Message about COVID19
25 March 2020
What are we doing in response to COVID-19?
- We are prioritising our relationships above all else.
In the last week, we have heard your pain. So a current priority is to gather data and stories to make sure decision-makers at all levels are hearing this too. We will be talking one on one to as many of our sector as we can to collate and deliver meaningful and up-to-date advocacy on the impact of COVID19 on the regional arts sector. We will also work with our state and national colleagues to provide consistent and reliable resources to share and help our sector through these difficult times.
- We are focusing on the (changing) essentials.
There will be a lot of changes over the coming days, weeks and months, and many things we have planned or are planning now will change in priority. What will always be essential to Regional Arts WA is ensuring regional artists and organisations are supported as best we can. We want to help our artists and organisations come to terms with the shifting landscape, continue to deliver redesigned programs to their communities, feel safe in sharing resources and knowledge and prepare for life to return to a more normal rhythm. We are redirecting all our resources to ensure we meet these new needs from the sector.
- We are accepting that disruption is the new normal.
It is becoming clear the old normal of a carefully scheduled annual program is gone and trying to make reality conform to last week or last month is not helpful or productive. We have moved further towards an agile organisation – filing away staff job descriptions and project briefs for the time being to focus on what is of immediate importance for the sector in the current environment.
- We are putting community health first.
We are still very much open for business. Yes, we have deferred or cancelled all activities relating to regional travel and yes, all our staff are now working from home. These were painful decisions, but essential for community health and to give everyone certainty and clarity. But we are still here to help you. Our contact details remain the same and our website is being updated daily. Contact us if you need more information.
- We’re getting more creative
We’re well placed as a sector to look at how things can be done differently – it’s a part of who we are. Regional Arts WA will be actively revising existing programs, looking for creative solutions, pressing our funding bodies for more flexibility and promoting ideas and practice. The regions are experts in working remotely and delivering arts projects in fresh, innovative ways to build on the resilience and culture of their communities. Now more than ever we are focussed on helping you do this in whatever way we can.
This situation will eventually pass. In the meantime we will retain a positive outlook, support each other at all times and embrace this new normal.
– Paul MacPhail, Regional Arts WA CEO
16 March 2020
It has become clear to Regional Arts WA that we can no longer view the impact of COVID-19 in terms of just our sector alone. We must join the growing group of businesses and individuals who see a greater responsibility to the wider community – particularly those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
With immediate effect, all of our staff will now begin working from home. We will also defer any of our work relating to regional travel for a period of the next 10 weeks. Both decisions will be continuously reviewed based on current information and advice. Our expectation, however, is that both these decisions could be in place until the end of the critical winter season in Western Australia.
We understand there are significant implications arising from these decisions and do not take them lightly. Artists will lose work and communities will be denied the opportunity to experience activities and events. We will work with all key stakeholders in this space to try and lessen the impact of these decisions.
We will continue to provide services and resources to the regional arts sector as usual. During office hours our phones will still be answered, our emails will still be responded to and all support work around investment, governance and promotion will continue.
We would ask all our peers and sector colleagues to consider similar measures. We are beyond economic considerations and beyond waiting for governments to act. It is only by a collective response to social distancing and care for others we will be able to limit the effects of this pandemic amongst our wider community.
13 March 2020
The spread of COVID19 will inevitably impact the regional arts sector’s activities over the coming weeks and months.
The health and wellbeing of all artists, presenters, practitioners and audience remains a top priority in any decisions, advice and resources we share.
Whilst the official advice from the Federal Government around public gatherings is changing as we write this, it is clear it will also continue to develop for the foreseeable future. This means careful consideration needs to occur now for events and activities being planned over the next four to five months.
Regional Arts WA continues to monitor and refer the sector to the following resources: