Measures against the spread of coronavirus have changed our lives almost overnight. In many countries, schools, museums, galleries and theatres have been closed, cultural events have been suspended and social life has been curtailed. Art teachers were challenged to deal with this new situation, staying in touch with students and supporting them in their independent study. Many faced the task of communicating the importance of art education, which often lagged behind. Cultural institutions and museum and gallery educators were faced with the question of how to stay in touch with the audience in changed conditions and how to present cultural heritage and art in a situation where cultural life was paralyzed. Distance education, which was previously approached with much hesitation, and virtual communication have often become the only way to continue teaching art education or to mediate art collections and exhibitions.
Coronavirus has shown us – and continues to do so – that people do not have the world under control. The effects on people's lives and health or on the economy are devastating, yet every crisis is also an opportunity to think, to transform internally and to invent new ways in which to live, to communicate, to teach. We have witnessed a situation where our plans and established ways of life – seemingly stable and solid – fall apart almost instantly. We have known how fragile civilization is. Can we learn from this experience? Can we prepare for the next crisis? Are there any points of reference we can rely on in the future? Has the current crisis taught us anything new about humankind, about the power of interpersonal sharing, about the meaning of art and the importance of art education? Can we emerge wiser from the crisis?
Let us together reflect on the crisis we have just experienced and through this shared experience let us look for lessons learned, for methodical inspiration, and let us go back to the very meaning of our field. After all, it is art that helps us process emotions, reflect on personal and social crises, draw lessons, and find the necessary depth of life.
It is our great pleasure to invite you to participate in an international conference, the aim of which is a professional and didactic reflection on the roles of art education during a pandemic. The purpose of the conference is to share experiences and examples of good practice, but also to reflect theoretically on what we have experienced. Experts from the field of pedagogy and other social sciences and humanities, teachers of art education and other expressive disciplines, educators of museums and galleries, artists or representatives of cultural institutions are all invited to participate. The conference will take place exclusively in cyberspace and the organizers encourage participants to think creatively about their contributions. The web platform of the conference will be active, ‘alive’ for the duration of the conference, and after that it will remain a testimony of the pedagogical view of the pandemic and a valuable source of ideas and pedagogical stimuli.
The conference is free, active and passive participants must register. Upon registration they will receive further information and will be given access to the conference discussion forum.
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