Research, Analysis & Reports


Culture shock: COVID-19 and the cultural and creative sectors

Cultural and creative sectors are important in their own right in terms of their economic footprint and employment. They also spur innovation across the economy, as well as contribute to numerous other channels for positive social impact (well-being and health, education, inclusion, urban regeneration, etc.). They are among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with large cities often containing the greatest share of jobs at risk. The dynamics vary across sub-sectors, with venue-based activities and the related supply chains most affected. Policies to support firms and workers during the pandemic can be ill-adapted to the non-traditional business models and forms of employment in the sector. In addition to short-term support for artists and firms, which comes from both the public and private sector, policies can also leverage the economic and social impacts of culture in their broader recovery packages and efforts to transform local economies.

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A comparative analysis of economic impact studies

The pandemic has influenced the cultural and creative industries of most African countries. A look at current studies on the situation of the continent shows the extent of the consequences.
Indigenous cultural forms and the creative industries are the most important cultural sectors in African countries. Since publicly funded cultural institutions play only a small role here, creatives and cultural professionals of the continent have been hit particularly hard by COVID19 (see this interactive map on the economic impact on Africa’s creative sector). Studies on its impact on the African Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS), Central African States (ECCAS), East Africa (EAC) and Southern Africa (SADC) have observed several reactions from public, academia, civil society and the private sector to deal with the situation.
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COVID-19 Cultural Rights Violations: Seven trends to watch

1. The Vulnerability of Artists and Cultural Professionals:
Lack of policy frameworks that address the status of the artist. As a result, artists and cultural professionals suffer from lack of social protection measures and COVID-19 specific safety nets.

2. Lack Of Cultural Rights Focused Humanitarian Organisations And Lack Of Disaster / Crisis Management Expertise Among Artists And Cultural Professionals:
The COVID-19 pandemic has evidently exposed this gap, and the lack of capacity and political will by the UN in this regard + lack of capacity by artists and cultural professionals to formulate and implement preparedness and response plans.

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COVID-19 Cultural Rights Violations Trend PDF Download

State of the Arts Report about the situation of women artists and professionals in the Cultural and Creative Industries sector in Europe

The European Union treaties have enshrined gender equality since the establishment of the European Communities in 1957 as a necessary condition to achieve growth, employment and social cohesion. But gender inequality is still a reality in every sphere of society and in different European countries.

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WOMART Report download PDF


How will the arts recover from COVID-19?

Working with the limitations and opportunities of online interfaces, artists whose careers survive the pandemic will emerge with an altered sense of what they do, and of their place in society

Two broad themes have characterised the response of artists and cultural institutions to the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia. Both have brought to a head processes that were already underway, and whose impact will be long-lasting.

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How will COVID-19 impact Cultural Racketeering?

COVID-19 pandemic is exacting a human and financial toll unprecedented in our lifetimes. Statistics worsen daily, but the virus has taken at least 290,000 lives, with over 4,200,00 confirmed cases reported. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also fears the cumulative loss of $9 trillion to the global GDP over 2020 and 2021 — in what it calls the “worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

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Sustaining the arts during COVID-19

Update on key issues raised to NAC on support for the arts community through the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP)

The Government has announced a variety of support schemes over the past two months aimed at small and medium enterprises under the various Budget packages and of which, many are applicable to the arts sector. The $55 million Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP) has also been announced. The ACRP seeks to protect the arts ecosystem and provide support and opportunities for our arts organisations and artists. At the same time, it also aims to develop longer-term capabilities for the post-Covid-19 recovery.

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With COVID-19 bringing global tourism to a standstill, millions of people in quarantine have been seeking out cultural and travel experiences from their homes. Culture has proven indispensable during this period, and the demand for virtual access to museums, heritage sites, theatres and performances has reached unprecedented levels.

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A new report documents major challenges to women’s access to justice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and puts forth recommendations to accelerate action and push back against threats to progress.

Download the Report idlo-justice-for-women-amidst-covid19_0


COVID-19: Why arts funding matters now more than ever

Artists, arts workers, and art museums and galleries in Australia are some of the most severely impacted in the current COVID-19 crisis. While our arts sector is known for its vibrancy, its ecology is fragile at the best of times. It doesn’t receive the level of government funding that the arts do in many Western countries, or the level of philanthropic support.

The model is somewhere between public and private, and the sector survives on support pieced together from many different sources – institutional support, government grants, donations, sponsorship, earned income and ticket sales, along with a lot of good will and volunteerism.

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What could socially distanced theatre look like?

Cameron Mackintosh has said that the West End won’t reopen until 2021. And an American Theatre article suggests that people will be reluctant to come back to crowded auditoriums, even when they can. There’s been speculation that theatre will soothe its audience’s fears with a socially-distanced ‘new normal’; sure-fire hits or celebrity monologues, playing to social distancing audiences that fill only a third of the auditorium. Shoot me first. I don’t mind a monologue, but not when it’s a sad, cautious compromise rather than an all-in creative choice.

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What should we expect from art in the next few years/decades? And what is art, anyway?

I had a dream las night. In my dream, our cities, communities and the natural environment are the museums and galleries of tomorrow. In my dream, the traditional exhibition spaces and art objects (material objects) no longer exist, and artists, cultural agents and creative practitioners collaborate with citizens, communities and professionals from other sectors (scientists, farmers and politicians) to design better systems and to co-create activities and programmes that encourage creativity and bring about social change.

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Controls to manage fake news in Africa are affecting freedom of expression

Governments across the world are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside the mountain of related challenges, fake news has become a source of frustration. Some are now referring to this fake news phenomenon as a ‘disinfodemic’.

Purveyors of fake news are disseminating propaganda and disinformation. This has increased panic amongst the public and slowed the progress of the fight against the new coronavirus pandemic.

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Off script? The arts after Covid-19

Will the arts ever be the same again? The magic of digital technology has kept us connected to movies, music and TV shows during confinement, while distribution giants like Amazon have kept up supplies of books and CDs. But scrapped are the big summer music and theatre festivals. Can artists, producers and distributors hold out? Will Covid-19 finish off already struggling neighbourhood movie theatres? François Picard’s panel reacts to the French president’s promise of support for the industry and reflects on how confinement alters creativity.

Watch the Debate 


Full Disclosure and Informed Consent in Times of COVID-19

In this video, Prof. Jim Unah, President of the Philosophers Association of Nigeria, sets out the principle of full disclosure as a major factor of trust building in times of COVID-19.


COVID-19 Resilience: Creative Industry Options and Strategies: A report by HEVA

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Leveraging the African Union’s Role in the Time of Covid-19

…will the African Union (AU) assume a style that will portray its management of this disease as not only crucial to how Africans view it, but how the institution reaffirms its authority at the time when achieving a unifying regional voice amidst varying interests, actions, nationalist and protectionist responses remains a challenge? In addition, the coronavirus pandemic puts more emphasis on the need for a holistic Pan-African response that will not just react to the immediate pandemic, but manage its attendant impacts through commitments to jointly shared instruments, robust economic packages and meaningful investments in public healthcare, education, and science and technology for the advancement and betterment of its citizens.


African Creative Economies in a Post — Covid 19 World

Africa CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) reports on the continuously increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths across member states. Pundits predict that the number will rise exponentially in the coming weeks and overwhelm the already precarious health systems. Whether the doomsday predictions come to pass or not, the pandemic is unprecedented for even the most developed health systems and presents a significant threat.

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In this personal essay that has been commissioned by the CCI COVID-19 portal, Lisa Sidambe provides an analogy between spirituality and health technologies. She interrogates the Western-centric nature of health security and further provides a critical analysis of the placement, or lack thereof, of culture and its transmutations, in interventions that have been curated to date, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Audio Article: 




Epidemics and pandemics are not a new phenomenon in Africa. Cognisant of this consideration, how have some African communities responded to these within the context and framework of ‘traditional health technologies.’ In a personal essay that has been commissioned by the CCI Covid-19 Portal, Pathisa Nyathi, a Zimbabwean based culture expert and historian explores epidemics and their concomitant response measures through an indigenous culture lens.

Access the essay here: Tradional Health Technologies


Culture after the COVID-19. Here’s why art can help art

Art is the great forgotten. Because museums, cinemas and theatres are extremely productive sectors, but they are often neglected. They play a big role in helping the economy move forward, but today they seem to be getting the short end of the stick


Will the arts survive COVID-19 pandemic?

Eusebius McKaiser shines the spotlight on the creative sector and whether it will survive the pandemic. He chats to SA Cultural Observatory chief economist professor Jen Snowball, the Market Theatre Foundation chief executive officer Ismail Mahomed, Business and Arts South Africa chief executive officer Ashraf Johaardien, South African Guild of Actors chairman Jack Devnarain and Department of Sports Arts and Culture director-general Vusumuzi Mkhize.

Listen to the Conversation 


COVID-19 and the Access to Information Conundrum in Africa

As the world grapples with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the disease caused by the novel Corona-virus, Africa has not been spared. Although the rate of infection is still lower than the rest of the world, it is rising steadily. Governments across the world have initiated partial or nationwide crisis management measures including curfews, lockdowns, contact tracing, surveillance and testing  to curb the spread of the virus, which has been coined as measures to flatten the curve’.

Towards a new Africa-Europe partnership after the Corona crisis

The coronavirus crisis presents an extraordinary global challenge. With Europe now at the epicentre, the response of the European Union has been hotly debated, raising fundamental questions about the EU’s solidarity and credibility.

Nevertheless, it is imperative that the EU looks beyond its borders and delivers the global leadership this crisis demands, particularly in the relation with Africa as its closest neighbour.


How contemporary art is changing in the Covid-19 era

“I didn’t paint the war,” Picasso said after the liberation of France. “But there’s no doubt the war was in my pictures.” Like the impact of coronavirus itself, touching some people mildly, others devastatingly, the effect of a world of illness and lockdown on individual artists and galleries is diverse, but already memorable works are emerging which are inescapably of this moment without describing it.


Why resilience to online disinformation varies between countries

There are widespread concerns about so-called ‘fake news’ and its impact on citizens and democracy. The current crisis caused by the corona pandemic demonstrates how quickly disinformation can spread. Edda Humprecht argues that differing media environments, including levels of political polarisation and economic incentives to produce fake news, create varying levels of susceptibility to disinformation, with the US uniquely vulnerable. Any policy responses to increase resilience to online disinformation need to take these structural differences into account.


Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the SDGs are even more relevant today than ever before

Our world today is dealing with a crisis of monumental proportions. The vicious, novel coronavirus is wreaking havoc across the globe, destroying lives and ruining livelihoods.  The primary cost of the pandemic as seen in the loss of human lives is distressing, but the secondary effects on the global economy, on livelihoods and on sustainable development prospects are even more alarming. The International Monetary Fund estimates that our world has entered into a recession, and while the full economic impact of the crisis is difficult to predict, the costs of the pandemic will no doubt be astronomical, with preliminary estimates placing it at a whopping US$2 trillion.


The Cultural Mobilization in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Report of  the Live Learning  Session on Culture and COVID-19

This Live Learning Session that took place on April 22, organized in collaboration with  UCLG Committee on Culture partners the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), addressed the cultural response at the local level to the COVID-19 crisis.


The great shutdown- What will the arts do to bring cities back to life?

In the context of the COVID-19 crisis that is shaking people’s lives all around the world, and in its attempt to better understand the impact of this unprecedent crisis on cities and culture, the Committee on Culture of Uclg Cglu has commissioned a series of feature articles on culture and covid-19 to experts, practitioners and academics from all the continents. Read the first article of the series here 


COVID-19 Reveals the Urgency of Rethinking Revenue-Based Arts Funding

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed what many of us in the arts already know: We live in a society with attitudes and public policies that subject artists to the same forces that govern the rest of the goods-and-services economy.


International Virtual Conference Report

Report and Podcast of the 20th of March international virtual conference facilitated by Culture Funding Watch, in partnership with Foundation Rambourg, on the theme, Arts Emergency Funding. The conference attracted more than 300 participants from Africa, Asia, Europe, Americas and Australia


Systemic Failure: Virus Shutdown Highlights Precariousness Of Arts Economic Model

The economic fallout of the virus has made the disparity between employed workers and independent contractors clearer than ever. New York has a paid-sick-leave law, but it does not cover contract workers. Many freelance workers in the arts have high self-employment taxes and health-insurance costs; they do not have 401(k) matching programs or employer-backed disability insurance, or severance when work is called off. If artists have health insurance through a guild or a union, coverage is usually dependent on working for a certain number of weeks every year


Charities speak Mapping arts and cultural charities in England and Wales using data science (REPORT)

This report analyses the activities and objectives of registered charities in England and Wales involved in ‘arts, culture, heritage or science’ (ACHS) with a particular focus on arts and culture. The analysis applies natural language processing and clustering techniques to the information that charities provide when they register. This allows for a more detailed understanding of what charities are doing, and what they are trying to achieve, than is available from existing classifications. The work produces an automatically-generated taxonomy of keywords used by ACHS charities. The taxonomy is then applied to create the first systematic mapping of the different activities that charities are supporting and the groups they engage with, for example, the number of performing arts charities working to engage women or specific ethnic minorities. Future work can extend these methods to map other parts of the charitable sector or build recommendation engines to allow funders and charity workers to find others promoting similar causes.


What Theatre Can Do For Humanity In The Midst Of This Unprecedented Crisis

First of all, theatre can acknowledge the uncertainty, anxiety, grief, and pain of this time – and the resilience that so many people are bringing right now. “Some theatres … have recorded performances, and many others are doing or considering live streaming. That is a good start. After this crisis passes, we will also need to equip education and community engagement departments with the funds and technology tools needed to make our work more accessible to our communities—the future of our field and our future audiences depend on it. I remain hopeful we can do it. Theatre people are nothing if not resourceful and adaptable.”


MIDIA Research Report: COVID-19 | Recessionary Impacts and Consumer Behaviour

The spread of COVID-19, and the responses of industry and governments alike, is unprecedented. It is, however, the restrictions on movement of people along with the response of consumers and investors that is causing the biggest disruption and will have the most impact on entertainment businesses. In this report MIDiA explores the potential near- and mid-term impact of COVID-19 on entertainment businesses.


The Impact of COVID-19 on the Movie/Theater Industry

Economic crises, natural disasters, and other long-tail events tend to accelerate underlying trends, exacerbate balances of power, and unravel businesses, business models, and business practices that were sustained by a robust economy. COVID-19’s effect on the media and entertainment sector looks like it will be consistent with this history. Note, too, that the longer/worse the pandemic, the stronger the impact.

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Coronavirus has changed classical music for good. Here are nine powerful examples.

From world-famous artists putting their concerts at our fingertips, to musicians giving us rare personal insights into their off-stage selves, measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 have changed our experience of classical music radically.

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