Big Questions & Resourceful Answers: V&A Dundee’s Covid 19 Response

Big Questions & Resourceful Answers: V&A Dundee’s Covid 19 Response

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns, many museums developed and put in place online digital offerings. This prompted quite a lot of handwringing and self-reflection across the sector, as well as for me personally. I immediately felt slightly guilty – what is the point of a museum? Is it really that important? Is it relevant? Who are we for? Why are we here?

Big questions… (more…)

Recovery, Repair & Renewal: The role of arts and culture in the future of urban places

Recovery, Repair & Renewal: The role of arts and culture in the future of urban places

The Centre for Culture, Sport & Events is delighted to invite you to our virtual annual conference. The event ‘Recovery, Repair & Renewal: The role of arts and culture in the future of urban places’ will take place on Wednesday 9th June 2021.

The Centre for Culture, Sport and Events, CCSE, undertakes research, consultation and knowledge exchange work aligned with our four key themes:

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Signs of ‘Normal’ Life? A Moment of Interest

Signs of ‘Normal’ Life? A Moment of Interest

As we tentatively emerge from our third lockdown in the course of the strangest of years it is possible to glimpse the ways in which our cultural lives might be returning to some kind of ‘normal.’ For example in recent days, we have seen the first steps towards the return of audiences and participants at sporting and social events. Mark Selby lifted his fourth World Snooker Championship crown in front of a capacity crowd in Sheffield; football has been played in front of fans, V&A Dundee welcomed visitors back with an exploration of the relationship between club culture and design: Night Fever, Designing Club Culture and some of Liverpool’s clubbers were able to dance a night away while simultaneously providing an opportunity for policy advisors and policy makers to test the waters regarding wisdom of enabling us to emerge from lockdown and make a return to our former patterns of cultural and social engagement. In these events – and the managed return to co-proximity and co-presence that they signify – it’s possible to recognise and return to what can seem as a former life (though, Brighton Pride has been cancelled for the second year running demonstrating that the route back to ‘normality’ is not free of obstacles). (more…)

COVID ISLAND DIARY: Diary of a Pandemic.

COVID ISLAND DIARY: Diary of a Pandemic.

At the beginning of the Pandemic Lockdown period in March 2020, I began an online page – “Covid Island Diary”. I began to document and collate images, memes and political comment made by artists during the situation as it unfolded. I was extremely interested in the artist response to this immense world event. It became very clear, early on to everyone that as a society we rely heavily on artists every day. Designers, film makers, writers and musicians all helped to make an enforced lockdown at home more bearable for us all. (more…)

Post-Pandemic: The Cockroaches of the Cultural Sector

Post-Pandemic: The Cockroaches of the Cultural Sector

During the 1980’s and 90s, when social enterprise was an innovative concept in Scotland, Strathclyde Regional Council, Objective 3 Partnership and the Scottish Centre for Regeneration were surprised when Fablevision board members  thanked them for turning down applications for funding on the grounds that we were ‘not sustainable’.  Having funding bids rejected forced Fablevision artists, like most other creative practitioners, to develop other, entrepreneurial business models that would allow them to continue their practice without compromising their vision or values and we thanked them for forcing us to be independent. Over the ensuing decades, Fablevision inherited furniture from Strathclyde  Regional Council when they shut up shop; computer equipment from Objective 3 Partnership when they closed and co-created  learning materials on the demise of the Scottish Centre for Regeneration.  The ‘unsustainable’ small cultural social enterprise outlasted all the big beasts. Like other small cultural organisations, we were light on our feet – able to adapt and pivot creatively and meet the new requirements of whatever adverse social/economic/political circumstances presented. There is a joke in community based cultural practice that practitioners of these arts are like ‘cockroaches will be after the nuclear holocaust – they will be the only living things to survive’.    (more…)

The Creative Road to Recovery

The Creative Road to Recovery

I can’t quite believe it’s been a year since I took a seat at my dining room table and mastered the virtual meeting world to join Renfrewshire Leisure’s Arts Team for a vital discussion: what are the needs of the Creative and Cultural Sector in Renfrewshire?

Conversations of concern and despair from arts professionals across the team were the focal point. After discussions with local organisations, artists and seeing the impact the pandemic was having on the arts nationwide, it was clear – something radical had to be done and done quickly. We had to try and support the creative and cultural sector in Renfrewshire, giving local artists and organisations a chance to adapt, to recover, renew and to keep spirits up, raising hope through the arts, creativity, and culture. (more…)