Looking Beyond Lockdown -How UK Arts Organisations Can Continue To Support Young People’s Wellbeing During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent problem for mental health in young people, especially those living in large cities and already facing challenges linked to poor mental health. Arts organisations with strong community links play a vital role in promoting mental wellbeing, by supporting young people using different art forms and methodologies.

Far Apart UK  focuses on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and its social restrictions and how arts organisations in the UK have adapted their activities by using online platforms and other means to support the mental health of young people (aged 16-24).  The study uses mixed methods, combining semi-structured interviews, survey and artistic workshops.

The project, run through December 2021, brings together People’s Palace Projects and the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry (Queen Mary University of London) with five arts organisations in the UK: Battersea Arts Centre, Contact Theatre Manchester, National Theatre Wales, Dirty Protest Theatre and Royal Theatre Stratford East.

Each organisation plans to carry out a series of five online art workshops for 5 to 10 participants between 16 and 24 years old, using the artistic languages and their own methodologies. The workshops address how the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic impacted their lives and how they experienced and managed the changes that occurred.

At the end of these workshops, participants are encouraged to produce and present a play, a performance, a song, a poem, a podcast, etc.

Far Apart UK   hopes to strengthen an existing network of these five community arts organisations in the UK and with organisations that have been part of the same research in Latin America (Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Brazil). There is also an opportunity for them to share their experiences and practices in webinars organised by People’s Palace Projects  

Learn about Far Apart in Latin America here

Project Managers: Mariana Steffen and Renata Peppl.

*Photos: Paula Siqueira

This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UKRI) and Arts Council England (Core Support to People’s Palace Projects)