Coronavirus: COVID-19

This post is replicated from my PoP blog because this module, as the previous one, is likely to be dominated by the threats and constraints placed on all of us by this global pandemic.

15th March 2020. As a note for the chronology of this set of circumstances, and because the relevance of those circumstances may not immediately come to mind in the future, Europe is now the epicentre of the Coronavirus (CORVID-19) pandemic. Here in the UK, those of us over 70 years of age or with health vulnerabilities are advised to stay away from enclosed spaces and to keep a social distance of 2 m between themselves and other people. In the next few days, the expectation may be that we will self-isolate at home, perhaps for several months.

This affects every aspect of the course from drawing or life classes, to finding friends or family to act as models, to going out looking for landscapes or visiting galleries. None of these options are currently open to many of us and so we’re falling back on what we have to hand – photographs, videos, virtual tours, and scenes from our windows. The university has in the last few days, moved the submission of assignments from physical to digital, and may be doing so for formal assessments too. See you on the other side!

12th September 2020. As we move into autumn and winter (in the northern hemisphere) infection rates are rising and restrictions recently relaxed are being reinstated. Over the past few months, people have experienced levels of stress and anxiety consistent with prolonged existential threat which has been linked to social and material losses. Thousands have died, many have developed post-COVID long term illnesses, connections between people have been disrupted by social distancing, and many have experienced food insecurity for the first time in their lives, due not to affordability but availability. Running alongside is political upheaval and an ever-encroaching climate catastrophe. In earlier crises, we could turn to each other for support; meet in groups, sing out our fears, join in resistance. And we knew where the enemy was. None of this is true for the current crisis. Chronic stress is an undercurrent of health compromise that may go unrecognised as we become used to its presence. Panic attacks and depression are on the increase.

In that first post, I listed a number of resources artists can use to feel connected to the art world and now I have added some resources that can help us all manage anxiety and panic. The ‘new normal’ is not normal; anyone who is feeling panicked or constantly vigilant is reacting to the reality of the world as it is; loneliness and isolation are killers. Getting through this is about management, not denial; these apps can help.

The Breathing App – regular quiet deep breathing

Beat Panic (NHS) – breathing in a crisis

Companion (NHS) breathing, relaxation, thought framing

Triangle Breathing, YouTube

This link goes to a page listing a number of virtual tours of galleries and museums.

British Museum


NGA Washington

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea 

John Paul Getty

Uffizi, Florence

MASP, Sao Paulo

Louvre, France

National Museum of Anthropology, New Mexico

Also, Google arts and culture street views

Google’s open heritage sites

And their Collections page

#Museumfromhome started by Sacha Coward, instagram and twitter @sacha_coward

I was invited recently to give a session to a writers’ group about kickstarting creativity and much the same applies to artists. These are some of the links that might just ease the sense of disconnection and demotivation so many of us are experiencing just now.

Never mind the Neurob******s

Listening and hearing “… brain areas that are used for producing speech are also important for understanding speech”

ASMR – “ASMR is the term for the sensation people get when they watch stimulating videos or take part in other activities — usually ones that involve personal attention. Many people describe the feeling as “tingles” that run through the back of someone’s head and spine. Others say the feeling is deeply relaxing, and can even cause them to fall asleep.” No need to watch the videos, audio only is preferable for many.

Left brain, right brain (whole brain, actually!)

Canal/ferry/train/ trips; look for Slow TV on YouTube. For example, this seven hour canal journey Rickmansworth to Yeading or this train ride from Bergen to Oslo in the winter

Default Brain Network

Why boredom can be good for you.

And again here via the BBC, first 10 mins or so.

Loch Arkaig osprey nest – The osprey and their fledglings have left now but there are other similar webcams the world over.

Abbey road crossing

Boredom, a Conversation article

Credentials: NHS Clinical Psychologist 1984-2012. See also About.

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