PLAN B #2: While future is unpredictable, cooperation is vital … also in using (public) space for culture

Future is unpredictable and so is planning of cultural events. Doing less, digital, more intimate and closer to the local audiences seems a common trend. Performing arts might be the most jeopardized among the cultural sectors. The pandemic reduced the international dimension of events in an unprecedented way. We are only at the beginning of the learning curve and we do not know yet what the future will bring.

These are some of the points highlighted by the panellists of the second edition of PLAN B series of online discussions on the cultural policies of European cities.

Moderated by Ragnar Siil, this session focused on culture in the public space during and after the crisis, and hosted guest speakers from Kaunas, Rijeka and Ljubljana:
Ana Kočegarova, Head of Programme, Kaunas 2022,
Irena Kregar Šegota, Rijeka 2020 Director,
Nevenka Koprivšek, Artistic Director of Bunker Institute & Mladi levi international festival of performing arts, Ljubljana.

Watch VIDEO.

How have cultural event organisers adapted?

– Majority of cultural events moved outdoor, into parks, squares, even garages … and transferred from physical to digital space.
– Pre-registration for events is required since it is necessary to know how many audiences and who exactly attends an event.
– Splitting into multiple events organised at various locations and for less audience.
– Redesigning big events (e.g. European Capital of Culture) into more intimate.
– Institutions need to change their behaviour and become less rigid. New ways of collaboration and more collective work is needed.
– Covid-19 accelerated digital shift and this will also affect the physical space in becoming more hybrid. Therefore, it is crucial to develop independent online platforms otherwise only global commercial giants will benefit from this process and not the sector producing this content.

What about the audience?

– In general, there is a feeling that the audiences are supportive. Audience is very adaptable since they want to experience moments in live space.
– However, a shared concern is clear: growing inequality in society reflects also on a limited access to the (digital) culture. Going online will not solve the problem of accessibility.
– Due to significantly reduced audiences, the existing business model is not economically viable anymore – more performances for less audience is not sustainable without adequate support measures on the city or state level.

And artists?

– It is necessary to respond to artists’ needs in a completely changed environment.
– Investing into “thinking time” of artists during the period when they cannot perform.
– Artists may also help rethinking space.

The event was 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, was hosted by Glej Theatre.
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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