Beacon: loneliness and community

The Centre’s Beacon Projects aspire to exemplify the ways in which the Centre aims to create and sustain cultures and environments of health through transdisciplinary engaged research.

Loneliness and Community

Dr Fred Cooper, Dr Charlotte Jones, Professor Mark Jackson, and Professor Manuela Barreto.

This Beacon draws together a series of transdisciplinary research, engagement, and policy strands on loneliness in and beyond Higher Education. The core project of the Beacon uses medical humanities methodologies to engage student co-researchers in transformative work on loneliness and mental health, most recently in the charged and altered context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Led by Dr Fred Cooper and Dr Charlotte Jones, this project uses mixed-media journalling alongside new online spaces for creativity, solidarity, vulnerability, disclosure, and reflection. It also bridges vital gaps between student experience and university policymaking.

Other strands include a creative and pedagogical collaboration with the playwright Natalie McGrath and Exeter’s Northcott Theatre on LGBTQ+ loneliness, stigma, and history; the creation of a loneliness network to bring together academics, students, university staff, community organisations, charities, public health experts, and people with lived experience of loneliness;  a policy report for the WHO Regional Office for Europe on the cultural contexts of youth loneliness; and a UNESCO-funded repository for reflections on loneliness and isolation in lockdown in Devon and Exeter, with Olly Clabburn, Devon Libraries and Exeter Phoenix.



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