the challenges and potential solutions of the cultural sector

Bahanur Nasya – “Despite the fact that the cultural sector is one of the weakest ones, we saw how many cultural workers have been reaching out to people who are vulnerable through fundraising events aiming to support health services while tackling other social issues. But from the inner perspective, the main issue is that we don’t know how long this can last and we don’t know what will come after. The maintenance costs of cultural organizations are very high, and many of us are at risk of poverty. Not to mention the huge cultural loss that would originate from that. We should find ways to make sure that we use this experience to save people working in other sectors, without falling once again into the trap of saving the financial sector and larger companies before saving workers. What do you think the future will bring?”

Livia Filotico

“I think there’s a lot of hope, and creativity is far from being dead. From what I’m hearing there are quite a lot of possibilities that are opening up in ways we would have considered impossible just a month ago, and I’m also talking about cooperation and initiatives that go beyond the schemes we are used to. I’m personally optimistic.”

Anikó Erdősi

“I think the situation is going to change. I agree with Fabrizio when he earlier mentioned that we will wake up in a very different world, and we won’t know in what conditions the cultural sector will be until we get there. We should take things step by step while never losing focus on how to make culture evermore sustainable”.

Daniela Patti – “What is the role of public administration and how can cities help the cultural sector in this very delicate moment? Let’s talk about it with Luca Bergamo, vice mayor of the city of Rome”.

“We can tackle the issue from different angles. First, dialogue with the government advocating for better social security conditions. Social security should be made universally accessible, and unfortunately Italy is not there yet. There are about 170,000 freelance cultural workers who might be excluded from receiving subsidies. We want the government to understand they need to help, we can’t leave these people behind. Then, we are locally taking measures related to fund release. For example, we want to make grants more flexible, so that if a project comes to a halt they can still use the funds later, once the activity starts again. We also have a very large network to maintain. We own the National Theatre, the Opera House, 21 museums, music halls etc. We want to make sure that the funding we committed to these structures remains in order to keep both the activity and the jobs.” 

While discussing and sharing experiences and points of view with our guests, we received a lot of input from our viewers. Here are some of the initiatives they told us about. 

In the Czech Republic, the government is planning to give a one-time €1000 aid for independent cultural workers. The Ministry of Culture is reportedly trying to find new ways to support the sector. (Blanka Marková)

Special measures have been announced in Greece, but it looks like they are not covering all cultural workers (Nicholas Karachalis). Some cultural workers are trying to launch an online petition for the establishment of a fund for artists to unite and perform online, receiving aid and providing entertainment. (Nikos Chrysogelos)

In Portugal, the Ministry of Culture launched a €1 million emergency fund while the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation launched a larger one, amounting to 5 millions. There is also a new privately-funded platform functioning as a kickstarter for cultural/artistic projects called www.portugalentraemcena.pt/. (Mariana Mata Passos)

In Tunisia, cultural workers gathered in a national workshop and are working together to create the “Covid-Art Alliance” advocacy network. (Wafe Belgacem)

The Municipality of Santa Pola, Spain, launched an initiative to support and celebrate the work of local artists while providing culture and entertainment for the people at home.   www.culturasantapola.es/project/culturasantapolaencasa/