Panel debate hosted by the Academy of Ideas Arts & Society Forum on 6 August 2020.

Original introduction
What future do the arts have after the economic disruption wrought by the lockdown and post-lockdown precautionary measures? Theatres, concert venues, cinemas and festivals may be the worst hit, having lost months’ worth of box-office revenues. But other arts organisations are also suffering considerable losses due to the limitations on their activities. Meanwhile, actors, musicians and other performers and technicians in the arts may have lost their livelihoods.

As the arts struggle to make adjustments to post-lockdown requirements and to huge financial losses, what might aid their recovery? Will the arts eventually bounce back from this devastation and return to normal or are they likely to be profoundly changed? The different arts will to be affected in different ways, but what are we likely to gain and lose in the post-Covid-9 world?

What about audiences? How soon will people overcome their fear of enclosed spaces? For how long will theatres, concert venues and cinemas remain empty and festivals cancelled? How will access to the arts be affected: for how long will audiences be willing to make do with the digital experience?

What should the role of government be in aiding the recovery of the arts? Should the government increase subsidies? Is this an opportunity for completely rethinking the arts, as some people are suggesting, clearing out the dross to allow the pearls to shine through? How do we create an environment in which the arts can thrive again?

A panel of speakers from across the arts will consider the impacts of the lockdown and the options for rebuilding the arts.

Jonathan Baz
Jonathan is an independent critic regularly invited (pre-pandemic) to review West End, regional and fringe productions, together with occasional Broadway openings. Jonathan has judged London’s Off West End theatre awards for a number of years with a particular interest in musicals, both newly written and revivals. He also writes about film and dance. Away from the performing arts, Jonathan is a chartered accountant. Specialising in both the arts & media and inward investment clients, he advises substantial overseas corporations across a range of sectors on setting up and operating in the UK. He is also a trustee of a major charity.

His reviews can be found at and on Twitter @MrJonathanBaz

Manick Govinda
Manick has worked in the arts for many years, mentoring artists and arts professionals, providing personal and professional development support and guidance. His work includes business and strategic planning in the cultural sector, specialising in stakeholder consultations for local authorities and creative workspace providers. As a recent associate with Counterculture, he gathered invaluable evidence and intelligence from artists, funders and developers that contributed towards Manchester City Council and Rother District Council’s strategies for creative workspaces plans.

Manick was formerly programme director for SPACE and previously headed Artsadmin’s innovative artists’ development programme for 18 years, which led to producing film & video installations by internationally acclaimed artists such as 2007 Turner shortlisted artist Zarina Bhimji, 2021 Venice Biennale representative for France Zineb Sedira and Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awardee Larry Achiampong, to name a few. He commissioned and co-curated a collection of artworks for the 5-star Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green in 2010-2012. He is a writer and cultural commentator.  He has appeared on Sky News, Russia Today and BBC Radio 4 and writes on diversity, freedom of expression and censorship in the arts. He also curates debates, talks and screenings on contemporary themes of identity, belonging, free speech and Brexit.

Follow Manick on Authory

Mo Lovatt
Mo is programme & events coordinator with the Academy of Ideas. Prior to this she worked as a writer, researcher, lecturer and producer in the arts sector, predominantly in the North East of England, but also nationally and internationally. She has managed a range of events – from high-profile festivals and commemorative events, to community based participatory arts projects, particularly for children and young people. She is currently undertaking a PhD examining the impact of cultural activities upon children and their families in the former County Durham coalfields, which are classed as areas of economic disadvantage and deprivation.

Mo also currently works for the BoI charity’s Debating Matters competition for sixth-formers and has previously run a number of courses and workshops for young people facilitating both public speaking and debate skills. Mo appears on a number of current affairs and politics programmes for Sky and the BBC and is a regular guest on Sky News’s Sunrise programme where she reviews the morning papers.

Follow Mo on Twitter: @MoLovatt

Joel Mills
Joel is senior music programme manager at British Council, the UK’s cultural relations organisation. She develops and oversees a programme of international music and arts projects, which Include showcasing UK artists, music, and arts organisations around the world, brokering international connections, collaborative commissions, and professional exchange opportunities. A temporary role as director arts for sub-Saharan Africa for British Council involved overseeing the British Council arts programme for the region, with a stint living in Johannesburg. Current major programme strands include: a film and music programme which explores the intersection between audio and visual arts; cultural heritage; and cross-art programmes exploring the convergence of art, music and technology.

Joel has worked in the arts and music for over 25 years, with a background that bridges both the commercial and funded sector. Her career began working in production for clubs, festivals, and venues. She became programming and venue manager at The Spitz venue in East London, before freelancing several years in artist and event management for various independent and commercial music promoters, and arts organisations.

Alison Small
Alison has been UK production training manager at Netflix since March 2020, developing and overseeing training for freelance production crew for Netflix series and film. She was previously the CEO of the Production Guild of Great Britain, which she joined in 2012. She oversaw the delivery of professional membership services to the 1000+ members who represent the freelance management of feature film and TV drama in production, accounting, location management, assistant directors, post production and VFX.

She started her career as a teacher, then moved into the film industry at the British Film Commission, was the inaugural director of the Creative Skillset craft and technical skills academy, and was a freelance consultant and project manager to the international film and TV production industry. She is a member of BAFTA, and is a former chair of Women in Film and Television in the UK.