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University experts part of new research programme to help the creative sector

A new research programme, involving university experts, to support the creative and cultural sector after the coronavirus pandemic has been announced.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) conducted a virtual meeting on 8 July discussing how to “retain, reset and reimagine the cultural sector”, according to Times Higher Education

Attendees at the meeting included Science Minister Amanda Solloway, the provost of Oriel College, Oxford Neil Mendoza, and the poet Lemn Sissay. 

The campaign by the AHRC called ‘Boundless Creativity: Culture in a Time of Covid-19’ has been “exploring the real-time, differentiated and disruptive impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s cultural and creative sectors”, according to AHRC executive chair Andrew Thompson. 

Professor Thompson also stated the campaign would analyse “how the cultural world has embraced digital technologies” during the pandemic. 

Social distancing measures have meant many artistic projects had to relocate online. 

The project should enable cultural sectors to understand “the wonderful lessons which have emerged during the crisis” and “build back better”, according to Ottoline Leyser, the CEO of UK Research and Innovation. 

The project should enable cultural sectors to understand “the wonderful lessons which have emerged during the crisis” and “build back better”

The AHRC campaign has collaborated with the UK government through the Department for Digital, Cultural Media and Sport (DCMS) to examine how the pandemic has impacted culture and creativity, as well as looking at the importance of digital innovation in the cultural sector in the future. 

Themes within the research programme that will be explored include looking at the threats and opportunities created by the pandemic alongside encouraging audience engagement within culture. 

The programme will also explore how digital platforms can diversify and engage audiences, not least to encourage resilience among the arts if there is another period of lockdown. 

The project will be chaired by Andrew Thompson and Neil Mendoza, who has been appointed commissioner for cultural recovery and renewal by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. 

The programme will announce members of its advisory panel, including individuals from the arts and universities sectors, by the end of this month, and will run until July 2021. 

Professor Thompson stated that he hoped the project would “put the expertise of arts and humanities researchers at the heart of Whitehall”.

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