The devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world have been felt in all walks of life in personal, social, cultural and commercial contexts. Innumerable cultural events and venues around the world have closed due to concerns over the pandemic. This is happening right as the film festival season traditionally ramps up in Europe and in the Region. Film festivals traditionally thrive in a communal atmosphere, and the crisis has already upended the timetable of most recent film releases globally. To keep the spirit alive, even in a small way, several festivals have dealt with the cancellation of their live events by bringing some or all of their programs alive, and with the situation improving many organizations are introducing hybrid versions of their festival, by showcasing a modest program in the open-air environments and placing a part of the program online.

DokuFest is no exception. We have decided to move our 19th edition of the festival into a digital sphere. This year, the festival will roll out online from 7—25 August with specially curated film programs, panels, masterclasses, collaborative workshops and online music performances.

During the lockdown due to novel coronavirus, it was Arts and Culture that provided joy and kept the communities hopeful and resilient. In the first relief efforts, only few countries included support to the cultural sector, leaving the independent cultural sector and majority of cultural workers out of the relief programs. On top of this social distancing and isolation have created an ether of personal spaces, but again, it is in these spaces that we depend on art either through music, films or artworks that we see with our devices.

The Prince Claus Fund partners discuss what will the post-pandemic ‘normal’ landscape look like in cultural and artistic collaborations and how do we strengthen the links between artistic creation and society during the global health, economic and social crisis?

Moderated by Bertan Selim from Prince Claus Fund, the Panel discussion will bring together Teesa Bahana, Consuelo Bassanesi, Linda Llulla Gashi Hanna Tsyba and Pooja Sood.

Bio’s of the participants:

Teesa Bahana is director of 32° East Ugandan Arts Trust, a not-for-profit that promotes the creation and exploration of contemporary art in Uganda. As director she has supported the development and execution of projects such as KLA ART Labs for research and critical thinking through public practice, the third edition of KLA ART, Kampala’s public art festival, and residency exchanges with partners such as Arts Collaboratory and the Triangle Network. She is also currently overseeing 32° East’s capital project, raising funds to build the first purpose-built art centre in the country. With an academic background in sociology and anthropology, she is particularly interested in the intersection between art and Ugandan society, and how artistic environments should be protected and nurtured.

Pooja Sood is a founding member and Director of Khoj International Artists’ Association which is an autonomous, not for profit society committed to experimentation and exchange in the visual arts in India.. Under her stewardship, Khoj has grown from an annual event in 1997 to a small but vibrant building based institution which plays a central role in the development of experimental, interdisciplinary and critical contemporary art practice in India and South Asia. As Director of Khoj, she has worked actively to build a robust network of experimental spaces across south Asia resulting in the South Asian Network for the Arts ( SANA). Pooja Sood’s contribution has been in the field of curating alternative contemporary art practices in India as well as exploring different models of collaboration and institution building in India and South Asia.

Linda Llulla Gashi, lives and works in Prizren, Kosovo. After graduation since 2010 she worked as Project Manager for Dokufest “Schools and Documentaries” project. Through this project she helped establishing film clubs in high schools all over Kosovo where student s can watch documentaries and trained teachers on how to use documentaries as alternative method for teaching. She also ran Documentary film school “Future is Here” for seven generations where high school students make short documentaries about human rights and social issues. She is Executive Producer of 36 documentaries made through Documentary film school “Future is Here”. Together with teachers she worked on developing a methodology and film guides that are aligned with national curricula. She is part of a feminist movement FemAktiv. In 2019 she was appointed Executive Director of DokuFest.

Consuelo Bassanesi is Artistic Director and a founding member of DESPINA, a non-profit cultural organisation committed to develop platforms for research, production and exchange in the fields of art and cultural activism. Established in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the space hosts art studios, courses, exhibitions and a residency programme that has received over 120 artists from about 15 countries. Is directly involved in the exhibitions programme, as well as in developing projects such as Iran-Rio Art Connection and Art and Activism in Latin America. Also responsible for institutional relations and ensuring DESPINA sustainability through projects, visibility and partnerships. Worked in collaboration with a number of organizations such as Prince Claus Fund, British Council and University of the Arts London - Central Saint Martins. BA in Journalism (PUC-RS) and MSc in Global Politics (Birkbeck, University of London). Is part of the feminist collective Vem pra Luta Amada, and the groups Censura Nunca Mais (against censorship in arts) and Nossa Hora de Legalizar o Aborto (abortion rights movement).

Hanna Tsyba (1988) is an independent curator and manager for cultural projects, art critic, and researcher based in Kyiv. Hanna holds an MA in Cultural Studies. The field of her research interests includes contemporary art and politics, with a focus on the creative practice of horizontal left and feminist movements, as well as film and Soviet Studies. She has been involved in running a non-commercial Visual Culture Research Center (VCRC) in Kyiv for over ten years.

Bertan Selim (1980) is an editor, curator and consultant in the arts, specialised in international grant making, storytelling and photography. Bertan currently works as head of Grants and Collaborations at the Prince Claus Fund in Amsterdam. In 2020 Bertan founded the VID Foundation for Photography to support photography in the Balkan region.