Statement from Chair of CHEAD

March 23, 2020

Covid-19 – Statement from our Chair, Professor Anita Taylor
Update for CHEAD Members, Affiliates and Partners 23rd March 2020

Dear Colleagues,

As a CHEAD member, I would like to update you on the work that the Trustees and staff have prioritised on behalf of our membership at this very challenging time for us all.

The Coronavirus pandemic has almost instantly changed the way we work and behave, demanding us all to work and deliver our core business remotely within a remarkably short timeframe. We are deeply aware of the major impact the current situation is having on our members and our students in art, design, and creative higher education, as well as across the entire education sector and for our industry and cultural partners. We recognise the far-reaching impact and testing circumstances faced by our community, and we are committed to supporting and building resilience for our sector.

During this period our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff, members, students, and wider community. We have been closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and following Public Health England and Government guidelines. As many of you will be aware, our first action was to postpone the annual CHEAD Conference, which we now plan to hold in Spring 2021.

CHEAD has a robust Business Continuity Plan in place, which outlines our plans should COVID-19, or any other unexpected event, impact our business operations. This allows for an informed response to minimise any impact to our members and partners as a result of the pandemic. In the light of government advice around social distancing, all CHEAD staff have worked from home since 16 March 2020, and all travel was cancelled for CHEAD staff and Trustees undertaking CHEAD business. We will continue with this approach for the foreseeable future, until Government advice changes.

Whilst we have decided to cancel in-person CHEAD events and gatherings until the end of June 2020, we are looking to offer alternatives via webinar and/or remote conferencing wherever possible. As we move some of our face-to-face services to online platforms, there will be some disruption to our usual business delivery, although we anticipate this transition will cause minimal interruption to our ability to continue to support our members through briefings, networks, events and meetings held virtually.

Members have commended CHEAD for its convening power and our ability to provide a space that brings together a variety of voices to discuss challenges and opportunities. This work will continue, and we are committed to stepping up our support to our members with advice, updates and actions, as the current situation evolves. Over the coming weeks and months our focus will be to ensure that CHEAD continues to be a vital and valuable resource for our creative educators. Members may wish to share their approaches to delivering our core business in these uncertain times and/or identify matters you would like CHEAD to raise or address on your behalf. If we can support you and your teams with a specific request during this difficult and disruptive time, or if you have a resource you would like to share for the benefit of the wider CHEAD community, please let us know.

This is the first in a series of updates from myself, and there will be further communications by email, updated web content, and Tweets, from the CHEAD team. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@chead.ac.uk

Finally, please keep safe, and keep in touch.
With all best wishes,

Professor Anita Taylor
Chair, Council for Higher Education in Art and Design

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