Care in Contemporary Scotland, a Creative Enquiry | Non Optimum: When It's Safe To Do So

Thu 1 - Thu 22 July | Watch Online


What happens when care is cut?

During the COVID-19 pandemic vital care services that learning disabled individuals across the country depend on were suddenly stopped. Non Optimum: When It's Safe To Do So is a film documenting those months in lockdown and revealing the lives of Allan, Jackie, Ian and Peter, who started attending a weekly virtual club to connect, dance and socialise together again.

Using content filmed by the protagonists and narrated by leading Scots actor Gavin Mitchell, Non Optimum confronts uncomfortable issues around visibility, ability, ableism and otherness. This experimental documentary film centres on endless Zooming, raving, domestic dreaming and the reimagined, forbidden outdoors.

Engaging, disturbing and funny, it’s an unpredictable and uncontrolled journey through lockdown that is not our own.

Created by 21Common, led by artists Lucy Gaizely and Gary Gardiner and producer Louise Irwin, and Scotland’s leading learning-disabled artist Ian Johnston.

The project is supported by the Scottish Power Foundation, The Rayne Foundation, the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the John Mather Trust and Scottish Children's Lottery Chance to Connect.

About The Project

Following a call-out process in 2020, National Theatre of Scotland commissioned two artists, to undertake a six-month project to investigate the impact that the arts can make within a care context across Scotland, the outcomes of which form Care in Contemporary Scotland, A Creative Enquiry.

As part of the project Nicola McCartney engaged with care experienced adults and young people, community collaborators and sector professionals resulting in a filmed reading of a work in progress script, Holding/Holding On, which explores and gives voice to authentic narratives around Scotland’s care system. Lucy Gaizely/ 21Common worked with learning-disabled adults to create a new experimental documentary, Non Optimum: When It's Safe To Do So addressing personal experiences of care and access to services during the pandemic.

Creative Team




    Audio Described, Captioned and BSL Interpreted versions of Non Optimum are available.