By April 2020, a third of the world population was on lockdown. As schools, businesses, and cultural institutions shut their physical doors to the world, organizations turned to digital technology to provide and enhance virtual cultural spaces online. While numerous digital initiatives, such as Google Arts & Culture began to preserve and provide access to cultural heritage objects online long before the global pandemic, the current situation has expanded the number of digital initiatives. Art history educators worked collaboratively in compiling lists of online resources to assist students and colleagues worldwide. Although the internet has helped many, the lockdown highlights significant connectivity and access inequality. In this roundtable, we will be addressing issues of access, equity, and diversity in online art resources, such as the digitization of collections and archives. What voices have overtaken digital spaces? How can we ensure that art is truly accessible to anyone, anywhere in 2020?
Emily Watlington, Critic, Curator, Assistant Editor at Art in America