The COVID-19 Pandemic as Catalyst for Virtual Events
Ana-Maria POP*1, Alexandra-Camelia MARIAN-POTRA2, Gheorghe-Gavrilă HOGNOGI1
* Corresponding author
1 Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Geography, Centre of Regional Geography, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA
2 West University of Timișoara, Faculty of Chemistry, Biology and Geography, Department of Geography, Timișoara, ROMANIA
Abstract. Globally, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the cultural sector the most by restricting, suspending, and cancelling events in physical spaces. In Romania, the occurrence of the first COVID-19 infected case and the gradual restriction of the public to events until their complete stop during emergency and alert periods led to the reorientation of cultural spaces to online audiences through social media. The present study focuses on the evolution of online events organized by the independent cultural and creative industry during the emergency state of the pandemic crisis (February 27 – May 14, 2020). The types of spaces and the perception of cultural professionals were considered in the analysis, at the city level. The independent creative communities of two of the most effervescent cultural cities in Romania (Timişoara and Cluj-Napoca) readjusted their cultural activity, by organizing online events. A mixed method of analysis was used, in which two methods of data collection were employed: some 205 events recorded on different social media pages (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram) were collected and in-depth interviews with relevant representatives of the independent cultural and creative industry were conducted. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the qualitative data. Results showed an openness of artists to the virtual environment and a relocation of events from the physical to the online environment, a readjustment of events for the virtual audience through creativity.
K e y w o r d s: COVID-19 pandemic, independent creative spaces, cultural events, digital technologies, cultural and creative industries (CCI), creative cities