Increased parochialism is one of the observations made of the broader global impact of the COVID pandemic [1,2].
In Australia, we have not only closed national borders but intermittent interstate closures have made our physical worlds contract even further and concentrated our attention on our local communities and colleagues. As a glimmer of a post-COVID life emerges, we peek outside our Antipodean curtain to explore how others have fared.
We are very aware that while Australia may have experienced comparatively low COVID cases, our colleagues in other countries are still battling the pandemic. Although we have all experienced the challenges brought by COVID, the situation in each country is affected particularly by other factors, and by government policy responses. We read of student hardship in the UK and wonder how this is affecting emerging artists and performers. We wonder how Brexit may impact upon future student, staff and creative arts mobility, teaching and research for our colleagues in Europe and the UK. In the US, we read media reports of drastic budget cuts in higher education and wonder what the change of administration has had on higher education and creative arts.
In this edition of NiTRO we invited colleagues outside Australia to share their experiences of the impact of 2020:
Nathan Cohen (University of the Arts London) provides two pieces that explore the impact of 2020 COVID restrictions on his home institution and on a multi-partner ERASMUS project
Raymond MacDonald (University of Edinburgh) shares the positive outcomes that have resulted from COVID restrictions on his musical projects
Jane Davidson (Melbourne) captures the experiences of US colleagues Professor Carol Becker, Dean of the Columbia University School of the Arts, and Professor Rob Cutietta, Dean of the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California (USC)
Lucy Brown (London South Bank University) reflects upon the benefits and challenges that online connection has brought
Ciara Chambers (University College Cork) shares the successes brought about by a shift in student filmmaking due to the pandemic
Abigail Gilmore (University of Manchester) charts how social injustice and inequality has grown even as the importance of creativity and cultural democracy is revealed
Jonathan Vaughan (Guildhall School of Music and Drama) explains how the school overcame the time delay problems presented by Zoom to develop a system for online distance music performance
Antonia Collins (The Bamboo Project) traces her journey that led to the development and delivery of online stage management training programme perfectly suited to lockdown
Simon Standing (University of Plymouth) observes how the “have/ have not” dichotomy revealed by COVID restrictions has affected and will continue to affect the student community.