The coronavirus crisis is upending every organisations' plans and activities, and making the near future unpredictable.
While the impact on the cultural sector is and will be major on all levels, the hardest hit in the immediate context are the artists, freelancers, trainers and other independent or precarious workers who contribute so much to cultural centres. We are seeking strategies to support ENCC collaborators who are in that situation, and we thank our members who are trying to do the same.
Looking beyond the cultural sector, we'd like to express our gratitude to those who are working on the front line of the crisis, including medical and social workers, food and supply producers and retailers, postal, delivery service and public transport workers, as well as many others. We'd also like to issue a call to policymakers on all levels to take measures to protect the most vulnerable among us: homeless and migrant people, senior citizens and the many others who are disproportionately impacted, or do not have the physical means to protect themselves.
Finally, as we monitor the development of the pandemic in the Global South, we are both very alarmed by the situation and aware that a space in public discourse is perhaps at last opening for holistic, interconnected approaches. Bill Baue & Ralph Thurm, writing on Medium last week, express the hope that as this crisis familiarises us with the concept of "capacity thresholds" (that's the horizontal line in the "flatten the curve" graphics that show the maximum capacity of healthcare systems), we'll be able to apply it to other domains that need our urgent attention (including natural, human and social capital). And possibly to regain the resilience we need to survive this crisis and others in the future.
Below you'll find some questions and answers about upcoming ENCC activities, about challenges for cultural organisations and the cultural sector, and about how you can react as an organisation.
Q. What about ENCC activities in the coming months?
The ENCC coordination office staff is working from home and trying to adapt to the situation as it evolves. In close discussion with our board of directors, we're searching for the best and most responsible solutions for our programmes and events in the coming months. All of our events and trainings are postponed or moved online for the moment.
Q. What about Cultural Impact Now meeting in Denmark in June 2020?
The event is rescheduled for 3-6 June 2021. Ticketing is suspended, and all participants who had registered will be automatically refunded. We would like to thank the participants, speakers and workshop leaders who were scheduled to be there for their interest and enthusiasm, and we hope to be able to gather them again next year.
Q. My organisation faces many challenges due to the crisis, how can I share these experiences and advocate for support for the cultural sector?
- If you are a member of the ENCC/a cultural centre/a community centre/another type of organisation that identifies with social-cultural work, you can write directly to us (encc[at]encc.eu) about your needs and challenges. We will share them with other data-gathering efforts (see below) and take them into account to design our activities in the coming months.
- Culture Action Europe, the main network of networks for the cultural sector and European advocacy, is in close contact with the Education and Culture DG of the European Commission. You can write to them (contact[at]cultureactioneurope.org) to bring up issues and proposals for the cultural sector. Or you can fill in their survey for cultural operators, coordinated with the European Cultural Foundation, on emergency responses to the crisis. Please respond as soon as possible. The first consolidation of results was early April but the survey continues.
Q. What can I do immediately, as an organisation and as an individual, to express solidarity?
- Share your specific challenges as well as specific solutions in your country/region and make them heard on the European level.
- Share solutions, tools and reflections that can be useful/inspirational for others.
- Support artists, freelancers and other precarious workers whose activities have been cancelled.
- Take care of your staff and yourself in terms of teleworking conditions.
- Reach out to your local authorities to ask them to take strong actions to protect and respond to the needs of front-line workers and vulnerable groups (including homeless people, migrants, senior citizens and others).
Q. What is the ENCC doing to take into account the situation of its members and its community?
We're checking in on our members and regularly sharing their news, experiences, challenges, but also tips and strategies for dealing with the impact of the crisis.
We're also working with other networks to dialogue with the EU Commission and policymakers on much-needed support for the cultural sector.
We've been consulting with our Board and our members to adapt next year's action plan (September 2020- August 2021) to the new context, and to find the best ways to support our community.