What are you thinking about…?

Event poster

What are our colleagues thinking about? What is it that makes you think, what is it that inspires you in this very unusual moment that we are all experiencing? How do you see cultural participation, in any of its aspects, in the medium and long term? What impact can our current learning have (or should have) in the future?

We invited colleagues of different ages, who live and work in different parts of the country, with different responsibilities, to share their thoughts with us. It will be on Wednesday evenings, from 9pm to 10.30pm, in the months of April and May.

While we are dealing with the emergencies of the moment, this time can also serve to imagine the future. There are more colleagues that we would like to hear, many more than the nine Wednesdays in April and May. If this format works well, we’ll extend it.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 and the cultural sector [regularly updated]

Crises like the one we are experiencing at this moment, caused by the coronavirus / COVID-19, have also got a significant impact on the lives of self-employed workers. Cultural professionals, many of whom live in an extremely precarious context, will be particularly affected. The cancellation or postponement of cultural initiatives, absolutely necessary to contain the spread of the virus, will have very serious consequences on their lives.

This is a time when we have to rethink our practices, consider our responsibilities (collective and individual, political and of citizenship), find ways to support the sector and show solidarity.

Access Culture will be gathering here information on initiatives and resources made available in different parts of the world.

(last updated on 3.4.2020)

1. Portugal

Official message of the Minister of Culture

Ministry of Culture, Cultura Covid-19

Direcção-Geral das Artes, Support for the arts

Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual, Exceptional measures

Emergency Fund for the Cultural and Artistic Sector in the Autonomous Region of Madera

Municipality of Lisbon, COVID 19 Measures and information

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Emergency Fund for Artists and Culture

Questionnaire of the University of Minho: COVID-19 impact on the Portuguese cultural sector

The Union of Performance Workers, Audiovisual workers and Musicians (Cena-STE) has sent out a questionnaire in order to be able to evaluate their losses

Anjos 70: Fundraising initiative for artists in Lisbon

2. Governments, public and private bodies in other countries

Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina, Cultura de la solidaridad: programas y líneas de financiamiento para Cultura

Arts Council England, COVID-19 support

Arts Council England, Financial support for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers

Arts Council Wales, Responding to coronavirus (Covid-19)

German Ministry of Culture: €50 bilhões para apoiar artistas e organizações culturais

Gemany´s Culture Minister and Chief Conductor set up fund for struggling musicians

National Arts Centre (Canada) and Facebook will pay musicians for livestreams

Support measures for the Romanian cultural sector in response to the COVID-19 crisis

Greek Ministry of Culture, Measures to enhance Modern Culture due to the impact of the health crisis

National Arts Council, Singapore: Sustaining the arts during COVID-19

Kinkade Family Foundation (USA), Emergency grant for curators

Potanin Foundation, Common cause

Anonymous Was A Woman and the New York Foundation for the Arts, Emergency relief grant for women artists

Cinema worker solidarity fund

15 resources for cash-strapped artists hit by coronavirus cuts and closures (USA)

3. Resources and guidelines

IETM, Performing arts in times of the pandemic: status quo and the way forward

Springboard for the Arts: Principles of ethical cancellation

Springboard for the Arts: Coronavirus/Covid-19 resources for artists

COVID-19 and freelance artists resources

Creative Scotland, Resource Directory for Covid-19

Association of Independent Museums (AIM): UK government and sector advice

Association of Children’s Museums (ACM): Resources to Help Guide Your Museum’s Response to Coronavirus

On the Move: Corona Virus: Resources: Arts, Culture and Cultural Mobility (General advice | Mobility, travel and health | Campaigns and petitions | Statements by networks/foundations | Governmental/Public bodies’ statements and private organisations | Initiatives to get feedback from the arts and cultural sector)

4. Campaingns, manifests and petition to raise awareness regarding of the impact on the cultural sector

Compass, Basic income conversation: Security for all, whatever it takes

Portugal: Manifesto em defesa de um Presente com Futuro

Belgium: By State of the Arts (EN / NL)

France: Pétition pour le soutien des intermittents

Germany: Hilfen für Freiberufler und Künstler während des Corona-Shutdowns

Italy: To support precarious workers and freelancers

Spain: Suspensión inmediata del pago de autónomos mientras dure la crisis del coronavirus

USA, The People’s Cultural Plan – An Urgent List of Demands for Arts and Culture in the Face of NYC State of Emergency

Poland: Open letter/petition to the Minister of Culture suggesting a system of allowance for the lockdown time and compensation system for all cancelled contracts/events (in Polish)

Ukraine: Heads of major cultural institutions wrote an open letter/request to Ukrainian Prime Minister urging to review their decision of the the Ministry of Finance to radically cut their budgets (in Ukrainian)

Bulgaria: an emergency petition to support the independent cultural sector in Bulgaria.

5. Cultura online

Teia 19: Artists whi have seen their performances being cancelled, may present their work through this platform and ask directly the public for a donation.

Artist Support Pledge (Instagram): artists post images of their work, on Instigram which they are willing to sell for no more than £200 each (not including shipping). Anyone can buy the work. Every time an artist reaches £1000 of sales, they pledge to spend £200 on another artist/s work.

Le Festival des Arts Confinés

The Social Distancing Festival

Bleed – Biennial Live Event in the Everyday Digital

Kino Marquee: a virtual theatrical exhibition initiative to enable art house cinemas to serve moviegoers and generate revenue during the coronavirus outbreak

6. Articles and posts

Gerador, Em cenário de pandemia, as fragilidades da cultura ficam a descoberto

Vânia Rodrigues, O que fazer daqui para trás?

Carlos Moura-Carvalho, Medidas para a cultura em estado de emergência

Reem Kassem, Governance during crisis: a case study from Egypt

IETM, Theatre in Italy at the time of Coronavirus

Artnews, Museums in Europe at the time of Coronavirus

Museums Association, Coronavirus: How will it affect museums and what can be done to mitigate the impact

Brian Logan, Comedy’s coronavirus crisis: ‘performers are in deep, deep trouble’

Sandro Debono, The empty museum

Leah Hamilton, Crisis management: a new approach for arts managers

Jasmine Weber, American Alliance of Museums Asks Congress to Allot $4B for Nonprofit Museums

Valentina di Liscia, As the Art World Shuts Down Over COVID-19, Uncertainty Plagues Hourly Workers

Liv Nilssen, Turning refunds into donations

Atta Tarki , Paul Levy and Jeff Weiss, The Coronavirus Crisis Doesn’t Have to Lead to Layoffs

Nina Simon, How Can I Contribute? Four Steps I’m Taking to Figure it Out

Marina D.J. Barham, Message from Palestine

Deborah Cullinan, The time for hope and imagination

Sam Conniff, Too early for optimism

Joan Baldwin, The discomfort you’re feeling

Maria Vlachou, The best we can: Re-establishing priorities for arts professionals in
times of crisis

François Matarasso, This is what we´re working to protect

Colleen Dilenschneider, What Will Make People Feel Safe Attending a Cultural Entity Again?

Laura Collins-Hughes, As Theaters Stare Down Uncertainty, Ars Nova Buys Itself Time

Where is Communication? Access Culture – Clear Language Award 2020

Event poster

On March 20, at 6:30 pm, at Culturgest in Lisbon (Room 3), we shall be delivering the Access Culture – Clear Language Award 2020. Entrance will be free.

We would like this occasion to be another moment of reflection on communication and clear language in the cultural sector. Thus, inspired by a recent article by Vítor Belanciano, “Where are academics?” , which generated an interesting conversation around the communication of science and art, we also wish to ask: Where is Communication?

Join us for this conversation with Vítor Belanciano himself and with this year’s jury members: Hugo Sousa, Joana Lobo Antunes and João Martins.

Registration open: workshops Every Story Matters

Workshops poster


As part of the Every Story Matters project, of which Access Culture is a partner, in 2020 we shall be organising 15 workshops, in various parts of the country, aimed at librarians and teachers.

What is bibliodiversity? As reading mediators, we have a responsibility to ensure the plurality of voices and experiences reading can offer. What limitations do we face?

In this workshop we will start with a testimony that reflects on plural representation and analyse specific books and their potential or effective diversity. Finally, after sharing bibliography, we shall devote time to dialogue and debate the selection criteria that govern the choices of all mediators, whether they are librarians, teachers, educators, animators or family caregivers.

We´re looking for talented writers and illustrators

Programme poster

This programme will guide six talented writers and illustrators from six different European countries to produce inclusive stories for children. Each participant will be matched to a mentor from their own country. The mentor is an experienced author or illustrator with a large network and will coach the participants in writing or drawing stories. During the programme, the participants can follow workshops and online masterclasses to deepen their knowledge of inclusive storytelling. Residencies will give participants the opportunity to further work on their stories while being in a new environment.

More information on the Every Story Matters website

Registration open: Every Story Matters Conference

Conference poster

Registration is now open for the kick off conference of our project Every Story Matters, which takes place on 19 November at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

Everybody has the right to discover literature and to create stories, Your socio-economic or cultural background, gender, sexual preference or mental and physical abilities should not matter. Sadly not all of us have equal opportunities yet. This is not just a matter of who writes (and who is encouraged to write) but of who gets published, who stands on a stage, who sits in the audience, how people are portrayed in books and how readers identify with the characters in the books.

During the first conference ‘Every Story Matters/Cada História Conta’, we invite readers, publishers, authors, librarians, teachers and other book lovers to be part of the promotion of inclusion through literature. We hope they will inspire, get inspired and work together to make the world of children’s and youth books more inclusive. Together we can make a difference.

Registration fee
Normal: €30
Students / Unemployed: €25
Access Culture members: €20

Fore more information and registration, please consult the project website.

Creative Europe supports our project “Every Story Matters”

Creative Europe poster

We couldn’t be happier! Our “Every Story Matters” project is one of the 87 projects supported this year by Creative Europe!

Books do not reflect society as it is. There is an absence of inclusive books. By inclusive literature we mean books featuring a range of abilities, ages, ethnicities, genders, religions, sexual orientations and socio-economic groups. We want to stimulate the production of inclusive books and make them find their way in the professional sector, as well as to have them picked up by readers.

The partners of the project are:

  • Flanders Literature/Vlaams Fonds voor de Letteren (project leader, governmental institution, Belgium)
  • JAKRS (Book Agency, Slovenia)
  • Mediart International (promotes books, authors and reading, Croatia)
  • Blue Dar (education through entertainment, Syria/Germany)
  • ROSE stories (independent storytelling house, Holanda)
  • Help me Learn (reading and providing support for children in underprivileged positions, Tunisia)
  • Acesso Cultura (access to cultural participation, Portugal)

In September, we will have more information on the initiatives to be developed in Portugal. The project starts with a conference in Lisbon, in November.

List of the projects (small-scale projects)

Registration open: 2019 Annual Conference

Conference poster

As the idea of ​​neutrality is being intensely questioned, as cultural activism becomes more and more present in different spaces and contexts (a result of internal or external initiatives), Access Culture is inviting you for another moment of reflection on the political role of cultural organisations and of those working in or with them. Join us on 14 October at São Luiz MUnicipal THeatre in Lisbon. More information

Memorandum of Understanding with British Council and Arts Council Portugal

An image from the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on 19 June between the British Council, Arts Council Portugal (DGARTES) and Acesso Cultura | Access Culture. It is a partnership for the provision of training courses aimed at artistic entities and cultural agents in the performing arts field in Portugal. The training will focus on the inclusion of people with disabilities and access to both the creation and enjoyment of performing arts in Portugal, based on good practices in the United Kingdom, as well as in Portugal.

This MoU is the result of three visions that combine and complement each other. The initiative came from the British Council, which proposed the implementation of a programme in the area of ​​arts and disability, where Portugal is the “focal country”. One of the conditions for being a “focal country” is the need to establish a partnership with an organisation specialised in the areas to be developed (arts and disability), as well as the obligation to include the state entity in the area of ​culture of intervention in the arts.

Thus, DGARTES is the governmental partner whose objectives include promoting equal access to the arts, ensuring the diversification and decentralisation of the creation and dissemination of artistic creation and production, and encouraging the development of mechanisms that stimulate and facilitate access for different audiences.

At the invitation of the British Council, Access Culture becomes associated as a specialised organisation with a privileged knowledge of existing national companies that work in the areas of social and cultural minorities and artists with disabilities.

The three partners intend to focus on capacity-building for entities related to the performing arts, either in the inclusion of disabled artists or in the design of performances that make these accessible to people with disabilities, through specialised training aimed at artists, artistic directors, programmers and managers. Training will also be directed at DGARTES staff, as they are the evaluators of artistic projects, enabling them to become more aware of the specific features of artists and people with specific needs.