Infected Cities #6: Shanghai

What is the impact of the coronavirus on Shanghai? And how do art and culture professionals respond to the crisis?
Thursday 11 June 2020, 14:00 to 15:30

The LIVECAST was broadcasted on Thursday, 11 June 2020. Watch the recording here:

Infected Cities #6: Shanghai
Infected Cities

The COVID-19 pandemic has an enormous impact on cities worldwide vital areas such as employment, health care, social services and the economy, both now and in the coming period. Since the coronavirus has begun to hit urban areas, we see cities changing from vibrant places into epicenters of the corona crisis. In the sixth episode of the Infected Cities series we will look at how the Chinese metropolis Shanghai is currently dealing with this pandemic. During this LIVECAST, we will have conversations with different experts and thinkers in art, architecture and culture about the current and future impact of this crisis in Shanghai. Also, together with Pakhuis de Zwijger, we will listen to voices of different ‘city makers’ such as artists and creatives and their situation. In particular, experts living in the city with a connection to the Netherlands. The speakers will give us an insight into their daily works and explain how they commit to making a positive impact during this pandemic and what kind of support there is needed for those who currently suffer the most.

Infected city Shanghai

As the biggest city and business flagship of China, Shanghai initiated the highest level of response for major public health emergency when the COVID-19 outbreak started in Wuhan in late January. The lockdown, however, didn’t last too long. Strict regional border control and monitoring measurement, including the implementation of the Shanghai QR Code for all residents, helped disabling the need for a lockdown. From early-mid March on, big shopping malls, restaurants, gyms and even nightclubs re-opened to the public. While the pandemic is still rampant in other parts of the world, daily city life and economic activities in Shanghai have been gradually revoked to the hustle and bustle. But, can life really return to normal under the many new restrictions? What impact did COVID-19 have on the city? What does it mean for the minority groups? And, what are the pros and cons of the new technologies that are used to regulate the pandemic in China?

Impact on the cultural sector

Hundreds of cultural events were cancelled in January and February in Shanghai – a big loss as it is usually a busy season during Chinese New Year holiday. Although museums, galleries and stages have slowly been reopening from March onwards, art institutions and artists face a new challenge. Institutions and artists need to reshape their programming and audience outreach. Also, because of the ongoing travel ban, there is no possibility of offline international cooperation. In the past years, Shanghai’s art scene was flourishing with various new initiatives and infrastructure. How could the cultural sector continue to develop during this impactful pandemic? And, what is the role of art and culture in (post) COVID-19 Shanghai?


The LIVECAST will be moderated by journalist, media educator and writer Zoë Papaikonomou. The speakers are:

- Frank Tsai, Civil Society Organiser, formerly of the Economist Intelligence Unit

Tabitha Speelman, Sinologist, PhD Candidate Leiden University and former China correspondent

- Chen Yun, Cultural producer and curator

- Mark Dekker, Architect and urbanist, Director Asia Inbo International

- Charlene Liu, Engineer, Social changer maker and Community leader, Co-founder Ladies Who Tech and Shanghai Pride

- Vytas Jankauskas, Head of Research/Creation, Chronus Art Center

- Karen Smith, Artistic Director, Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP)

- Nunu Kong, Independent producer, Performing artist and Multidisciplinary choreographer

The programme will also feature a live performance by Coco Zhao, Jazz singer, Songwriter and Poet.

Information about the LIVECAST

The series Infected Cities is developed in collaboration with Pakhuis de Zwijger.