New UCL Press book reflects on the impact of lockdown on arts and humanities

Posted on November 10, 2022 by Alison Fox

Brand new open access book Lockdown Cultures reflects on impact of COVID-19 lockdown on arts and humanities. 

Published today, Lockdown Cultures: The arts and humanities in the year of the pandemic, 2020-21 offers a unique response to the question of how the humanities commented on and were impacted by one of the dominant crises of our times: the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the role of engineers, epidemiologists and, of course, medics is assumed, Lockdown Cultures illustrates some of the ways in which the humanities understood and analysed 2020–21, the year of lockdown and plague. Though the impulse behind the book was topical, underpinning the richly varied and individual essays is a lasting concern with the value of the humanities in the twenty-first century. Each contributor approaches this differently but there are two dominant strands: how art and culture can help us understand the Covid crisis; and how the value of the humanities can be demonstrated by engaging with cultural products from the past.

The result is a book that serves as testament to the humanities’ reinvigorated and reforged sense of identity, from the perspective of UCL and one of the leading arts and humanities faculties in the world. It bears witness to a globally impactful event while showcasing interdisciplinary thinking and examining how the pandemic has changed how we read, watch, write and educate. More than thirty individual contributions collectively reassert the importance of the arts and humanities for contemporary society.

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