A unique visual arts project highlighting how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted and united communities across Liverpool is spreading across the city.
‘Visible Virals’ will see pop-up works in public spaces and venues in neighbourhoods across the city over the next six weeks, bringing to life the city’s Public Health Annual Report.
Digital screens, street art and installations will be used to invite people to interact either digitally, on social media or physically, using the hashtag #wearescousers and the slogan ‘It’s in our DNA’ to show how communities came together to support each other.
It is a partnership between Culture Liverpool and the city’s Public Health team, aimed at provoking public discussion and reflection on the city’s experience of Coronavirus – and encouraging resilience and boosting community spirit as we head into the next phase of responding to and recovering from the pandemic.
The project has been driven by the experiences of people across Liverpool, who were asked for their personal reflections on the pandemic at a series of workshops.
The installations will also explain how and why viruses spread, and how measures such as social distancing, hand washing, face coverings and fresh air mitigate the impact.
Two drop-in events are being held next week for people to share their experiences which will be filmed for inclusion in the project and the next Public Health Annual Report, if they wish:
• The Liverpool Lighthouse, Oakfield Road, Anfield, L4 0UF – Thursday, 17 February, 11am-2pm
• The Florrie, Mill Street, Dingle, L8 4RF – Friday 18 February, 11am-2pm – **this event has been postponed due to forecast bad weather**
The finale will take place on the second anniversary of the first lockdown, on Wednesday 23 March, at the Museum of Liverpool where digital screens and projections will draw on the collection of archive materials from the pandemic and there will also be interactive games and installations.
The project has been driven by a collective of Liverpool based arts organisations, with Apt Creative leading on the project in partnership with Focal Studios and Def Proc.
Visible Virals has been made possible through funding from Arts Council England and Public Health Liverpool.
Director of Public Health Liverpool, Matthew Ashton said: “Behind closed doors across the city, Covid-19 impacted on communities across Liverpool.
“Visible Virals gives us a chance to tell the stories of people’s experience of lockdown and the pandemic, provoking discussion and sharing experiences.
“It is also a chance to shine a spotlight on the incredible community spirit that exists in our city that has shone through over the last two years.”
Councillor Frazer Lake, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “The pandemic affected everyone, altering behaviours and really impacting on mental health.
“Provoking discussions and sharing experiences is all part of the healing process, so we hope Visible Virals will also show people that they were not alone in struggling, and that we are stronger together.”
Jen Cleary, Director North, Arts Council England, said: “We know how important experiencing and participating in arts and culture is to our health and wellbeing and I’m delighted that the Arts Council has supported this project.
“The pandemic has had a huge effect on all our lives and it’s great that the experiences of this community will be captured and shared as part of Visible Virals, in celebration of the way that people came together during lockdown and looking ahead to how we move forward together into the future.”
Rachael Boden, Managing Director of Apt Creative, said: “The double helix DNA artwork and ‘we are’ tagline are inspired by the people of Liverpool.
“When we thanked people for their kindness during lockdown they said ‘no need for thanks it’s who we are, it’s in our DNA’.”