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Arts & Culture

Brain waves: Accessing creative cultural activity for people living with brain injury through and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Brain waves

Brain Waves is related to our larger SHAPER programme.


The COVID-19 crisis has led to a radical shift in the way in which people access culture, mirrored by the way relevant organisations make cultural activities happen. For people with brain injury, these challenges are more acute given their greater isolation and loneliness. Research (Headway) shows that, even before COVID, more than 70% of brain injury survivors experience a deterioration in their social life. We also know that 80% of the UK’s 1.1m stroke survivors live at home and within 6 months of discharge less than 50% participate in meaningful activities and 25% no longer leave their homes.

We will investigate the COVID-19 specific challenges faced by people living with brain injury and build on the work of the arts/health organisation, Rosetta Life and its Stroke Odysseys project. We will assess what impact social isolation has on access to cultural activity for these people living with brain injury, and help relevant organisations across the UK adapt their programming


We plan to:

  • Undertake participatory action research- establishing a performance arts care and living laboratory initiative with people living with brain injury, artists, healthcare practitioners.
  • Co-design new resources and approaches to engagement activities from the living lab initiative for online availability.
  • Map the motivations, expectations, experience and outcomes of the community of people living with brain injury.
  • Film and share the process online, disseminate the results including a significant conference event.

Importantly, we will put the voice of people living with brain injury at the heart of our work.

Project status: Ongoing
Brain Waves2

Principal Investigators



Funding Body: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Amount: £330,000

Period: December 2020 - June 2022