Promoting social interaction and public health through the arts in the time of Covid-19

The Public Programme

Culture& is working as content producer on Culture Box, a research collaboration with Professor Victoria Tischler at the University of Exeter. The research is looking into how the arts can be used to alleviate social isolation and loneliness while improving the wellbeing of people living with dementia. The project provides monthly deliveries of Culture Boxes containing a wide range of arts and cultural activities and we are evaluating what kind of activities work best. The Culture Box study is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

We believe it is important to address the inequalities that have occurred due to the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the disproportionate mortality rate for people living in care homes and for those from racialised communities. We are therefore working with care homes all over the UK that have residents from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of our lives and has impacted on our physical and mental health, our ability to communicate with each other and our human need for intimacy. We are looking into how the arts can promote social isolation and alleviate loneliness, particularly for people living with dementia in care homes.

Activities like dancing, singing, making and participating in art are innate human behaviours that help us to relate to each other and the world around us. Providing opportunities for people who are living with dementia to express themselves creatively, regardless of ability or skill, can have a positive effect on mood, memory and general wellbeing. As dementia can have a negative impact on a person’s ability to communicate, engaging with art can help them express their thoughts, feelings and desires.