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As countries slowly begin to reopen and cultural institutions welcome people back, what measures are being taken to ensure the safety and well-being of visitors, volunteers and staff, and how are they easing into these new rules? Are there opportunities to reimagine the place of arts and culture going forward - and will we take them? Here are some of the more interesting contributions to the debate on what lies ahead.

AEA Team


A round-up of articles focused on the impacts of COVID-19 on the cultural sector.


I Have Seen the Future – And It’s Not the Life We Knew

With ‘post-Covid’ snapshots from China, South Korea, Austria and Denmark. The picture? 1. Post-lockdown behavior is divided between “YOLO”ers and the extremely cautious. 2. Gradual re-openings can send unintended signals (and cause a spike in cases) 3. And once more for those at the back) - the new normal is not the old normal. (The Atlantic)

We Went to One of the First German Museums to Reopen After the Lockdown – Here’s What It Was Like

A view from the re-opened Brandenburg State Museum for Modern Art: in addition to disinfectants, protective plexiglass and visitor caps, poles and ribbons of exactly 1.5m in length are offered to visitors who can take one end and still experience an (albeit distanced) interactive museum experience. (The Art Newspaper)

Cultural Access and the ‘New Normal’

Helen Rees Leahy makes an incisive point about current museum re-opening strategies and what they may do to equitable access: ‘Surely the most necessary lesson of the pandemic is our shared vulnerability, if only we are willing to understand what it really means to forge a new, deeper cultural politics of solidarity and compassion.’ (Cultural Practice)

Reimaging Arts and Culture

To Survive the Challenges Ahead, Cultural Institutions Will Need to Redefine the Value of Art. Here’s How They Can Do It.

A radical adjustment of how and what art is valued is required in order to capture social value, argues Deborah Fisher. It is perhaps time to scale up her approach with A Blade of Grass. (artnet News)

The US Government Likely Won’t Step Up With a New Deal for Art. But We Can Create Our Own with Public Art (and Private Sponsorship)

Jeremy Strick of the Nasher Sculpture Centre has little faith in the US government support for the sector, and proposes a tripartite artist-museum-local government patchwork to commission public art to lead the way with some example models. (artnet News)

New New Deal: Toward a New Era of Social Imagination

And Hans-Ulricht Obrist covers more ambitious but comparable ground. (artnet News)

When This is All Over We Must Reimagine the Infrastructure of the Arts

Robert Hewison’s rethink of the underfunded UK creative economy and the precarious position of its workers leads by rebuilding the public realm as a whole. (The Art Newspaper)


Questions About the Cultural Sector’s Pivot to Digital

Chris Unitt has 17 questions on the mass move to the digital sphere for the cultural sector, what it means for new staffing models, collaboration vs competition, how to manage free content, efficient and effective digital programming, planning for a ‘shutdown mode’ in the future, and more. (Chris Unitt)

The ‘New Normal’ for Many Older Adults Is on the Internet

Community groups such as Senior Planet are working to get the older generations online, partially remedying the digital/ generational divide and providing connection for over 28% of over 65s that live alone in the US. (CityLab)

Funding & Philanthropy

She Just Wanted to Play Bass. That Life Is Gone.

A poignant look at the utterly precarious life of the gigging musician in NYC. (The New York Times)

Italian Art Workers Release Manifesto Pushing for Systemic Change

While Art Workers Italia, only founded via Facebook in late March, is now over 2,000 members strong nationwide, representing every arts sector. They have published a manifesto summarizing the institutional problems art workers face in Italy and calling for an adequate state response to tackle systemic issues such as the prevalence of the shadow economy, negligible support for non-profit and small artist-run organizations. (Hyperallergic)

Macron Presents Emergency Plan to Save France’s Culture Sector

President Macron announces extended government assistance to the arts by a year – including prolonging support for intermittent artists (temporary show business workers), making authors eligible, and guaranteeing bank loans for small festivals. (The Local)

Mayor Kenney Calls for End to City Arts Agency, Cutting $4 Million in Cultural Spending

Mayor Jim Kenny has proposed a drastic elimination of Philadelphia’s municipal arts funding, a $4 million cut. Here is how and when several cultural leaders think the city’s cultural sector can be restarted. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Meanwile... Hastings Contemporary 'overwhelmed' by interest in robot tours.

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