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The Arts and Humanities Contribution to Covid-19 Research and Recovery: a snapshot

by Pascale Aebischer, Des Fitzgerald, Sarah Hartley, Rachael Nicholas and Victoria Tischler

In this blog post, we present a snapshot of what we have learned about the distinctive Arts and Humanities contribution to Covid-19 research and recovery and the positive impacts this research has had on society, culture, health and decision-making. The Pandemic and Beyond team has reached the end of the phase of work dedicated to bringing the researchers across the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Covid-19 rapid response portfolio into dialogue, organising projects into thematic clusters, and mapping their work.   

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Still not Seen or Heard: The voice and experiences of people with learning disabilities during Covid-19

By Professor Matthew Reason, Principal Investigator of the ‘Creative Doodle Book’ project. The Creative Doodle Book project is a collaboration between Matthew Reason of York St John University, learning disability arts company Mind the Gap and Vicky Ackroyd of Totally Inclusive People.

A recurring feature of the UK government’s guidance during Covid-19 concerned ‘shielding,’ giving advice for people identified as clinically vulnerable from coronavirus to stay at home and self-isolate. This included many people with a learning disability or autism, such as adults with Downs syndrome.[1] This guidance was accompanied with recognition that, as well as being more vulnerable, people with learning disabilities may also require more support in understanding restrictions and managing changes to their lifestyle.[2]

Despite such measures – or more accurately, according to the Health Foundation, because the support provided to enable the measures was inadequate – 6 out of 10 people who died from Covid-19 in the UK have been disabled.[3] Figures from Mencap suggest that people with a learning disability have died from Covid ‘at up to six times the rate of the general population.’[4]

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On-line means global: The essential role of communication and emotions in the digital transformation of the Creative and Cultural Industries

Communication and emotion have been crucial challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced the Creative and Cultural sector to turn to the digital world and operate online. Although not over yet, learning from the lessons of the pandemic has enabled creative communities to stand together and collaborate in shaping the post-pandemic future. In this blog post, Dr Kamila Oles, Research Assistant on the AHRC-funded Covid-19 project “Online Teaching and Learning with Digitised Collections in Higher Education Contexts” responds to the Cultural Industries and Creative Practice Knowledge Exchange Workshop organised by The Pandemic and Beyond project by reflecting on the role that communication and emotion have played in the digital transformation of the creative and cultural industries.