Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus #5: Culture in Quarantine - what the BBC did next!

We are apparently going to have Culture in Quarantine on the BBC!

This is according to a BBC Arts Blog Post published yesterday by Jonty Claypole who is the Director, BBC Arts. (Click the link above to read in full)

One (cynical) bit of me thinks "This is the BBC trying to curry favour with Boris and avoid a major change to how they operate"!

On the other hand this might be a good idea.

Let's see what they have to say......
For me, a precious ray of sunshine has emerged in the clear determination of artists, performers, curators and producers to keep creating and connecting with audiences whatever the circumstances. It is Wednesday afternoon. Our world turned on its axis only 48 hours ago. Yet already exciting plans are emerging that promise a means of keeping culture alive even if our ability to enter the spaces that normally supports them is increasingly limited. Theatres are developing ways to keep producing and sharing work from behind closed doors, book festivals are working out how to stream talks and ideas most effectively, museums and galleries are already announcing virtual exhibitions based on those which are no longer open to the public.
Historically, artists thrive on periods of isolation and it seems certain that the current period will result in new plays, poems, books, films, paintings, sculptures and all other forms of art that might not otherwise occur.
This comes within the context of the BBC's announcement of its broader purpose during the coronavirus crisis.
We will help people in the UK deal with the impact of the crisis on their own lives, by providing advice, education and support.

This includes various new initiatives including
At a time when British culture is having to close its doors, the BBC, through iPlayer and Sounds, can give British culture an audience that can’t be there in person. We propose to run an essential arts and culture service - Culture in Quarantine - that will keep the Arts alive in people’s homes, focused most intensely across Radio 3, Radio 4, BBC Two, BBC Four, Sounds, iPlayer and our digital platforms, working closely with organisations like Arts Council England and other national funding and producing bodies. This will include guides to shuttered exhibitions, performances from world-class musicians and comedy clubs, new plays created especially for broadcast featuring exceptional talent, poetry and book readings.

So what does this involve?  

Dissecting the blog post I can summarise as follows
  • a virtual festival of the arts - Culture in Quarantine - rooted in the experience of both voluntary and involuntary isolation. 
  • linked to the wider arts and cultural sector - e.g. in close consultation and collaboration with organisations like Arts Council England and other national funding and producing bodies.
Some things we will be able to do directly, others we will support in different ways or simply just put a spotlight on.
  • the BBC will open up its platforms, services and technology to help arts and cultural organisations continue to reach audiences directly during this difficult period.
  • a focus on maintaining mental health
It has been proved time and again how beneficial arts and culture is to mental health and so we are also keen to continue to help people at home develop their own creative practice. The participatory arts and crafts campaign Get Creative is shifting its focus from events to the domestic arena. We want to provide everyone with activities to do either alone or with immediate family. BBC Four’s Life Drawing Live will return, by hook or by crook, to inspire and encourage everyone to take part.
Looks like we might be getting regular BBC4 Life Drawing Live!!

It can't start soon enough!

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