The Impact of Covid-19 on the Art Worlds

  • Patrick Naef University of Geneva
  • Bastien Birchler
Keywords: Covid-19, art, culture, transformation, crisis, Geneva


This article looks at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the “art worlds” (Becker 1988) in Geneva, Switzerland’s second largest city. The main objective is to determine whether the pandemic has radically reconfigured the art worlds, or if this health crisis has merely reinforced existing trends, namely the market logic that underlies the art sector and the ever-increasing need for artists to develop entrepreneurial capacities. By examining the discourses of artists and cultural institution managers, this study focuses on two periods: the first one following the first wave of Covid-19 in the summer of 2020, and a second one taking place after the second wave in the spring of 2021.

Author Biographies

Patrick Naef, University of Geneva

Patrick Naef is an anthropologist and a geographer at the University of Geneva. He works on violence and urban resilience; illegal governance; tourism and crime; collective memory and trauma. He is also collaborating with several community organizations active in cultural and urban development in Geneva and Medellin (Colombia).


Bastien Birchler

Bastien Birchler holds an MA in Anthropology form the University of Neuchâtel. He has been repeatedly to Cuba and conducted eight months of fieldwork in Havana in 2005 for his dissertation on underground rap and collective identity constructions. He worked for many years as independent filmmaker in Geneva and is now co-coordinator of the EnQuêtes_plateforme d’anthropologie network.

How to Cite
Naef, Patrick, and Bastien Birchler. 2022. “The Impact of Covid-19 on the Art Worlds”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 27 (April):40-57.