Wellbeing through Covid: a deep dive from our Covid-19 Participation Monitor

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Wellbeing through Covid: a deep dive from our Covid-19 Participation Monitor

Visitor in mask looking at manuscript in the British Library
© Socially distanced visitors at the Hebrew Manuscripts exhibition at the British Library St Pancras, Photo: David Jensen

By The Audience Agency


Which audiences have felt the impact on their wellbeing the hardest? And which arts, culture or heritage activities had the most positive impact on people’s wellbeing? 

Following our initial findings from the third wave of The Audience Agency’s Cultural Participation Monitor that we published recently, we now have a deep dive into the specific impacts on people’s wellbeing. The findings include how different groups have been more or less negatively impacted, and which cultural activities have helped improve audience’s wellbeing.

Factors that affected how much an individual’s wellbeing had been impacted included both age and amount of existing cultural engagement in how much . Those under the age of 25 reported the gravest impact on their wellbeing, while adverse effects were felt less by lower-engaged audiences. The report also explores how families with children of different ages were impacted, as well as which age groups reported stronger feelings of loneliness or life satisfaction.

This report from The Audience Agency shares findings from a nationwide survey, the Cultural Participation Monitor. It is part of a wider national research programme that is building a robust and in-depth picture of the impacts of Covid-19 on the UK’s cultural sector.

This report dives deeper into findings relating to wellbeing from the third wave of the nationwide Covid-19 Cultural Participation Monitor, with fieldwork taking place online from 4 to 10 June 2021. It presents evidence to support the following:

  • Wellbeing has been very negatively affected by the pandemic, with one in three saying they’ve felt more lonely and less satisfied with their life.
  • These adverse effects though were felt less by lower-engaged audiences and young families.
  • Age is a big factor: younger audiences, in particular those under 25, have reported the gravest impact on their wellbeing since the pandemic, while older audiences were the least affected, enjoying greater stability in terms of free time and income, albeit having been less active and less social.
  • There is some evidence that engagement with arts and heritage during the pandemic has had a positive effect on wellbeing.

Read the full report to explore these findings in more detail.

The Covid-19 Cultural Participation Monitor is a research survey that samples thousands of people from all UK regions and walks of life, adding insight about the wider public's changing views on participating in creative and cultural activities through the pandemic.

It will take place in several waves so that changes in attitudes, behaviours and intentions can to be plotted accurately as the crisis evolves. This report is based on data from the third wave of the Cultural Participation Monitor (June 2021).

This report is part of a wider research programme led by the Centre for Cultural Value in collaboration with the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre and The Audience Agency. This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through UK Research and Innovation’s COVID-19 rapid rolling call.

Published: 2021
Resource type: Research