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Doing things Differently: Communities and the creative sector seminar

12 Aug 2020

Doing things Differently is a seminar series that highlights the work of our Humanities researchers and aims to understand and explore the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 and the lockdown

In the latest edition of the series, we heard from creative sector researchers and practitioners from the University and its cultural partners. They explored how their field of work has been impacted by and adapted to the crisis.

Dr Abi Gilmore, Senior Lecturer in Arts Management, hosted the discussion. Abi’s sociological expertise enabled a discussion that explored the relationship between the social and political aspects of arts and culture, in relation to the current crisis.

Also at the discussion was Professor Giorgio Fazio of the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre, Becky Parnell, Creative Producer at Manchester Camerata, Wendy Gallagher, Head of Learning and Engagement at Manchester Museum, and Dr Kostas Arvanitis, Senior Lecturer in Museology and Director of The Institute for Cultural Practices.

Giorgio Fazio outlined the latest research that will help to shape the road to recovery for the creative industries, and the role it has to play in society more widely. He explored how our engagement with arts and culture shifted during lockdown, and the role the creative sector has had in terms of supporting public health messaging.

Becky Parnell offered insight into how the challenges of lockdown and the pandemic are shaping the work of Britain's most adventurous orchestra, and how her research with our Creative Manchester initiative will help them to reach beyond the traditional audiences of orchestral music.

Wendy Gallagher explored how the Museum has continued to work towards being the UK’s most inclusive and caring museum; meeting the needs of its communities through more digital and hyper-local engagement, and working in partnership with the health and social care and education sector. Kostas Arvanitis offered insight into how the museum sector can work to document and archive COVID-19, exploring the role museums have to play in shaping our national memory during a crisis, and the responsibility they have to recognise the social inequalities that have deepened as a result of the crisis and reflect the diversity of experiences.

The cultural sector’s civic responsibility to represent, serve and work with its communities, was echoed by all panellists; recognising that our relationship with the arts and culture is a personal, regional and national affiliation, which will be a vital part in our recovery of the pandemic.

As such, a clear policy ask surmised by Kostas Arvanitis, was agreed by all: “If we accept and we agree on the statement that the arts and culture bring benefit to our society, we need to take the statement and translate it into actual policy and actual taking care of those institutions and those organisations.”