The instantly devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a global health crisis beyond imagination. The instability that followed has had a major impact on the arts and culture sector.
Around the world, cultural sector institutions were forced to either close completely or reduce their operations, while events and performances were rescheduled or canceled outright.
In response to the new ‘normality’ as many are calling it, cultural organizations set out to find new ways and means to implement their activities while protecting their employees as well as the public from the omnipresent threat of the virus.
One such way was the use of digital platforms as an alternative to events that host participants in physical spaces. Nevertheless, as a result of these circumstances, many of these organizations and institutions were forced to reduce staff members and curtail their programs, undoubtedly affecting many individuals in the sector.
Local and national governments responded with different financial stimulus packages for sectors which were most affected by the pandemic, although these initiatives have been criticized for being “all talk and little action,” with many being partly or completely excluded from the support program. Adding to this the fact that culture continues to be overlooked in this new normality, just as it was ignored and not treated as a need in the normality we somehow left behind.
Seeking to bring attention to culture, we want to dissect some questions with you: how have renowned cultural institutions and organizations in Kosovo fared in light of the global health crisis? Have they managed to adjust to the new situation and create effective programs by finding alternative means of operation? What did the crisis mean for the employees that depend on them to make a living?
To get the discussion going we have invited the leading figures of some of the most important cultural organizations in Kosovo: Vjosa Berisha, executive director of Prishtina International Film Festival; Alba Çakalli, producer of the international documentary and short film festival DokuFest; and Arba Hatashi, director of Anibar International Animation Festival. This discussion will be led by Kosovo 2.0’s Aulone Kadriu.K
Feature image: Arrita Katona / K2.0.