Arts and creative activities for mental wellbeing during Covid-19 lockdown: report of a survey of university staff

Ann Skingley, Sharon Manship, Nicole Pollock, Nikki Price, Sonia Price, Toni Wright

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Abstract

Purpose: There is evidence that the recent Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in stress in the UK workforce. Research also suggests that engaging in arts and creative activities may alleviate stress. The purpose was to explore how this might relate to staff at Canterbury Christ Church University, and specifically:
1) to identify the overall extent of uptake and popularity of different arts activities;
2) to assess how this compares with pre-Covid levels of engagement and;
3) to identify how engagement with activities may serve to mitigate any adverse effects of the pandemic and beyond.

Design: The two-stage design comprised an online questionnaire, followed by in-depth interviews with a sub-sample of respondents.

Findings: 178 individuals responded to the questionnaire, and 12 individuals were interviewed. Receptive arts engagement featured more frequently than participatory arts. 46.6% respondents reported more engagement during lockdown than before. The most frequently reported benefits related to the ability to disengage from the negative concerns of lockdown. Interview data identified four themes: creativity for wellbeing; connecting and contributing; pandemic as opportunity; and reflecting the times.

Originality: Little previous research has been conducted on the impacts of the arts specifically on university staff during Covid, particularly research including non-academic staff.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

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