AHRC launches pandemic culture campaign

AHRC launches pandemic culture campaign

The Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is to explore the impact of culture during the Covid-19 pandemic via a new campaign, Boundless Creativity.

The campaign aims to research and develop the role of collaboration and technology in "shaping cultural experiences" in the pandemic, while assessing their longevity in the future.

Four online projects will take place over the summer, including Weavr, an AI experience of viewing sports events, and Dinosaurs and Robots, an augmented reality experience using content from Sky, the Almeida Theatre, Science Museum Group and the Natural History Museum.

The Big Fix Up, a new Wallace and Gromit augmented reality experience, will be available to view on mobile phones from this autumn, produced in collaboration with new immersive storytelling startup Fictioneers.

The Royal Shakespeare Company will also deliver "Dream", a "wholly new interpretation of Shakespeare" using film and computer game technology, available to experience from early 2021.

AHRC c.e.o. Andrew Thompson said: “I’m genuinely proud of the way in which in these Boundless projects demonstrate how the Arts & Humanities Research Council—and the researchers we support—are helping cultural organisations and the creative industries across the UK to innovate and collaborate through this crisis, and also to provide a richer and more complete evidence base to government for their recovery and future growth.” 

The campaign is backed by including public figures including historian Mary Beard, 2019 Booker prize winner Bernardine Evaristo, poet and novelist Ben Okri and actor Fiona Shaw.

This year's digital iteration of the Hay Festival was also developed in partnership with the AHRC and the Wordsworth Trust, and will feature a gala reading of Wordsworth's poetry by actors and authors including Simon Armitage and Margaret Atwood.

Science, research and innovation minister Amanda Solloway said: “As we have all been staying home to protect the NHS, innovations in our creative industries have played an ever-greater, and ever more important, role in our lives.

"From bringing immersive experiences into people’s front rooms to offering some of the country’s most famous art collections online, Boundless Creativity projects are helping to reshape cultural experiences for these unprecedented times, supporting our wellbeing and the financial future of a critical sector of our economy."