Report Culture in Crisis: impacts of Covid-19 on the UK cultural sector and where we go from here

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“Culture in Crisis: impacts of Covid-19 on the UK cultural sector and where we go from here” is a report by the Centre for Cultural Value, published in 2022 and produced over 15 months with over 230 interviews and shared to inform the cultural sector and its practices.

“Three key findings:

  • Audiences: While the shift to digital transformed cultural experiences for those already engaged with cultural activities, it failed to diversify cultural audiences.
  • Workforce: The UK’s cultural sector is undoubtedly at an inflection point and facing imminent burnout alongside significant skills and workforce gaps.
  • Organisations: In light of the pandemic and Black Lives Matter, many cultural organisations reevaluated their purpose and their relevance to local communities, which was complemented by increased local engagement.”

The executive summary remarks:

  • A lack of organised public health and safety guidance.
  • The importance of the role of freelancers in the sector and the lack of work opportunities.
  • Therefore, the cultural workforce faced the loss of jobs and challenges to overcome the increased workload.
  • Networks and cross-sector collaborations are a vital support to the sector.
  • During the pandemic, touring exhibitions were diminished, an issue that needs to be addressed to ensure rural and smaller communities gain access to cultural goods.
  • An increase in local tourism due to the travel restrictions posed a new outlook with “The importance of the cultural and creative sectors to animate and stimulate night-time economies and town and city centre high streets was keenly felt…”
  • Digital services and goods are not as effective in broadening and diversifying the audiences.

Our take

We recommend you read the report’s Executive Summary and the Report as it gives a concise and insightful look into the cultural sector. Fascinating are the results from the cultural workforce as it showcases the struggle for professionals during the pandemic. When we think of a museum or a heritage site, we think of it as an organisation rather than the group of people who run it and face extreme pressure to offer cultural service during the pandemic. While the pandemic helped heritage engage with digital technologies, achieving these goals requires expertise outside the regular training of heritage professionals. Furthermore, digital services are not as appealing as they appear to be in terms of audience engagement. The report is very informative for professionals and the public giving a great in-depth look in the entirety of the culture sector operations. 

I want to learn more:

Culture in Crisis: impacts of Covid-19 on the UK cultural sector and where we go from here by Ben Walmsley, Centre for Cultural Value, Abigail Gilmore, Dave O’Brien, Anne Torreggiani

Executive summary

Full report

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