Covid-19 has underlined the vital role arts practitioners play in identifying and responding to local and city challenges both creatively and at speed. Throughout the pandemic, artists, arts organisations and networks have been responding imaginatively to restrictions, rethinking familiar places and practices, and creating entirely new modes of engagement with local and city communities. In some contexts, this work comprises informal invitations and guidance, in others it involves sustained local leadership to directly address local needs that have not been met.
Elsewhere, artistic programming has provided flexible, responsive means through which people can recognise and understand different experiences of Covid-19, and thereby live with greater knowledge and understanding. The arts are rarely credited as offering a strategic contribution, and yet, internationally, there are established examples where the arts have been directly engaged in precisely this work as pandemic response. What is missing is a means of connecting such crisis-focused strategic arts responses to city emergency and resilience planning measures.
In this talk, Dr Stuart Andrews and Dr Patrick Duggan will reflect on their ongoing project Social Distancing and Reimagining City Life: Performative strategies and practices for response and recovery in and beyond lockdown. They will share emerging findings, introduce their interim report and reflect on the ways in which the arts are vital to city responses to a pandemic.
Dr Stuart Andrews is Research Lead in Theatre at Brunel University London, Dr Patrick Duggan is Associate Professor of Performance and Culture, and Head of Theatre and Performance at Northumbria University. Together, they co-direct Performing City Resilience, an international research project brokering understandings and connections between arts and emergency and resilience practitioners.