Cultural Cities - the recovery?


Museum of the Home new access and entrance from Hoxton Overground station, London (designed by Wright and Wright Architects - image by Hufton + Crow)


As complete lockdown is planned to ease this summer, how have museums, arts venues and their host cultural districts, fared through the pandemic? How has Covid-19 changed their visions for cultural dialogue, community outreach and international partnerships?


As part of its 'Cultural Cities' series, Future Cities Forum discussed these issues with the V&A's Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer Tim Reeve, Blackpool Council's Leader, Cllr Lynn Williams, the Director of the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) on Lisbon's waterfront, Beatrice Leanza, Arnolfini Bristol's Director, Gary Topp and architects Wright & Wright's Assistant Director, Ronan Morris.


Tim Reeve talked about how he had seen an 'acceleration of things that were (already) starting to percolate' such as the museum's digital engagement:


'It has been a creatively quite fertile time with a silver lining. We have been able to ask what a digital museum should really mean, meet new conditions and accelerate our digital engagement and broaden our audience. On diversity we are reaching new audiences with our plans for V&A East in east London and also Bethnal Green. East London has been woefully underserved. It has a rich creative heritage and talent pool. With the openings and then closures during the pandemic we have been able to re-write the operating manual, learn new tricks and we are in many ways a better organisation for the future.


'With regard to Black Lives Matter, this is an opportunity to address inequalities in society and to measure impact through the collections. We want to make it available to the most diverse parts of our communities and the work we do has to last more than a year or two.