Resources and support: the pandemic and beyond

We are all confronting a world historical crisis, which is constantly changing shape. In these circumstances, we need to keep focus and be mindful of what we can control and what is beyond our control. This is psychologically and emotionally challenging for everyone, and we need to be especially sensitive to the different forms which vulnerability can take, and look out for each other. During this period, it is important not just to look after your own wellbeing and that of your family, but also to remember that you are not always going to be able to work at the same level of productivity as before the pandemic. 

This Humanities webpage is intended as a means of gathering together, organising and signposting information and advice which might help in confronting the different challenges created by this pandemic.

If you have any concerns that aren't addressed here, please contact your line manager or your Faculty Board Chair in the first instance.

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The way we work has changed. We remain part of a strong community, and should continue to treat each other with respect and professional decorum at all times. 

  • Be sensitive about scheduling meetings at times which work for everyone in the group, including those in different time zones.
  • In virtual meetings, behave as you would in a face to face meeting: giving space to all participants to make their point, and respecting the opinions and contributions of all.
  • In hybrid meetings, take time to ensure that all participants feel included and have the chance to share opinions and thoughts.
  • Best practice in the University suggests that in meetings of more than five, attendees should mute their microphone and flag their wish to raise a point in the 'in meeting chat' function. Meeting chairs or facilitators may wish to suggest regular breaks (every hour, for example) and pause in presentations to solicit questions from the floor, again via the chat function. 
  • Think creatively about remaining in touch, without expecting that one solution will work for everyone.
  • If, for personal preference or caring responsibilities, you need to work in the early morning or at night, don't expect others to do so.
  • As ever, avoid bombarding people with emails: don't 'Reply All' unless it's necessary, and leave reasonable time before chasing people, who may be balancing work with caring responsibilities.
  • For general principles of email etiquette, please see this advice.

You can find useful information on the following pages:

The Humanities Division has launched Career Conversations for Associate Professors. The Conversations provide a chance to meet, informally and one-on-one, with a senior academic either in your own faculty or elsewhere, to talk about your career – where you are, where you want to be, challenges and opportunities. For more information, please see our Career Conversation webpages.

Laura Gibbs, our interim Divisional Registrar and Head of Administration, sends out a fortnightly Update, full of news, developments and support. If you'd like to subscribe, please email our Head of Communications, Matt Pickles.


Extensive and thoughtful planning has gone into helping staff and students move to a more hybrid system of teaching and learning. Necessarily, everyone will need to be flexible and responsive to changing circumstances, but the infrastructure has been put in place to accommodate a number of scenarios. Whilst there will be variation of method, the intellectual objectives and underlying principles of our distinctive teaching and learning system are held in common, and remain fundamental. Research Services and the Bodleian are working to support research activity.

Looking after your physical and mental wellbeing is more important than ever. Help, support and motivation can be just a click or a phone call away.

  • There are good resources for mental wellbeing on the University's HR pages.
  • If you are living with an existing mental health condition, you may find the EDU's specialised support pages helpful. 
  • Oxfordshire MIND has a superb page with support and guidance - recommended reading for everyone, not only those living with a mental health condition.
  • For members of the LGBTQ+ community, The Validation Station sends a daily message of positivity and validation - important if you can't be yourself during lockdown. Stonewall also has some great advice and resources.
  • The Division has a number of Mental Health First Aid trained colleagues. If you are experiencing a moment of significant mental ill health, please contact one of our MHFAiders, Isabelle Pitt ( She will arrange a time to talk with you, or pass your details on to another MHFA colleague. 
  • Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) is an anonymous community where members can support each other, with the reassurance of trained counsellors on line 24/7.
  • The University Counselling Services is run through Zurich Insurance and you can find more details here.

  • If you're worried about a student, the University Welfare service has some advice.


People lead complex lives, and many have multiple caring responsibilities to manage. The links below provide some suggestions and guidance for those with caring responsibilities, and may be useful for line managers and colleagues without caring responsibilities as well.

The first port of call for students in need of support remains their college's Welfare team. You can find contact details here.


If you have a resource or tip you'd like to share here, contact Machilu van Bever Donker with the details.