Pandemic and Beyond Podcasts

The Pandemic and Beyond podcasts showcase the vital contribution that Arts and Humanities research has made to Covid-19 response and recovery. In each episode, a member of our team speaks to a project leader and someone that their project has had an impact on to find out about how their research is helping us deal with the impacts of the pandemic. The podcasts are available to listen to right here, or on

Episode 25: Museums, Crisis and Covid-19

Dr Pascale Aebischer speaks to Professor Elizabeth Crooke, Professor Heritage and Museum Studies at Ulster University, about her project Museums Crisis and Covid-19. The project explores the difficulties faced by the sector during the pandemic and how museums can contribute to community resilience and wellbeing during times of crisis. They are joined by Roisin Doherty, curator-manager of the Tower Museum Derry who shares her experience of finding new strategies to engage audiences in a pandemic and post-pandemic environment.

You can learn more about the project here. 

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode 24: Co-designing COVID-19 vaccine  interventions with Chinese communities in England 

In this podcast, Dr Eleanor O’Keeffe speaks to Dr Sarah Gong, who has worked closely with Chinese communities in the UK to understand the determinants that shape vaccine hesitancy and facilitate uptake. They are joined by Circle Steele, the CEO of the Wai Yin Society, which supports socially excluded and marginalised women in the North West of England. They talk about participatory and co-creative research processes, the benefits of long-term research partnerships, and reflect on the experiences of Chinese communities during the pandemic.  

The research informed series of creative interventions to generate greater understanding about the vaccination programme within Chinese communities in England, which are discussed during the podcast. You can view some of the interventions created for the research on the project’s YouTube Channel

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Pandemic and Beyond Episode 23: Libraries in Lockdown

Ellie O’Keefe talks to Dr David McMenemy (University of Glasgow) + Nick Poole (CEO of CILIP, the UK’s library and information association) about the impact of the Pandemic on libraries and the wellbeing of its staff. They discuss Dr McMenemy’s brilliant project ‘Downloading a New Normal’ and its implications on privacy, freedom of access to information + information behaviour as library services pivot to the digital.

Read more about the project here.

A transcript of the episode is available here.

Episode 22: Poetry and COVID-19

Poetry has a long history of challenging established structures and provoking change – it also has offered comfort in times of difficulty and disaster.  The Poetry and COVID-19 project has aimed to use poetry to think through the pandemic and move forward from our experiences. In this podcast Dr Lorna Hardy talks to Professor Anthony Caleshu (University of Plymouth) and Associate Professor Rory Waterman (Nottingham Trent University) about anthologies, collaborating with poets, and how poetry has brought people together in the pandemic.

A transcript of the episode is available here.

Episode 21: Literary Heritage Sites under Lockdown

Dr Pascale Aebischer talks to Dr Helen Williams who has been working with Dr David Rudrum to examine the impact of the pandemic on the literary house heritage sector in the UK. They are joined by Patrick Wildgust, the Curator of Shandy Hall (managed by the Laurence Stern Trust), about how these smaller literary heritage sites responded to COVID-19, the pivot to the digital, and their growing local and community significances under lockdown.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode 20: Sexual and Gendered Risks

As ‘Online Harms’ have become a buzz word,  Dr Shruti Raghuraman (University of Exeter) explores some of the lived experience behind the topic with Dr Tanya Horeck (Anglia Ruskin University), Dr Jessica Ringrose (UCL) and Amelia Jenkinson (School of Sexuality Education). They discuss the ways in which online risks and harms during lockdown were gendered in affecting disproportionately girls and LGBTQ+ adolescents at a time when their screen time had significantly increased. Topics cover Snapchat, privacy settings, and what longer-term solutions parents and schools can adopt to educate young people about consent and create open dialogues. 

To find out more resources and events, visit the project page on the Association of Schools and College Teachers website; for recommendations arising from the research, see the project’s policy brief.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode 19: Walking Publics/Walking Arts

The pandemic has changed how we walk and why we walk, with more people venturing outside during lockdowns and walking to cope with the stresses of the pandemic. Professor Dee Heddon, the James Arnott Chair in Drama at Glasgow University, talks to Dr Shruti Raghuraman about using walking as creative resource and her pandemic rapid response project,  which examines how the arts can support and improve physical health and mental wellbeing through encouraging inclusive walking. They are joined by artist Dr, Kate Green, and founder of Sheffield Movement Maxwell Ayamba, who have worked in partnership with the project to inform the conversation about walking as a model of community engagement and develop creative and inclusive walking methodologies.

To learn more about the project and #WalkCreate, visit

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode 18: The National Day of Reflection

On the National Day of Reflection, a collective remembrance initiative for COVID-19 pioneered by the end of life charity Marie Curie, Ellie O’Keeffe is joined by David Tollerton, Associate Professor in Jewish Studies and Holocaust Memory at the University of Exeter who has recently finished an AHRC funded project working in partnership with Marie Curie. We talk politics, historic memory cultures, and the possible futures of pandemic memorialisation in the UK and beyond.

For more on COVID-19 memorialisation, you can download a copy of Professor Tollerton’s report here.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode 17: Culture in Crisis

To mark the publication of the Culture in Crisis report, Pascale Aebischer talks to the report’s lead author, Ben Walmsley of the Centre for Cultural Value (University of Leeds) and Holly Donagh of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. They talk about the state of the industry, how the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities, about the future of digital performance and the importance of academics working hand-in-hand with policy-makers. 

A transcript for this episode is available here.

Episode 16: Performing Leadership Differently in the Creative Industries

The overlap between Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement has led to a lot of soul-searching in the cultural industries. In this episode, Pascale Aebischer speaks to Amitabh Rai of Queen Mary, University of London, about the work he’s done with leaders in the creative industries about the leadership structures needed to provide the right level and kinds of support for a diverse workforce, and to Tracy Gentles, CEO of STAF (Something To Aim For), a partner in this research. They talk about the need for change, how to effect it together with people within the industry, about trauma, how different forms of disadvantage intersect, and how to create diverse communities through mentorship and infrastructures of care.Find out more about the project here.

A transcript of the episode is available here.

Episode 15: The COVID-19 Review Observatory

COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on law making and legislative processes. Whilst the pandemic has heightened the imperative for governments to make new laws, the increase of law making, and the methods deployed, in the context of a public health crisis, has also made it uniquely challenging to scrutinise government legislation. How has oversight of government action worked over the past two years?  And what are the implications for human rights? In this podcast, Ellie O’Keeffe hears from Professor Fiona De Londras and Research Fellow Daniella Lock (University of Birmingham) about the work and findings of the COVID-19 Review Observatory – a research project that studies how parliaments in Westminster, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh are overseeing government responses.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode 14: Pandemic Ethics – A Public Dialogue

The pandemic has presented many dilemmas to society about how to implement restrictions on social, cultural and economic life for the benefit of public health. The UK Ethics Accelerator has brought ethics research expertise to bear on addressing these challenges, to encourage more ethical decision making moving forward and in the future. In this podcast, recorded in 2021, Sarah Hartley talks with Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley (University of Edinburgh), Hugh Whittall (Nuffield Council on Bioethics) and Henrietta Hopkins (Hopkins Van Mil) about their engaged research with the UK public. They discuss how the public have responded to the ethical dimensions of the pandemic in a series of participant-led public dialogues and hear from participant, Yasmin, about the experience of contributing to these workshops.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode 13: Nursing Narratives – Racism and the Pandemic

The effects of structural inequalities have been a central feature of the pandemic since it began. In this podcast Des Fitzgerald talks to Professor Anandi Ramamurthy of Sheffield Hallam University who is leading a project that has been profiling the impacts of racism for people working in the NHS in particular. They are joined by Esther Akinpelu, a paediatric nurse, and by Ken Fero, internationally renowned film-maker and founder of Migrant Media who has been collaborating with the project. Their words are a powerful demonstration of how stories of BME nursing staff and the pandemic are entwined with complex histories of racism, only fully understood through amplifying the experiences and voices of those who have been marginalised.

More information about the Nursing Narratives project can be found here.

Ken Fero is a founding member of Migrant Media, a collective of radical film makers.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode 12: Digital Performance Beyond the Pandemic

How has digital innovation in theatrical and dance performance, including video streaming, disrupted the creative industries and improved access to the arts for both performers and audiences? In this podcast, Pascale Aebischer and her guests, Richard Misek (University of Kent), Daniel Strutt (Goldsmith’s College) and Paul Sermon (University of Brighton) discuss how digital innovation has transformed the performance landscape since the start of the pandemic and think about the future for the industry. 

Follow these links for more information about The Goldsmiths Mocap Streamer (Dan Strutt); Digital Access to the Arts (Richard Misek); The Telepresence Stage (Paul Sermon) and Digital Theatre Transformation (Pascale Aebischer).

A transcript of the episode is available here.

Episode 11: Heartbeat: Flute Theatre, People’s Palace Projects and La Plaza Theatre, Peru on making theatre with diverse participants

How has theatre transformed the lives of families living with neurodiverse children during and beyond lockdown? In this podcast, Paul Heritage (People’s Palace Projects), Kelly Hunter MBE and Joshua Welch (Flute Theatre), Alexandra Ajauro Alvarez (People’s Palace Projects and La Plaza Theatre, Peru) and Lisha Rooney, the mother of a neurodiverse 10-year-old, talk to Pascale Aebischer about how they used the ‘Heartbeat’ method on Zoom to bring some joy, connection and structure into the households of locked-down families in dire need of support.

Find out more about their work here and here; a documentary about the Heartbeat project with La Plaza Theatre can be found here. You can read more about Lisha and her son Lumen’s work with Flute Theatre here.

To support Flute Theatre’s current work with neurodiverse individuals, contribute to their fundraiser here.

A transcript of this episode is available here.

Episode 10: The Creative Doodle Book

Victoria Tischler talks to Matthew Reason (York St John University) and creative practitioner Vicky Ackroyd (of Totally Inclusive People) about their work on the Creative Doodle Book project.

The Creative Doodle Book is a hands-on resource developed with Mind the Gap to support socially distanced community arts practice during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has helped people from marginalised and vulnerable groups to express their creativity in new and exciting ways.

A transcript of the episode is available here.

Episode 9: The Arts and Humanities Contribution to Covid-19 Research and Recovery

In this podcast, Rebecca Wilson talks to Pascale Aebischer about her work on the Pandemic and Beyond project.

The conversation covers the significant contributions arts and the creative industries make to public health, community-building and the economy, explores some key misconceptions, and considers the long-term innovations that have happened as a result of COVID-19.

This podcast was recorded for the University of Exeter’s Exeplore series.

You can find out more about the work of The Pandemic and Beyond here and access the team’s initial ‘snapshot’ blogpost here.

A transcript of the podcast is here.

Episode 8: Local food growing during Covid-19

In this Pandemic and Beyond episode, Pascale Aebischer talks to Les Levidow and Andrea Berardi (Open University) about how growing food locally has benefitted and strengthened communities during Covid-19, and how the project has empowered participants to tell stories about their experiences. 

The Local food-growing initiatives respond to the Covid-19 crisis: enhancing well-being, building community for better futures project’s spring 2021 results contain an overview, blogs and links to participants’ films.

Download a transcript of the podcast here.

Episode 7: Ritual and religion through the pandemic with Dr Joshua Edelman and Revd Dr Nathan Eddy

Pascale Aebischer talks to Dr Joshua Edelman (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Revd Dr Nathan Eddy (Interim Director of the Council of Christians and Jews) about how religious communities have adapted during the pandemic, and how ritual has endured and transformed in the face of social distancing.

Joshua Edelman is the lead researcher of the Social Distance, Digital Congregation: British Ritual Innovation under Covid-19 (BRIC-19) project which aims to document and understand how religious communities have come together during the pandemic and how these experiences might make those communities stronger and more resilient in the future. 

Download a transcript of this podcast here.

Episode 6: Motion Capture and Virtual Dance Performance with Dr Dan Strutt and Clemence Debaig

Pascale Aebischer talks to Dr Dan Strutt (Goldsmiths University, London) and dancer and computational artist Clemence Debaig about their experimentation with live motion capture technology to bring physically-distant dancers together to enable new ways of rehearsing and performing choreographic dance work. They speak about the challenges of creating dance remotely, but also explore the new creative opportunities and benefits that this virtual form of performance might bring.

You can watch some of the experimental performances created by the project in their live showcase here

You can find out more about Clemence Debaig here and you can follow the project on Instagram @goldsmithsmocapstreamer

Download a transcript of the podcast here.

Episode 5: Arts, public health and wellbeing in care homes – The Culture Box project with Victoria Tischler and Errol Francis

Sarah Hartley speaks to Victoria Tischler and Errol Francis about their ‘Culture Box’ project which promotes social interaction and public health through the arts in the time of Covid-19 for people living with dementia in care homes. They speak about how the provision of innovative arts activities during the pandemic can alleviate loneliness and improve wellbeing. 

You can find out more about the Culture Box project here, and you can follow the team on Twitter here, and Instagram here

Download a transcript of the podcast here.

Episode 4: Trust, Communication and Twitter during the Pandemic with Andrew Kehoe and Robert Lawson

Des Fitzgerald speaks to Andrew Kehoe and Robert Lawson about their work gathering and analysing over 84 million pandemic-related tweets as part of their work on ‘TRAC:COVID – Trust and Communication: A Coronavirus Online Visual Dashboard’. They discuss what the dashboard can tell us about the online conversation surrounding Covid-19, attitudes to public health interventions, and the spread of misinformation.  

You can find out more about the TRAC: Covid project here and you can follow the team on Twitter here. 

You can explore the dashboard here.

You can access The Conversation piece on the project here.

Download a transcript of this episode here.

Episode 3: Human Rights in Care Homes with Professor Wayne Martin and Angela Rhodes

Victoria Tischler talks to Wayne Martin and Angela Rhodes about the impact of Covid-19 on care homes and their residents. Angela speaks about the challenges she has personally faced as Deputy General Manager of a care home during the pandemic, and reflects on the support provided by Rapid Response Webinars run by the Essex Autonomy Project, led by Professor Martin.

Find out more about Wayne Martin’s work on Ensuring Respect for Human Rights in Locked-Down Care Homes and how it seeks to improve the protection of human rights in care homes.

Download a transcript of the episode here.

Episode 2: Arts, Culture and Mental Health with Josie Billington, Lucy Geddes and Helen Wilson

Pascale Aebischer talks to Josie Billington (University of Liverpool), Lucy Geddes (Liverpool Philharmonic) and Helen Wilson (The Reader) about the impact that restricted access to arts and culture during Covid-19 has had on mental health. They discuss the research into access to culture and mental health in the Liverpool City region, and Lucy Geddes and Helen Wilson speak about their experiences of providing arts to communities within Liverpool during the pandemic.

Download a transcript of the episode here.

You can find out more about the Covid-19 CARE project here, you can read about The Reader here, and about the Liverpool Philharmonic here.

Episode 1: Digital Theatre Transformation with Lucy Askew and Pascale Aebischer

Des Fitzgerald speaks to Lucy Askew and Pascale Aebischer. Pascale and Lucy were collaborators on a recent AHRC-funded Covid-19 rapid response project that investigated the way that Creation Theatre and their collaborators, Big Telly Theatre Company, adapted their in-person production of The Tempest to a digital production delivered via Zoom in the early days of the pandemic. They reflect on how the company faced the challenges of the pandemic, the impact the digital production had on the artists and audiences, how the research transformed Creation Theatre’s practice, and the future of digital performance. 

You can download a transcript of the podcast here.

Access the final research report and digital toolkit for free.

Find out more about Creation Theatre and their upcoming performances.

Find out more about Big Telly Theatre.