AFS2024 Speakers

Jurriaan Cooiman

Culturescapes

Name of the candidate: Jurriaan Cooiman
Job title: Founder / Director
Age: 57
Gender: Male
Citizenship/origin: Swiss (original Dutch)
Artistic/geographical experience: All disciplines and worldwide

Name of the organisation / festival: Culturescapes
Membership category: Individual festival
Country of your organisation / festival: Switzerland
Festival art disciplines: Multidisciplinary
Annual turnover: €1,5 million
Number of visitors per edition: 40.000

Motivation: As a self-made festival-maker for 30 years in a foreign country, focusing each edition on a specific country, city, or region and growing from nothing (I was not asked to start it at all, I invented it from scratch) to a biennial with more than 40.000 visitors per edition and networking with more than 40 institutions all over Switzerland and beyond, you could say I have gained some experience. From having the idea, to learning by doing in all art forms, to programming, collaborating, communicating, leading teams, fundraising, and above all, being with and finding artists and their themes as the core of my interest. The conclusion of major contracts with countries such as Turkey in 2008, China in 2010, Israel in 2011, Moscow in 2012 (!) or several Balkan countries in 2013 has created a wide range of views on cultural policies and the often instrumental use of art and culture for a national agenda.

The change to a biennial festival created space and time for more reflection between editions, the European cycle Island, Greece, and Poland from 2015 to 2019 was the first result. The change in focus to the biospheres of the Amazon in 2021 and the Sahara in 2023 and 2025 sharpened the questions of global amplitude: climate change, inequality, borders, and the future of our societies.

Having participated in the first Atelier for young festival managers in 2006 and as an active member of EFA since 2007, I also know the network well and am happy to contribute to its development. The changes in our world are happening at high speed: AI, conflicts and wars, devastation of poorer regions. At the same time, we see that the programmes of cultural institutions have a hard time keeping up with this speed. One reaction is not to change and to produce more of the same. It is time for more awareness and responsibility at all levels of the cultural sector. Inclusion, diversity, solidarity, healing, and care are key to being present. Here and now. I try to do that wherever I am and would be honoured to bring that to the EFA board.