In 2020 Romanians read more books, listened to more music, watched more movies, TV, and documentaries, and consumed more online or outdoors theater plays
According to the study entitled 'Cultural Consumption Trends during the Pandemic', run by the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training, in 2020 Romanians read more books, listened to more music, watched more movies, TV, and documentaries, and consumed more online or outdoors theater plays.
According to the study, there was an increase in the percentage of people who read more books and listened to more music. In 2020, 35% of respondents said they read books as opposed to 22% in 2019. In 2020, 88% of respondents said they listened to music on all kinds of devices, as opposed to 74% in 2019. Theater and cinema going went down due to health restrictions, but Romanians were interested in watching theater plays and movies online, or to go to outdoor shows, restrictions and weather permitting. In 2020, 79% of respondents watched movies and TV series, versus 76% in 2019, more animation movies, 40% versus 31%, variety shows, 76% versus 69%, and children's shows, 38% versus 25%.
Speaking about the need that Romanians have for culture, emphasizing the appetite of Bucharesters for cultural and social event, is Adrian Majuru, director of the Municipal Museum of Bucharest:
“Humans are social animals. They consume culture even when they don't intend that, they culturally formatted their entire lives, and that includes their work. What I didn't know was the way they consume it, and how they get culturally re-formatted when under pressure, such as health insecurity, which is not visible, or an economic or social crisis with street riots, for instance, which are sometimes predictable, and are visible, and then you can draw conclusions in real time. In principle, people recovered dormant preoccupations, such as reading or communicating on forums.”
We asked Adrian Majuru how the museums in the capital city have adapted with distancing cultural consumption due to the pandemic:
“Obviously, I am part of the generation that took the leap, I went from handwritten letters, on which I used to work three hours sometimes, with up to three drafts that you worked on, to messages that you type, with words that you don't even intend writing. As a result, we used technology in all its aspects to develop communication with anyone, even unknown people, who then become known. We have transformed the 15 Facebook pages of the 10 museums and 5 collection that don't appear in cultural magazines. Our good luck is that the Municipal Museum of Bucharest has the most variety in its collection of all museums in the capital, we have coins, clothing, archaeology, we have art. All these collections started being very active online, with 3 postings a day, and during the pandemic we had over a million visitors in a month and a half, we had more comments, we hand more adjacent platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter. Then, when we opened again in May, we had a hard time recovering, with a drop of 70%, then we had a comeback, going up 50% compared to last year, but still having 30% less than in 2019. Of course it was a different kind of traffic, because people were worried about their safety, their jobs, which in some cases changed or disappeared. We wanted to offer a refuge, and tried to give an answer to people who were questioning their lives, as much as we could in a Facebook page or a forum, in a paragraph with pertinent value judgments, with proper references, meeting the needs of people who need more than cultural information. As far as I'm concerned, things are no longer going to be linear, there will be less and less money to go around, even from the state budget, and then your narrative expression needs to have interdisciplinary content, to come from different areas that touch as many people as possible.”
We also talked to the Municipal Museum of Bucharest director about the virtual offer of the museum, and what they intend to do for 2021. Here is what Adrian Majuru said:
“We have a website that has all the possible drawers, more than many Western museums. We have drawers for everything, we have digitized movies from our collection, free of charge, documentaries we made about museums, about collections, about Bucharest. We have recorded conferences that had been posted live, with foreign guests, with very interesting topics. But planning means an anatomic expansion of this year for at least 6 months, maybe more. What we had as added value has to be recovered, meaning organizing events that brought in people, such as classical or contemporary music shows, theater plays, or many other ideas from the community. We had a call for projects this autumn, but we had very few proposals, even though we provided our space free of charge. We are talking also about exhibitions, but we only had a few requests for workshops or teaching events. Our main aims is to keep up with the community, understanding what its problems are.”