CULTURE IN A TIME OF CRISIS
In times such as these, where we face crisis and confusion, we are often encouraged to find comfort in culture, to create and share creativity where ever we can.
Social media is full of beautiful footage of communities physically distanced from one and other, leaning over their balconies to sing together, or in a personal favourite, residents in a cul-de sac in Cheshire, England standing on their driveways to all dance together to “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones.
These communities have shown that through song and dance they not only remain connected with each other, but also connected to something bigger than Covid19: Joy and Hope.
It’s easy in times such as these to see communities reduced to their most basic. Particularly in times of a medical crisis, where there is a clinical and functionary approach to getting us through. And while we all know and accept the necessity of isolating, each of us doing our bit to protect our friends and families, these mass gatherings of song and dance, seem to be small moments, where our humanity, our humour and spirit bust through the clinical surface.
I am not going to write about how Culture with a big "C" is important at this time. And while listening to Henry Purcell or reading Jane Eyre has brought me immense comfort over the years, this crisis has seen us recognise the value of small "c" culture. Small "c" culture is actually immense, I call it small not for its impact or significance, but rather its veneration. When we talk of links between humanity and the expression of culture, rarely are we referencing binge watching "Shitt$ Creek" or "Love is Blind", or opening Spotify to play our Power Ballad playlist, but this is what we are doing and this is culture.
While this crisis has had an immense impact on the arts, with thousands of creators out of work for the foreseeable future and events, exhibitions, concerts and commissions cancelled, it is telling we still look to creativity to get us through our fear and frustrations. I take from this two important lessons, firstly that we must support your creative community when you have the chance, see that live band, buy that new work by a local author – let your local arts community know you love them; and secondly, enjoy your sustaining small culture, but let’s raise it up and see how much culture actually surrounds us.
As Benjamin Law wrote, “Staying indoors and washing our hands will help us survive. Protecting the arts will help us live.”
Cultural Development Coordinator, Dubbo Regional Council
With social distancing keeping us all at home, I thought I would take this opportunity to revisit one of my favourite authors, Jane Austen and explore some of her less well known novels. Witty, irreverent and always with a happy ending what’s not to love about a Jane Austen Novel?
Podcasts are something I have really come to enjoy, I now save them for when I’m travelling to visit family. One podcast called the Howie Games, with Mark Howard interviews elite sports people from all over the world and across many sports. Their personal stories, highs and lows alongside the hard work and achievements has really changed my opinions of some sporting personalities while others I can appreciate more even if their sport is a complete loss on me. Most are retired from their sport so their reflection on themselves, the sport they gave their best years to and how it has shaped them is really intriguing to me. Some have completely walked away from it. I’ve had a boxer make me teary and laughed out loud with people I’d never watched but remembered their presence within a particular sport.
Are you a creative practioner or business impacted by Covid19?
The State Government has recently announced a new wave of funding to support creative small businesses impacted by mandated closures and restrictions.
Through Service NSW, Creative Businesses can apply for the NSW COVID-19 Small Business Support Grant. The Grant of $10,000 will be available to eligible NSW small business owners. The application form will be on the Service NSW website by 17 April.
For more information visit: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/covid-19-help-small-businesses/grants-loans-and-financial-assistance
The Australia Council for the Arts has also opened their Resilience Fund, to support artists during the period of impact related to Covid-19.
The 2020 Resilience Fund includes three streams:
1. Survive - small grants for individuals, groups and organisations to offset or recoup financial losses due to cancelled activity.
2. Adapt - grants for individuals, groups and organisations to adapt their practice and explore new operating models.
3. Create - grants for individuals, groups and organisations to continue to create artistic work and develop creative responses in a time of disruption.
Applications for the Resilience Fund quick response opportunities opened on Friday 3 April 2020. Visit: https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/funding/
The Copyright Agency also has some grants available for both organisations and individuals (writing, publishing and visual arts sectors;) to support the development of new works to find out more head online to: