On December 10th, the city of Nicosia, Cyprus, welcomed the DISCE workshop “A way forward: Cultural Policies for shifting gear or shifting ground?”. Within the context of DISCE, NiMAC – Nicosia Municipal Arts Center presented a panel discussion joined by Yiannis Toumazis (Director of NiMAC and Professor in Art History and Theory at Frederick University), Marina Maleni (Τheatre Development Officer, Cyprus Theatre Organisation), Nihal Soganci (Creative Director at Buffer Fringe, and Home for Cooperation Administration officer), Monica Assimenou (Art Theorist) and Burak Sayin (Trans Europe Halles, DISCE project).
The panelists shared their insights on how the cultural sector is dealing with the current crisis and what are the possible consequences of the pandemic for culture. The current restrictions and lockdowns threaten the already brittle artistic scene. If these measures are implemented for extended periods or even intermittently, artistic creation could be affected indefinitely. Even though policies to support artists, performers and independent cultural workers during these difficult times, have not performed well, all the panelists agreed that the cultural sector proved its adaptability and resilience. Artists managed to offer new modes of artistic creation and new ways of communication, taking into consideration the audience’s needs.
“The pandemic created the split in all our planned activities,” observes Nihal Soganci, “however this split was also a moment of questioning, thinking and adaptation for us, which meant that we had to find other possibilities to enable the cooperation of people and artists”.
The panelists also discussed the future and sustainability of culture. Monica Assimenou and Marina Maleni stressed the importance of productive dialogue and communication between artists, policy-makers and other stakeholders. “Re-negotiation of what space the arts occupy in our society and what space we want them to occupy,” said Marina Maleni.
We were pleased to host this fruitful discussion. Thanks to all the panelists for their valuable contributions!
The recording of the workshop is available here.