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As the cultural sector slowly reopens in countries that permit, are visitors planning to return and how is the sector preparing for new physically distant futures? Scientists and artists have been envisioning new logistical choices to keep audiences safe, while business models are adapting to prepare for the ‘new normal’. 

AEA Team


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


Disneyland Shanghai Reopens in Test Case for Recovery

Amongst the announcement of losses amounting to $1.4 bn for Disney, the Shanghai theme park re-opened on May 11 enforcing new social distancing measures, indoor theatres closed, and no close-up photographs with characters. Reception has been enthusiastic with more than 15,000 tickets sold, with 5,000 bookings in the first hour, it said.’ (Financial Times)

Re-occupancy Assessment Tool

The American Institute of Architects has published a thorough Re-occupancy Assessment Tool with a framework of strategies for re-occupying buildings and businesses that are in the process of transitioning from being fully closed to fully open. (The American Institute of Architects)

Survey Says

After Coronavirus: Global Youth Reveal That the Social Value of Art Has Never Mattered More

A young people age and move further away from their primary relationships (parents, teachers, schoolmates), they feel less optimistic about their personal futures. Art has become a point of contact, an urgent communication and a hope writes Kathleen Gallagher. (The Conversation)

Chinese Authorities Say Cinemas May Now Reopen, as Cinephiles Rejoice

China has announced cinemas, theatres, recreation halls and other enclosed venues can re-open, with social distancing measures, strengthened ventilation, and obligatory mask wearing. No confirmed dates as of yet, and preliminary responses are mixed, with a poll of 19,000 cinemagoers by Sina Film seeing 37% raring to return, 28% will go depending on film choice, and only 15% totally unwilling to go. (Variety)

Most Theatregoers Won’t Come Back Immediately, Studies Show

A study of live theatregoers in New York City, and another of live theatregoers nationwide, which show that well less than half (41 percent) in NYC, and only a little more than a third (36 percent) nationwide, say they plan to return to their previous theatregoing habits when venues reopen, with the vast majority opting to wait between three and six months before attending plays again. (American Theatre)

Survey on the Impact of the COVID-19 Situation on Museums in Europe

Having analysed nearly 1,000 responses collected between 24 March and 30 April 2020 from museums in 48 countries, the survey findings result in recommendations for immediate action, for mid-term considerations, and for long-term strategy urging: 1. Economic support for museum operations; 2. Investment in digital cultural heritage; and 3. Making museums fit for crises. (Network of European Museum Organisations)

The Distanced Experience

First ‘Socially Distanced’ Concert A Test for Live Music Industry

Amongst measures such as disinfectant fog sprayers and temperature checks, it also highlights the questionable financial viability of social distancing for live music venues. (Financial Times)

What Socially Distanced Live Performance Might Look Like

Is socially distanced performance realistic…Idled artists and disoriented presenters have begun sketching in a transformed world of live performance adapted to a murky near-future of indeterminate length, an interregnum between lockdown and freedom. They’ve begun to conjure an art made of new constraints in which the strictures of social distancing become expressive tools. (Vulture)

Berlin Study Issues Recommendations for Orchestral Distancing

A Berlin study issues recommendations for orchestras to potentially play together under certain conditions. (The Strad)

Drive-in Digital Art Exhibit Allows Visitors to ‘Gogh by Car’

Vincent van Gogh exhibition in Toronto is first of its kind in era of physical distancing. (CBC)

Rear Windowflick: Berlin’s DIY Film Screenings

The Windowflicks project in Berlin has been hosting free film screenings by projecting films onto courtyard walls. (The Guardian)

New Models

Coronavirus Conditions Make Us Rethink Classical Music for Decades Ahead

Timothy Mangan on why thinks the real solution for classical music is to move away from the subscription season model to attract different audiences within the community. (Voice of OC)

City Winery’s Michael Dorf on the Recalibration: How Shows Can Come Back

“With a new spirit of cooperation, payouts to artists need to remain flexible until we are in a more stable period of ‘new normal.’” (Pollstar)

On Tate Modern’s 20th Anniversary, Director Frances Morris Says We Must Assert the Value of Culture

Frances Morris argues that we must assert the value of culture, shape a more egalitarian model and return to ‘slow looking’. (Financial Times)

Meanwhile… Penguins took a field trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 

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