What have you been up to during lockdown? Is the question everyone is asking me at the moment, and I am pleased to say that the answer is not actually nothing! While the arts have been squashed underneath COVID 19, there are 101 things to do out there on the internet. Within the last few months I have attended an ink and watercolour workshop, a ceramics workshop (using biscuit icing rather than clay), and a workshop on researching historical crimes and criminals. Would I have done these without the wonders of Zoom and the power of the workshop leader’s dodgy internet connection? Probably not. And I promise you that even though we’re all suffering from a nostalgia for art, theatre and learning, there is so much waiting to be explored at your fingertips. Here are just a few of the things that I would recommend:
Events at the WORDSWORTH TRUST
Feeling intellectual? The Wordsworth Trust are running a serious of fascinating online lectures in the “Disparate Romantics” series, celebrating the revamping of Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere. The two lectures I have attended explored biographies, reimaginings and “spots of time”, with two leading figures in the study of William Wordsworth and his poetry. There is a small fee for attendance, but if you’re interested in poetry, landscape and biographical writing then this is for you. There’s also a chance to see some brilliant artefacts from the museum – it is well worth tuning in!
The Place in Time discussion event has been a definite highlight for me. I think most of us have missed having access to creative spaces and art in general, but we’re lucky enough to know that there’s a whole community of artists online (including at YNAF). Groundwork Gallery hosted a fantastic online discussion with speakers from across the spectrum of visual arts, to celebrate International Landscape Day – and you can take a look at a recording of the virtual event on their website. If you’re interested in photography this is definitely one for you, but it’s a fantastic listening experience for anyone who is interested in visual art, landscape or is simply missing the experience of interacting with works of art. It’s absolutely free and you can check out the other events on Groundwork Gallery’s website.
I discovered ARVON at Home in the early days of lockdown and it has truly been a lifeline to the literary world. If you’re a writer, a reader or a listener then I can guarantee there will be something for you at ARVON. They host Live Guest Readings on an almost weekly basis with an opportunity for Q&As, attracting some huge names in the literary world including Neil Gaiman and the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage. These events are priced at £5, and ARVON also run workshops and writing weeks if you’re interested in a more 1 on 1 experience. There is an opportunity for young people to sign up to receive discounted tickets for events, and the ARVON website is a hub for events, writing prompts and more. Check it out!
I hope this small selection of online arts content will inspire you to explore the fantastic work that’s going on virtually, all over the world. Artists of all kinds are nothing if not adaptable and if we work together, we can make sure that there will always be something to explore.
By Imogen McHugh