The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend our lives with widespread loss and ongoing uncertainty that disrupts all areas of daily life. Cultural workers, independent artists, and scholars have been especially hard-hit by this global health crisis, and will likely continue to experience severe disadvantage as social distancing practices become normalized. Despite everyday constraints, communities of practice continue to invent new ways of maintaining connection and sharing their work with audiences, online and offline.

“Audiences and Online Reception: Before and After COVID” examines the impact of COVID-19 and quarantine experiences on artistic and cultural production by examining historical precedents, considering audiences in their social contexts, and imagining possible futures based on how audiences are currently forming. This project asks: How does COVID-19 impact cultural production, reception, and circulation? How are artists and scholars evolving their creative practices and research methods in response to quarantine experiences? What engagement strategies are cultural institutions pursuing to develop new audiences as their venues shutter? How are online and offline audiences responding to changes wrought by COVID-19? In what ways do audiences participate in creating meaning and social narratives, particularly during unstable political climates past and present?

The heart of “Audiences and Online Reception: Before and After COVID” is a year-long series of online symposia, from September 2020 until April 2021. Thematically organized panels, roundtables, and keynote presentations feature artists and humanists who will share their expertise, reflect on how their practices have changed in response to emerging economies in digital spaces, and participate in an interview by a project team member.

The central goals of this project are (1) to deepen contextual understanding of the artistic and humanistic dimensions of the pandemic by bringing together a cross-disciplinary team of researchers across the arts and humanities; (2) to forge intellectual communities and innovate mechanisms for developing and sharing research under current constraints; and in pursuit of these to (3) foster long-term mutually beneficial relationships by supporting the work of artists and scholars who are struggling in the current state of emergency.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this project examines how audiences and publics form with renewed urgency. To learn more about the online symposia, visit the Events page.

Photos from Dr. Danielle Schoon
Images courtesy of Dr. Danielle Schoon. Left-to-right: Two local kids from Sulukule dance on the edge of the new housing development (Istanbul 2012); Slang from Tahribad-i Isyan teaches rap to migrant children in the neighborhood of Tarlabasi (Istanbul 2019); Schoon poses with kids at the Sulukule Art Atelier and its director, Funda Oral (Istanbul 2011).