The art and culture sector has been hard hit by the COVID-19 restrictions. Cinemas, theatres and opera houses have been closed for a year. Concert halls and exhibition centres are empty. Readings in bookshops can only take place online. Front of stage and backstage, workers are facing major income losses. Freelance workers in the creative economy have been particularly affected.
Parallel to the new phase of the New Start Culture assistance programme, Chancellor Angela Merkel will be meeting online with people who work in the creative economy. Everything must be done to ensure that our shared cultural life has a chance in future too, said Angela Merkel. The meeting with representatives of the art and culture sector is the seventh dialogue in the series The Chancellor in Discussion.
14 representatives from the realms of music and acting, film and book trade, the art sector, museums and freelancers. They will all have an opportunity to report on their experiences during the pandemic, to identify areas where more direct action is needed, and to discuss with the Chancellor digital prospects for the cultural sector in the post-pandemic era.
The creative economy consists of about 260,000 companies and more than 1.8 million workers. In 2019 the sector generated turnover of 173.4 billion euros. In 2020 turnover plummeted by 13 per cent.
This series of dialogues builds on a long tradition of citizens’ dialogues with the Chancellor. For many years she has sought to engage directly with citizens in every part of Germany. To uphold this dialogue in spite of the pandemic, the Chancellor decided to move to a virtual format.
So far there have been six online dialogues in the series. The Chancellor has already spoken to the staff of helplines and crisis hotlines, parents of nursery and school-age children, trainees and trainers, police officers and students. There has also been an online discussion of situation in nursing. After the dialogue with representatives of the art and culture sector, Chancellor Angela Merkel still intends to meet with people working for voluntary aid organisations.