Research shows pandemic’s toll on arts and creative sector workers’ mental health

Research shows pandemic’s toll on arts and creative sector workers’ mental health

Experts from RMIT University are available to talk about the impact of Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions on arts workers, including creative and technical workers and the implications for their mental health.

Researchers are studying the impact of the arts shutdown on workers’ emotional and mental health.

Australia’s arts industry has been devastated by the pandemic and these challenges flow onto their mental health.

Findings from a survey show the pandemic has made unsteady work even more precarious for artists and workers.

Survey closes 26 October – more information. Read more about the study in The Conversation.

Dr Natalie Hendry (0402 843 275 or natalie.hendry@rmit.edu.au)

Topics:  mental health, arts workers, social media, precarious labour, relationship between work and mental health

“Some workers felt hopeless and were worried they’d lose their skill set or that the industry was changed forever.

“Many people in our study spoke about multiple jobs and short-term contracts or project-based work, with little financial or social security.

“But the pandemic challenges this ‘normal uncertainty’.

“With suddenly empty schedules and an interruption to seasonal work patterns, these arts workers have lost the structures and routines that provided rhythm – and mental stability – to their lives. This is on top of long-term funding challenges for the sector in Australia.

“Participants stressed that we can’t tease apart artists’ work, community, and mental health. They are all interrelated.

“This means that supporting this industry is complex. Opening up opportunities for more clinical mental health services doesn’t fit for all artists and workers.

“Workers talked about how they nurtured their wellbeing through their work and sense of self as an artist and their connections within their artistic communities.”

Dr Natalie Hendry is a Vice-Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT University. She researches how people experience mental ill-health in their families, and how social media influences health decisions and education.

 

Dr Jacinthe Flore (0450 670 105 or jacinthe.flore@rmit.edu.au)

Topics:  mental health, arts workers, social media, precarious labour, relationship between work and mental health

“Going digital cannot solve all of the industry’s problems.

“Some performers and artists easily moved into working online or from home. But many participants said they were left out.

“Technical and administration workers are waiting for something to change – they can’t readily step into back-up work doing lighting jobs or sound work for events.

“The role of the creative arts is essential during a crisis like COVID-19. The arts can help recovery and lead creative, innovative and social ways of moving out of the pandemic.”

Dr Jacinthe Flore is a Vice-Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Social and Global Studies Centre at RMIT University. Her main areas of research include mental health and digital media.

***

For media enquiries, please contact RMIT Communications: 0439 704 077 or news@rmit.edu.au

Subscribe to RMIT NewsSubscribe
aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer