Arts Festivals Summit 2021 - Full programme

The annual Get-Together of festival makers in Galway the European Capital of Culture 2020 hosted by the Association of Irish Festivals and Events (AOIFE) will take place from 22 to 24 November 2021. Important to note: The times shown are according to Irish time (GMT / UCT)

Monday 22 November 2021

Galway Bay Hotel

10.00                   Registration

11.30 – 16.30      Irish Arts Festivals Summit Meet Up

Irish Festivals meet their European colleagues in facilitated exchanges on opportunities of collaboration, learning and knowledge sharing.

  • Introductions / Welcome by Kathrin Deventer (EFA) and Tom Creed (Theatre and Opera Director and EFA's The Festival Academy Alumnus) 
  • Opening Keynote (Zoom): Irish Arts Festival Growth – the last 50 years – Dr. Bernadette Quinn (Head of Events Tourism, Dublin Technological University)
  • Response – a European Arts Festival Perspective: Festivals, Collectives EFA members and EFFE Hubs from Italy, Belgium, Latvia offer examples of Arts Festival ecology, practice and support in other European countries over the past 50 years
  • Tales of Endurance – concrete examples of some innovative transnational collaborations.  Tools and Resources at our disposal for forging new alliances and partnerships – contributions from practitioners 
  • Festspace project workshop:  Festivals, public space and inclusion post COVID-19 – Workshop led by Dr. Bernadette Quinn

15.00 – 16.30      EFA 70-Years-On Thinking Group (by invitation only)

17.00 – 19.00      Open Podium: Meet, Greet and Pitch your project 

1. Karl Wallace – Arts Council Ireland Welcome
2. Natasa Popovic – Ohrid Summer Festival 61st edition
3. Danas Skramtai – Vilnius Festival, call to develop an artistic innovative format of Virtual Reality
4. Lora Tchekoratova – Off the Beaten Path Festival
5. Franco Belleti & Massimo Carli – Ravenna Festival: Dematerialising an Opera: Mascagni’s Zanetto live played and streamed from six different cities
6. Hester van der Werff & David Waddell – Culture United: How schools and festivals can work together
7. Peter Florence & Tamar Brüggemann – EFFE Jury members – The European Festivals Forest & EFA & EFFE
8. Julia Amour – Festivals Edinburgh, Taking Action on Climate Change
9. Ian Smith – European Music Council, SHIFT - Shared Initiatives for Training Project
10. Inge Ceustermans – The Festival Academy Join the “International Festivals Declare Emergency” campaign
11. Tamar Brüggemann – Wonderfeel Festival, invitation to partner on “They have waited long enough” 
12. Aleksandra Rudzka-Kurdyś - Katowice JazzArt Festival – Think new!
13. Gudrun Heymans, Katie Lowry, Aoife Tunney – Creative Europe Desks Ireland & Belgium: Creative Europe funding opportunities
14. EFA Denis de Rougemont Forum

This session is moderated by Simon Mundy, writer and EFA advisor. 

 19:00 – 21.00      Opening night

How did Galway turn into a city of festivals and arts? How do stories connect times, us and how does our "we-story" of the next three days is shape? Conversations and interactions will happen in a dynamic way throughout the evening. 

 21:00                     Dinner in the ballroom

Arts Festivals Summit 2019 Lisbon

Tuesday 23 November 2021

7.30 – 8.10             Early run

9.30 – 12.30           Walk and Talk

Cultural Visits to meet Galway’s arts and cultural community and venues.

12.30 – 14.00          Lunch and gathering in O'Donoghue Centre at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway)

14.45 – 15.00           Group picture on terrace

15.00 – 17.00            Festival Cities Round Table including dialogue with Els Dietvorst & presentation of the EFFE Seal in Galway Bay Hotel

The round table will gather cities representatives and festival makers to discuss opportunities for collaboration between festivals and cities. It will introduce the EFFE Seal for festival cities and regions with the presentation of 7 cities that are co-initiators of the Seal. Many speakers will take part in this international round table. Download the detailed agenda and the EFFE Seal, an initiative developed in the framework of the European project (a)Live Now

We are absolutely delighted to have the artist Els Dietvorst with us for a dialogue on "This is what you came for". Els Dietvorst is a socially engaged artist. She uses dialogue, experiment and intuition to address social issues such as migration, racism and climate change. Els Dietvorst will involve us into a deep reflection on the necessity of conversations and actions between festivals and cities when shaping our inclusive public spaces and social life.

18.30 – 20.00         Individual dinner time

20.00 – 22.00         Closing of the Summit and concert by Culture Ireland in Saint Nicholas' Collegiate Church 

22.30                      Late night “seissiun” at Hotel Bar

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Galway Bay Hotel

9.00 – 12.00         EFA General Assembly breakfast (for EFA Members only) 

The EFA General Assembly including President, Vice Presidents and Board member elections, and Catch up - inviting new members session.

12.00 – 13.30        EFFE Hubs and EFA Collective and Affiliate Members meeting – break out room (by invitation only)

13.00  14.00       Individual lunch time

14.00 – 21.30       Guided bus tour of Galway Bay/Burren, Castle tour, Farewell aperitif and dinner (for members only)

21:45                    Closing drink at O'Connors, Galway Bay's most authentic Irish pub

In case you want to visit Dublin before or after the Summit

Our cultural expert in Dublin, Tom Creed, recommends to visit the following:


  • Elsewhere - new opera by young Irish composer Michael Gallen at the Abbey Theatre 
  • Straight to Video - new comedy by acclaimed young writer Emmett Kirwan at Project Arts Centre 
  • All the Angels - play with music about Handel in Dublin and the first performance of Messiah 


Visual Arts