a caring superstar, just care.’
Text is written by Sophie Houppermans, photos are made by Sam Theunissen and video is produced by Jara Majerus. Graphic design of ABC of Care postcards and poster is done by Meike Zandjans. Sophie, Sam, Jara and Meike are working for Radboud Creative Collective.