Sites of Memory 2019, Emerging Memory

Photo: Rien de Jager

Infected Cities #10: COVID-19 and BIPOC communities

How does COVID-19 expose the inequalities within societies? And how do art and culture professionals contribute to the fight against racial inequality?
Friday 3 July 2020, 16:00 to 17:00

The LIVECAST was broadcasted on Friday 3 July 2020, 4pm. The recording of the episode can be watched here:

Infected Cities #10: COVID-19 and BIPOC communities
Infected Cities

The COVID-19 pandemic has an enormous impact on cities worldwide. Especially within areas such as employment, health care, social services and the economy: both now as in the near future. In the Infected Cities series, we looked at how cities around the world are dealing with this pandemic. Together with Pakhuis de Zwijger, we searched for different ‘city makers’ such as artists, creatives, volunteers. The speakers gave us insights into their daily works and explained how they committed to making a positive impact during this pandemic. In this extra edition we will talk with a few speakers from the series together with some new faces about the issue that we found most societies are facing: the exposed inequality.

Inequalities and institutional racism

Looking back on the 9 episodes of Infected Cities it is clear that the virus does not function as ‘a major equalizer’. Instead it enlarges and exposes social and racial inequality. In New York, São Paulo and Johannesburg we have seen that the virus has mostly affected the BIPOC communities. Government systems often fail in supporting these communities and they cannot count on anything else but grass-roots programs and social and cultural initiatives.

In the LIVECAST on Friday 3rd we will go back to New York City, São Paulo and Johannesburg to zoom in on these inequalities that have become more visible due to the virus. Evidently we will also discuss the recent Black Lives Matter protests since this is inseparably connected to the inequalities. Together with speakers we will make efforts to understand the history of institutional racism that has led to today’s unrest and research in what way art and culture can help bring transparency and equality. We will end the program in The Netherlands and look at how we can address the problem of inequality closer to home through the visions of cultural makers and artists.


- Jennifer Tosch, founder Black Heritage Tours in New York City and Amsterdam

- Kamau Ware, artist, historian, initiator of the Black Gotham Experience in New York City - and participant in the 2019 DutchCulture foreign visitors program on Dutch-American shared heritage

- Larissa Macêdo, curator, art critic, researcher and member of research group Extremidades in São Paulo

- Lynsey Chutel, journalist based in Johannesburg

- Malique Mohamud, writer and founder Concrete Blossom from Rotterdam

The moderator of the programme is Nancy Jouwe, historian, project leader Mapping Slavery and initiator Sporen van Slavernij Utrecht.

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