Members of The Arts Society will be familiar with the slogan Enriching lives through the arts: many of our Societies use this in their pre-lecture slides and it is part of our magazine’s imprint. Enriching lives through the arts describes what we - and our Societies - want to achieve and is our purpose. As the UK enters the third week of national lockdown (our Members in Spain have been in lockdown even longer), the arts have given all of us so much: a sense of calm, entertainment, stimulation, happiness, to name but a few. Many of our Societies and colleagues have posted brilliant arts content on our dedicated Arts at Home Forum, listing how they are engaging with the arts locally through digital media.
What most Members may not be familiar with is one of the charity’s key values: Connected. It is something we usually do so well, bringing people together over a lecture, tea, coffee, an outing, or a glass of wine. We are all only too aware that this is currently not possible, at least not in the usual face-to-face, personal way that we all enjoy - and currently miss - greatly.
Being Connected through the arts is an important part of what we do, especially now. So I wanted to share some things that we can do together, despite being isolated, so as to not lose our connection with each other:
I am proud to say that we are working with our Lecturers on some exclusive, new content: a series of films by Arts Society Accredited Lecturers, published every fortnight. The first talk will go live on 7 April, along with the schedule of fortnightly lectures for the coming weeks. Each talk will be followed by a Q&A with the Lecturer on our dedicated Talks & Lectures Forum. Please do join us in visiting our Lecturers in their homes from your home.
Talking of Forums, we have come up with a range of things and topics that we think might be of interest to you, and that you may want to chat about online with other Members and the public. For example, why not join the discussion on HENI Talks at and share which ones you’ve enjoyed. Make yourself a cup of tea and imagine you are talking to friends after a lecture.
Join a pay-per-view world-exclusive streaming/screening offer for Members of The Arts Society this week. Easter in Art is the latest Exhibition on Exhibition film and was due to be released in cinemas this week. Visit here for an Arts Society Members-only preview. We are planning a Q&A with film Director Phil Grabsky and recently retired Accredited Lecturer and former Bishop of St Albans Christopher Herbert - please look out for further announcements. Please note that this offer will expire after 21 April.
Let’s meet for a quiz night! Why not sit down this evening and enjoy this arts quiz put together by our Membership Director, James Wilkins: the first of our fortnightly arts quizzes. This goes well with a pint of beer or a glass of sherry. Hint: make sure you read future Instant Expert emails, which may hold some clues.
Staying at home actually means we probably enjoy more arts and culture than we normally would: over the weekend I certainly found a lot more time to pursue my own interests, so I thought I’d share with you the things I have enjoyed over the past couple of days:
Whilst doing some DIY, I listened to a few podcasts on Talk Art by Russell Tovey (actor-collector) and Robert Diament (gallerist). You may remember that Russell was recently featured in our Magazine in The Art that Made section, so it was great to hear some of the conversations led by him: my favourite is the chat with my hero Sir Ian McKellen
I finally got round to start reading The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal, and could not put it down. Hint: I am reading it in anticipation for an interview with Edmund in the summer issue of the magazine…..
I have listened to A LOT of music: having set up a second music listening room in my flat (yes, I am obsessed with sound systems), I spent many hours discovering and re-discovering new music: this weekend I listened a lot to Shirley Horn and Patricia Barber, and also Charles Lloyd’s latest live album 8: Kindred Spirits. If you are into electronic, contemporary classical, I recommend Nils Frahm and Luke Howard. And at the other end of the spectrum, I enjoy listening to trumpet-infused hip-hop collaborations. Do contact me if you want any suggestions.
So, plenty of ways to enjoy the arts from home. This week I hope to visit an online exhibition and will check on our Forums what you recommend. So I hope to chat with many of you as we get re-CONNECTED on our new site.
I look forward to sharing with you a post by my colleague Shivani Mahida next week in which she writes about her Wanderlust during social isolation.
This blog is composed by Florian Schweizer, CEO of The Arts Society, and made up of contributions by him and invited guest bloggers.