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Given the important role that art and creative research can play in responding to, and helping us understand, the complex issues that have arisen out of the pandemic, the RSC Task Force on COVID-19 established a Working Group to integrate and underscore artistic and other creative responses to this crisis. As part of this initiative, the Working Group has developed a website to exhibit and host creative work in a wide range of disciplines and forms, including music, sound, literature, visual art, theater, performance and media arts, as well as academic writing on the place of creative work in relation to pandemics in both a historic and contemporary context. 

The site is intended to have several functions, including acting as a place to experience creative research related to COVID-19, creating an archive to document this cultural moment, and offering an opportunity to explore new creative practices.

The lived experience of illness and of coping with a pandemic can be difficult to articulate as well as difficult to process. It is vital for artists and other creative researchers to work alongside other disciplines to help explore the full impact this crisis is having on our society. The anxiety, fear, and uncertainty that this crisis has produced is having very real impacts on how Canada responds to COVID-19—influencing public policy decisions and attitudes towards science and healthcare. But it has also reminded us of the importance of social interactions, including through the arts and other cultural activities, and of our enormous capacity to make positive change when we work together. Creative research enables all of us to more fully articulate and understand this crisis, and in turn places us in a better position to respond to this pandemic effectively, as individuals and as a society.

Visit the website

Join us on March 5 for a virtual vernissage. The free online event will be an opportunity for the community to hear from and engage with the artists as they present the wide range of artist disciplines and forms, including music, sound, literature, visual art, theater, performance and media arts, as well as academic writing on the place of creative work in relation to pandemics in both a historic and contemporary context. 

Click here for more details and to register

The Working Group on Artistic Responses to COVID-19 

Sean Caulfield (Chair), was named a Canada Research Chair in Fine Arts (Tier 2) from 2000 – 2010, Centennial Professor in the Department of Art and Design, University of Alberta

Alice Ming Wai Jim, Chair in Ethnocultural Art Histories, Concordia University Research , Co-Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Asian Diasporic, Visual Culture and the Americas, Board Member, College Art Association

Laura Loewen, Canadian Collaborative Pianist, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs, Associate Professor, University of Manitoba

Si'Yam Lee Maracle, a Sto:Loh nation, critically acclaimed and award winning Indigenous woman author from Canada, Instructor, University of Toronto and INS, and Traditional Teacher First Nations House.

Jan Selman, Professor, Faculty of Arts, Drama Department, University of Alberta

Owen Underhill, faculty member, Simon Fraser University, Artistic Director of the Turning Point Ensemble

Jennifer Willet, Canada Research Chair in Art, Science, and Ecology, Director of INCUBATOR Art Lab, University of Windsor

Julia Wright, Professor of English and University Research Professor, Dalhousie University

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