How culture and creativity have been supporting people in health, care and other institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic

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Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance

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A report by the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA), celebrating the commitment, skill and flexibility across the cultural and creative sector that 47 case studies represent of the work from around the UK reaching people resident in hospitals, care homes, hospices, prisons and other institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020.

This report, published by the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance, in partnership with Live Music Now, Music for Dementia, Music in Hospitals and Care, the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, the National Performance Advisory Group (NPAG) for Arts, Design and Heritage in Healthcare, Paintings in Hospitals and Performing Medicine.

The report is based on 47 case studies from around the UK, highlighting creative initiatives which have been taking place during the pandemic in a variety of spaces: adult residential care, hospices, hospitals, prisons, young offender institutions, sheltered accommodation, domestic abuse refuges, and educational institutions providing support for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Museums, galleries, community arts organisations and freelance creative practitioners have turned their focus toward their most vulnerable neighbours, working to ensure people stay connected and that their resources are put at the disposal of the communities around them.

Just under half the projects featured online workshops, just over a third used pre-recorded performances, just under a third distributed activity packs or similar. Just under a quarter developed exhibitions, or coproduced artworks of various kinds with participants. The same number used live, online performance to reach their audiences. A fifth worked on exhibitions and a similar number created co-produced artworks. Other work was hugely varied but included activity packs specifically designed for staff, as well as postcards, radio programmes, phone-based workshops, outdoor performance and, when safe, one-to-one work.
Recommendations for funders, commissioners and policymakers:
1. Celebrate, acknowledge, and learn from this work
2. Support creative freelancers through the pandemic and its aftermath
3. Invest in culture, health and wellbeing programmes and the partnerships that underpin them
4. Support training and research that will help the cultural sector to address health inequalities
5. Support training and research to help practitioners develop successful digital or blended approaches
6. Increase flexibility, trust and accessibility in funding systems.

All the 47 case studies are available to download from within the report.

Evidence Type: Case Study

Main Focus: Community Development

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Community

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance (2021). How culture and creativity have been supporting people in health, care and other institutions during the Covid-19 pandemic. UK: Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance.