You are here


The cultural mobilization of cities and local governments in the COVID-19 crisis

The humanity is facing an enormous challenge. The COVID-19 crisis has an impact in all dimensions of our lives: the public health, the labour systems, the social interaction, the political debate, the use of public spaces, the economy, the environment, and the cultural life.

COVID-19 is hitting the cultural life of our communities very severely. Libraries, memorials, community centres, museums and all cultural venues, have suffered several weeks of lockdown; some of them are still closed and some are getting ready to reopen with physical distancing measures. Performances, festivals, parades, carnivals and intangible heritage events have been cancelled, and there is still uncertainty on how these events will take place again. The online presence of cultural institutions and organisations has exponentially gorwn. Workers in the sectors, who are often in an already precarious situation (self-employed, freelancers) may be left for months without any income. The active involvement of all in the cultural life of the community is very damaged by COVID-19, and so is the welfare and the quality of our democracies.

What we have done:

What we are preparing:

  • A series of webinars on culture and the localisation of the SDGs.
  • The second part of our report on the crisis

This page is updated periodically by the UCLG Culture Committee. We will use Twitter to share this page, using the tag #CultureCOVID-19

This page is part of the BeyondTheOutbreak initiative, the "Live Learning Experience: beyond the immediate response to the outbreak", developed by UCLG.


1. Follow the action of cities and local governments

Cities and local governments are struggling to guarantee the cultural rights of all. Cities and local governments, with their workers, actors and institutions, are making tremendous efforts to maintain activities to ease people’s feeling of isolation:

  • New possibilities for access to heritage and knowledge
  • The economic and financial sustainability of the cultural sector
  • Monitoring, impact data and analysis
  • The protection and promotion of cultural rights
  • Co-operation, solidarity and new impulses for sustainable development
  • Imagining the future of culture beyond the outbreak

Some examples of the actions undertaken are listed below:

On the fundamental role of cities in this crisis:


2. Initiatives of the cultural networks  


3. Manifestos, resources, analysis of impact and more  


4. Read articles and posts  

Interesting articles and posts are published on how the crisis is impacting in our societies. Some of them, via François Matarasso, José Luis de Vicente and Olga Subirós.


5.The future

The times after the COVID-19 series.

We have commissioned a series of brief articles:

New plays, books, music, dances, games… will appear. New rituals and festivals will have to be invented to celebrate human life, and to mourn those who last it (words taken from the video made by Lyon on "what a sustainable city is").

During the crisis, in confinement, instead of social distancing we should practice physical distancing and social solidarity. Let us also take the moment to stop and reflect, as our friends of Culture Action Europe have suggested, and herewith we adapt and reproduce:

In what world do we want to live in after the crisis is over? Are we ready to rethink our collective and individual aspirations regarding our communities and our common goods? Are we ready to take actions to tackle climate change together and to recognise culture’s fundamental role in fair development? Will we be ready to address social inequalities, place welfare at the centre and put solidarity above the immediate economic gains?

Instead of going back to business as usual, will we all have the courage to implement drastic systemic changes? If we manage to do it, we will come of this crisis more united, stronger human being sharing a truly sustainable 2030 Agenda.

This global crisis proves the need to multiply exponentially the collaboration of all governments as it shows us our interdependence. In these difficult times, we are committed to promote, more than ever, the cultural rights of all, and to act together so that these rights are protected, promoted, guaranteed and fulfilled.


What else should we do? Please send us a message via the email below:
info (at)