The Role of the Arts during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Alexandra Bradbury, Katey Warran, Hei Wan Mak, Daisy Fancourt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract / Description of output

This report, published by University College London (UCL) and funded by the Arts Council, summarises the complex role of the arts during the Covid-19 pandemic. During repeated lockdowns and venue closures, individuals and families relied on home-based arts activities and digital arts and cultural resources to help them manage the pandemic and to cope emotionally. UCL researchers found that:

- 1 in 5 people increased their arts engagement in the early months of the pandemic. Arts engagement played a key role in supporting mental health in the UK and internationally.
- Time spent on creative hobbies was associated with increases in life satisfaction and decreases in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Certain groups experiencing greater challenges particularly drew on the arts, including health and social care professionals, younger adults, older adults and parents.
- Initially, people who don’t typically take part in the arts increased their engagement, such as people from ethnic minority backgrounds, people of lower socioeconomic advantage, and people with experience of mental illness who have historically faced more barriers to participation.
- Arts engagement helped people use certain psychological strategies for coping and emotion regulation, including distraction techniques, social connection with others, learning new skills and engaging the mind.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity College London
Commissioning bodyArts Council England
Number of pages44
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021


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