British Council Arts, creatives ponder as coronavirus affects sector

As the coronavirus continues to spread and affect various sectors, the British Council Arts has engaged local creatives to get their views on how best they can continue their engagements.

British Council Arts projects officer Dennis Imaan said the council, which works in eight countries, namely South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Mauritius, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi, has been affected as some of its partner countries are in lockdown.

He said: “We have a challenge to make sure that we are still supporting delivery of programmes and still adding value to the creative industry as the lockdown persist. So, the initiative is about getting information from the creatives that we work with or may work with on what they think is possible from where they are.”

Imaan: We want to see how best we can collaborate

Imaan said British Council Arts is engaging the creatives in all the eight countries it works in.

“We want to know if there are new ways that art can be created and shared while practising social distancing. We want to see how best we can collaborate and reach audiences,” he said.

Imaan said currently there are some arts activities that have been suspended and the initiative they are spearheading may help to see if those activities can be channelled in a different way.

On the level of knowledge about the coronavirus among local creatives, Imaan said as British Council Arts, they are not sure.

“But we can also look at what the creative sector has done so far since the start of the pandemic. Locally, we don’t think there has been a lot but globally the effects are clear and all resourceful creatives must be aware of the challenge that has befallen us,” he added.

Meanwhile, several local creatives have expressed concern on how the pandemic is affecting activities in the entertainment world.

In an interview, one of the country’s renowned DJs RJ The DJ said the pandemic is already affecting a lot of artists.

She said: “As much as we would like to soldier on, there is no love in putting people at risk. It’s time to stop all kinds of gatherings. From concerts to schools. Not to wait for it to hit then react. It’s unfortunate that even studios will have to close. Places where microphones are shared. But no one wants to talk about that.

In a separate interview, club and radio DJ, DJ Spyda da Rider said the creatives must take the developing situation seriously.

“We still have a chance to get ready for the coronavirus. Public gatherings are being discouraged. Now here in Malawi we don’t have to take chances. Though we do not know about cases in the country we still must do something,” he said.

Locally not many entertainment events have been cancelled or postponed but globally several big events have been affected. They include the Met Gala, Coachella Music Festival and Tribeca Film Festival.

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