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University of Hull’s COVID-19 arts project part of national UUK campaign

The University of Hull has highlighted its Arts in Isolation project - started as a response to the widespread effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020 - as part of a national campaign by Universities UK to promote and support creativity and creative courses in the sector.

Universities UK has launched MadeAtUni: Creative Sparks, a campaign to showcase the creative talent produced by UK universities and encourage the Government to promote and support the importance of creativity and creative courses.

It follows research which shows UK parents are strongly in favour of university creative courses, recognising their economic benefit and the way in which they power the UK’s creative industries.

But there are fears that the UK’s renowned creative output could now be under threat, with two thirds (67 per cent) of UK parents acknowledging that creative industries have suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, the creative industries was the UK’s fastest growing sector, generating over £116 billion for the economy and directly employing 2.1 million people.

Created by The School of Arts at The University of Hull, the Arts in Isolation project was devised to examine the adaptations required to overcome major disruptions in creative production as well as the challenges of creating art and other creative works from isolation due to COVID 19.

Professor Andrew King, project leader and Head of School of the Arts at the University of Hull, said: “Unpredictable lockdown enforcements had a direct effect on the University’s School of Arts as students of music, drama, film, art, game design and more lost access to the university campus and its state-of-the-art facilities.”

Arts in Isolation collaborated with multiple industry partners to bring exciting opportunities to students and staff as well as local and even global audiences during lockdown.

One of these partners included the multi-award-winning Opera North who performed live for the first time in over a year on the University of Hull campus. The performance was live streamed for free to a global audience with students helping behind the scenes to make it a reality and gain real-life practical experience.

The Arts in Isolation project has been a great success at the university providing exciting and unique opportunities; from career focused student internships to an overall new outlook on how to foster and develop collaboration in what has been a turbulent period for arts and culture. Professor Andrew King, project leader and Head of School of the Arts at the University of Hull

The programme also offered students the opportunity to showcase their own work via social media and on the Arts in Isolation website.

The programme encouraged students to work collaboratively and individually on creative projects from home, with students learning how to produce short films independently; filming and editing the projects without the use of a film and TV studio or crew, but with the expert help of tutors working online.

One standout student collaboration was a performance entitled Hamlet in Lockdown; a digital multi-media adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic play.

Students led a multi-platform social media performance using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube; embodying the characters to tell the story via tweets, shares, videos and online conversations.

Students portrayed the characters interacting with one another online to mirror their relationships in the play. Student writers, actors, production managers and technicians all collaborated on this unique project in complete isolation.

Other partners included BBC Introducing and Century 21 Films. Each individual project brought an opportunity for knowledge exchange between the School and the Creative Industry partners as new avenues were explored to try facilitate this new way of working.

Andrew King said: “The Arts in Isolation project has been a great success at the university providing exciting and unique opportunities; from career focused student internships to an overall new outlook on how to foster and develop collaboration in what has been a turbulent period for arts and culture.”

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