Infected Cities #8: Istanbul

Infected Cities #8: Istanbul

What is the impact of the coronavirus on Istanbul? And how do art and culture professionals respond to the crisis?
Thursday 25 June 2020 18:30–19:30

Infected Cities #8: Istanbul was broadcasted LIVE on 25 June 2020. Watch the video recording here.

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 eigth episode of the Infected Cities series we will look at how the Turkish metropole 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 Istanbul. 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 Istanbul 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.

Istanbul slowing down

Istanbul, a high pace city of 16 million, is the driving force of the Turkish economy. The city became the epicentre of the corona pandemic in Turkey as of mid. March 2020 when it was reported for the first time. Strict measures were imposed until June, which helped to reduce the numbers of cases (i.e. lock down for senior citizens and the youth, weekend curfews and sealing off of major cities). While Turkey is opening up again since the beginning of June, the number of corona cases has started to increase. How has corona affected Istanbul, the largest city of Turkey? Has the pandemic deepened the existing contrasts and inequalities? What types of precautions are important during these first weeks of Istanbul’s reopening and in the future?

Difficulties and resilience within the arts

With an agenda filled with concerts, festivals, biennials, exhibitions among many others, Istanbul is one of the most exciting centres for art and culture in the world. The pandemic has paused the buzzing cultural life of the city for a short time, however cultural professionals and artists were very quick to adapt and start new initiatives. In this episode on Istanbul we will talk to interesting guests from different disciplines within the arts. What are the major obstacles that the creative sector is dealing with? What are the various creative solutions they found to continue their work, and make positive social impact? And, to what extent can art and culture contribute to transitioning into (post-)corona Istanbul?


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

- Kübra Uzun, performer and DJ

- Yaşar Adnan Adanalı, urbanist

- Bekir Dindar, photographer

- Pınar Akkurt, artist and designer

- Toon Beemsterboer, Turkey and Greece correspondent NRC Handelsblad

- Bige Örer, director Istanbul Biennial and İKSV Contemporary Art Projects

- Hakan Silahsizoǧlu, founder and director of ATTA Festival in Istanbul

- Ekim Tan, architect and urban designer

- Sinem Dişli, visual artist

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