‘Let’s keep in touch while social distancing’, reads a mailer from Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad. The cultural and academic centre had suspended real-time classes since mid March and deferred its exams and events, following the COVID-19 outbreak in India.
The organisation is now conducting online Q&A sessions, web chats and webinars (web seminars) for its students. “At any given season, there would be around 120 students in our premises, in different time slots during the day. In a year we teach nearly 1200 students. Gauging the developments since early March, we took a decision to suspend classes since March 16,” says Amita Desai, director, Goethe-Zentrum (GZ) Hyderabad.
The classes taught at GZ, she explains, needed to be tweaked to go online: “Our courses are not designed for online teaching, but we needed to reassess the teaching methods and adapt, given the circumstances. Going by the situation in other countries, this could be a long haul.”
Classes are being held through ‘breakout rooms’ on Zoom app. Examinations are a tricky area and the organisation is yet to decide the next step.
Apart from online classes, GZ has also been encouraging its students and cultural enthusiasts to explore music and documentaries through online resources.
‘Cultures of Resistance’ (https://culturesofresistancefilms.com/) has opened up some of its films for free viewing. The bouquet of films offer a range of social commentaries. Some of them are:
Director Iara Lee’s Synthetic Pleasures, which was conceived as an electronic road movie and looks at the influence of cutting-edge technologies on our culture.
The feature-length documentary titled Modulations traces the evolution of electronic music in the 20th century.
The other documentaries one can view include The Kalash and the Crescent, Burkinabe Bounty, Burkinabe Rising, and Gaza Freedom Flotilla, among others.
Berliner Philharmoniker’s ‘Digital Concert Hall’ recently made its concerts and films free for viewing on its website https://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/home
Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad had planned a few events that require public participation in April, and has deferred those till further notice. However, the cultural centre is working towards facilitating digital discourses and other programmes that build positivity in these testing times.