COVID-19 CARE: Culture and the Arts, from Restriction to Enhancement: Protecting Mental Health in the Liverpool City Region

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: English

Abstract

This study will assess the impact on mental health of restricted access to arts and culture in a specific city region, and track, enable and enhance the value of innovation in arts provision in mitigating associated harms.

Liverpool has one of the richest concentrations of culture in the UK, boasting the largest clustering of museums and galleries outside London. Cultural capital is critical to the city region's economy, contributing c10% (Culture Liverpool,2019). The city also has a pioneering history of harnessing arts for mental health care through partnerships between culture and health providers. Building on the University of Liverpool's strong alliance with organisations across these sectors, this project brings together an interdisciplinary team of arts and mental health researchers to devise and conduct, in consultation with cultural and health bodies, two surveys. Survey 1 (online interviews) will target 20 arts organisations (10 civic institutions, 10 community arts programmes, representing 'elite' and 'popular' arts) to capture (i)the impact of COVID-19 on public access to arts provision (including those who usually access the arts through formal healthcare routes) and on audience/beneficiary change over time (legacy losses and potential gains) (ii)the success of alternative (e.g. online/digital) modes of provision by arts organisations in reaching and communicating with established and/or new audiences. Survey 2 (online questionnaire and supplementary online/telephone interviews) will target c300 arts' audiences/beneficiaries to capture (i)the impact on mental health of restricted/non-existent access to usual provision (ii)the perceived value and accessibility of alternative arts provision and the latter's impact on mental health/wellbeing.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Initial findings from Survey 1, Wave 1 (October-December 2020) based on interviews with representatives from the full range of arts and cultural providers (museums, theatres, galleries, concert halls, community and participatory arts organisations).

In the Liverpool City Region, arts/cultural organisations have responded creatively and highly collaboratively to the pandemic. They have produced new digital programmes or adapted existing activities for their usual as well as new audiences, reaching people who have been unable to attend activities in person (for reasons of health, mobility, location or caring responsibilities), and reaching people more frequently than face-to-face provision allows. Beneficiaries have referred to this alternative provision as 'a lifeline'.
While digital offerings have flourished, arts organisations have also deployed offline creativity and activity packs. New and existing partnerships with health and social care services have been especially important in ensuring that non-digital provision is reaching vulnerable, isolated and disadvantaged populations, with public services providing the online platform and facilitating referral to online activities. New collaborations, as well as the rapid pivot to online working, have galvanised imaginative solutions and skilled up the workforce and beneficiaries.
Arts organisations have also encountered challenges. Certain populations have remained relatively out of reach (the elderly, people with disabilities, asylum seekers, street-based sex workers) due to lack of access to internet facilities or unfamiliarity with devices. The impact of digital exclusion is two-way: potential beneficiaries do not know what is available; arts organisations cannot be sure how many usual beneficiaries are accessing online services. Cultural organisations are acutely aware of an urgent need to ensure safeguarding in digital spaces and to review 'what is working' for the populations they serve. Some have already begun evaluation of their online service.

Initial findings from Survey 2, Wave 1 (December 2020-January 2021) based on an online public survey and telephone interviews with respondents.

Most participants reported engaging in arts/cultural activity (theatre-going, museum/exhibition visits, musical performances) 'often' before lockdown. The most reported reasons for engaging were 'to learn' and because 'it makes me feel good'. Participants described how engagement with arts/cultural activity can take you out of the negative and make you feel more alive, as well as promoting a sense of belonging and community.
The majority of participants reported 'never' engaging with arts and culture during lockdown and engaging 'rarely' since the initial relaxation of restrictions. Some participants described negative impacts of the lockdown such as increased anxiety and feelings of isolation. Many reported some difficulty with getting on with work, with things at home and with other people as reasons for not engaging. Some of those who did engage during lockdown, were motivated more by a desire to keep occupied and stimulate the mind than to stay connected.
Aspects of engagement with arts and culture, particularly the social component, do appear difficult to recreate online. Participants expressed missing informal interaction and found that thorough immersion in an arts activity was hindered by distractions and frustrating barriers, both physical and technical, including: demand on energy levels; visual strain from screen time; camera and connection issues; the expense of accessing content and technology. Despite these difficulties, participants acknowledged the positives derived from online engagement, for example, acquiring new technological skills and confidence.
For many the new ways of living have reinforced appreciation of the arts, artists, providers and innovate practice.
Exploitation Route There is strong potential for synergy between these initial findings and the work of researchers concerned with the impact of OVID-19 on public mental health and the creative economy.
Sectors Creative Economy,Healthcare,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/english/research/featured-research/covid-19-care/
 
Description University of Liverpool School of the Arts Partnerships Fund
Amount £6,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Liverpool 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2020 
End 04/2021
 
Description Bluecoat 
Organisation The Bluecoat
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Brazuka 
Organisation BrazUKa
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Choir with No Name 
Organisation Choir With No Name
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description DaDaFest 
Organisation DaDafest
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description FACT 
Organisation Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitive).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Institute of Cultural Capital 
Organisation Liverpool John Moores University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research expertise in arts and health (qualitative and quantitative) from Arts (English and Communications) and Psychology perspectives
Collaborator Contribution Research expertise in arts and health (qualitative and quantitative), from Public Policy perspective.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural sector and health sectors, and (with this partner) in Public Policy. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of knowledge of the impact of Covid-19 on arts/cultural partners and on the perceived mental health of their beneficiaries (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via a database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse 
Organisation The Everyman and Playhouse Theatres
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Liverpool NHS Clinical Commissioning Group 
Organisation NHS Liverpool CCG
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative)
Collaborator Contribution Expert knowledge, adult mental health; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Mersey Care NHS Trust 
Organisation Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Expert knowledge re adult mental health and use of the arts in mental health; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description National Museums Liverpool 
Organisation National Museums Liverpool
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Open Eye Gallery 
Organisation Open Eye Gallery
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Royal Liverpool Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trusts 
Organisation Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Expert knowledge re adult mental health and use of the arts in mental health. Stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra 
Organisation Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Tate Liverpool 
Organisation Tate
Department Tate Liverpool
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description The Reader 
Organisation The Reader
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research expertise (qualitative and quantitative).
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of data; access to study participants; stakeholder consultation.
Impact The collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Academic disciplines Arts (English and Communications) and Mental Health (Psychology) are working in with external partners from the regional arts/cultural and health sectors. The immediate outcome from this collaboration has been 1) the research team's sharing of initial findings with the partner (see public engagement) and 2) the partner's sharing of experiences of arts/cultural provision as a result of Covid-19, and/or the perceived impact on mental health of reduced/changed provision during lockdown, with other arts/cultural and health partners (see public engagement), which sharing is to be formalised via an interactive database.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Response to Government Office for Science call for evidence 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We were encouraged by the AHRC to contribute, via The British Academy, to a Government Office for Science report on the long-term societal effects and impacts of COVID-19, considering the challenges and opportunities in different policy areas which COVID-19 has unearthed, and the timescales needed for addressing them.

We responded with a five-page document, based on very early findings from the project, relating to the priority areas of mental health/wellbeing and communities, culture and belonging, and addressing the cross-cutting themes of social cohesion and inequalities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Stakeholder meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Fifteen people (partners, advisory board members, researchers and co-ordinator) gathered to hear a presentation on the initial findings from Wave 1 of our two surveys (one involving interviews with arts organisations, the other reaching the latter's beneficiaries using an online survey and qualitative interviews). There was much appreciation both of the two presentation and the forum the event provided for sharing experiences, as well as appetite for continued opportunities of this kind. We also gathered partners' views on the emphasis of Wave 2 of the surveys, in view of the near-continuous lockdown situation, and there was general assent to the idea of broadening the range of interviewees to include arts practitioners in participant recruitment, in order to gather practitioners' perceptions of the impact of Covid-19 on beneficiary mental health as well as on their own.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact We have dedicated webpages for the project, with contact email address, twitter account and, to date, four blog posts on the rationale for the project, initial findings from Surveys 1 and 2, and on the first public engagement event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/english/research/featured-research/covid-19-care/