Next step

Arts and culture: impacts of the pandemic crisis - what comes next?

Arts and culture were among the first areas of our social lives to suffer the consequences of the pandemic. Service providers were considered to be non-essential and institutions cancelled immediately future events. The vulnerability of professionals operating in these areas was also an immediate cause for concern.

The abrupt economic shutdown resulted not only in a significant loss of revenue for many countries, but also in a relevant drop in many family incomes. Less income for both families and governments, means, as we already know, less money available to invest in the arts.

The first actions taken tested the resilience of both organisations and professionals. How many will survive and how? Will this forced shutdown and the more than likely delay in recovery, heighten or produce new inequalities within different areas of the cultural and creative sector?

This pandemic economic downslope is riding on the coattails of the 2008 crisis. It will, not only affect the strength and diversity of the cultural and creative sector, but also the strategies for financing and fundraising, as well as marketing and communication. It will bring new challenges to sharing and appropriating culture and arts, but also to the ways in which cultural and public entities relate to one another. Will this shock accelerate or cause significant social changes? Will it affect State administration and geo-political alliances? If so, culture will be at the centre of the transformations to come.

While this may be a time for resisting and holding firm, it is also one for reflection. However, if we are to choose between the risk of thinking too early, without access to all the necessary data, and the risk of giving in to paralysing pessimism, the first option is a risk worth taking.

Now more than ever, we need to be ambitious in thinking the future of the arts and culture. We must put up our defences while forging new opportunities because both of these paths are essential to the continuation of the cultural and creative sector. And, more than anything else, the arts and culture deserve to be fought for. Now more than ever.

Rede Cultura 2027, the Network of 26 municipalities in the urban communities of Leiria, Oeste and Médio Tejo - established in 2019 as part of the region’s desire to apply to be an European Capital of Culture - aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on Arts and culture: impacts of the pandemic crisis- what comes next?

The debate will take place on an open-access, digital platform, where an open ten points questionnaire will be provided. Each participant will be able to express their views on as many of these points as they would like.

Integrated in the conference The Future of Our City, the workshops brought together from participant contributions will be made public on a regular basis.

In partnership with the UNESCO Chair in Arts and Cultural Management, Cities and Creativity of the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Rede Cultura 27 will review questions and topics , managing and posting responses. Researchers nominated by the UNESCO Chair will form a Reporting Group for the Next Step, which will regularly carry out and disseminate a summary of the reflections and proposals registered on this platform.