HEartS Professional: The Health, Economic and Social impact of COVID-19 on PROFESSIONALs in the ARTs

Lead Research Organisation: Royal College of Music
Department Name: Research

Abstract

The arts and culture sectors play a vital role in connecting and inspiring communities. In the COVID-19 crisis, these sectors are also among the most disrupted, with performances, exhibitions and exchanges of all kinds all but halted. The arts and cultural economies, and those who work within them, face unprecedented challenges and uncertainty.

HEartS Professional addresses this by investigating the health, wellbeing and financial impact of the crisis on professionals in the arts and culture sectors, providing knowledge, leadership, advocacy and new ways forward when and where they are needed most.

The project surveys arts and culture professionals to determine precisely where challenges lie and how they evolve as the crisis unfolds, responding to those challenges with targeted investigations. It celebrates innovative responses to the crisis and shares examples of good practice. Moreover, it explores how digital tools can be quickly designed, adapted and implemented to ensure that culture and arts professionals have available new methods to sustain their practices and serve their communities.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title The effects of COVID-19 lockdown 1.0 on performing arts professionals 
Description This film summarises research examining how arts professionals were affected by the first COVID-19 lockdown. The full report can be found at: Spiro N, Perkins R, Kaye S, Tymoszuk U, Mason-Bertrand A, Cossette I, Glasser S, and Williamon A (2020), The effects of COVID-19 Lockdown 1.0 on working patterns, income, and wellbeing among performing arts professionals in the United Kingdom (April-June 2020), Frontiers in Psychology, 11 (594086), pp. 1-17. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact This film forms part of the Healthy Conservatoires resources publicly available on its website (www.HealthyConservatoires.org/films) and Healthy Conservatoires YouTube channel. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Lr0dF5PZrY
 
Description Through large-scale surveys and focussed interviews, HEartS Professional has found interconnecting pressures on performing artists brought about and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include financial hardship, poor health, and isolation that continue to impact on professional artists' wellbeing and their creative practice.

Our results show that early career professionals, while most at risk of experiencing depression and financial hardship, have shown high levels of adaptability. Their experiences during the pandemic have disrupted their artistic practice. This includes developing a greater sense of social responsibility, prioritising the role of arts in health, and a commitment to the technology-driven future of the arts.

There have been clear shifts in both the public's and artists' increased uses of technology to engage with the arts during the pandemic, particularly online. We have found a lack of spending in relation to these new, online avenues of consuming the arts, with audiences preferring to use readily available devices and free-to-access platforms. We have also seen that audiences predict spending less on arts engagement in the future, exacerbated by the escalating cost-of-living crisis: this raises concerns for the going financial viability of the arts sector. Moreover, there is a need for professional upskilling in using technology to help artists connect with audiences and each other through virtual means. This will contribute to greater access to the arts and build a sustainable recovery into a hybrid, post-pandemic artistic future.

Overall, our findings highlight the opportunities to challenge long-standing issues such as inequality of access to the arts, not only through enhanced technological dissemination that can reach more people but also through changing priorities, values and expectations within the cultural industries, led by those who will be the future of the workforce.
Exploitation Route We are producing a series of 12 short films that will summarise and contextualise our findings by highlighting the experiences and innovations of arts professionals and practitioners. Each of these films will focus on a key thematic area emerging from the research, including financial stability, changing audiences, early career challenges, and performers' mental health. We are also developing new virtual reality tools and experiences to help performers prepare for the stage and engage with their audiences in new ways that can bridge physical distances. Our findings have led us to develop a series of recommendations (see Impact Summary) for government and industry-based organisations to help ensure the long-term sustainability of the culture and arts sector, affecting financial support, integration of arts, education, and health policy and practice, and embracing and enhancing new technologies across the sector.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.HealthyConservatoires.org/HEartSProfessional
 
Description Based on the project evidence and in consultation with industry partners, we have put forward a series of recommendations to enhance the long-term stability and sustainability of the UK arts landscape. They include: (1) REFORMED FUNDING MODELS, including: • a basic guaranteed income, • minimum pay protections for creators, • targeted tax relief. Providing this stability will enable greater creative freedom that reaches beyond establishment and elite arts, promote wellbeing among artists, as well as providing the conditions to support a more diverse workforce. (2) ARTS IN HEALTH, including: • expanding social prescribing to support wellbeing and create valued workforce opportunities in this area, • investing in creative education to broaden access to the benefits of arts in health across socioeconomic groups, • funding creative health research to enable implementation and scaling up as well as scrutiny of mechanisms of change. (3) VIRTUAL AND HYBRID PERFORMANCE, including: • upskilling arts workers in digital modes of delivery, • clearer fair pay and online creative content protections, • preserving hybridity for cultural centres to deliver both online and offline options. These recommendations have been delivered in a policy briefing delivered to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and have been shared and developed with industry organisations to help amplify, align and evidence their campaigns for sustainable and healthy environments in which arts professionals can thrive.
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description DCMS presentation: Impact of COVID-19 on Professionals in the Arts
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description New undergraduate module on Musical Care
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description RCM Global Challenges Research Fund: HEartS Professional China, The Health, Economic and Social impact of COVID-19 on PROFESSIONALs in the ARTs
Amount £12,500 (GBP)
Organisation Royal College of Music (RCM) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2020 
End 12/2020
 
Description RCM Knowledge Exchange Fund - Shared understanding in a museum exhibit
Amount £1,480 (GBP)
Organisation Royal College of Music (RCM) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 07/2022
 
Description RCM Participatory Research Fund: Music therapy data visualization tool
Amount £7,000 (GBP)
Organisation Royal College of Music (RCM) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 07/2022
 
Description RCM Policy Support Fund - HEartS Canada and China: Arts Engagement and Mental and Social Wellbeing During COVID-19
Amount £21,104 (GBP)
Organisation Royal College of Music (RCM) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2022 
End 03/2022
 
Description Royal College of Music Grant (Tech Survey)
Amount £2,214 (GBP)
Organisation Royal College of Music (RCM) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2021 
End 01/2022
 
Title HEartS Professional Survey: Charting the effects of COVID-19 lockdown 1.0 on working patterns, income, and wellbeing among performing arts professionals in the United Kingdom (April-June 2020) 
Description These data were collected using the HEartS Professional Survey from performing arts workers in the United Kingdom in April-June 2020. HEartS Professional was designed as a multi-strategy data collection tool with two main purposes: (1) to chart working patterns, income, sources of support, and indicators of mental and social wellbeing in order to identify trends in the effects of the lockdown at the time and (2) to explore the individual work and wellbeing experiences of performing arts professionals in their own words, in order to identify the subjective effects of lockdown in terms of challenges and opportunities. The survey covers six areas: (1) demographics, (2) information on illness or self-isolation related to COVID-19, (3) work profiles and income, (4) changes to work profiles and income as a result of the pandemic, as well as sources of support, (5) open-response questions about work and wellbeing experiences of lockdown including challenges and opportunities, and (6) validated measures of health, wellbeing, and social connectedness. HEartS Professional is an adaptation of the HEartS Survey which charts the Health, Economic, and Social impacts of the ARTs (https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3r2280gdj). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The dataset is currently being used within the HEartS Professional research team. It has also been viewed and downloaded by researchers internationally for further analysis. 
URL http://datadryad.org/stash/dataset/doi:10.5061/dryad.s7h44j14z
 
Description ISPS: Changes in technology use to engage with the arts among the UK public and arts professionals in lockdown 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference presentation at the International Symposium on Performance Science. Discussion afterwards reported interest in the findings and their possibilities for future technology development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description ISPS: Snapshots of work and wellbeing of arts professionals in the UK during Covid-19 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International conference presentation at the International Symposium on Performance Science. Dissemination of early results among colleagues and academics, with implications of results discussed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description ISPS: The future of the cultural workforce: Exploring the value of the arts in a post- Covid-19 world 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at the International Symposium on Performance Science. Discussion among academics and professional practitioners afterwards pertaining to the implications of the results for wider and future research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021