UNESCO is Empowering the Cultural World to Combat COVID-19's Effect on Art and Heritage

From hosting debates to online exhibitions, from social media campaigns to ministerial meets, UNESCO is implementing numerous online events to safeguard the world of art and culture through the pandemic
Shore Temples of Mamallapuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Shore Temples of Mamallapuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO is hosting an online debate and social media campaign on World Art Day (April 15) in collaboration with electronic music expert and their Goodwill Ambassador Jean Michel Jarre. Called ResiliArt Debate, it is part of UNESCO&rsquos initiatives to support cultural industries and artists through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artists and key industry players will participate in the debate &lsquoto sound the alarm on the impact of COVID-19 on the livelihoods of artists and cultural professionals&rsquo, according to a UNESCO press release.

The press release quoted Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, as saying, &ldquoUNESCO is committed to leading a global discussion on how best to support artists and cultural institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, and ensure everyone can stay in touch with the heritage and culture that connects them to their humanity."

Some of the events lined up by the organisation include a global social media campaign called #ShareOurHeritage &lsquoto promote access to culture and education around cultural heritage during this time of mass confinement&rsquo, a virtual exhibition with technical support from Google Arts & Culture, World Heritage Site managers sharing first-hand accounts of the impact of the pandemic on the sites they manage and on the people around them, and more.

According to the press release, the organisation will also provide up-to-date information &lsquothrough an online map on its website and through social media on the impact of, and responses to COVID-19 on World Heritage Sites, which are partly or fully closed to visitors in 89 per cent of countries due to the pandemic&rsquo.

On April 22, Earth Day, UNESCO will hold an online meeting of the world&rsquos ministers of culture who will talk about the impact of the pandemic, exchange information and discuss remedial policy measures.

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UNESCO reiterated that the &lsquoclosure of heritage sites, museums, theatres and cinemas and other cultural institutions is jeopardizing funding for artists and creative industries&rsquo, as well as compelling people to put on hold many rituals and ceremonies and thus affecting communities.

Once countries return to their normal rhythm, the #ShareCulture and #ShareOurHeritage campaigns will be maintained to share reflection on measures to safeguard World Heritage Sites and promote sustainable tourism, the release said.

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