Emotional toll of pandemic laid bare in new online exhibition

Dannielle Robinson's piece is among the art work that can be seen in the online exhibition.

Dannielle Robinson's piece is among the art work that can be seen in the online exhibition. - Credit: Dannielle Robinson

The stories of health staff and the emotional toll of the pandemic have been told through a new digital art exhibition.

The A Centenary of Caring project has been brought to life by students from Norwich University of Arts and the University of East Anglia's School of Health Sciences with the Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership.

Students met remotely with NHS staff working in the community to learn about their day-to-day work in the community and how the pandemic has affected them.

Works of art in the exhibit by staff and students take the form of photography, paintings, poetry, textiles and video including a short film from Brookland Care Home where two residents talk of how the pandemic has affected them.

Julie-Anne Stevens, specialist children’s community learning disability nurse at the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) created two placards for the exhibit. 

She said: “We engage and communicate with people safely and effectively so that people understand us and are then able to keep themselves and the rest of their family safe.

"I was hesitant to take part because I am not an artist. I am so, so pleased that I did."

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The LDN the Starfish Learning Disability Team said the pandemic had been "anxiety-provoking" in so many ways.

The nurse said: "For some children, I think they have engaged better whilst others have found this difficult. My table is strewn with puppets, Lego, cuddly toys of Minecraft characters as well as paper and pens.”

Carl Rowe, associate professor and course leader in Fine Art at NUA, said the result of the artworks revealed an insight into the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Third-year fine art student Libby Seymour, whose father is a consultant in public health, said: "For me, this project has been an opportunity to reflect on both my own and other people's experiences of the pandemic. At home, we have supported my dad who works in public health, but I have become more aware of the mental strain working during the pandemic can have on those who don’t have the same support. I hope this exhibition acts as a moment to pause and reflect for others too.”

The exhibition is running until March 12 and can be seen here.