The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has funded 77 COVID-19 projects through UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response funding scheme. This group of research projects represents a significant part of AHRC’s health portfolio at £17 million of funding.
Due to the significance of this funding, AHRC has worked with the University of Exeter’s Professor Pascale Aebischer, who took on a coordination role for this investment through a project called Pandemic and Beyond. Pandemic and Beyond ran between February 2021 and February 2023 and worked to:
- connect projects
- support projects with media and policy training
- increase the reach and impact of this funding
Pandemic and Beyond also produced a blog, a podcast and short films to engage wider audiences with this work. See the Pandemic and Beyond media.
The 4 thematic clusters outlined below have become apparent from this investment.
Communication, information and experience
A group of projects that focused on tracking and understanding how information about the pandemic has been spread and understood by diverse communities. It included data analysis, design interventions, and using creative methodologies to understand how the pandemic was being understood by different people.
Ethics, law and governance
Research examining questions around law, ethics and governance during the pandemic, including:
- responsiveness within government
- equitable vaccine distribution
- the experiences of frontline NHS and social care staff
Bridging distance in the creative clusters
Projects looking at how the creative and cultural sector has been impacted by and responded to the pandemic. This covered areas such as:
- digital performance
- creative industry structures
- the experiences of libraries and museums
Arts, health and wellbeing
Research looking at the arts in relation to individual and community health and wellbeing during the pandemic. Projects ranged from supporting healthcare professionals with creative methodologies, to use of green spaces during lockdown, and poetic responses to coping with isolation.