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Launch of Beyond the Now platform to consider the arts post pandemic

Beyond the Now logo

A new platform launched today (15 October 2020) will foster debate about the role of the arts in social justice in a post pandemic world.

Beyond the Now, initiated by Dr Kim Charnley, Staff Tutor and Lecturer in Art History at the OU, in partnership with six other arts organisations, focuses on the part that socially-engaged art will have to play in responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

The project, which draws on Dr Charnley’s research in socially-engaged art, has commissioned a range of artists to contribute short responses reflecting on the COVID-19 situation over this season. The first three contributions made public today are:

  • Writer, filmmaker and activist Ashish Ghadiali’s text ‘The Age of Uncertainty’ reflecting on race and identity in the context of the pandemic
  • Artist, activist and educator Gregory Sholette’s short film examining responses to the pandemic by a range of international artists
  • Artist Jeanne van Heeswijk’s text ‘How we have been preparing for the not yet’ exploring the interplay of the local and globalisation in socially-engaged art

Dr Charnley said:

“This project captures the urgency of a situation where socially-engaged art is in a position to make visible some of the effects of the pandemic.

“It allows us to begin to explore these effects in a global context and in so doing to recognise the issues that may have been pre-existing but were exposed by COVID-19. So many inequalities have been revealed by this situation that we wanted to find a way to turn it into something constructive, which is what Beyond the Now aspires to do.”

Beyond the Now’ is a syndicated social practice platform, founded by partners based and working in locations across the globe, which aims to open new creative, cultural and political affinities for a post-pandemic world. Beside the OU, partners include Counterpoints Arts, Create, Plymouth College of Art, Ettijahat, Coculture, and Mozfest.

Find out more about OU research in Art History

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