A letter from Caroline Douglas

27 March 2020 By

The CAS teams have been working from home for almost two weeks now, getting used to the physical isolation and responding to the challenges of taking all our communication – internal and external – online. It is important to acknowledge the emotional and psychological impact of the situation on all of us as we watch this crisis unfold. There is a sense that this is a ‘paragraphing moment’, one after which nothing can quite be the same again. At the same time, we are an organisation that already has a 100-year perspective, and while so much has changed during our history, and more will change now, much remains the same.

While everyone’s thoughts are naturally with the frontline services at this time, we also feel deeply that our role in the cultural life of the country remains vital. Over the coming months we will continue making our contribution to the visual arts ecology of the UK, investing in artists, and supporting museums that play an essential role in their communities. No other organisation fulfils this role in the way that we do and we know it is one that is highly valued.

While we are not able to continue with our normal programmes for curators and patrons, it seems more important than ever to stay in touch with everyone. We are working hard now to adapt our programmes to an online offer. As a first step, our Friday Dispatch is paused for the moment, and has been replaced by a new and expanded strand of programming that we have called By Appointment.  On Fridays this will be a short interview with an artist in their studio, and you might have seen our first film in the studio with Gaia Fugazza last Friday. If you missed it here is the link. This afternoon there will be a chance to see a short interview with the eminent ceramicist, writer and curator Alison Britton.

On Wednesdays we will make available one of the artists’ films that we have bought over the years. It will be a rare chance to see some recent purchases and some more vintage works that are never normally available to view in this way. The films will come to you as links via email, as well as being available via our website, Instagram and Facebook. The films are shown by special permission of the artist and will only be available to view for a 72-hour period each week.  This week we showed Ben Rivers’ 2008 film The Origin of the Species; watch out next Wednesday at noon for Mark Wallinger’s moving 2000 film Threshold to the Kingdom, that was part of his exhibition in the British Pavilion in Venice the following year.  As with so much, these powerful works take on new resonance now and are acutely thought provoking.

Stay safe, everyone, and keep in touch.