Law and creativity in a pandemic: a time of remarkable flourishing

A panel of artists and poets discuss how lockdown restrictions proved to be a unique source of creative inspiration and connection.

How did the Covid-19 lockdowns and other restrictions prove to be such a potent and compelling source of creative inspiration? Law and legal rules may not be an obvious motivator for artists and poets in normal times, but this changed when the order to ‘stay at home’ began to impact on all aspects of life.

This free ticketed public panel discussion event brings together three artists (an artistic director and two poets), each with a unique experience to share of turning a crisis into an unprecedented opportunity for inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to find solace, hope and positivity in new acts of creativity.

The event looks back at the coronavirus pandemic as a rare and unusual meeting between law and the imagination: a time of isolation, of feeling caged, and for many sadly a time of loss. But also a time of remarkable flourishing.


Jenny Elliott (Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director of Arts Care, 2011-2021) directs and designs arts programmes, health in arts training for healthcare professionals, and research projects within multiple healthcare environments and services. Arts Care is a leading regional Arts, Health and Well-being Organisation based in Northern Ireland, delivering innovative arts projects and events into the heart of Health, Social and Community Care Services.

Cheryl Moskowitz is a US born poet, educator and creative translator with a background in theatre and psychoanalysis. She is the author of several plays, two poetry collections and a novel. For 14 years she taught on the Creative Writing and Personal Development MA at Sussex University, was an external supervisor for arts therapies in forensics and regularly runs writing projects in the community. At the start of the global pandemic, in response to conversations had with teachers, pupils and their families affected by school closures, she produced The Corona Collection—a Conversation (Circle Time Press, 2020) Her most recent publication is the poetry pamphlet, Maternal Impression (Against the Grain Press, 2021). Her website is

Laila Sumpton is a poet, educator and performer who studied both literature and human rights and university and combines these in her creative writing projects with schools, hospitals, museums and galleries. She developed several specialist learning resources for primary school students throughout the lockdowns working with Ministry of Stories, Harrow Arts and the National Literacy Trust. She recently lead a project for 7-9 year olds for the Ministry of Stories exploring the Convention on the Rights of the Child through poetry letters to the UK Children’s Commissioner. Laila also lead online writing workshops for Jesuit Refugee Services through several lockdowns, resulting in an anthology of short stories, letters and poems. Twitter @lailanadia Instagram @laila.sumpton


David Gurnham is a Professor of Criminal Law and Interdisciplinary Legal Studies within Southampton Law School. His latest article – ‘“Our country is a freedom-loving country”: the spreading virus as metaphor for ‘people on the move’ – will be published in the journal Metaphor and Symbol later this year (

Haris Psarras is Lecturer in Law at Southampton Law School. He also writes poetry and criticism, has a research interest in the intersection between law and literature, and volunteers for a mental health charity (