The COVID-19 pandemic and art (19andART)’ project, funded by the 2020/21 GYA North-South Interdisciplinary Grant, has produced a database prototype, visualising the geographic and time information of COVID19-related art on an openly accessible website, as the first step of an exploratory analysis.

In an interim report, the project group describes the focus of their data collection on publicly shared databases on social media and available archives of art. Research assistants used snowball sampling to find co-occurring relevant hashtags, and concluded on six hashtags which were used to find data on Facebook, Instagram, and Google Arts and Culture: #covidart, #covid_art, #covid19_art, #covid19art, #covidart2020, #covidartmuseum, and #covidartchallenge. Other resources used include the German Coronarchive database, the “Journal of a Plague Year” archive, and the “Urban Art Mapping” project. These websites all list COVID-19 related art and media. In the first phase, the group worked with a sample of approximately 5000 data points, which show a URL link to the webpage containing the art, the time of uploading of the art piece, and its location. Users can thus explore artworks based on geographical locations and creation dates. For copyright reasons, art could not directly be shown on the website. You can visit the final prototype via the project’s website:

The group reports that data collection was limited to publicly shared art on social media, which excludes many artists who may not have publicly shared their work. In addition, the use of English-lanugage hashtags, different cultural practices related to sharing art, and unequal access to internet in different parts of the world bias the sample. The first issue can be countered by generating and using a more inclusive pool of hashtags.

While work will continue on the project database and website, a pilot thematic content analysis is now planned using a small, randomly selected sample of COVID-19 related art on the German Coronarchive database and the “Journal of a Plague Year” archive. The team is simultaneously conducting an academic literature review on the topic.


Participants in the 2020/21 North-South Interdisciplinary Grant project ’19andART’


Co-investigators (GYA members)
Stefan Kohler (Heidelberg University, Germany)
Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed (University of Toronto, Canada)
Mohamed Elhadidy (Zewail City of Science and Technology, Egypt)
Cristina Blanco Sío-López (University of Pittsburgh, USA)
Paul Mason (Taronga Conservation Society, Australia)
Andreea Molnar (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia)
Xuan Bach Tran (Hanoi Medical University, Vietnam)

Research assistants
Aparna Moitra (Post-doc, University of Toronto, Canada)
Maryam Mokhberi (PhD student, University of Toronto, Canada)


About the GYA North-South Interdisciplinary Grant

This annual grant scheme was initiated in 2014, aiming to foster collaboration across the regional and disciplinary lines that often separate researchers and limit possibilities. Specifically, this scheme facilitates the development of small-scale, innovative, curiosity-driven, blue-sky, exploratory research pilots or prototypes that cross disciplinary boundaries and unite researchers in low to middle-income and high-income countries.
The North-South Interdisciplinary Grant is awarded annually, and is meant to provide seed money to enable GYA members to prepare a proof of concept, prototype, or pilot research project with a view to securing larger external funding.

Read more on current and past grant projects here:

2020-21: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Art

2019-20: Citizen Science for Reducing Exposure to Urban Air Pollution

2018-19: Digital Storytelling to Counter Language Endangerment

2017-18: Bio-Char for Food Security and Sustainable Ecosystem Services

2016-17: Ethics in environmental decision-making: From individual acts to global outcomes?

2015-16: Connecting Epigenetics and Natural Resources

2014-15: One-dimensional molecular current wires using tailored to‐the‐purpose chemistry