A guide to watching Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2020

This year’s digital festival means you will be able to watch festival events on a variety of different platforms online. This guide is intended to help you know where to watch events and enjoy our programme.

As you’ll know, many physical venues like theatres, galleries, art centres, cinemas and concert rooms are closed in the UK because of COVID-19. This has meant that, for a festival like LAAF that is hosted in these venues for our ten-day annual festival, moving to a digital programme has allowed us to continue to celebrate Arab arts and culture.

Moving to a digital programme doesn’t necessarily just mean putting every event in a video platform and allowing everyone to see it. Planning this festival has allowed us to consider what elements we love about Liverpool Arab Arts Festival and what elements of those strengths we can replicate online.

Each year, we plan our festival commissioning artists and planning performances and arts events with them, but we also work to secure a venue that fits both the artist, their audience and the work they are performing.

Even though we are digital this year, we have tried to bring this approach to our festival. Not every event works in the same space, and this is as true for digital platforms as it is for concert venues.

Our music programme, for example, will take place on Facebook and you can watch it through our Facebook page. For other events, like our film programme for example, artist rights mean we cannot make those freely available, so you have to register to watch them.

For other events, like literature events or readings, we like when we have a gathering of people getting the feel for an event, being able to participate. For these events we will be doing them on Zoom as Webinars. Other events will be available via YouTube.

To find out how to watch each event, you find out at the top of the event. If you register, you will be sent a link to the platform you will be able to watch the event – a Zoom link, a link to a video or film etc.

We have been working with artists based all over the world for this festival, and as you know, internet quality varies vastly across the world. We are also working in different timezones. This has meant that, for some events, it’s been necessary for us to record in advance. We weighed this up against the disappointment of an artist’s internet dropping out mid performance and felt, on balance, we wanted to ensure the work would be seen. The artists will still be there to answer questions and enjoy the event with the audience where they can, internet allowing!

If you have any questions or queries, please contact us at [email protected]