Online initiatives

Online initiatives

During the first months of the COVID-19 crisis, the Compendium of Cultural Policies & Trends collected and curated online cultural initiatives, including both cultural activities to do from home and more formal initiatives that, for example, map the impact of COVID-19 on a particular sector.

Performing arts

Based on the information provided by its members, Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Association League Europe) launched a map to visualize the re-opening of Live Performance in Europe.

The Royal Opera House (ROH) launched a programme of free online content for the culturally curious at home. This includes productions offered on demand and for free via the ROH’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

The Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) has opened its livestream archives, so that music lovers all over the world will still be able to enjoy opera and ballet. From Sunday March 15th onwards, Wiener Staatsoper will broadcast recordings of previous opera and ballet performances daily via its streaming platform – worldwide and free of charge.

The European Dancehouse Network (EDN) is conducting a survey and shares the outcomes on the impact of COVID-19 on the dance sector.

IETM (International network for contemporary performing arts) published the report Performing arts in times of the pandemic: status quo and the way forward. The report outlines the situation on an international scale, identifies the most burning needs of the performing arts sector and presents an overview of governments’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

Visual arts

The Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) launched an interactive map showing the re-opening plans of museums in Europe. By clicking on one of the countries, you may find additional information about the current situation for museums, advice about security measures and their digital strategies.

Previously, NEMO also carried out a survey to look at how the situation has impacted museum budgets and operations, how museums cope in these times, how they re-organise their structures and offer new services to their audiences. Close to 1000 museums in 48 countries contributed to the NEMO’s survey, the results of which are published here. Along with the survey, NEMO has prepared an overview of COVID-19 related initiatives of museums globally.

CoronaMaison (CoronaBuilding) is an invitation to draw the ideal place to be quarantined in. Artists and non-artists are invited to participate in this collaborative drawing game. The single rule is to download the template of the room so that all decorated rooms seem to belong to the same building: CoronaBuilding stands for a virtual place where we all “live together”.

IED Visual Arts launched an online creative challenge for graphic designers, Stay close(d), as an invite to reflect on how isolation or being closed and physically distanced actually brings us together and makes us feel close.

#Creativityathome The Glucksman contemporary art museum in Cork, Ireland proposes a new art activity each week, based on their collection.

While the Metropolitan Museum of Arts has temporarily closed its doors to fight the spread of the coronavirus, they remain committed to their mission to inspire knowledge, creativity, and ideas. In its digital digest, they bring a selection of their many videos, articles, and online resources.

MCM Advancing digital transformation in museums has compiled an extensive list and guide to virtual museum resources, e-learning and online collections.

Google Arts & Culture allows you to virtually visit museums, cultural heritage sights and art works with an array of interactive tools.

Audiovisual media

The European Audiovisual Observatory has been tracking information on specific national measures aimed at supporting the audiovisual sector in 41  European countries. It also concludes measures introduced at the level of the European Union, for example related to the European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme and the Council of Europe.

The project Cities and Memory have initiated #stayhomesounds Sounds from the global Covid-19 lockdown. Listen to the world in lockdown via and interactive map.

The International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) offers a free online collection of films and new media projects. Outside of the Netherlands, almost 200 titles are available.

Join Sheffield Transformed for their Quarantine Film Club, a series of politically themed films on Netflix that you enjoy from home in the online company of others.

Cineurope presents an overview of the film events that have been cancelled or postponed, as well as further country specific measures for the audiovisual sector.

Talking Shorts, an online film magazine dedicated to short films, initiated the My Darling Quarantine Short Film Festival. They presented a weekly programme with seven short films related to the theme dystopia, after which the audience could vote for their favorite film. Talking Shorts has also set up a GoFundMe page where you can support Doctors Without Borders and cultural institutions and workers.


Many from the music and cultural sector have reacted to the corona crisis with urgent calls to policy makers, new ways to provide access to cultural content or ideas to help those that are struggling the most in the current situation. The European Music Council has curated and published statements and reactions about the COVID-19 on the music sector.

Yale University’s Oral History of American Music (OHAM) is conducting interviews with musicians about their experiences and reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related social isolation. The series Alone Together: Musicians in a Time of Covid features interviews with composers Annea Lockwood and Martin Bresnick, composer/guitarist Benjamin Verdery, presenter Mary Lou Aleskie, French hornist Hugo Valverde and many more to come. The first release can already be accessed here via YouTube. The interviews will become part of OHAM’s permanent collection, available through Yale Library’s website.

IMPALA (Independent Music Companies Association) launched a mapping tool, giving an overview of action across Europe to address the impact of COVID-19 on the music sector.

The Sofa Singers is a free & weekly online singing event from James Sills that aims to bring people together from around the world to spark joy and human connection.


The Cultural Heritage Devision of the Council of Europe, has set up a website for you to explore art, culture and heritage of Europe from home.

In their online newsletter, the cultural heritage agency of The Netherlands share updates on the situation in the heritage sector from their Cultural Heritage partner countries.

How is the COVID-19 crisis changing the museums as we know them? How will the “digital museum” practice affect the burning debates concerning decolonization of archives and collections, exhibition practices, as well as museums’ infrastructures? Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy launched a call for papers searching to answer this and other questions. Submission deadline: June 1st, 2020.

UNESCO is inviting its partners to share their experience in safeguarding living heritage during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to exchange experiences and learn from each other, with living heritage as a source of resilience in these difficult circumstances.

Arts and education

Engage with two new museum and heritage learning departments each week through the GEM Education Skills Sharing Sessions via Twitter.


Dutch culture has launched a Livecast together with Pakhuis de Zwijger: Infected Cities. In nine episodes, they will explore how different metropoles around the world deal with the corona pandemic and the value of arts & culture in these cities?

Recognising the cultural and creative sectors as particularly afflicted by the COVID-19 measures, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) encourages the search for sustainable business models that would help small companies and freelance professionals survive the crisis. The OECD has organised webinars on the economic impact on museums and cultural and creative sectors.

The Culture of Solidarity Fund, launched by the European Cultural Foundation, is looking for imaginative cultural initiatives that will reinforce the pan-European culture of solidarity in this situation of crisis. It will offer various application windows throughout the year, and the first call closes on Monday April 27th, 2020. Individuals, collectives and organisations from all sectors and civil society are eligible for grants.

Culture Funding Watch organised an international virtual conference on Art Emergency Funding Mechanisms in the COVID-19 crisis. The podcast of the Conference can be found here.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, many activities carried out under the Creative Europe Programme cannot take place as planned. With this in mind, the European Commission has launched #CreativeEuropeAtHome  – a social media campaign that is running on our Creative Europe accounts on Facebook and Twitter. With this, the European Commission is crowd sourcing the effort to highlight great online cultural activities throughout the Creative Europe community – available to culture lovers currently stuck at home.

On behalf of European cultural networks, platforms and organisations, Culture Action Europe has sent a joint letter on March 20th to the Commissioner Gabriel and Members of Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC). The letter lists proposals regarding the ways to cope with the consequences of COVID-19 on Creative Europe and the European cultural and creative sectors. A range of different possibilities should be open to cultural organisations benefiting from Creative Europe funding in order to provide the appropriate support and allow for fitting responses in the case of each organisation’s circumstances.

The National Endowment of the Arts has launched a COVID-19 funding and resources page for artists and arts organisations in the United States.