Sussex academic to be part of group exploring the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups
By: Tom Walters
Last updated: Tuesday, 9 February 2021
The University of Sussex is to be part of a large multi-disciplinary consortium managed by Black and Asian professors entitled the Consortium on Practices for Wellbeing and Resilience in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Families and Communities (Co-POWeR).
Awarded £2.5 million by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) via the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Raminder Kaur, Professor of Anthropology and Cultural Studies in the School of Global Studies, is one of nine Co-Investigators in a team led by Iyiola Solanke, Professor of EU Law and Social Justice at Leeds.
CO-POWeR is an 18-month project to explore how emergency COVID-19 powers are disproportionately impacting people from BAME backgrounds, and how the pandemic is affecting care and caring, as well as mental and physical health and wellbeing across all genders and ages.
Kaur will be leading on one of five work packages with dedicated Research Fellows who will channel the field material to coproduce multi-media and multi-platform narratives to target prejudice and stigmatisation. Working closely with Positive Negatives, and theatre companies, Sohaya Visions and Mukul & Ghetto Tigers, this will include the use of graphic arts, digital media and theatre for non-fiction and fiction outputs.
Kaur said: “These outputs are needed to counter the ‘mis-infodemics’ that we live with, exacerbated as they are by social media. They can undermine the understanding of the public health crisis as well as marginalise BAME communities. Our aim is to create innovative spaces for intercultural dialogue between BAME and official actors and establish platforms for relatively powerless populations to tell their stories as a therapeutic and creative outlet. It is also to relay to healthcare sectors and mainstream audiences the experiences and needs of BAME individuals”.
The researchers will also support the CO-POWeR team to make recommendations to relevant authorities and policymakers on interventions to support BAME groups and resilience for present and future health crises.
UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated longstanding inequalities in health, employment and education in the UK.
“Emerging evidence suggests that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds have experienced the hardest economic shocks. We cannot ignore the social, cultural and economic factors that have shaped the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities throughout the pandemic.
“It is crucial that we understand the depth and breadth of the impacts of these factors so that we can take action to alleviate the consequences for these communities.”