How can we heal?
2020 has kicked-off with a never-ending month of January that brought its fair share of hilarious memes, providing a much-needed break from what seemed like a similarly never-ending trail of worrying news around the globe.
Last week, China and Hong Kong indefinitely closed their public museums and attractions in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus. Over 700 hundred people have died from the virus and thousands have been infected. In the face of such events, we can’t help but wonder: how can cultural institutions respond to health crisis? How might they continue to inform and/or support their local communities when they are forced to close their doors?
After the unprecedented bushfire crisis that hit Australia these past few months and the coronavirus epidemic, we have been pondering at Agenda on the power of Arts and Culture to help a city, a country, a community to bounce back, to heal, to rise again after a traumatic event. This might be a theme for a future conference, so keep your eyes peeled, and most importantly, let us know your thoughts. Also, you may have heard that Directors and CEO of Australia’s leading Natural History Museums have issued a joint statement citing “human-induced climate change” as the “over-arching issue affecting Australia’s unique wildlife.” In their statement, the museums have vowed to dedicate their ressources, collections and research efforts “for the restauration of species where possible.”
The start of the year might seem grim, but be assured that there is hope. We definitely found some in the work of this Australian artists’ collective who hijacked bus and tram shelters through a guerrilla-styled poster campaign to call their fellow-citizens to action on climate change.
Last but not least, we would like to acknowledge Black History Month currently taking place in the USA and Canada. Amongst the many initiatives emerging all through February, we were particularly touched by the African-American Museum of Bucks County “pop-up” exhibition including Linda Salley’s work around quilts and their historical role in helping escaping slaves survive. Also, if you are in New-York, the Schomburg Center in Harlem is hosting a “Phenomenal Black Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon” on the 22nd.
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About the Author – Alexia Jaques-Casanova is an arts writer and museum consultant. With a strong background in Art Management, she founded Artizest, a one-person company helping museums create inclusive and meaningful programs for and with their audiences.