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COVID-19 Category

From catastrophe to hybridity to recovery

by Tarek Virani and Jenn Blackwood

What are the implications on a sector in transition as a result of COVID-19?

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the creative and cultural sector in South West England. This research focuses on four specific areas: the impact of COVID-19 on the CCS in the South West, how the sector has transitioned in response to the crisis, how the sector might be made more resilient, and what is needed for recovery.

Preview the data below and begin to unpack the implications on a sector in transition, considering what factors have enabled subsections to continue to function despite a completely different way of working.

Economic Impact and Productivity

The COVID-19 outbreak, as well as lock downs and social distancing policy, has had a devastating impact on the creative and cultural sector (CCS) in South West England. Globally the crisis has exposed the unstable and uneven nature of work in the creative and cultural industries as well as how risk is enmeshed in the foundations which support it.

77% of businesses have experienced decreased turnover as a result of the pandemic.

Turnover Impact for Creative and Cultural Organisations (CCO)

47% of our respondents have furloughed 76% - 100% of their staff continuing to emphasise the dramatic change in both economic circumstance but also working practices across the creative and cultural sector.

Percentage of Staff Furloughed

Our research also showed that 74% of CCO respondents in the South West are either producing at reduced levels, temporarily closed, or have gone out of business. Interestingly 26% of CCO respondents were either more productive or continuing to produce as normal during the pandemic despite the immense challenges presented to the sector, highlighting a level of in-built resilience.

Productivity Levels (June 2020)

The ability to repurpose

Changing consumption patterns caused by the pandemic mean diversifying to meet new markets, and giving this new audience a diversified cultural offer. The ability to repurpose throughout the pandemic has been enabled by several characteristics.

Characteristics that have enabled CCO’s to thrive in the pandemic

However the data suggests that not all CCO’s possess such characteristics or are able to repurpose their offering.

Percentage of CCO’s able to repurpose their offer and generate revenue

In fact, whether a CCO can digitally adapt their offering can significantly affect productivity levels.

Can Research and Development (R+D) enable significant change?

We believe it is essential that creative and cultural organisations have the ability to develop these characteristics to future proof the creative economy. Research + Development can support and develop these key characteristics to ensure all creative and cultural organisations prosper in areas that they haven’t explored previously.

By supporting a transition to hybridity (a combination of digital and non-digital means) could R+D play an important role in ensuring a resilient transition and subsequent path to recovery for the South West Creative and Cultural Sector?

Discover the answers in the full report.