The Creative Industries Federation and other industry leaders have penned an open letter to the UK government calling for more targeted aid, as Help Musicians becomes one of the first UK charities to have a dedicated TikTok Donations Sticker…

UK creative industries

The Creative Industries Federation (CIF) and more than 400 leading creative figures, including Stephen Fry, have warned of the UK becoming “a cultural wasteland” unless government provides urgent financial support for the creative industries.

In an open letter to the government, the membership body for the sector in the UK has called for immediate funding for the creative sector and the “thousands of creative organisations and professionals who are falling through the gaps.”

It has received support of signatories including Grayson Perry, Paloma Faith and Johnny Marr, among others. The Royal Albert Hall, Somerset House, Shakespeare’s Globe, Scottish Ballet and Lionsgate are among the UK’s creative and cultural organisations to back the calls.

The letter forms part of the CIF’s #OurWorldWithout campaign, which highlights more than 50% of creative organisations and professionals have already lost 100% of their income. The membership body’s research shows that 1 in 7 creative organisations only have reserves to last until the end of April. Only half have reserves that will last beyond June.

Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the CIF, said: “With venues, museums and cinemas closed, film shoots postponed and festivals cancelled, the UK’s world-leading creative industries are in deep trouble.

“Creative organisations and professionals need cash, and they need it now. Whilst government support measures for businesses and the self-employed are welcome, we know that there are still thousands of creative organisations and freelancers who are falling through the gaps, and who simply will not get through this crisis without urgent cash support.

“Creativity is an intrinsic part of the UK’s cultural identity, and one of the things that the country excels at globally. It is through harnessing this creativity that the UK will begin to build a new future. For our sanity, our culture and our very sense of who we are, it is imperative that the UK’s creative industries are supported financially through this crisis.”

TikTok

Help Musicians is among the first UK charities to have a dedicated Donation Stickers via TikTok’s new in-app donation feature.

The app allows creators to include the buttons in their videos and livestreams to raise funds for the charities and causes they of their choice.

The new Donation Stickers are clickable buttons that can be embedded directly in videos and TikTok Lives, like other stickers on the platform. Donation Stickers are enabled in-app by Tiltify, a fundraising platform, with all donations to be matched by TikTok until May 27.

All donations to Help Musicians, an independent UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, will go towards its ongoing hardship funding for musicians affected by COVID-19.

Paul Hourican, head of music operations UK at TikTok, said: “With gigs cancelled and venues closed, there’s no doubt that artists have been hugely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Connecting artists and their music with fans has always been at the heart of TikTok, so we wanted to do our bit to help them access the support they need to get them through this crisis. By working with Help Musicians, we hope that the collective contribution from TikTok and our community will play a part in preserving the UK’s vibrant and diverse music industry in these challenging times.”

James Ainscough, chief executive of Help Musicians, said: “We are delighted to be supported by TikTok at a time when musicians and music creators need us more than ever. Phase one of our hardship support, The Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, received and processed 17,000 applications, which begins to highlight the scale of the issue.

“As well as further hardship funding and new creative funding opportunities, we will be working hard to provide musicians with mental health support (the Music Minds Matter helpline plus new wellbeing resources) and structured business advice to ensure that musicians can continue to grow their income in the long term. We have seen incredible collaboration in the music industry and it is with fundraising such as this that we can continue to make a meaningful difference to musicians when they need us most.”

Museums in Europe

Italy, the European country hit hardest by COVID-19, is set to reopen museums on May 18 as it looks to ease lockdown restrictions in phases.

The country has been in lockdown since March 10 and is reintroducing normal activities in stages, starting with low-traffic business such as bookstores and dry cleaners, which were allowed to reopen on April 14.

The next phase kicks off on May 4 with museum reopening’s to follow. The venues must follow safety guidelines drawn up by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, which requires that all tickets be purchased online and visitors must practice social distancing in the galleries.

In Belgium, it was announced that there would be three phases for easing lockdown measures for businesses and public gatherings. Museums are included in phase two, which is scheduled to begin on May 18, reports the Brussels Times.

Berlin is also reopening its museums on May 4, with precautions including plexiglass dividers at ticket booths, self-scanning tickets, reduced visitor capacity, and more frequent cleanings.