About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Illustration of a person painting and a person playing the guitar

For many people, arts and creativity offer solace from difficult times. Since lockdown began, many organisations have swiftly adapted their work in teaching, guiding, sharing and promoting the arts, and have created resources for more people to use and enjoy.

Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre has been tracking how people are consuming culture at home during lockdown. Y Lab is investigating how more people might be able to access arts and health interventions in the middle of a global pandemic. Nesta’s Arts Impact Fund investees are adapting what they do to help their audiences stay engaged.

For those at home alone, with families, housemates and for people experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation, we’ve put together a list of organisations and projects sharing their love of the arts digitally and opportunities to explore new ways of being creative.

  • Impelo Home – an ‘online dance studio’ with free classes to suit different ages, physical abilities and energy levels.
  • Parable Dance Fun 15 – Live, online 15-minute dance classes aimed at families and people in residential or assisted living but available to all. Parable include seated classes, ‘dance jams’ and stretch classes to suit as many people as possible.
  • Luminate at Home – Scottish charity Luminate have been producing regular creative classes which are available for free to all. Through their videos, you can learn to write poetry, weave, make marbled paper or create a living archive. New classes are published weekly.
  • Life Drawing Live – The largest ever life drawing class! Live models appear on screen whilst artists and teachers give tips and advice throughout the class to encourage people to pick up a pencil and draw.
  • HOOT from Home – HOOT Creative Arts believe that creativity and imagination is key to mental wellbeing and health. They run online classes three times a week alongside their work in adult mental health services.
  • BBC Culture in Quarantine – BBC have brought together music and theatre performances, radio programmes, online gallery spaces and masterclasses into their Culture in Quarantine site which is free and updated daily with new things to watch and do.
  • National Theatre Live – Each week the National Theatre broadcasts a performance recorded for their Live series, or from their archive, to YouTube for free. You can watch live or for seven days afterwards.
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra STROKESTRA – Gentle movement exercises are demonstrated through free videos alongside live musical accompaniment from Royal Philharmonic players to improve mobility and aid recovery from stroke.
  • The Singing Hinnies – Recognising that older people are at greater risk of isolation and loneliness during lockdown, Equal Arts based in Gateshead are delivering bread and milk and other essentials with a song – they safely drop off supplies and then sing a few songs to bring some company and connection.
  • Dementia Disco – Dementia Disco uses music to create connection and spark memories and conversation. Normally held in person, Stockport Council have taken their discos online to help reduce anxiety, maintain speech and language abilities for those with dementia.
  • Drama Geezers YouTube workshops – The Drama Geezers share a daily drama game for families on YouTube to encourage creativity and play at home.
  • Birmingham Royal Ballet Home from Home – Members of the Birmingham Royal Ballet company of dancers and orchestra share mini how-tos on their social media channels. You can also take a ballet class with 46 ballet dancers from around the world.
  • National Theatre Wales lockdown theatre – Watch theatre written during lockdown through NTW’s ‘Network’ scheme, including participatory production ‘Life Coach’ or catch up with previous work now available online.
  • Tenovus Sing with Us – Tenovus Sing with Us choirs are for anyone affected by cancer. Started in 2010, the charity has proven that singing is good for you and have taken their choirs online to reach people during lockdown.
  • Sofa Singers – Every week, Sofa Singers brings together hundreds of people from around the world together virtually to learn a classic song and sing it simultaneously. 45 minutes of singing is followed by an optional virtual tea break.