The Coronavirus pandemic is causing huge damage in both physical and psychological terms in all fields of life. At the moment, approximately eight million people are working in the cultural sector in Europe. As the COVID-19 spreads and the lockdown expands country by country, we are evermore aware of the fact that the creative sector has been greatly impacted, partly due to lack of proper funding.
What challenges are we facing now, and what is ahead of us? How can we help the creative community that was already struggling a lot to get by, and how can we make sure that we learn something from this experience when the emergency is over and make the most of it?
On 3rd April2020, Daniela Patti (Rome) and Bahanur Nasya (Vienna), managers and community experts at Eutropian moderated Cooperative City in Quarantine #3, a live panel on how the cultural sector is coping with this crisis, featuring guests from cultural workers scattered across Europe and beyond.https://www.youtube.com/embed/U2PXC5213W0?feature=oembed
We collected video contributions showing how this new state of emergency has affected many cultural workers’ daily lives. For example, Işin Önol, lecturer, curator and art critic at Montclair University, New York, contracted the virus just before the faculty would stop activities, and even though she luckily recovered, she will now be continuing her teaching activities through distance learning.
Unfortunately, a compromised physical health is only one of the dangers the COVID-19 pandemic exposes people to: like many others, Phil Moran from Viennese FFAB Film and TV is now facing hardships due to the fact that most assignments are now suspended. Yilmaz Vurucu, Vienna-based film director at Xsentrikarts points out that during the past weeks many cultural workers in several countries have been granted emergency funds, yet they don’t know how to immediately access them because of an unprepared, slow bureaucracy. https://www.youtube.com/embed/z7UTb_YwlPQ?feature=oembed
Andrea Kovács, founder at LET IT BE! Art Agency, Budapest believes that all kinds of cultural institutions have to rethink their whole structure, finding out how they can survive. According to her, the biggest issue is that the digital space is proving to be the new performative space, so live performers and exhibitors need new social security measures in order to survive while reinventing their jobs, as most of them immediately lost their income as soon as the lockdown began. She is convinced that the present system is not sustainable anymore, and since culture is the creative field of human activity par excellence, this is the time when cultural workers have to rethink what culture means, collaborating with one another more than ever.