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The WHO’s decision-making during an emergency
Harry Upton
,
Abbie-Rose Hampton
, and
Mark Eccleston-Turner

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a broad, expansive role during a health emergency. Traditionally, the role of the WHO has been normative in nature, providing advice and guidance to member states on best practice during a health emergency. Despite this rather limited explicit legal mandate, the WHO does carry out a number of response functions during a health emergency that go beyond the normative, such as the procurement and delivery of medical supplies, and in some circumstances provides health services in a ‘boots on the ground’ manner. This chapter is concerned with the accountability of the WHO for the exercise of power during these ‘operational activities’. The chapter argues that at present there are limited control mechanisms over WHO operational activities during a health emergency. This is particularly apparent when the WHO operates through an external public-private partnership, such as COVAX, with this ultimately functioning to produce an additional layer of complexity with regards to the achievement of good governance.

in Governance, democracy and ethics in crisis-decision-making
The pandemic and beyond

Adaptation and resilience in the performing arts shares important insights into the effects of the pandemic on live performance in the UK. It features eight projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council between 2020 and 2022 to undertake research that would address the problems caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The researchers share what they discovered from working with practitioners and companies in the live performing arts (especially theatre and dance) who rapidly adapted their working practices and the spaces in which they were able to connect safely with audiences, whether digital or outdoors. Several chapters provide evidence of the impacts of digital innovations and telepresence technologies on artists and audiences and shed light on how government discourses and the support structures within the industry affected the mental health of creative practitioners. Addressing policymakers and practitioners, others demonstrate how artists and local government events managers approached programming community-based work outdoors. Throughout, the essays are infused with practical energy, inspired by the creativity and dedication of the practitioners, and mindful of how the pandemic exacerbated the structural and financial precariousness of the workforce in live performing arts. They offer evidence-based reflections on values-led practices in the creative sector that model more inclusive, accessible and sustainable ways of working. Adaptation and resilience thus contributes to shaping our understanding of the challenges faced by live performing arts at a time of crisis – and how these may be overcome.

Poland and the Jewish Question
Sudeep Dasgupta

The racial formation of nationalism from the perspective of migration produces multiple forms of whiteness. ‘Not quite/not white’ (Homi Bhabha) translated racial difference into a culturally hybrid formulation of the postcolonial subject in postcolonial theory. The consequence was the dilution of the focus on the nation by highlighting the diasporic subject. In Central and Eastern Europe, however, whiteness is firstly marked by the ambiguous history of the racial other within the nation rather than the historical colonisation of racial others. Furthermore, the often traumatic displacement of racial others in/from the region has more to do with forms of nationalism than colonialism. Thus, this displacement takes on an importance largely missing in deracinated postcolonial condemnations of the nation. Europe-based Israeli artist Yael Bartana’s And Europe Will Be Stunned: The Polish Trilogy provides a provocative invitation to think the disturbing place of race in the formation of nationalism precisely from these two dimensions: the history of racial difference (Jews) within the nation (Poland), and the centring of racial ‘returns’ for the past and future of nations in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond it. Through film, public performance and spoken/written word, And Europe… firstly stages the nation from the historical perspective of displaced/exterminated racial others. The chapter argues that through a provocative call for the return of the Jews into the Polish nation from which they fled or were exterminated, Bartana proposes a ghostly and literal racial hybridity within the nation to counter the ongoing construction of whiteness in the region. And Europe… also performs a powerful critique of the problematic politics of return in Israel that deploys Europe’s treatment of its Jewish others to consecrate the Israeli nation as an exclusively Jewish state. By thinking whiteness for/against the nation, the chapter shows how the returns of race and of racial others can help think a hybrid nation within Central and Eastern Europe and outside it. In a global perspective, whiteness in this space offers the racially hybrid nation rather than the culturally hybrid postcolonial subject as a counter to the racism of contemporary nationalisms.

in Off white
A call for future research and action on far-right ecologies
William Callison
,
George Edwards
,
Ståle Holgersen
,
Alexandra McFadden
,
Jacob McLean
, and
Tatjana Söding

As the world burns, the far right worships at the flaming altar of fossil capital. In the effort to both understand and extinguish these flames, scholars of far-right ecology must show how and why the environmental struggle and the anti-fascist struggle are interlinked. To this end, the preceding chapters of the book are supplemented with a brief overview of the changing geopolitical landscape of the contemporary far right – from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to the coal mines of India and Australia, to the oil fields of the Middle East. Potential lines of inquiry concerning the theory and practice of anti-fascist and climate activism in the current conjuncture are then sketched. The afterword concludes by tracing recent developments in left responses to climate (mal)adaptation in France, along with far-right reactions to climate mitigation practices across Europe.

in Political ecologies of the far right
The Polish interwar Maritime and Colonial League and the ‘Jewish Question’
Marta Grzechnik

This chapter discusses how a Polish organisation called the Maritime and Colonial League constructed the dynamics of racialisation and othering of the Polish Jews, especially in relation to the Poles themselves in the late 1930s. In the League’s rhetoric, the Jews were singled out as a disruptive element in Europe: their domination in towns and cities, as well as typically urban occupations, was perceived as taking the place of the ethnic Poles, who themselves were becoming more urbanised. But the Jews could become a constructive element of the white European colonial world, as intermediaries and agents of Polish colonial expansion, and increasing the proportions of whites in the colonies – thus ‘becoming’ white overseas. I put the discussion in the context of the Poles’ own striving to be recognised as fully European and white, and capable of self-governance – which was sometimes put into question for the newly independent state. The ‘Jewish Question’ was also discussed as an international question, whose solution could contribute to the global political and economic stability. The chapter therefore contributes to the entangled history of anti-Semitism, as well as its complicated relation to Zionism, emigration policies, and colonial aspirations in Eastern Europe.

in Off white
Open Access (free)
Mapping innovation in arts provision in the Liverpool City Region
Josie Billington
,
Ekaterina Balabanova
,
Joanne Worsley
,
Antonina Anisimovich
, and
Melissa Chapple

This chapter throws a spotlight upon the rapid innovations achieved by arts and cultural organisations, from civic institutions to grass-roots enterprises, in response to COVID-19 in one specific city region, Liverpool. It explores the valuable lessons to be learned for practice and policy from the ways in which these novel solutions have stimulated a re-imagining of arts in mental healthcare in the aftermath of the pandemic. Liverpool City Region (LCR) has one of the richest concentrations of culture in the UK and a pioneering history of harnessing arts for mental health care. Yet, even before the current crisis, LCR had some of the poorest mental health outcomes in the country, and the highest concentration of adults seeking mental health services nationally. With the NHS increasingly overstretched, the role of arts and culture in providing stigma-free environments to re-connect the vulnerable and isolated, is more critical than ever. This chapter offers compelling case studies of the extraordinary adaptations to COVID-19 by arts organisations, their beneficiaries and health and social care providers. These dynamically responsive examples of regional arts-in-health innovations speak powerfully to a growing interest in understanding how a local arts-in-health infrastructure might contribute towards improved outcomes for individuals and communities. They also highlight our key finding and its relevance to the current levelling up agenda: the urgent priority of mobilising the transformative power of arts and culture for mental health and wellbeing needs through cooperative partnerships, co-ordinated programmes for social prescribing and targeted support for digital literacy.

in Creative approaches to wellbeing
Assemblages of climate change and militant Islamism in Nigeria
Shehnoor Khurram

Militant Islamist movements have emerged as major political contenders across the world, wreaking havoc and destruction. In tandem, ecological crises are intensifying in their urgency and quantity. Both are transforming and redefining the security landscape, creating significant implications for global peace and security. But how, when and why do they intersect? How do militant Islamist movements mobilize environments in their (counter)hegemonic struggle? What might be the implications for ecological futures if militant Islamist groups continue to amass power? This chapter addresses these questions through an analysis of Boko Haram in Lake Chad, Nigeria, an epicentre of climate catastrophe facing worsening water scarcity. Two major mechanisms of the effect of climate on militant Islamism are highlighted, which can be extrapolated from this case study: first, climate change exacerbates violent conflicts surrounding natural resources. Water scarcity has allowed Boko Haram to weaponize the access and use of Lake Chad to carry out its anti-state religio-political agenda. Secondly, climate change is intensifying precarity and impoverishment, making affected populations more vulnerable to recruitment by militant Islamist groups because they offer alternative livelihoods that coincide with political and socio-economic grievances. This cumulatively provides insurgent groups with valuable opportunities to increase their membership and gain access to strategic resources, which aids them in carrying out their goals. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the crisis unfolding in northern Nigeria must be understood as a historically specific expression of the contradictions of the Capitalocene.

in Political ecologies of the far right
Open Access (free)
Creating theatre on a telepresence stage
Steve Dixon
and
Paul Sermon

In the light of lockdowns, the authors’ Telepresence Stage research project (2021–22) developed effective, affordable approaches to connect theatre and dance performers from their separate homes and place them together within virtual sets online. Combining videoconference and chromakey technologies with virtual scenography, the performers are freed from Zoom-style walled boxes and are able to physically interact, including (virtually) hugging, kissing or fighting one another. The theatrical tradition of ‘breaking the fourth wall’ to address the audience reaches another level, with the actors seemingly breaking a fifth wall, of space and time. Eight UK theatre and dance companies undertook residencies to develop new online performance works and to test and develop approaches using a range of software and hardware systems. The research findings are analysed from technological and artistic, as well as phenomenological perspectives, including considering issues of telepresence intimacy, empathy, proxemics, third-person perspectives, and the uncanny. Case studies draw on the verbatim reflections of participants, offering insights into the unique joys but equally the challenges of working on a telepresence stage. The chapter argues and demonstrates how the project not only had a profound effect on the resident companies, but is of lasting value and impact for the creative industries. The use of immersive virtual scenographies proved a significant spur to creativity, taking theatre troupes into whole new realms, and creating sequences and illusions that would be impossible in live theatre. The experiments herald new ways of working and performance delivery modalities that will long outlive the pandemic.

in Adaptation and resilience in the performing arts
How AI could manufacture scientific authority for far-right disinformation
David Eliot
and
Rod Bantjes

This chapter explores how text-generating artificial intelligence systems such as GPT are likely to be used by the far right to undermine democratic processes and climate science. It examines how information is mediated to the public through institutions, and how the right-wing denial machine has attacked these institutions in order to promote its interests. Building from theoretic foundations, it is proposed that text-generating AI systems – such as OpenAI’s GPT products – present a threat to the process of scientific peer review. Beyond the commonly reported issues of fake news, it is suggested that generative AI may be used to construct artificial academic/scientific consensus or debate. The construction of such artificial consensus or debate is not a new phenomenon. However, it is proposed that the use of AI gives the process a velocity that will create novel challenges for systems such as peer review. The discussion of AI, climate denial and its uptake by the far right is placed within the context of structural and historical trends that have developed since the start of the neoliberal revolution in the 1970s.

in Political ecologies of the far right
Arts-based approaches to supporting healthcare workers through a pandemic
Suzy Willson
,
Graham Easton
,
Sandra Nicholson
,
Bella Eacott
,
Eliz Hassan
,
Pedro Rothstein
, and
Paul Heritage

For more than twenty years, Clod Ensemble’s Performing Medicine programme, directed by Suzy Willson, has brought healthcare professionals and medical students together with world-class artists including dancers, movement artists and musicians, to share invaluable knowledge and experience of working non-verbally and working creatively to improve healthcare provision. This chapter will explore how Performing Medicine (PM) responded to the outbreak of COVID-19 and shares findings from Communicating through Covid – a collaborative research project undertaken during the pandemic. We share the findings of interviews with healthcare professionals and creative workshops with artists, which aimed to understand the challenges faced by these groups as a result of COVID-19 and to discover if there were lessons from creative practice that could address the challenges experienced. Informed by these findings, we outline our programme of creative interventions that were co-developed with a small group of artists. The research undertaken by a combined team of academic, artistic and healthcare professionals shows that arts-based strategies can play an integral role in recovery from the pandemic for those working in healthcare settings. The findings offer viable strategies to address critical issues and bring teams together who have been fragmented by the demands of the response to COVID-19.

in Creative approaches to wellbeing