Culture and Space during and after the crisis

Cinemas, theatres and other cultural venues closed their doors in March this year. Very quickly, cultural programmes were transferred online to an increased degree, and also outdoors, under the sun and stars – when it was made possible. Careful monitoring of instructions and limitations given by competent institutions, and also of colours in the coronavirus traffic-light system when guests were coming from abroad, was joined by regular checks of the weather forecast. The habit of farmers and organisers of summer festivals has turned into a constant concern and duty for everybody seeking to realise in the changed circumstances at least part of their cultural programme, which had been planed at a time when nobody could possibly imagine what 2020 had in store for us.

Cultural programmes and events that went online or outdoors instead of being held indoors were mostly accessible free of charge, although their creators are representatives of the most precarious sector in Europe. However, even paid-for events held live or in the virtual space are not viable. In case of digital events, organisers cannot expect a wide representation of various groups.

For example, the study Digital Culture – Consumer Tracking Study (NESTA, June 2020) disclosed that the crisis has even widened the gap between various social groups since it was mostly socially privileged groups who contributed to the increase of users of digital contents. When it comes to live events, very strict safety requirements for limiting the spread of the virus have to be satisfied, and the number of visitors allowed has to be limited, which prevents organisers from securing at least the slightest profit.

If before the crisis, the streets were mostly used as the stage for theatre and musicians, in coronavirus times, culture of all possible forms has found its visitors in various neighbourhoods, in courtyards, under windows and balconies, on facades and riverbanks…

Is this really a temporary solution, or has the pandemic only accelerated far-reaching changes? The fact that the pandemic has stepped up to an unimaginable degree the digital shift of creative contents and practices into the virtual space (which will surely influence the emergence of new artistic practices), will be the topic of the PLAN B discussion this year, which is to take place on 5 November.

What about live art and creativity? How can we ensure the same level of accessibility of culture and creativity for all and (also) preserve traditional ways of distributing cultural content? Can the existing cultural infrastructure still make it possible for culture and art to survive? Or, will the rediscovered public space locations become the prevailing “live” culture and art venues until we get an effective vaccine?

Join us on second online event (1 October 2020 ) in a series of online discussions on the cultural policies of European cities that will focus on culture in the public space during and after the crisis. The debate will host representatives of municipalities and cultural practitioners from different European cities, and will be moderated by a renowned international expert on cultural policies and the development of creative cities, Ragnar Siil. REGISTRATION OPEN.

The event is part of the IETM Multi-location Plenary Meeting 2020 taking place both online and physical activities from 1 to 2 October in more than twenty different locations in the world. The local Plenary meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia, will be hosted by our member Glej Theatre. You can choose to take part in a physical local meeting or to only take part in our digital programme but registration is mandatory either way by September 17.

The series of online discussions is organized by the City of Ljubljana and the Motovila Institute (CED Slovenia) in cooperation with members of the European network of Creative Europe Desks.
Ljubljana is a candidate city for European Capital of Culture 2025.

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