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Pulse Survey: how have young creatives been affected by COVID-19?

Young people and students face huge uncertainty and disruption 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to cancelled exams, universities closures and degree shows cancelled or postponed.

We asked creatives between the ages of 15 and 30 to tell us how they’d been personally affected: here’s a round-up of the key points.

  • GCSE and A Level students are at home with limited access to materials and in many cases a lack of space for messy creative work. Respondents raised concerns about lost teaching, how predicted grades will be calculated and the process of applying to college and university courses.

'I will probably miss some teaching (or have to teach myself) which will have a significant impact on my GCSEs'

  • University students expressed anxiety and frustration about having to complete their courses without access to materials, facilities, libraries or creative workspaces. Some mentioned that they had not yet been given information about how they would be graded.

'The lack of support for masters students--we have been told to still do our exams when I have no way of making work as my course is practical. There is no thought to the added impact and stresss this has.'

  • The cancellation of degree shows was a key concern, with respondents flagging the loss of associated networking and career development opportunities.

'I'm in the final year of a ceramics degree--degree show has been cancelled, as have many graduate shows we were planning on doing this summer. It's also very hard to stay motivated to finish the degree, working from home only on digital/written work without access to facilities and materials..'

  • Young people at the start of their careers have faced the loss of  work placements, residencies and professional development opportunities
  • Respondents flagged a range of financial challenges: loss of part-time jobs; zero-hours contact work impacted; freelance contracts cancelled and self-employed makers unable to sell work. These were combined with concerns about continued rental payments for university accommodation that had been closed and securing enough income to meet basic needs.

'I left my home and my job for a long term artists residency that was cancelled after one week. I have nothing to go back to'

'After working hard to build my career, worried I’ll have to start over again.'

  • Wellbeing is a key issue, with 76% of respondents reporting that if the situation continued for up to six months it would have a negative impact on their mental health. Young Minds have published some advice for young people on managing mental health during the crisis.

Our young people's survey is still open--if you're aged between 15 and 30 you can tell us how COVID-19 has affected you here.

In response to this feedback, Crafts Council is working on a programme of support for young people and students  to include:

  • Online portfolio reviews for Year 12 and 13 students
  • Online tutorials with makers offering feedback and advice about how to finish work without access to a studio space
  • A webinar supporting students to think about possible alternatives to physical grad shows
  • Online support for students and graduates thinking about setting up a creative business
  • Digital meet-ups hosted by our Young Craft Citizens

Follow @craftsyouth on Twitter to stay up to date or email participation@craftscouncil.org.uk for further information. 

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