We at ALIA Prod have been pre-occupied with how best to manage and support our artists and ourselves as the pandemic has stretched now into 8 months of no touring. Luckily Chloe was able to do her summer outdoor Feast & Field series of concerts, Tom has been busy with media campaigns for the World Music Festival consortium and various individual artists with new releases, and I took a course called Path to Moral Leadership via the Acumen Academy. The course is based on a book called Manifesto for a Moral Revolution (Jacqueline Novogratz), and at its core grapples with the challenges of how to lift people up out of poverty. And although that may seem like an overwhelming task, the book is full of examples of every day citizens who have managed to do just that, impacting sometimes hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. Its a fascinating and inspiring read, and just the antidote to the challenges of being caught up in a pandemic.
One of the proscribed actions for the course was to do it as part of a team. I was joined by Cathy Zimmerman (many of you probably know her from MAPP), and we decided to call our team Connecting across Cultures. We had no expectation of there being any more than the two of us on our team, but were delighted to discover within the week that a number of other folks in the course asked to be on our team. We ended up with 9 team members coming from Tokyo, Kampala, Lagos, NYC, Minneapolis, Charleston WV, southern CA, and myself in Bethesda. Although not everyone is in the performing arts directly, we all found common ground via our respect and caring for the arts and its impact in our lives and those around us. The bonding that took place over the course was profound, and we are still connected post completion of the course. One of the outcomes for me personally was to think about how I might reframe the work that we do at ALIA Prod to accommodate the lockdown, and yet still keep our artists in front of audiences. Obviously the digital pivot is key, and yet that presents its own set of challenges for artists who live in countries where they may not have consistent access to the internet, and where electrical outages are not uncommon. We are working on developing content to share with fans, some of which we may be able to develop here, and the rest will come from the musicians themselves, both individually and as they are able to travel and be in the same place to create content such as musical performances. We will be posting this content via FB pages, which is soon to include a FB group called Connecting Across Cultures (CAC). That will be a platform to offer a more expansive view of culture, ie not limited to one genre/aesthetic or discipline. In this time of COVID as we re-examine so many systems that have historically framed our lives, this CAC is a way to reach out across borders, whether those borders are found in local communities or internationally, and really be open to reframing our connections in society. I have already learned so much from the members of our team, and look forward to sharing those conversations and others with all of you as we move forward.