COVID-19 Online Conversations in the Creative Industry of Ghana

Contributions to ResiliArt and World Cultural Diversity Day

The Creative and Cultural sector including Tourism have not been immune to the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Places of worship such as churches and mosques, theatres, museums, schools as well as places of entertainment still remain temporarily closed. Artistic performances including live shows have all been cancelled until further notice creating difficult situations for creative and cultural people. Globally, more than 80% of UNESCO World Heritage properties including those in Ghana have closed down[1], threatening the livelihoods of the local communities and cultural professionals. Currently, local artisans who ply their trade at tourism destination centres including tour guides have all been disengaged temporarily.

The Ghana Culture Forum with support from UNESCO and the National Commission on Culture is therefore organizing a discussion for sector practitioners and stakeholders in Ghana based on the global activity and campaign launched by UNESCO on April 15, 2020 on World Cultural Diversity Day, May 21, 2020.

The Ghana culture forum with support from UNESCO and the National Commission on culture held its annual Ghana Culture day celebrations on the 12th of March 2020.

The celebration was concentrated on a symposium with the theme – Culture – Translating Values into Economic Opportunities. At the time of the symposium, the first cases of the covid-19 pandemic had just been discovered in Ghana and the situation was not as dire as we have today.

The emergency measures currently in force were not anticipated. Today, the whole world outlook has been enveloped by this pandemic and virtually all social and economic activities have been disrupted.

The creative industry has not been exempted from the consequences of this catastrophe. It is not surprising that most countries have been quiet in all aspect of their life. The reason being that Culture, the underlying energy for life has been affected.
In Ghana for instance, the emergency restrictions announced by government banned all social gathering and mass activities and this negatively affected entertainment, events and conferences and all cultural events including funerals. The creative practitioners and others in the larger cultural domain – musicians, film makers, performers, artists, publishers, writers, event organisers and allied groups such as those in the heritage sector have all been grounded. The lifeline to sustenance for these artists and practitioners have been greatly affected.

There is the need to have this online discussion on the emerging realities, identify the challenges, share experiences and contribute solutions to the unfortunate situation into the future. Critically, the necessity of defining and accessing support mechanism to sustain livelihoods and creative activity is paramount currently.

We also would like to have practical solutions and initiatives that could create opportunities for the arts and culture in Ghana with the emerging realities.

The emerging realities are 1. Lives of the practitioners within the cultural space of Ghana have been affected gravely by the pandemic. 2. Most people who have been working in the creative industry have been exposed as vulnerable and the current situation have worsened their lives. 3. We do acknowledge the fact that government have focused on policies that are intended to mitigate the difficult circumstance that the citizenry find themselves. 4. As an industry, we must start the discussion on how to shape the future after covid-19, looking at investments that may lead to a rebuilding of the industry focusing on the long term effect of the pandemic and how to strengthen our resilience. 5. This rebuilding effort must be spearheaded by agencies of the state responsible for the creative and cultural industry even though there is an important role for the private sector and civil society organisations such as the Ghana culture forum.

The day for the online conversations happens to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. That is an important day and we must collectively encourage the need for cultural tolerance and inclusivity.

Contributions to ResiliArt and World Cultural Diversity Day

The Creative and Cultural sector including Tourism have not been immune to the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Places of worship such as churches and mosques, theatres, museums, schools as well as places of entertainment still remain temporarily closed. Artistic performances including live shows have all been cancelled until further notice creating difficult situations for creative and cultural people. Globally, more than 80% of UNESCO World Heritage properties including those in Ghana have closed down[1], threatening the livelihoods of the local communities and cultural professionals. Currently, local artisans who ply their trade at tourism destination centres including tour guides have all been disengaged temporarily.

The Ghana Culture Forum with support from UNESCO and the National Commission on Culture is therefore organizing a discussion for sector practitioners and stakeholders in Ghana based on the global activity and campaign launched by UNESCO on April 15, 2020 on World Cultural Diversity Day, May 21, 2020.

The Ghana culture forum with support from UNESCO and the National Commission on culture held its annual Ghana Culture day celebrations on the 12th of March 2020.

The celebration was concentrated on a symposium with the theme – Culture – Translating Values into Economic Opportunities. At the time of the symposium, the first cases of the covid-19 pandemic had just been discovered in Ghana and the situation was not as dire as we have today.

The emergency measures currently in force were not anticipated. Today, the whole world outlook has been enveloped by this pandemic and virtually all social and economic activities have been disrupted.

The creative industry has not been exempted from the consequences of this catastrophe. It is not surprising that most countries have been quiet in all aspect of their life. The reason being that Culture, the underlying energy for life has been affected.
In Ghana for instance, the emergency restrictions announced by government banned all social gathering and mass activities and this negatively affected entertainment, events and conferences and all cultural events including funerals. The creative practitioners and others in the larger cultural domain – musicians, film makers, performers, artists, publishers, writers, event organisers and allied groups such as those in the heritage sector have all been grounded. The lifeline to sustenance for these artists and practitioners have been greatly affected.

There is the need to have this online discussion on the emerging realities, identify the challenges, share experiences and contribute solutions to the unfortunate situation into the future. Critically, the necessity of defining and accessing support mechanism to sustain livelihoods and creative activity is paramount currently.

We also would like to have practical solutions and initiatives that could create opportunities for the arts and culture in Ghana with the emerging realities.

The emerging realities are 1. Lives of the practitioners within the cultural space of Ghana have been affected gravely by the pandemic. 2. Most people who have been working in the creative industry have been exposed as vulnerable and the current situation have worsened their lives. 3. We do acknowledge the fact that government have focused on policies that are intended to mitigate the difficult circumstance that the citizenry find themselves. 4. As an industry, we must start the discussion on how to shape the future after covid-19, looking at investments that may lead to a rebuilding of the industry focusing on the long term effect of the pandemic and how to strengthen our resilience. 5. This rebuilding effort must be spearheaded by agencies of the state responsible for the creative and cultural industry even though there is an important role for the private sector and civil society organisations such as the Ghana culture forum.

The day for the online conversations happens to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. That is an important day and we must collectively encourage the need for cultural tolerance and inclusivity.

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