How Can We Stay Connected?

How Can We Stay Connected?

By Helen Willmott, Programme Director at Made With Many.

Last month I wrote about how cultural activities can bring communities together. Well, a lot has changed in the last few weeks. Like countless other organisations we have had to cancel and postpone all of the events we had planned and like so many households across the country, I’m currently self-isolating as a precautionary measure.

This leaves some massive questions; how can we remain connected to our family, friends and wider community when we can’t physically be together? How can we help those in our communities who were socially isolated before it became government policy? What are the options for households without a good grasp of technology when so much of life has moved online? And what good can culture do when so many people are struggling with food shortages, physical illness and mental health issues?

Whilst I can’t answer these questions fully, I believe that one of the most vital things that art and culture can do for us right now is provide an escape. Whether it’s enjoying a craft activity with your children, taking a virtual tour of an art gallery or binge-watching a captivating TV series, culture can distract us, provide relief from endless bad news and simply give us something else to talk about. And the images of rainbows in windows and videos of families dancing and singing together on social media show that culture can unite communities even when we can’t be physically together.

Like many other cultural organisations across the world, we’ve been looking at ways that we can encourage and support creativity in the midst of the current crisis. We’re developing a programme of short creative activities that anyone can do at home (no fancy equipment required!) which will be launching online in the coming weeks. As part of the Creative Kingswood & Hazel Leys project in Corby, families have received deliveries of art supplies to keep them entertained. And you can find information on our website and social media about a wide range of culture you can experience virtually at home.

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