Pandemic Preparedness in the Live Performing Arts: Lessons to Learn from COVID-19

by Pascale Aebischer, Karen Gray, Kelsey Jacobson, Barbara Fuchs and Heidi Lucja Liedke

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The British Academy
ISBN 978-0-85672-687-3


This report summarises research and presents key findings and recommendations from the British Academy-funded Pandemic Preparedness in the Live Performing Arts project. Between April 2023 to January 2024, a UK-led research team with co-investigators in the USA, Canada and Germany and Research Associates in France, Italy and Japan examined the lessons learned from the responses of the live performing arts sector and governments to COVID-19 in the G7 countries. We focused our attention on policy interventions by governments and funders as well as the individual responses by workers in the live performing arts as well as organisations and their audiences. We further considered the impact of the pandemic on digital modes of working and disseminating creative content; how the pandemic affected communities, places and how ‘cultural value’ is understood; and what the pandemic revealed about systems and structures in the sector. The aim was to support sector preparedness for future crises, whether caused by new pandemics, climate-related disasters, demographic changes, economic pressures or the impacts on the live performing arts of national and international politics. This summary is written for readers in the UK and stresses points of convergence and lessons that can be learned from best practice elsewhere.

The detailed literature reviews covering all G7 nations which underpin this summary report are available.

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