Dare to Diva Covid 19 Lockdown-DMU Remote Teaching Successful Freelance Projects Impacts & #Black Lives Matter

Carol Leeming, along with colleagues at De Montfort University, has been working  p/time remotely with Students online during the Covid 19 Lockdown period from March 2020 to the end of term.   Throughout this period also, Carol has continued to work remotely online via video meetings, online project management platforms, via phone and email, working as an Arts Consultant for a client a Leicester Arts Group that work with Children specifically.

All work flows at times have been ad hoc, and there have been real challenges and steep learning curves. Carol like many other self employed arts cultural practitioners,  accessed successfully the HMRC Self Employed Income Support Scheme, due to the loss of other freelance work from the arts cultural sector which is closed down.

However Carol has completed some very short pieces of work , in roles as follows: as Host for the launch of an online Festival 2 Funky Urban Music Festival in May 2020 with pre-recorded performances of an all Women Music Artist Line Up. it was a great success with significantly large online audience of 700 viewers and very large audiences across the whole festival, with viewings continuing via Youtube.

From June 20th 2020 Carol also is the Host (filmed) for 2 Funky Music Cafe Virtual Concert Series which includes 12 Bands online pre-recorded performances each Saturday night evening over a 12 week period. It anticipated to also attract  good numbers in terms of an online audience in comparison to numbers in a live venue context.

The current situation overall, remains difficult and unclear as to the arts cultural sector, which is at a stand still due to Covid 19 regarding the country as a whole. In particular as to arts organisations,  venues, theatres, offices etc. re-opening. All of which is dependent on the latest Government advice as to any likely easing of restrictions e.g. social distancing etc.This  in turn is dependent on the reduction of levels of infection across the country, delivery of testing, track and trace, alongside effective treatments and vaccines.

Overall mid term to long term planning therefore is difficult, creating anxiety, in this challenging current economic situation.  We can but wait and see to plan as best as we can for the future,  it is clear for the short term, Carol will be working more from home and online, which also shapes the way how she works going forward.

in recent weeks the Black Lives Matter Campaign has been re-ignited worldwide in the wake of the yet another tragic, brutal and callous killing by the Police of a Black man George Floyd in USA. This has had a seismic effect across the world and protests continue. More importantly it has re-vigorated, the discourse around  systemic racism as a white issue to address, and the need for change, the urgent need for dismantling  wholesale of systemic racism .

This demand has been clearly articulated and demonstrated with widespread protests, and messages of solidarity with #Black Lives Matter here across the  UK. We have witnessed the overspill of frustration of years of  inaction, and seen in response some small changes, by institutions, or large organisations as an initial response, but there is so much more to do, than statements or one-off actions now and in the future. It is unclear how  #Black LivesMatter campaign will impact the UK arts cultural sector, together with the impact of Covid 19 Lockdown as we all move forwards.


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