feed Deadline extended for the Atelier for Young Festival Managers Chiang Mai

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Quote of the Week

“The mission of a festival should be to educate its partners to promote the important role arts and culture play in our societies!”

Ruta Prusiviciene, General Director of Vilnius Festival, in the framework of the 7th Brussels Debate

Atelier for Young Festival Managers

Car le vrai rôle d'un festival est d'aider les artistes à oser, à entreprendre des projets...

Bernard Faivre d'Arcier, former director of Festival d’Avignon
and Chairman of Les Biennales de Lyon, France

The Atelier - a unique experience

Do you belong to the next generation of artistic festival directors? Do you feel the need to broaden your programming skills, grow your network and get inspired by your peers and experienced forerunners? Do you want to join a new network of future festival leaders worldwide?

The Atelier for Young Festival Managers is a unique, intense, 7-day training programme initiated by the European Festivals Association.



The Atelier aims to offer to emerging festival directors a stage to explore creative ideas and open up new perspectives.

Kathrin Deventer, EFA Secretary General


Motto of the Atelier

The sentence borrowed from Bernard Faivre d’Arcier “The true role of a festival is to help artists to dare, to engage in new pro­jects…” (lecture on the future of festivals in February 2006) is the motto of the Atelier. Particular emphasis is given to the artis­tic aspects of festival management. This touches upon artistic vision, political and social responsi­bility, internationalisation, networking, renewal and sustainability.

A unique programme


  • The Atelier helps emerging directors and focuses on the artistic role of festivals, touching upon all artistic disciplines.
  • The care taken in the selection of 45 young festival managers and ten mentors from all over the world, the hosting cities, venues and the framework is core to providing the group with excellent conditions for personal, in-depth discussions.
  • A 7-day intense working space allows young managers to step out of their daily context and enrich it through carefully developed and balanced lectures, workshops, papers, one-to-one conversations and informal talks.
  • A distinguished group of mentors develops the programme and guides the participants throughout the week. The effect of the Atelier does not just last for seven days but creates new and enduring networks and a sustainable platform for exchange.
  • While the Atelier is embedded in its host city, an international and global approach allows participants to compare their views with colleagues from different contexts and artistic disciplines.


Festival leaders from all over the world guide the participants through the Atelier under the coordinator of Hugo De Greef (Former EFA Secretary General, General Manager Bruges European Capital of Culture 2002, Founder and former Director Kaaitheater). They are well known for their direction of festivals and artistic programming. Many of them have re-defined the concept of an “excellent festival” by developing completely new festivals or by transforming existing ones. Their experiences – their successes and failures, artistic principles and co-operation projects – are passed on through the Atelier. So far, 40 festival directors from all over the world have taken part in previous Ateliers.


The Atelier is especially designed for those who are working or have ambitions to become in­volved in programming or in programming-related departments within a festival. The Atelier enlarges young festival managers’ personal horizons and their perspective on festivals and programming practices all over the world. Following the Atelier, participants will join The Festival Academy’s Alumni Network, counting today 357 members from 65 countries, who have participated in nine Ateliers for Young Festival Managers and one edition of the Festival Production Management Training.




The Atelier is about formulating experiences and how to hand over these experiences to a next (new) generation of festival makers, focusing thematically on the very essence of art and festivals: the art and the artist.

Hugo De Greef, initiator of festivals and
General Manager Bruges European Capital of Culture 2002, Belgium

Why the Atelier?

EFA developed the Atelier to offer suitable life-long training opportunities in the field of festival programming and artistic co-ordination. The Atelier aims to:

  • internationalise one’s environment
  • contribute to the professionalisation of the festival sector
  • broaden perspectives and give new inputs on the level of content
  • connect and share different management skills from all over the world
  • foster and encourage cooperations and coproductions
  • enhance international networking
  • challenge and inspire emerging artistic festival directors by bringing them in contact with their forerunners
  • build up self-confidence among participants
  • explore the diversity of models on how to run a festival
  • help structure and evolve the different management skills and competences requested from a festival operator
  • confirm and establish creativity and innovation

Host Cities

It is a key feature of the Atelier that the participants experience different facets of the culturally diverse host city, a place with historical meaning to which the Atelier connects. The city as an entity is an important player in society, especially the ‘cultural city’. In the Atelier this becomes tangible in the choice of the venues; a regular daytime workplace alternates with different cultural venues for each evening session. The Atelier and its participants ‘live’ in the city.

History of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers

The attention to training and the transfer of know-how has been an objective of EFA since its foundation. A predecessor of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers as we know it today was organised in 1999/2000 in Geneva/Switzerland and Estoril/Portugal at the invitation of the Estoril Festival under the label “Eurofest Training Programme”. Supported by the European Commission and the European Cultural Foundation, it was created to offer in particular to EFA’s membership a high level European professional training for young managers of international performing arts festivals. It focused on all aspects of festival management.

Taking up this dynamic and the good results, a further defined model was developed: today’s “Atelier for Young Festival Managers”. It was launched in 2006 under the coordination of Hugo De Greef, EFA Secretary General at the time. Since then, the Atelier has taken place in Görlitz (2006), Varna (2009), Singapore (May 2011), Izmir (October 2011), Ljubljana (October 2012),  Edinburgh (April 2014), Poznan (October 2014), Beirut (2015) and Gwangju (2015) 335 young festival managers have benefitted from this unique experience.

Further information


The Festival Academy
Sainctelettesquare 17
1000 Brussels - Belgium
T: +32 2 644 48 00

European Festivals Association
Kleine Gentstraat 46
9051 Gent - Belgium
T:+32 9 241 8080

European Festivals Association (EFA)
Kleine Gentstraat 46, B-9051 Gent, Belgium
T: +32 9 241 8080 F: +32 9 241 8089 -