Perseverance, Passion and Pivoting: The keys to preserving the future of the arts during a pandemic.

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The creative industries are doing what they do best – being creative. Sally Doganis, IWF UK member and Co-Chair of the Arts and Culture group, brought together four esteemed experts to share their experiences of the pandemic and what is on the horizon. More than 100 IWF UK members and guests registered for the event on 28 October.

Unable to replicate the magic and revenue when art and people come together in person, venues quickly pivoted to online experiences introducing new international audiences to their events, generating new revenue streams, and breaking down barriers by opting for collaboration amongst competitors. We learned about several examples of creativity and innovation. Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre shared the ‘Living Newspaper’. IWF UK member Dr Caroline Campbell, Senior Curator, National Gallery gleamed as she spoke of online art history courses that drew 5,000 participants. Victoria Siddall, Global Director, Frieze Art Fairs, launched online viewing rooms and has reconceived Frieze New York 2021. John Gilhooly OBE, Artistic and Executive Director, Wigmore Hall was thrilled to announce a 20% growth in membership and he discussed how the Hall’s Learning Department has found new ways of working digitally during the pandemic.

The art world’s freelancers who are instrumental to the industry have been the most to suffer due to financial hardships often resulting in strained mental health. They have fallen between the cracks of government support schemes. Panelists and participants shared concerns of insufficient and chaotic action by the government, due to its lack of understanding and appreciation of the art’s role in society, especially during and after a pandemic. As Victoria Siddall stated “We’re all grappling with the same things. We've all got the same problems. And if we can share ideas and resources then we're much more likely to come through this in good shape”.

To watch a recording of this event click here to be directed to the Members only section of the website and find it within the event write up in Members News (Rightside menu bar)

Clockwise from top left: Jan Dalley, Vicky Featherstone, Victoria Siddall, Dr Caroline Campbell. Centre: John Gilhooley OBE.