Brain Waves: Accessing creative cultural activity for people living with brain injury through and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Psychological Medicine


Brain Waves will investigate the impact of the radical shift in the delivery of creative cultural activities for people living with brain injury during Covid-19 pandemic/lockdown and also the ongoing, and likely long-lived, changes in social interactions. We aim to move towards online/digital delivery, and to incorporate social distancing. In particular it will focus on the needs of two cohorts of people:
1. Patients recently discharged from hospital who, especially in the current context when community teams are less able to visit homes, fall between the cracks in terms of support.
2. People who access arts interventions as an essential part of their healthcare and recovery pathway and for whom self-expression through the arts is a key aspect of their reimagined identity and wellbeing.
It builds on the ground breaking work of Rosetta Life and partners through the Stroke Odysseys project, which itself is beginning the journey towards a delivery structure blending digital/online resources and face-to-face social distancing sessions and expands the benefits to other brain injuries including Parkinson's Disease, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neuron Disease.
The work will have peoples' voices at the heart of the enquiry: people living with brain injury, healthcare professionals and artists involved in their care, and volunteer Ambassadors (that is, people living with brain injury who have already engaged in Rosetta Life's work and who want to offer peer support for people beginning their journey of rebuilding their lives post brain injury).
The project team brings together academics from a range of disciplines at King's College London, community investigators with expertise in performance, arts, healthcare and community engagement, and community partners (see below).
We will ask the following research questions: What is the impact of digital and socially distanced engagement in creative cultural activities on the wellbeing of people living with brain injury? And how do these impacts compare with current live face-to-face engagement? What are the benefits/opportunities here for the people who can access this online but wouldn't otherwise be able to, and how can they be reached?
How do we build community participation remotely, online and/or with social distancing in place? And how might this influence cultural programming? Do we need to rethink 'community' in general given the major shift to 'online'? Are there downsides i.e. can online sessions actually end up reinforcing loneliness the second they end and the participants alone again?
Is it feasible to upscale this participatory work via online resources? And if not, what is needed to support online delivery in socially distanced cultural programming? And how might these resources support the role of the socially engaged artist?
We will deliver:
An arts intervention that supports access to and engagement in creative cultural activities for at least 20 people living with brain injury - some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in our communities
A collaborative, key stakeholders partnership in the area of Kings Health Partners supporting the wellbeing of people living with brain injury
A set of online education training resources and a framework for artists, healthcare practitioners and the wider voluntary sector in order to test the potential for upscaling through socially distanced and online forums.
A research report publishing findings and the implications for arts, healthcare and community engagement practice
A conference event which draws together the key people and learning, made available across the UK via live streaming and recording.


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