On 16th of April, River//Cities Platform Council Members met in a cyber space to discuss some burning issues connected to Covid 17 and its impact on culture and our communities.
Although situation is difficult across Europe it is good that we could meet in digital space. What our partners have in common - we all keep busy working online, being creative, keeping in touch, planning the future. The level of restrictions imposed on social life is different in various countries; the most strict in Italy and the least in Sweden. Nevertheless, all partners admitted that the situation of cultural sector is dramatic everywhere - independent artists and non-governmental organisations being especially badly affected. And it is culture that offers comfort in those hard times on the one hand and provides solutions for the future, on the other. That is why it is vital that culture receives an adequate support. While some measures are introduced at local and national levels there is a lack of them at the EU level. We need to express our concerns on many occasions and together fight for the survival of cultural organisations and artists.
Still, are there any positive aspects of the current situation? Covid 17 has turned out to be a big ''Changemaker''. Our societies learn new meanings of such values as empathy, solidarity and generosity. The Italians teach us the lessons in resilience. We have quickly managed to adapt to the new situation and developed new ways of working with each other and our audiences. We are polishing our digital skills and acquiring new capacities - which is the goal of our joint Erasmus project "I_Improve" and indeed the I - improvement has surpassed our expectations. We reach out for new audiences, although it is hard sometimes to get through "cultural traffic jam" on the net. Symbolically, the seeds which we sowed some time ago now have turned into blooming flowers (cf. t s beall's art intervention in Gdansk shipyard area, within Memory of Water project.).
Culture like nature will find the way to flourish but likewise it is vulnerable and needs to be taken care of.
But what the world will look like post Covid17? What are our hopes? We agreed that the crisis has triggered nationalistic sentiments throughout Europe and it is important that they don't grow stronger in time. It is the end of the world as we know it and our communities will need a lot of courage and hope. We need new visions and new narratives - and those are offered by artists and people of culture - The Dreamers that change the world.
"Dream No Small Dreams, For They Have No Power to Move the Hearts of Men'' Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
To watch our Web Conferencing, follow the Link.
Iwona Preis, Intercult, Stockholm,
Magda Zakrzewska Duda, Nadbałtyckie Centrum Kultury, Gdansk
Marta Moretti & Francesco Calzolaio, Venti di Cultura, Venice
Martine Meire, Stad Ostende, Belgium
Liz Gardiner, Fablevision, Glasgow
Bernd Herger, WBA, Wien
Bernd Herger, WBA, Wien
#RiverCitiesPlatform, #MemoryofwaterEU, #I_ImproveEU
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