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Thoughts from Our Colleagues During the Coronavirus Situation

To keep in touch with our colleagues from around Europe during a time when physical contact is universally detrimental, we contacted Henrik from Bodø 2020, Eva Maria from Salzkammergut 2024 and Dorian from Rijeka 2020 in March to ask about their concerns and contributions during the current situation. Here are their thoughts.
DORIAN CELCER, Rijeka 2020

What are you most concerned about in the current situation?
Understandably, my primary concern is that my family remains healthy (as long as possible). I often contemplate how our society and our lives will change in the aftermath. Will we see a change for the better or worse?
I do hope this will force us to start acting more rational, more sustainable and more emphatic towards each other and towards the environment.
Dorian and Irena with our team in November 2019.

More personally, how will this affect our work? Will there be a job to return to? After 6 years within Rijeka 2020 and in anticipation of that final stretch where we finally roll-out everything that we've been so carefully preparing, my heart sank along with hearts of all my colleagues I've talked to. I'm concerned about what happens to our programme. Will there be a second chance? Can we condense most of the planned projects in a shorter period of time? I don't know for certain. What I do know is that there is not a group I would rather work my ass off to achieve that, than with my colleagues in Rijeka 2020. #samoljubav

What will be your personal contribution to make the situation better?
The most basic thing I can do is to follow instructions from authorities on how to protect others and myself. To act responsibly. I've signed up for Red Cross' relief force, in case they need extra manpower and to allow their core teams to rest. I'm reconnecting with people I've drifted away from. I'm trying to keep myself positive and mentally strong(er). Exercise. Think of how to re-frame parts of the ECOC programmes I am responsible for. The best personal contribution is probably to come out as a better person after this ends. Until then, we can only try to make the most out of this bad movie we all have our parts in.
"A photo of my temporary office is attached. My favourite co-worker Sven insisted to be in the picture as well. :)"


EVA MARIA MAIR, Salzkammergut 2024

What are you most concerned about in the current situation?
We currently witness how vulnerable the system we’ve created is. I think especially in Central Europe, people of my age have little to no experience with (societal) crises, so we are only now beginning to realize what it means to adapt to a totally new circumstance when life changes just overnight. Besides the health of the individual and the expected work overload for health workers, I’m worried about many people losing their jobs and existential problems within the cultural sector. As a result of this, I’m most concerned of an atmosphere of collective lethargy.

Eva Maria Mair and Kalle Paas
What will be your personal contribution to make the situation better?
What I’m personally trying to do is finding a good balance between helping out family members whose life is more affected by this situation than mine, having dinner or a glass of wine with friends over video chat every now and then and keeping up and finding new ways of doing our ECoC work. I think times like these bring out a sense of creating collectives, working together, helping each other - something we should keep in mind for the times afterwards. Situations like these help us realize that we are stronger together. I think with the privilege of being on the team of an ECoC at this stage comes also responsibility.

Already in our bidbook we have presented our community building concept of the Salty Family - a supportive family embracing members of different ages, backgrounds, interests and with different needs. Well, now is the time where we can start making a difference.
Eva Maria's home office


HENRIK SAND DAGFINRUD, Bodø 2024

What are you most concerned about in the current situation?
First of all, we are obviously concerned about staying healthy and doing our best to help our healthcare workers who are exposing themselves in this difficult situation. When we look a little further ahead, I'm concerned about the cultural field, and especially the professionals who are facing a period of little or no income. We are obviously looking at a long and difficult recovery, and professional artists and culture workers will be affected. Hopefully tough times can result in new ideas and creativity, and eventually we will come back stronger than ever.

What will be your personal contribution to make the situation better?
Right now, we are all part of the "dugnad" – making an effort to reach a common goal. I think the Irish have a similar term, "meitheal". Historically the same thing; gathering at one farm at a time to help out with work that requires more hands, receiving nothing but goodwill and a return of the favour. This time we do it by staying home, avoiding social contact, home schooling, meeting digitally, calling those who are alone in their home isolation.
For our ECOC project, I think now is the time to do exactly this – staying in touch with each other, sharing thoughts and ideas, developing new platforms and staying creative.
"The picture is from today's home office/kitchen table/home school. Trying to find the balance in this new situation. Keeping in mind we are all in this together, and that we may actually be more dependent on each other than ever."
"The picture is from today's home office/kitchen table/home school. Trying to find the balance in this new situation. Keeping in mind we are all in this together, and that we may actually be more dependent on each other than ever."

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