COVID-19 CARE: Culture and the Arts, from Restriction to Enhancement: Protecting Mental Health in the Liverpool City Region

Principal Investigator: Professor Josie Billington (University of Liverpool)

This study assessed the impact for mental health of restricted access to arts and culture in the Liverpool city region during the pandemic. It aims to provide both the evidence for, and the tools to assess, the cost to public mental health of the loss of arts and cultural provision as well as the risks of exclusion from new patterns of provision.

Through analysis of data collected between October 2020 and July 2021, the research suggests that the arts and culture sector is able to play a major role in improving mental health outcomes across the city region when properly integrated into public health strategy. Findings have resulted in recommendations and guidance on how to achieve this.

Key recommendations include the need to:

  • Support sustainable partnerships between health and arts providers, building on successful cross-sectoral co-operation during the pandemic
  • Co-ordinate local initiatives to enable scaling up and efficient targeting
  • Maintain alternative / hybrid provision of arts and cultural activity to support rebuilding capacity in the creative industries, mental health within communities, and to enable inclusion
  • Train the arts and health workforce and those accessing its services in digital know-how

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