(Photo: Winner of our lockdown photo competition by Lani)
These are challenging times and we are now in the middle of our second period of lockdown. For an organisation that is focused on face to face work with large groups of people it poses particular challenges, yet it is a time when arts and culture are needed more than ever. Yesterday's news reported that the latest phase of lockdown has brought loneliness to record levels, with 8% of adults (representing around 4.2 million people) reporting being lonely.
At NORCA & Sistema we are continuing to look to respond to this challenge in creative and innovative ways:
Covid-safe: Cathie and the core team have been working hard to make sure that we continue to deliver what we can, and what we do is as safe as it can be. This means ensuring that both our participants and staff are looked after, however we were able to return to delivery in most of our locations in September, and have been managing to keep our schools work going during the current lockdown.
Going online: Like many organisations, we have been looking at web-based solutions. In April, we started exploring the options for Sistema in Norwich, and developed our new online nucleo via Musico, an exciting and extremely functional music focussed platform. Through Musico we have been delivering assignments to all our children since June - consisting of a mixture of video, scores and written material, with children able to play along with the onsite player, record their own practice on video and talk to tutors. Last week we started doing live, online lessons through the platform. The level of uptake has been great.
Our music curriculum provision also developed an online format that enabled us to provide children with home learning during the first lockdown, and continues to support young people who are having to isolate.
We have lots of ideas for developing other digital elements, including streaming live performances from Colegate.
Looking to the future: Looking beyond lockdown, planning is underway with Norwich BID for Head Out Not Home 2021, and we are considering what we might be able to deliver in the way of carnival activity, even if the Norwich Lord Mayor's Procession cannot take place. We want to get programmes like our sewing and makers group back up and running, and start some new projects. As always we seeking funding to support this work, but we believe that arts and culture can play a significant role in helping to get the nation back on its feet, whether it's reconnecting people and communities, building the creative economy, or developing future artists and creatives.