Performing arts meet Covid-19
: how local, national and transnational public policies faced the pandemic in Ibero-America

  • María Teresita Santos Fernández Diego (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This research examines a range of public policies for the performing arts sector in Ibero-America during the COVID-19 pandemic. The inquiry originates from the urgent discussions that took place during the developmental phase of pandemic response strategies on the local, national, and transnational level. The main guiding questions are: what are the current strategies proposed for performing arts in the region? Are there any underlying trends? Is there a discernible policy convergence in the region? To answer such questions, we analyze public policies announced between March and October 2020 from: two transnational organizations (Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and Ibero-American Organization for Education, Science and Culture (OEI); four countries (Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain); and six cities (Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Lisbon, Barcelona, and Madrid). We focus on relevant public bodies that carry out cultural programs on all governance levels, the Ministries of Culture in particular. Our methods include: i) individual analysis of primary documents (such as laws or executive decrees); ii) comparative policy analysis, and iii) netnography to navigate through computer-mediated communications. Although more time is needed to fully comprehend the impact of COVID-19 on the performing arts, we suggest some results for Ibero-America. First, a level of policy convergence does occur relative to a sub-period of time and the hemisphere analyzed. Second, while urgent measures have been taken worldwide during the pandemic, strategic disparities exist insofar as cities in the same country opted for dissimilar strategies in October. Third, despite several examples of exchanges in regions of ostensive post-colonialism, fluent transnational communications and liberal institutionalism are also visible. Indeed, there were discussions that included the digitalization of performing arts, the role of culture in our society, the need for government transparency and citizen participation, and the collaboration among cities by cultivating interlocal relations. These shared discussions are boosting confidence in Ibero-America’s future.
Date of Award4 May 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorLuísa Leal de Faria (Supervisor)


  • COVID-19
  • Performing arts
  • Digitalization
  • Comparative politics
  • Ibero-America


  • Mestrado em Estudos de Cultura

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