In 2021, the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture, in partnership with SFU post-doctoral fellow Carolyne Clare and Global Public Affairs, started a conversation with British Columbians — about creativity. We sought to answer two key questions:
- How did BC residents use creativity and the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic? To answer this question, we created and distributed a survey to a representative sample of the BC population.
- How did arts organizations support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic? To answer this question, our team interviewed 40 arts organizations based across the seven regions of BC.
We are pleased to present our report: Everyday Creativity & COVID-19 in BC.
This report examines the ways in which BC residents turned to creative activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study uses a broad definition of creative activities, with examples including listening to music, trying a new recipe, reading a book, making crafts, taking dance classes, watching movies or TV, viewing a live show, learning a language, attending an art gallery and more.
The study concludes that, during the pandemic, BC residents valued the positive impact of creative activities on their mental health, particularly residents who identified as female, living with a disability, or living below the median income level. Moreover, our study showed that arts organizations across BC worked through the pandemic with the specific aim of supporting their community’s wellbeing by offering public programs such as affordable arts-based childcare, online singing groups, or outdoor gatherings, and that these programs were considered a lifeline to various communities. Finally, the study suggests that cultural policies and practices in BC might be democratized by shifting to enable and provide wider access to arts-based initiatives that support community wellbeing.