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Emerging from Lockdown

Emerging from Lockdown is a University of Warwick research project led by Professor Jackie Hodgson (Warwick Law School; Centre for Operational Police Research).

The project was presented as part of the Feelings of Freedom Festival on November 26 at Warwick Arts Centre. It also formed part of a window display of the project in Coventry's West Midlands Police Museum in November/December 2021.

The research

Since March 2020, the UK has been in some form of lockdown, restricting our movement and our ability to meet with others in our homes, in cafes, bars and clubs, and outside.

This has been backed by police powers of dispersal, the use of temporary barriers to control public mobility, and the ability to issue fixed penalty notices of £100 where more than six people or two households have gathered outside.

There were also fines of up to £10,000 for those holding or involved in prohibited gatherings indoors of more than 30 people.

The research features in the windows of West Midlands Police Museum.

The project appears in the display window of the Cosy Club in central Coventry.

Through interviews with 25 people in Coventry city centre in June 2021, the research asks how people have experienced this loss of freedom and what their new-found liberty looks like as they emerge out of lockdown and return to the city.

This poses a further question about what ‘new normal’ spaces in the city may materialise, and the extent to which the extraordinary measures introduced in lockdown might be retained in a post-pandemic world.

We ask how criminal justice powers to enforce public health restrictions have impacted individuals.

How do people with young families, those working in front line services, retail, hospitality, the arts or at-home experience the city?

How did they understand the legal restrictions on their freedom of movement, and how does the city feel now that they're free to move, meet and gather as they please?

These responses have been woven into a fictionalised story, written by Georgie Evans - "Blinking in the Light" - and then narrated by actor Bharti Patel in a short film alongside images from the Coventry Grid project.

Emerging from Lockdown is a research and engagement project led by Professor Jackie Hodgson (Warwick Law School; Centre for Operational Police Research) in collaboration with Dave Allen (The Grid Project).

Research assistance was provided by Georgie Evans & Livia Mercusa; Georgie Evans also wrote the fictionalised narrative; Bharti Patel narrated the film. The project received support from Sustainable Cities Global Research Priority, and Warwick's Resonate festival.