New book Time on our Hands offers a welcome distraction from lockdown life

Creatives including Jeremy Deller and Akinola Davies have contributed non-coronavirus related artworks to the new book, with all the proceeds going to the Royal College of Nursing Foundation’s Covid-19 support fund

Despite the mass confusion surrounding the UK government’s latest announcement, which saw it switch its coronavirus messaging from ‘stay home’ to ‘stay alert’, what is clear is that things won’t be going back to normal anytime soon.

While coronavirus has spawned a whole raft of creative projects that tackle the pandemic head on, other creatives have been using lockdown as an opportunity to seek a bit of escapism.

Nina Manandhar

This was the thinking behind Time on our Hands, a new book curated by creatives Robert Foster and Jackson Payne, which is raising money to support the vital work the RCN Foundation is doing at the moment.

“We both know a lot of healthcare workers, and they’re struggling at the moment,” the duo tell CR. “Equally, however, we had no interest in making something with the grim shadow of Covid-19 hanging over it. The last thing anyone is going to want to see for a while after everything is over is any more art about isolation! So we had people dig into their archives for some bold, celebratory photographs and artworks.”

The end result is a limited edition 110-page tome featuring works by everyone from artist Jeremy Deller and filmmaker Akinola Davies (formerly known as Crackstevens) to graphic designer Scott King and photographer Lauren Maccabee.

The artist contributions are accompanied by an introduction written by a nurse who is working on the frontline, which is described by Foster and Payne as a “cracking read”.

“We’ve been very lucky in that everyone who contributed put a lot of thought into what they submitted,” they add. “Hopefully this thing will cheer a few people up.”

Time on our Hands costs £30, and is available to buy here