Institute for Policy and Engagement
Institute for policy and engagement projects

Culture in the time of Covid19 

The cultural and creative industries have experienced some of the most extreme impacts from the restrictions imposed in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Many creative practices and processes of cultural production have had to halt due to the new requirements of social (and more importantly) physical distancing.  Dance, theatrical and musical rehearsals could no longer take place in person. Film sets had to temporarily close due to the unsafe nature of a busy studio or on location environments.  Meanwhile the spaces for the consumption of culture and artistic performance – museums, heritage sites, cinemas, theatres, community and festival spaces have all had a period of complete closure and are only now beginning to reopen, adapt and develop plans for survival.

The value of arts and culture is once again a headline issue and the UK government’s response to this sector crisis has included misguided moments of public communication such as the ‘ballerina retraining in cybersecurity’ campaign. A financial injection from the Cultural Recovery Fund will enable some creative production to continue and allows venues to retain staff and accommodate reduced audiences, but the distribution of funding across artforms has sparked controversy and not all applicants received grants.  Mainstream cinema exhibition is seriously challenged by the delay of major blockbuster titles or straight-to-streaming release strategies, leading to the closure of large outlets such as Cineworld, and the reduced opening of others such as the Odeon group.

Despite the enormity of the restrictions imposed upon them, artists, performers, filmmakers, curators, exhibitors, and producers have experimented, innovated and adapted to the restrictions in ways that have not only impacted on current practices but are likely to shape both the production and the experiencing of arts and culture for years to come. 

The Institute for Policy and Engagement, in partnership with the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies, are creating a series of colloquia to share and debate some of the most compelling examples of innovation and adaption that have emerged in response to this period of global pandemic. The series will feature themed sessions including contributions from those working in performance, filmmaking and the heritage sector. Each of these events will have contributions from both exhibition and creative production and key insights will be recorded and shared online. 

Programme of past events

Museums and Digital Culture after the Pandemic

11 December 2020 

This symposium recording features insights from two AHRC-funded University of Nottingham museum projects. University researchers were joined by museum experts to discuss how museums created new digital cultures during the pandemic, what the future now holds for digital culture in museums, and how museums and universities can work together to overcome the challenges we face. 

Building A New Future of FIlm

21 April 2021

This symposium recording explores the innovations and adaptions that are shaping the new landscape of film production. Main themes include advances in virtual production that have occured during the pandemic; initiatives to stimulate the 'greening' of film production; and the significant triumphs and reversals for the sector priority of engaging and representing a broader range of talent both in front of and behind the camera.




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