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Risk and resilience in radically redefined information environments



The Project

This project investigates how people use information, digital, and media literacy to (1) develop an understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) mitigate health and financial risk and, (3) develop resilience during precarity. Phase one findings of this study indicate that the 2020 lockdown transition was marked by unfolding, intensifying and compartmentalising phases, where participants became desensitised to critical information. The second phase of this study will explore this desensitisation phase in detail with a focus on the impact of precarity on information seeking and use. The study will use online interviews to explore participants’ lived experiences as the pandemic extends into 2021 and the UK starts to rebuild post-pandemic social structures.

Research objectives are:

  • To describe the role that information, media and digital literacy plays in helping people to mitigate risk arising from the pandemic and the COVID-19 created environment
  • To develop a detailed understanding about the sources of information and information strategies that help people to recognise and mitigate social, emotional and economic risk
  • To build understanding about the role that information sources and information strategies play in helping to build resilience in the face of ongoing, repeated or localised lockdowns, as well as in the construction of post-pandemic social structures
  • To identify barriers and challenges to the development of resilient information strategies including issues of misinformation and conspiracy theories, ongoing conflict between government and scientific advice, and the credibility of policy responses.

Phase 2 of the project runs from April 2021 until March 2022 and is based in the Department of Information Studies at UCL.

This project is funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Research Grants scheme.