UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities


Lockdown Cultures: The arts and humanities in the year of the pandemic, 2020-21

10 November 2022

Lockdown Cultures, with contributors from academics across the arts and humanities at UCL and beyond, has been published via open access today by UCL Press.

Lockdown cultures cover

Co-edited by Stella Bruzzi and Maurice Biriotti, with Sam Caleb and Harvey Wiltshire and a foreword by UCL President and Provost Michael Spence, Lockdown Cultures provides an evocative variety of snapshot responses from members of a community of scholars to an extraordinary social phenomenon: lockdown.

The book examines responses to lockdown through different creative lenses and from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, looking at how responses to the arts, culture, humanities and history changed through Covid. Lockdown Cultures captures how, in the year of the pandemic, we reassessed and reengaged with our subjects.

While each contributor’s approach varies, there are two dominant themes: how art and culture can help us understand the Covid crisis; and how the value of the humanities can be demonstrated by engaging with cultural products from the past

Stella Bruzzi, Executive Dean of UCL Arts & Humanities and co-editor, commented: “This book provided an opportunity for academics who work within…the arts and humanities to do something different from their normal academic practice: to respond freely to the extraordinary situation that they, like everyone else, faced during lockdown. That freedom provides a unique insight into how people within disciplines related to arts and humanities use the objects…[and] methods…[of] their study…to engage with the world around them.”

As UCL’s President and Provost Michael Spence states in his foreword in the book, “This volume represents a brilliant snapshot of the arts and humanities while memory of the early stages of the pandemic is still visceral. The work draws on a wide range of disciplines and of responses both analytical and creative…it is UCL at our very best.”

Download Lockdown Cultures

Maurice Biriotti is Professor of Applied Humanities at UCL and Chief Executive of SHM, a humanities and social science-based consultancy firm

Stella Bruzzi is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Professor of Film, UCL

Sam Caleb is a London Arts and Humanities Partnership-funded PhD candidate in English Literature at UCL

Harvey Wiltshire is a Teaching Fellow in Early Modern Literature, Shakespeare and Inclusive Pedagogies at Royal Holloway (University of London), having completed his PhD at UCL