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“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

EFA 60 Years On: The Bergen Agenda - Join the Coalition

Gent, Tuesday, 08-05-2012

The EFA Jubilee in Bergen will be the moment of dedicated discussions under the motto "Celebrate the Arts, Transform People, Imagine the World". The aim is to set the so called 'Bergen Agenda', laying down a work plan for the European Festivals Association and festival colleagues for the years to come. Together with the members of the "EFA 60 Years On" Strategy Group - Simon Mundy, Valeria Marcolin and Nadin Deventer -, EFA identified three key topics at stake in the festival business: innovation, culture and business as well as audience participation/citizenship - which are discussed in various sessions.

The Bergen Agenda: Celebrate the Arts • Transform People • Imagine the World

The Bergen Agenda will set the pace for the next years for EFA to continue its work with and for festivals on an artistic as well as a broader societal level. In 2012, EFA is eager to form a coalition of organisations dedicated to the process of transformation, whether that is transforming the individual, professional practice, or the political climate. It will be kicked off on 23 May with the Opening Gala and keynote speaker Michael Haefliger, discussed during the Jubilee sessions on 24 May and in a round table discussion with high-level political decision-makers on 25 May.

EFA Jubilee receives high political attention

In the run-up of the EFA Jubilee, political decision-makers express their recognition of EFA’s Jubilee activities including the development of the Bergen Agenda. The Jubilee in Bergen will see high-level policy representatives of EU, national and regional levels participating. Amongst others, EU Commissioner for Culture Androulla Vassiliou congratulates EFA on its “remarkable efforts in putting festivals and culture in the spotlight across Europe” and adds that “the collaboration between EFA and the European Commission has never been more active”.

Every little thing (she does) is magic
Session on “Festivals – Celebrate the Arts, Committing to Innovation”

The session looks at new ideas for collaboration, presentation and artistic development in festivals. The session will attempt to identify innovative contents and arguments that will enhance the question of innovation in the arts itself. James McVeigh, Head of Marketing and Innovation Edinburgh Festivals, will lead a conversation between Michael Haefliger, Director Lucerne Festival, and Stefan Herheim, Stage Director. Moderated by Hugo De Greef, Co-Founder European House for Culture, the session will continue with a discussion of concrete measures at local, national and European level (and beyond) which reflect the changing artistic, social and political circumstances; panellists include Anniken Huitfeld, Minister of Culture Norway (tbc), Xavier Troussard, Head of Unit European Commission, Darko Brlek, EFA President and Ljubljana Festival, and Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, President Biennale de Lyon.

Interview: European House for Culture President Frans de Ruiter

The session on innovation in the arts is co-produced with the European House for Culture (EHfC), an organisation initiated by EFA with its seat in Brussels. In the run-up of the EFA Jubilee, the EHfC’s President, Frans de Ruiter, artist and President of EFA from 1989-2004, shares his thoughts about the role of festivals to reach out to their audiences in the local context while being international at the same time.

Take a chance on me
Session on “Festivals mean Business, Festivals have meaning for Business”

The session discusses festivals’ contribution to the development of economic sustainability and their position as major businesses themselves. It looks at if and how festivals capitalise on their influence and at new ways of unlocking their business potential, providing practices of stimulation and support to local businesses other than marketing and communication. It includes in Working Group 1 on “Festivals have meaning for business”, contributions of Valeria Marcolin, International Advisor, and Jan Briers, Flanders Festival, and in Working Group 2 on ‘Festivals mean business’ of Jurriaan Cooiman, Culturescapes, Colm Croffy, Association of Irish Festival Events, and Ruggero Lala, Felix Meritis Foundation, “A Soul for Europe”.

A Soul for Europe steps up collaboration with EFA

The session on festivals and business is co-produced with A Soul for Europe, a civil society initiative which aims to stimulate platforms of exchange between business and cultural representatives. Volker Hassemer, President of the Board, congratulated EFA on its 60th anniversary, and Steve Austen, Board member, and Nele Hertling, Strategy Group Member, share their views on the future of culture in Europe.

Video killed the radio star?
Session on “Festivals and the Citizen in Digital Times”

The session looks at the role of festivals as agents of participation and cohesion; at the implications and opportunities of new technologies and asks whether (and if so, which) festivals are making the most of them. It looks at how festivals can use their influence during the European Year of Citizens in 2013 to activate citizens and help shaping policies for citizens in Europe. Working Group 3 on ‘Audiences building and the digital media’ includes contributions of Peter Inkei, Budapest Observatory, Tony Lankester, National Arts Festival Grahamstown, Kerstin Schilling, Cultural Manager and Communication/Marketing Specialist, and Katherine Heid, Access to Culture Platform, RESEO. Working Group 4 on ‘Festivals and citizenship development’ includes contributions of Steve Austen, Access to Culture Platform, Felix Meritis, Erik Söderblom, Helsinki Festival, Airan Berg, Mannheim 2020, and Miguel Ángel Martín Ramos, Access to Culture Platform, European Academy of Yuste Foundation.

Interview: Access Culture Platform’s spokesperson Miguel Ángel Martín Ramos

The session on audience participation and citizenship is co-produced with the Access to Culture Platform. In an interview in the run-up of the EFA Jubilee, Miguel Ángel Martín Ramos, Spokesperson of the Access to Culture platform and Counsellor of the European Academy of Yuste Foundation, calls for the acknowledgement of access to culture as a right of each citizen.

Alumni of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers to discuss the Bergen Agenda

For the first time in the history of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, previous Atelier participants will gather on 25 May for an Alumni meeting at the occasion of the EFA Jubilee in Bergen and are invited to engage in the shaping of the Bergen Agenda. They will discuss the challenges and opportunities for the next generation of festival leaders. Furthermore, the Atelier programme for the next years will be presented, including the calendar for editions in 2013 and 2014.

FESTudy to be presented

The FESTudy is a Europe-wide study of festivals initiated by a trans-European research group and EFA Collective and Affiliate Members. The session is led by Lluis Bonet, University of Barcelona. 10 countries have produced a report on national festivals policy. For the first time, a panel of six representatives will share the key issues raised by their national reports: Kai Amberla, Finland Festivals; Ragnhild Dalheim Eriksen, Norway Festivals; Jan Ove Hafstad, Swedish Music Festivals; Baudouin Muylle, Festival de Wallonie; and Philippe Toussaint, France Festivals.

Join the Coalition: submit your festival vision, your video message, your jubilee activity

In the run up of the Jubilee, we invite all EFA members, Jubilee participants and colleagues who won’t be able to attend the event to share with us their thoughts: What is your vision for a future festival? Submit your festival vision through the EFA Jubilee website; send us your video message for the video gallery; contribute to the discussion about new media in festivals on the new EFA blog Festival Bytes and follow the latest news of festival’s engagement around Europe and the world on our facebook page! Join the coalition of festival colleagues!

Latest news can be followed in the media section’s news chapter and newsletter archive of the Jubilee website. Congratulations and video messages are published regularly. Keep an eye!

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