Community COVID

Logo CompositeCommunity COVID is a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of UKRI’s Covid-19 funding, and an internal UCL Rapid Response grant. The aims of the project are to understand how participants experiencing lockdown, self-isolation and shielding, engage with resources designed to inspire ideas, stimulate creativity and physical activity, combat loneliness and improve social connectivity. A plethora of such resources has emerged, such as Get Creative at Home 2020 and local government, community and third sector initiatives.

We are interested to understand the positive as well as the negative aspects of engaging with these resources, both online and offline, and how this engagement affects participants’ health, wellbeing and social lives. We are particularly focused on how those experiencing inequalities may be excluded from engaging actively in communities and how community assets (such as parks, libraries, museums, community and arts centres) can best support vulnerable and marginalised individuals.

The project is being carried out by the COVID Consortium and consists of four phases: Scoping, Evaluation, Learning and Synthesis and has the following aims:

  • Scope the range of ‘creative isolation’ resources
  • Evaluate the impact of participating in on- and offline activities
  • Provide recommendations for good practice regarding the provision of high quality creative activities, accessible to a wide diversity of people irrespective of levels of digital literacy
  • Synthesise evidence from creative engagement to feed into post-lockdown strategic planning at local and national levels

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Community COVID key deliverables:

  • Rapid Evidence Review providing an overview and critical appraisal of the range of ‘creative isolation’ resources as well as appropriate methods for evaluating their efficacy and impact
  • Fit-for-purpose Evaluation Framework extending Public Health England Arts and Health Evaluation Framework and made freely available
  • Documentation of participants’ Creative Isolation Journeys using the media of their choice (e.g. painting, performance, poetry)
  • Accessible Guide to Good Practice, making recommendations and building on existing models
  • Evidence Synthesis Report co-produced with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, drawing together learning to inform post-lockdown, ‘re-lockdown’ and self-isolation strategies
  • Peer-reviewed Publications and Conference Presentations

Community COVID Consortium

Prof Helen Chatterjee (UCL) will lead the project as Principal Investigator with Co-investigators:

Prof Norma Daykin (Tampere University, Finland)

Prof Miles Richardson (University of Derby)

Prof Aaron Williamon (Royal College of Music)

Dr Daisy Fancourt (UCL) representing the March Network 

Mah Rana as External Adviser with lived experience, read Mah’s blog on well-making spaces

Dr Linda Thomson (UCL) Senior Research Fellow


Arts Council England

Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance

NHS England and NHS Improvement

Natural England

Voluntary Arts