This virtual panel discussion explores the impact of Covid-19 on Rotterdam’s cultural sector, the uncertain existence of freelancers in times of crisis, the urgent need for sustained investment and enlightened commissioning, and how to contribute to the survival of a healthy cultural field. With Jelena Barišić, Hasna El Maroudi, Sheree Lenting, Tarona Leonora and Derek Otte.
“Health is the most important thing, it’s priceless; but just like the rent, the average independent creative needs to be paid.”
Last week, Rotterdam’s former city poet Derek Otte made a passionate plea for solidarity with cultural producers worried about their work and income following the draconian response to the coronavirus outbreak. Online Rotterdam magazine Vers Beton (‘Fresh Concrete’) published several suggestions for supporting (small-scale, local) entrepreneurs during this difficult time. The Thursday Night Live! team, together with the other members of Het Nieuwe Instituut, supports Otte’s call to “keep an eye out for ourselves and others, and help each other”, and Vers Beton’s commitment to giving the self-employed a (financial) boost.
Despite the necessary temporary closure of the institute’s doors, programming and commissioning are not coming to a halt. From the privileged position of culture professionals who continue to have access to a salary and a budget even in times of crisis, we are trying to think about alternative ways to keep Rotterdam’s culture running. In an online version of the round-table discussion that we would have liked to host, experienced experts and Rotterdam creatives share their views. Under the guidance of journalist and programme maker Hasna El Maroudi, interim Vers Beton editor-in-chief and writer Jelena Barišić, dancer, choreographer and teacher Sheree Lenting and visual artist Tarona Leonora discuss a number of timely questions. Poet Derek Otte introduces and closes the meeting.
What does the outbreak of the new Coronavirus, and the measures to combat it, mean for the city’s cultural sector? What precarious positions do freelance creatives now find themselves in? Why is it so important to continue to invest in culture now? And what can we – as enthusiasts, listeners, viewers, followers and visitors who now have to stay at home – do about it?
An English transcript is available here.