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Winner UK Audio Production Awards 2021
Life With Covid-19 Award

Poetry, testimony and interviews inspired by the experiences of nurses during lockdown.

Shifts was created in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a commission by BBC Culture in Quarantine. Healthcare professionals – a paramedic, several ICU nurses, a mental health nurse, a retired matron and a perfusionist – were interviewed during the first lockdown on Zoom, on mobile phones and in gardens with microphones on long poles. They were asked about their experience of the pandemic, and we heard how it had changed them and shifted their ideas about nursing and frontline healthcare.

In response to these interviews, Stephanie Jacob wrote a poetry sequence, Shifts, which gives the programme its name. Extracts from the original interviews are featured throughout the programme alongside the poems which are read by the healthcare workers themselves along with actors Caroline Catz, Anni Domingo and Siobhan McSweeney. The soundscape is designed by award-winning designer Gareth Fry and features music by Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry.

“A visionary commission… it felt epic – a vivid, powerful record of these strange times”

Sunday Times


Listen to the full interviews with nurses and health workers.

Interview with Mel (6Mb)
Interview with Joan (39Mb)
Interview with Charles, paramedic (57Mb)
Interview with Haseem, community mental health nurse (43Mb)
Interview with Lily (55Mb)
Interview with Sasa, perfusionist (93Mb)

Commissioned by BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine
Supported by Arts Council England and The Space
Produced by Judith Dimant and Jules Wilkinson
Illustration by Hannah Robinson