Episode 1

Published on:

22nd Nov 2023

Relational care - with Mary Larkin and Manik Deepak-Gopinath

What is 'relational care' and how can it improve the day-to-day experience of carers and those they care for? What are its implications for relationships between staff and service users in care settings? And how does the concept of relational care enable us to re-imagine the role of place and space in the experience of care? These are some of the questions we explore in this episode with Mary Larkin and Manik Deepak-Gopinath who recently completed a research project on the value and practice of relational care with older people.

Mary is Professor of Care, Carers and Caring at The Open University in the UK, where her research has focused on carers and caring and adult social care. She is the co-author, most recently of Family Carers and Caring, published in 2023 by Emerald. Manik is a Lecturer in Ageing, also at The Open University, and is a critical gerontologist with interests in the intersection of ageing, place and wellbeing, and in the intimate and family ties of older adults.

We cover the following topics in this episode:

Mary's background and research interests (02:35)

Manik's background and research interests (06:00)

Defining relational care (08:40)

The research project (12:45)

The relational care toolkit (19:20)

The role of place and space in relational care (21:40)

Relationships in relational care (27:15)

Spreading the word about relational care (32:40)

Relevance of relational care to other care contexts (36:35)

What's next for Mary? (38:35)

What's next for Manik? (39:30)

Mary's and Manik's key ideas and influences (41:12)


Mary's Open University profile

Manik's Open University profile

Link to the research report

The Open University’s Open Learn platform

CAREN (Carer Research and Knowledge Exchange Network)

Book on relational care by Jenny Kartupelis, consultant on the research project

Care and Capitalism, book by Kathleen Lynch recommended by Manik

Wikipedia page for Doreen Massey, a key influence for Manik

Show artwork for Careful Thinking

About the Podcast

Careful Thinking
Exploring ideas about care
At some point in our lives, we will all have the experience of caring for another person, or of being cared for ourselves. But what exactly is 'care', and what do we mean by 'good' care? How do aspects of our identity influence our experience of caring or being cared for? And how can ideas, theories and the findings from academic research, help us to think more care-fully - and to care more thoughtfully?

Careful Thinking explores these and similar questions, inspired by a belief that thinking critically about care can both deepen our understanding and improve the day-to-day practice of care. In each episode of the podcast, you'll hear an in-depth conversation with a researcher, writer or practitioner at the cutting edge of current thinking about care.

If you would like to give us your feedback, or suggest a guest or a topic for a future episode, you can get in touch at carefulthinkingpodcast@gmail.com. And you can leave comments on episodes and join in the discussion at https://carefulthinking.substack.com.

About your host

Profile picture for Martin Robb

Martin Robb

Martin Robb is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at The Open University, where he has contributed to a wide range of courses for people working in the caring professions. His research has focused on issues of gender and care and he also has an interest in care ethics and theories of care.