Getting creative about addressing social isolation

Researchers and practitioners across the United Kingdom are working hard to address a growing public health concern: social isolation and loneliness.

Embedded in their studies and recommendations are a few potential takeaways for arts and culture organizations, which we know from our research have a unique opportunity to re-frame themselves as places of social connection and bonding.

The facts

Loneliness is bad for you.  

According to studies emerging from research institutions across the UK, loneliness can be as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, avoiding exercise, and consuming alcohol in excessive quantities. Loneliness at work affects productivity and profits. And loneliness isn’t isolated to one demographic – people across geographies and age groups experience social isolation.

The opportunities

Cross-sector partners across the UK are using this data to get creative about how they can help people across their communities connect with one another. Without requiring much of an intellectual leap, we’re starting to see a number of opportunities for the arts sector to apply similar strategies to their spaces and programs—welcoming people in to connect with one another and advance their sense of well-being.

Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite examples coming from across the Atlantic: