banner image
17 | 03 | 21
03 | 21

Why arts and humanities are vital to post-COVID recovery

Annalink OSHCstudens – As critical societal challenges of great consequence and complexity unfold, from the global pandemic and inequities in access to healthcare, to global warming and forced migration, to authoritarianism and the breakdown of democratic institutions, the arts and humanities have a critical role to play.


As modes of inquiry, the arts and humanities help us to understand these crises and their contexts and translate knowledge into solutions for social impact. If universities are to play a leading role in fostering cultural understanding and advancing democracy and social justice – especially at moments of great uncertainty – they must invest in research and creative practices that provide insight into the human dimensions of these pressing challenges.

Integrated arts and humanities methods and practices are central to this equation. They provide indispensable tools for understanding our geopolitical and historical place in the world, methods that foreground deep observation, listening and empathy and skills to communicate diverse viewpoints and imaginative possibilities. Significantly, they cultivate the compassion that drives social change.

The need for cross-disciplinary research

Education for the 21st century requires investment in both core disciplinary and cross-disciplinary competencies. But far too often the arts and humanities are divested of such resources.

Many universities advocate for a shift in institutional cultures from siloed thinking to a collaborative mindset. But resource-centred management budgets that tie priorities to enrolment, and admissions decisions that reinforce the migration of enrolments to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors, encumber arts and humanities contributions and collaborations.

From crisis to contextual thinking

The pandemic has exacerbated these challenges and brought new opportunities. Administrators and educators have had to pivot in unexpected and strategic ways. In the midst of pandemic lockdowns in the spring of 2020, the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme, an initiative that I presently direct, developed a rapid response grants programme to support pandemic-related research and creative productions.

Nineteen cross-disciplinary projects were funded, including a study of narrative communication between patients and physicians in the development of care plans that mitigate complications arising from COVID-19; a project that models transformational community engagement through the collection of testimonies of Latinas/os/x during COVID-19 in Ohio and making these digitalised stories available for students enrolled in coursework for the health professions; and an art collaboration between dancers in the United States and South Africa that focused on community resilience in the midst of the pandemic.

While the construct of COVID-related solutions may be a limited framework for understanding the applicability and relevance of arts and humanities research and creative expression, humanistic inquiry shapes how we see the world around us, how we conceptualise and categorise knowledge and how we live and adapt.

As the global pandemic illustrates, cultural practices and creative expressions are just as important to survive a pandemic as are medical interventions. Indeterminate in scope and scale, ‘wicked problems’ not only require attention to global systems but to local cultures and histories and therefore compel a shift from crisis to contextual thinking.

Cultural practices nourish human connections in times of deep human peril. Crises may pressure the public to recognise shared vulnerabilities, but recognition of these connections does not in and of itself dismantle hierarchies or social differentials.

Attention to how crisis and catastrophe frameworks function is vital as we face the likelihood that enduring material conditions of precariousness will bring further inequality. Vaccine distribution, for example, has made the deep link between the history of racial disparities and access to healthcare all the more visible and consequential. In other words, seemingly emergent challenges are tied to histories of structural inequities.

Creative and humanistic inquiry helps us to better understand these histories and their present formations. While the arts and humanities are clearly not immune to crisis, they are central to demystifying the logics and histories that underlie crises and envisioning new imaginative and socially just possibilities.

Innovations and interventions

As part of a university-wide initiative to build a sense of intellectual community through cross-disciplinary research and cluster hiring, Ohio State University committed US$2.5 million in annual-rate funding and another US$2.5 million in one-time cash to support the development of the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme.

Since its founding in 2016, the initiative has hired seven tenure-track faculty and 16 postdoctoral fellows, awarded 15 full-year graduate fellowships that provide students with an opportunity to gain cross-disciplinary mentorship and invested US$3.8 million in cross-disciplinary research grants.

Global Arts + Humanities rapid response COVID-19 grants build on its earlier investments in the medical arts and humanities, including a project that drew on scholarly expertise in the arts and sciences, engineering and nursing in the creation of a collaborative-gaming platform for disabled children to connect with others, using human-centred technologies.

In addition to timely investments, building on the initiative’s central commitment to social justice, Global Arts + Humanities has partnered with other units at the university to expand support for research on racial injustice and resistance.

Among the funded projects is a multi-staged seed grant for the Prison Education Exchange Project, which will increase the number and disciplinary range of Inside-Out Prison Exchange courses offered through Ohio State.

If cross-disciplinary research is to be truly transformative and nurture lasting development in thought and action, it must integrate and elevate the arts and humanities across the full breadth of the university mission: research, teaching and community engagement.

It is incumbent upon those of us administering cross-disciplinary programmes to recognise the vital role of the arts and humanities in giving voice to the struggles that contour the human experience and developing the ethical commitments that inspire equitable futures.


OSHCstudents (Source Universityworldnews)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


News related

Things are not covered by OSHC in Australia 24/10/2023 | 590 Views

Things are not covered by OSHC in Australia

OSHCstudents-Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is mandatory for international students in Australia, and it provides coverage for a range of medical services. The specific coverage may vary slightly depending on the insurance provider and policy, but here are some common aspects of what is typically not covered by OSHC.
How to maintain a healthy diet as an international student in Australia? 22/10/2023 | 430 Views

How to maintain a healthy diet as an international student in Australia?

OSHCstudents-Embarking on an international academic journey is an exciting and enriching experience, but it often comes with unique challenges, including maintaining a healthy diet. As an international student in Australia, the unfamiliarity with local food options, budget constraints, and the temptation of fast food can sometimes make it a daunting task to prioritize nutrition. In this guide, we will explore practical tips and insights to help you navigate the Australian culinary landscape, make informed food choices, and ensure that your time as an international student is not only academically rewarding but also a journey towards a healthier you.
Baek Ah Yeon

I trust Allianz Care since it is one of the largest insurance companies in Australia, with the medical centres where I only have to pay for what is left from insurance support. (no need to claim later). Besides, those centres are located at the centre of the city, close to schools. Very convenient, right? Credits to Allianz Care for providing reliable medical centres for health check and treatments.

Baek Ah Yeon | University of Queensland

Ariella Pei

I’ve been living with homestay family for 2 years. I’m now 19, I can move out but I don’t want to leave my host, who has become my family. It feels like I’ve met my second family. Thanks OSHCstudents for sending me to this homestay!

Ariella Pei | University of Canberra

Chatchawat Paton

I realised how important insurance was when I started living in Australia. There I switched to using Allianz Care instead of the previous service. Allianz Care is extraordinarily good in its consulting service and customer care. I’ve learned a lot about Australian health care, also I was consulted with mental issues and how to live a healthy lifestyle. I am very happy now.

Chatchawat Paton | Torrent University

Phuong Anh

Having lived in Australia for 2 years, I’ve been reliant on AHM OSHC to pay for my health care, which supports me for other expenses. Last year, I sent my claim requests for several times and always received the claims within two days. Everything is easy, fast and simple.

Phuong Anh | Victoria University

Xiaoyu Cheng

Thanks to Allianz Care, every time I claimed my medical receipts it processed much more quickly and easily than I expected. I was initially a bit concerned since Allianz Care is more expensive than other insurance companies, but now I can ensure that it is totally worth the money.

Xiaoyu Cheng | Monash University


My homestay was very comfortable and convenient. My host was really kind. He showed me where to shop, which buses to catch, where the nearest train station is, to get off at which station so that I wouldn’t be taken to another suburb. Travelling was easy since the place was close to public transports. It only took 30 minutes to get to my college, actually I could go anywhere easily!

Emma | Macquarie University

Jing Zhang

When told that I was going to live with an Italian family, I was pretty nervous and doubted whether or not they could speak English well as the local people? Yet it was no longer a problem when I saw them. They knew the problems of people who first came to Australia and always tried to help me. I learned so many things about both Australian and Italian culture and enjoyed tasty Italian meals every time. Awesome!

Jing Zhang | Griffith University

OSHCstudents Services


  • PTE Platform
  • Inus
  • Flywire
  • Imagine Education Australia
  • Shorelight
  • Opera City English College


  • Pearson PTE Academic
  • King Education
  • North Sydney College English
  • NIB
  • HCC
  • Global Experience
  • Bupa
  • Vodafone
  • OVHC Iman
  • Allianz
  • Medibank
  • AHM