A letter to artists and arts organisations in Lancashire.


Dear Colleagues,

We are living through an event that is making so many of us feel powerless.

As individual artists and as arts organisations the immediate and profoundly unsettling impact of the Corona Virus has taken its toll on our ability to share our creativity and, in some cases, even our ability to create, but it has NOT prevented our audiences from accessing some of the very best art and culture our county and our country has to offer through books, radio, television, online and digital channels.

Never have our audiences relied on the creativity and ingenuity of artists more than during the lockdown. Whether as entertainment, inspiration and education, or as a means through which to reflect or find comfort, the arts have been the rock to which society has clung steadfastly these past weeks.

Now we must consider the long-term implications for the arts sector and how we factor in the unbearable into how we go forward. For what we do now, and for the foreseeable, will dictate our future. The questions then become less about what have we lost and why, but how must we adapt and what do we want to save?

In part, these questions are already being answered and actioned by Arts Council England and other national and regional cultural sector support organisations who have been able to respond to the pandemic by developing or diverting funding into specific emergency grant pots,

As an unfunded advocacy group, Arts Lancashire are not in a position to offer financial support, but what we are doing, as we have always done, is to continue making the case for Lancashire’s individual artists and arts organisations.

At this moment, working alongside other sector champions and partners across Lancashire, we are contributing to the development of a county wide response to support the readiness of the creative and cultural sectors to restart and sustain operations once the lockdown is eased.

We’re also looking at how we can provide more learning and development opportunities for artists and arts professionals through our podcast, The Gathering, by taking our events programme online and through other channels, in collaboration with partners.

Developing and retaining skills and experience in Lancashire’s arts sector is going to be vital to its future survival, but the skills and experience we need for a future of prolonged social distancing might be different or more specific than those we have needed previously.

Some of our members are reporting new concerns around safeguarding and digital exclusion, whilst others have shared issues connected to audience engagement and payment structures for online activity. As we develop plans for a programme of professional development to support prolonged social distancing measures, we’re keen to know the specific issues and topics you’d like more support with over the coming months.

What do you need help with the most in your practice? Please send your thoughts and opinions to us at artslancashireevents@gmail.com or message us on Twitter @ArtsLancashire

With best wishes for you and your families and friends. Stay safe.

Alex O’Toole
Interim Chair

On Behalf of the Executive Committee of Arts Lancashire


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