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The Call Centre

“The Call Centre” is a participatory film that animates longer-term ethnographic research conducted over the past 24 months across the United Kingdom by London School of Economics’ Covid and Care Research Group, led by Professor Laura Bear. It highlights the story of psychotherapist Suad Duale and the Somali single mothers who have stepped up to support their community in this time. Co-directed by Duale, Dr Nikita Simpson and Dr James Rattee, “The Call Centre” provides insight into the profound work done by some people to ferry their communities through this crisis. It particularly looks at the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing forms of structural racism and inequality, and generated new social divides. As we emerge from the first two years of COVID, we begin to see the legacies of stigma and trauma that have disproportionately impacted certain groups – especially marginalised groups who are underserved by the state.

Watch Nikita Simpson discuss how COVID-19 has produced new forms of stigma. Throughout the pandemic, the general population, alongside policymakers, have faced extreme uncertainty. Without a full picture of the virus and how it spreads, there has been much speculation about COVID-19 transmission and how to prevent it. These new perceptions of risk can work to polarise, exclude and stigmatise certain groups or individuals, compounding existing stereotypes and forms of historical exclusion. Drawing on ethnographic insights, Nikita explores how these new relations of stigma have emerged in the UK during the pandemic. She considers how stigma has played out in relation to people from minoritised groups, essential workers and those living in multigenerational households and its damaging effects on mental health, wellbeing and social cohesion. How can we tackle these new forms of stigma?

To follow the work of Suad, Nikita and Laura, you can contact Nikita at 

22 August 2022

Photo by x on Unsplash

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