Lorna Collins is a Research Fellow in the Social Research Unit at University College London. She researches the impact of COVID-19 on people who are minoritised, with long health conditions and from minority ethnic groups. Lorna also researches arts and health. Previous projects examined the efficacy of online art workshops in the focus group of women and domestic abuse. She also researched the impact of arts and health interventions for frontline healthcare workers at University College London Hospitals. Her active research in arts and health began from her PhD, where she was a triple scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge University. During her PhD, Lorna explored how and why art helps us to make sense of ourselves, and the world. She spoke about her story and research in a TEDx Talk (‘How Creativity Revived Me’). Lorna is a member of the steering group of the MARCH Network and the Arts Health Early Career Research Network. An author, she writes articles in a number of newspapers and journals about mental health, arts in health and the NHS.

My story: 

When I was 18 I had a severe traumatic brain injury and fell into a coma. When I awoke, I had total amnesia and did not know who I was, who anyone was. I developed a number of psychiatric illnesses, and was locked away for nearly 2 decades. During this time, art was my saviour. I would paint to express the inexpressible, my sheer misery. I would paint, write, express what I could not say. Eventually the doctors would look at my paintings (etc.), diagnose, medicate and treat my illnesses. Art became my medicine (on the list of the drugs I had to take). My creativity nourished me, drove my eventual recovery, feeds my life. In March 2020 I did a TED talk, ‘How Creativity Revived Me’, about this theme.