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Conversations on communities, creativity
and Covid19 in 2020

Towards the end of 2020 we set out to investigate community and socially engaged arts practices that have emerged across England in response to Covid19 and the subsequent restrictions.

We are sharing eight conversations among freelance artists, and artists working in small arts companies, on their work with some of the groups and communities who have been worst effected by Covid19.

They discuss the implications of lockdown for participants, the effect of the pandemic on them as artists and speculate on the longer-term impacts of Covid19 on community and socially engaged arts.

We extend our thanks to all of those who agreed to discuss these questions with us and for being so generous with their time in such difficult circumstances.

Please feel free to use and share this resource if it would be useful to you. We’d love to know how you’ve used it and to hear any feedback. Just send us a message through the contact page.

The changes to this sector are going to be visible for years and years and years. I don’t want to back to where we were before in terms of an industry because it wasn’t equal, it wasn’t working for people. 

Caitlin Gleeson, theatre-maker/facilitator/writer/producer

I think it would be interesting if we can have the courage, beyond the lockdowns, to start getting people back into the spaces in a safe way and giving people the courage to come into those spaces, even though it might be in smaller groups. And that’s what’s going to happen isn’t it, we’re not going to be able to work in those larger-sized groups anymore. 

Arti Prashar, Theatre-maker and director

I think that it would be great if this research plays a role in documenting what a sector has done during this period of time, which to a wider community is largely invisible, but is massively important. 

Sue Caudle, Freelancer and artistic director of DIY Theatre Company

This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council IAA [grant number ES/T501979/1]