Arts, cultural and creative engagement during COVID: enhancing university staff and student mental wellbeing and social connectedness

Wilson, Ceri and Munn-Giddings, Carol and Bungay, Hilary and Dadswell, Anna (2022) Arts, cultural and creative engagement during COVID: enhancing university staff and student mental wellbeing and social connectedness. Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health, 4 (1). pp. 1-13. ISSN 2535-7913

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.18261/njach.4.1.2

Abstract

Background: Emerging evidence indicates that poor mental health and loneliness increased in the UK population during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time media reports suggested increased public engagement with arts and culture during the lockdown period. Aim: To explore the levels of and impact of arts engagement amongst staff and students from one UK university during the first pandemic lockdown. Methods: 112 staff/students completed an online survey which asked about their arts engagement and invited them to write a haiku about their lockdown experiences. Findings: Participants engaged in a wide range of arts, cultural and creative activities; some engaged more frequently and/or in new activities. Participants reported having more time and opportunity to undertake such activities, and these activities improved their mental wellbeing and facilitated social connections. Forty-seven participants wrote a haiku, and it was evident that the haikus provided a different perspective on lockdown experiences, enabling the expression of emotions including fear, loneliness, and a lack of freedom, as well as hope and optimism. Conclusion: Haiku poetry added nuance and complexity to the themes on engagement and impact of arts, cultural and creative activities, which supported mental wellbeing and social connections through the first UK lockdown.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: arts, COVID-19, wellbeing, social connectedness, university, academia, haiku
Faculty: COVID-19 Research Collection
Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
Depositing User: Anna Dadswell
Date Deposited: 19 May 2022 07:53
Last Modified: 31 May 2022 16:18
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/707604

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