On 18 December, as a part of the 17th Travelling International Docudays UA Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Chernivtsi, there was an online discussion of Culture Under Quarantine: Lessons Learned. The discussion participants were Larysa Kurushchak, the head of the Department of Scientific and Educational Work of the Chernivtsi Regional Art Museum, and Andriy Tuzhykov, a culture manager and writer, the head of the Culture Research Lab NGO.
The conditions of working under quarantine are different for public culture institutions and private institutions or NGOs. But all of them are united by an important lesson learned during the quarantine: the inclusion of new media and internet in the work of museums, festivals, galleries, etc.
“Since culture shapes the consciousness of the community, the task of culture managers is to ensure uninterrupted access to culture under any circumstances, with as much comfort as possible,” noted Andriy Tuzhykov. “Under quarantine, this is a real challenge, because not all institutions are prepared to work digitally due to a lack of competences.” At the same time, the problem is often in the shortage of ideas, adequate cooperation and correct management.
The quarantine has changed the usual approach to the work of the museum in Chernivtsi, even though it was unexpected for the employees. “After a while, we recovered, but I can’t say that we were ready for this and had a plan B. Under quarantine, we found some advantages in this new situation: we have more time now, we slowed down and had the opportunity to think about the things we did not have time to consider before,” explained Larysa Kurushchak. “Just like most institutions in our city, the Chernivtsi Regional Art Museum started to appear on social media more often, and our employees’ work was directed at organizing online exhibitions.”
“The synergy of culture and IT is not painful, but even useful,” noted Andriy Tuzhykov. “And it’s hard to disagree with this. Difficulties do not stop the work of the culture sphere, because at the moment, its activities are even more important for comprehending the present time and supporting the population. The culture institutions in Chernivtsi gradually adapt to the conditions of the quarantine, although they still believe that live communication cannot be replaced.”
Text: Viktoriia Perzhun