Credit: “At Home with Children” Project, Newcastle University

The Pandemic and Beyond brings together over 70 research projects in the Arts and Humanities that have examined the Covid-19 pandemic and are suggesting solutions to the urgent problems that have been created or exacerbated by the pandemic. We are a virtual hub where researchers, user groups, journalists and policymakers can meet, find out about research that is relevant to them, and work together to share expertise and resources.

Our research teams have contributed in important ways to understanding the effects of the pandemic and finding solutions across four broad areas:

  • Decision-making in a time of crisis: Ethics, law and governance: Researchers have scrutinised legislation and guidance issued during the pandemic and identified where we’ve gone wrong and how we can provide better structures for dealing with a crisis.
  • Bridging distance in the creative industries: Researchers have looked into how creative industries can keep working either outdoors or digitally and thereby reach new audiences, ever more accessibly. They have worked with freelancers and practitioners who are particularly vulnerable to the shocks of Covid-19 to figure out how to build back better structures in the Creative Industries.
  • Coping creatively: Arts, health and wellbeing: Researchers have worked in care homes and with disabled people, with children and with religious communities, to create connections through artistic means, build resilience and improve mental and physical health. In order to be more effective, they’ve also thought about how work with creative practitioners and researchers that is changing lives for the better in pockets of the country could be shared with and extended to other communities.
  • Knowing the pandemic: communication, information and experience: They’ve analysed huge amounts of data to understand how the pandemic has been communicated on social media, through political cartoons, or through Public Health messaging, and have dealt with the problem of the ‘infodemic’ of misinformation about the pandemic. With artists, designers and linguists, they have found better ways of communicating Public Health messages and of reaching the communities that have been most severely affected by the pandemic.

This work has laid important human foundations for resilience and recovery after the pandemic, and identified key ways in which we can ‘build back better’, across communities and across the country, reaching many of the individuals and groups who are often invisible to policy-makers.

Our mission is to communicate what these research teams have found and created to the public, to share resources, and ensure that the right decision-makers hear about the recommendations at the right time. To this purpose, we are working with Culture Commons, who are helping us in the run-up to the events we are planning for Spring 2022, when we will showcase some of the most striking research findings in the run-up to the Independent Public Inquiry on Coronavirus. Our platform is there to inform, inspire, and bring about permanent change in how we respond not just to the Covid-19 crisis, but how central Arts and Humanities research is to future crisis responses in local, national and international settings.   

The Pandemic and Beyond is hosted by the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health at the University of Exeter and embedded in the College of Humanities, with team members from Humanities (Prof Pascale AebischerDr Benedict Morrison, Dr Karen Gray), the Medical School (Prof Victoria Tischler), the Business School (Prof Sarah Hartley), and Social Sciences and International Studies (Prof Des Fitzgerald). It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.