19. august 2020
Av Karoline Skuseth


The COVID-19 provoked a cultural lockdown: prudential norms of social distancing and medical protocols of preventing the spread of the new coronavirus let scenes of theatre, operas and philharmonics without public, artistic performances being disseminated through digital services. As Europe has developed urgency programs to safeguard and finance the cultural sector which was financially deeply impacted after this massive lockdown, there are still countries in which the creative industries are treated peripheral, since cultural institutions are the ultimate entities that open their gates to the public after three months of public activities suspended. No one can possibly hope to reconstruct normality across Europe without placing at the core of such a resilient project the culture of each state, which depicts mentalities, values and behaviours that gather expressions of conformity, obedience, fear, anxiety, optimism, cooperation. The principle of solidarity in solitude depicts the expression around which the public experiences nowadays the digitalisation of arts and the consumption of cultural products assuming that on the one hand, performance arts can contribute to a more resilient society and, on the other hand, that art has an original and extraordinary therapeutic potential that individuals will explore in times of pandemic. 

Our challenge is to evaluate the dynamics of the cultural sector during the corona-crisis and to draw an interdisciplinary analysis on the future of performance arts in post-pandemic times, inspired by the following reflexive interrogations:

1. Monologues and plays that respect social distancing have been intensively promoted as cultural products through which standards of prevention can be simultaneously applied to actors, technical assistants and audiences: albeit there is no specific „pandemic art”, will this trend impact cultural productions from now on?

2. In order to ensure the distribution of theatre and film productions, different countries developed sustainable strategies through which the national radio and television channels have broadcasted such artistic performances under the umbrella of public campaigns aiming to encourage the consumption of autochthone cultural products, financed by ministries of resort; will this measure create a precedent for a nationalist trend of cultural consumption, that will become “viral” in due course?  

3. What are the main affinities and differences between classical and virtual audiences and, consequently, how is this shift influencing innovation and creativity in live-streaming? 

4. The pandemic has restored the public interest for exponential thematic works such as Boccaccio’s Decameron or Camus’s Plague: should performance arts embrace an epistemic vocational mission of familiarizing the audiences with these historical undertakings of similar phenomena by engaging artistic depictions and interpretations? Or is this the time when the therapeutic potential of performance arts should be rather explored by opening individuals towards more resilient – implicitly comedic – approaches?

5. How can art therapy contribute to a more resilient society, in terms of securing family connections, developing educational virtual communities, monitoring secondary traumatic stress and supporting free expressions of concern and care for health, economic stability and distanced social bounding?

6. As human liberties are narrowed down for the sake of prudential protocols addressed to minimize the spread of the COVID-19, art redirects our human capital of autonomy and independence towards the free expression and power of creativity; there through, should society let itself inspired by arts in performing a normative design of distancing practices, newer lifestyles determined by pandemic and resilient practices for building a more tolerant and solidary world?

If Nietzsche was right arguing that “art exists so that reality does not destroy us”, then what resources, practices and principles should society implement from the art world to combat physical and mental insecurities provoked by the corona-crisis? 


We invite scholars and artists around the world to get their original and critical contribution to the volume PERFORMING ARTS: CULTURAL RESILIENCE AND THERAPEUTIC PRACTICES IN TIMES OF PANDEMIC, by submitting articles before September 20th to the following email address:

Submissions should conform to the editorial protocol presented below.

Articles are submitted exclusively using the online system. Manuscripts will be in .doc format, A4, 1.5 spaced throughout. Abstracts no more than 200 words are mandatory. Articles should not exceed 8000 words. All manuscripts must conform to the author-date system documentation style, as it is presented in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. We accept articles written in English only.

All the articles will be refereed blindly. Authors will receive their feedback in order to improve their manuscripts, if necessary, in terms of four weeks.

The volume will be published by the University of Bucharest publishing press by the end of 2020.