May 11, 2020
Online debate on Europe Day – The Cultural Sector post COVID-19 The series of debates “Tomorrow’s culture. About change”
On Saturday, May 9th, the “Cultural Sector Post-COVID-19” debate took place, the first in a series that aims to examine what this field will look like in the near future:
Because this year’s Europe Day is being held under extremely special auspices, the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training has launched a series of debates under the title: “Tomorrow’s culture. About change.”
The first debate brought together personalities and cultural authorities with sharp and constructive attitudes about the role and purpose of culture in society. The debate focused on ideas related to:
- how the post-COVID-19 culture will look, unevenly affected and different from isolation measures;
- how it will be possible to preserve the diversity of the forms of artistic manifestation;
- what institutional or independent cultural decision-makers and operators should do to continue the path begun to assert the Creative Cultural Sectors;
- how figures, statistics and operational data should be used in order to generate flexible rational regulatory frameworks, so as to reduce resource disparities of all categories between the public and private cultural sectors.
The first debate had as participants many well-known names who work in the field of Romanian culture or who, despite residing abroad, are strongly connected to Romanian culture:
- Minister of Culture – Mr. Bogdan Gheorghiu
- Presidential Adviser – prof. Univ. Dr. Sergiu Nistor
- The Ambassador of Romania to the French Republic – Mr. Luca Niculescu
- The president of INS – prof. Univ. Dr. Tudorel Andrei
- The writer Matei Visniec
- President of the Honorary Jury of the Romanian Public Relations Association – prof.univ.dr. Dumitru Bortun
- Mr. Cătălin Ștefănescu – Journalist
- Director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest (MNAC) – Mr. Calin Dan
- Director of the National Cultural Fund Administration (AFCN) – Mrs. Irina Cios
- The director of ARTEXIM, the Director of the George Enescu Festival – Mr. Mihai Constantinescu
- INCFC Research Director – Dr. Anda Becut Marinescu
The moderation of the discussions was ensured by the General Director of INCFC and the Vice-Rector of the National University of Theatre and Cinematography, Assoc. PhD. Carmen Croitoru.
Cultural adaptation policies that include the technological dimension are, in the opinion of the participants, the first measures that Europe will take consonantly to preserve common spiritual values, demonstrating solidarity and empathy in the face of universal calamity. The resilience of the European Union, consisting mainly in the symbiosis between culture, communication and technology, will certainly become one of the main features of the future of culture.
The participants also discussed the measures announced at the level of countries with very high activity and cultural consumption, but also how they could affect the details intended to protect the population, the way of receiving cultural goods that need special conditions for manifestation. It was also discussed what new horizons of aesthetic expectation will be activated in the context in which competition in the virtual environment goes from local to global and how important will be the selection based on value criteria of products displayed online.
Today there is more talk than ever about the vulnerability of the independent sector, but that does not mean that the other categories of institutions are less vulnerable. There is a need for more balance in terms of funding and, thus, a reduction of the cleavages between major cultural events in Romania and all other activities of cultural institutions of national importance.
The Minister of Culture, Mr. Bogdan Gheorghiu, underlined the measures adopted as a matter of urgency and the importance of stopping a possible antagonism between the public and the private environment of culture through a structuring of the Cultural and Creative Sectors by dedicated policies. Our Ambassador to the French Republic, Mr Luca Niculescu, announced the latest measures taken by the French Government to support the performing arts and the short- and medium-term importance of European collaborations and co-productions. The writer Matei Vișniec remarked that the cultural sector was the first to be affected and that, unfortunately, the last that will emerge from the crisis, and against the background of this crisis, the role of the state is perceived completely differently: now all eyes are on the state as a universal saviour.
All guests agreed that, paradoxically, the coronavirus crisis has brought culture, for the first time in recent history, as a major topic at the central and public levels. In this sense, important steps have been taken to promote the concept of culture at the national level.
The conclusions summarized by Professor Dumitru Borțun enhanced the idea that the field of culture is not just a playground for content creators, a field of consumption or a factor contributing to GDP. The educational dimension of the field of culture is an essential one, both in terms of the formation of knowledge, tastes and behaviours of the public. Consequently, cultural institutions must have the ability to design multiple alternative scenarios for the future, without taking over the patterns of the past, but only the lessons that history has offered.
Culture plays the role of unveiler of European humanistic values and can be a compass that indicates the directions that should not be abandoned in trying to rethink a national and continental project.
The series of these online meetings organized by INCFC will continue with a frequency of about one per month. We want to offer a perspective of the changes suffered by the forms of manifestation and practices of cultural consumption and, ultimately, of the impact of these changes on the Cultural Sector.
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