Call for participation: Research project on Covid-19's impact on freelance artists

This message and call for participation in the research project is from the team leading the study. If you have any questions about the project, please email Holly at hm19531@essex.ac.uk.

With so many freelancers severely affected by the Covid pandemic, Dr Holly Maples, from East 15 School of Acting, who is also a freelance director and academic, has decided to created a research project that looks specifically at the effects of Covid-19 on freelance artists in the UK.

This study is for UK based freelance theatre workers across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, in all disciplines. We are looking for a number of types of contribution from participants in our study, including focus group interviews, consultation, and a large scale survey to be launched in November 2020.

Freelancers wishing to take part in the research should email hm19531@essex.ac.uk.

Our study investigates the social, economic, and cultural impact of COVID-19 on the work and livelihoods of independent arts workers. Through our large scale survey, our interviews and focus groups we will be examining the effects of the pandemic on theatre arts workers and asking whether they vary, based on factors like age, background, ethnic group and location. Our data collection investigates how individual theatre-makers are supporting each other through the pandemic, and exploring the various networks that existed before the crisis helping freelancers, and how are these networks transforming during this time. We will also investigate the effects to theatre arts workers creative practice as well as livelihoods. We are also gathering creative responses to the pandemic to allow arts workers to voice their experience in a variety of ways suitable to their medium. We will make a short film of these creative responses solely with participants’ consent and use this to further raise awareness of the issues and importance of freelance arts workers for the larger community and funding bodies.

We have a number of different types of research participation we will be conducting. Currently we are in the early stages and are conducting some individual interviews to particularly advise the development of our survey and our later focus group interviews as well as consulting with freelancers on what particularly they would like to see developed and investigated through the research.

All participants' information will be kept confidential. Research participants will be informed at all times about who will have access to their research data, both during the project and after it has been completed. The research team are the sole individuals accessing the research, and transcriptions of interviews and focus group discussions will be done by Dr Maples and the project post-doctoral research assistants. Personal and sensitive data in our research project will not be made available publicly.