Festival Cities (a)Live Workshop / Bergen

The European Festivals Association, the City of Bergen and the Bergen International Festival are happy to invite you to a very special "Festival Cities (a)Live Workshop" on Thursday 27 May, from 10.00 AM to 12.00 PM CEST, online. This workshop is embedded in a fantastic 2-day programme with eye-opening conversations in the Bergen International Summit by the City of Bergen and a unique artistic programme offered by the Bergen International Festival on 26 & 27 May 2021 (check the programme below).

Cities brand and present themselves in various ways. To be a cultural city, even a festivals city, associates cities to a vibrant place, a place of well-being and of good quality of life: offering citizens to participate in ‘their’ festivals, and visitors to fall in love with a memorable, unique destination.

The European Festivals Association, the City of Bergen and the Bergen International Festival invite you to the 

Festival Cities (a)Live Workshop

Thursday 27 May, from 10.00 AM to 12.00 PM CEST

It is embedded in a 2-day programme starting with the Bergen International Summit by the City of Bergen on 26 May from 9.00 till 11.45 AM CEST and followed by online artistic performances in the evening proposed by the Bergen International Festival on 26 and 27 May 2021 (see full 2-day programme here below).

Festivals and cities are Siamese twins. They are at the service of their citizens, audiences and visitors. Last year, the European Festivals Association intensified its work with the Festival Cities Conversations series, the Festival Cities Workshops and more recently the “Survey on Festivals & Cities, Regions”.  

In this partnership between festivals and cities, it’s now time to propose some first joint actions. Developed by a steering group of cities and festivals from Rotterdam, Bergen, Ljubljana, Edinburgh, Gent, Krakow and Belgrade, we will hold a workshop to reflect on the idea of a “festival cities seal”, with the idea behind to recognise and stimulate cities and festivals to work more closely together, and to invite for a process of exchanges at the same time.

The Bergen International Summit « The Power of Art and Culture in Transformation » will put art and culture at the centre stage this year. It will highlight and salute the innovative and creative nature of the arts; it will question and debate how these values can function as a resource for interdisciplinary collaboration, social development, collaboration across borders and urban development. 

Join us in Bergen: for meeting colleagues, for artistic beauties, and in-depth exchanges on how to include culture in the core of sustainable actions within our cities. We are looking forward to seeing you in the North online.

Agenda Festival Cities (a)Live Workshop

10.00:     Welcome by Kathrin Deventer (EFA Secretary General) and Katrine Nødtvedt (Deputy Major for Culture, Diversity and Equality in Bergen)

               Anders Beyer (CEO and artistic director of the Bergen International Festival): How the Bergen International Festival and the City of Bergen work together to serve the citizens, audiences and visitors 

               Barbara Gessler (Head of Unit Creative Europe, EU Commission DG EAC): “In Europe, the arts are just a festival away” (FestivalFinder.eu) - The local and cultural Europe 

10.20:       Speed-dating

10.25:       Festival Cities: Food for thought, moderated by Cristina Farinha (Cultural and Creative Sector Policy Expert) 

                Academic projections: Survey on Festivals & Cities, Regions by Péter Inkei (Director of the Budapest Observatory of Summa Artium), including the study “The added value of local branding” by Sampo Ryoppy (research trainee at the European Festivals Association)

               Political / strategic projections: How can a festival cities seal contribute to urban development by Nele Hertling (Spokesperson of A Soul for Europe) 

               Technological projections: Introduction of a city widget box and its concept by Bart Temmerman (General Director of publiq)

              Thematical Projections

  • Culture United project together with Edinburgh Municipality and Unique Events by Hester van der Werff (Project manager and Initiator of Learning Hub Friesland) 
  • The impact of arts and culture on well-being and inclusivity and the role of a city by Rarita Zbranca (Programme Director at Centrul Cultural Clujean)

               The proposal of a festival cities seal – why? 

  • Cultural tourism: a seal to highlight cultural focus on festival city Bergen by Arve Lindgren (Director of Conventions & Events, Bergen Convention Bureau / Visit Bergen)
  • Krakow: a collaborative and collective platform by Robert Piaskowski (Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Krakow for Culture) 
  • The Serbian Steering Group: connecting the Fortress of Belgrade, the City of Belgrade and the Balkan region by Jovanka Višekruna Janković (President Serbian Festivals Association and ArtLink)

11.10:      Buzz rooms 

  • What can the festival cities seal mean for your territory and/or your festival?
  • Which values, conditions, criteria should this seal embrace for you to join? 

11.50:       Conclusions

We invite various colleagues to join the conclusion exchange. These initiatives work on the importance of including the cultural and European dimension in local urban development. They include among others: “A Soul for Europe” and Stiftung Zukunft Berlin’s Platform ‘Europe Bottom Up’, OECD, Eurocities, KEA, Cultural Routes, Committee of the Regions, Culture Action Europe, the informal ECOC network, cities of Innovation network, Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor, UNESCO, European Travel Commission, Festivals Adelaide and the Festival Cities Network, Culture Next network, European Democracy Network.

12.00:       End of the meeting

2-day programme

Wednesday 26 May, 9.00 – 11.45 AM CEST: Bergen International Summit "The Power of Art and Culture in Transformation"

The Summit will focus this year on: 

  • The intrinsic power of art as an innovative force on a strategic level
  • Creativity as resource and commodity
  • Art as an incubator for transdisciplinary collaboration
  • Festivals and culture as the core of sustainable urban development

Discover the programme and watch the live stream on the Summit's page

Wednesday 26 May, 18.45 – 20.30 PM CEST & Thursday 27 May, 19.00 – 20.30 PM CEST Bergen International Festival online performance

Dance: Opening performance The American Moth (World Premiere) by Alan Lucien Øyen and winter guests


Thursday 27 May, 10.00 AM – 12.00 PM CEST: Festival Cities (a)Live Workshop

  • Various introductive contributions 
  • Food for thought: some concrete example for the festival cities seal
  • Discussing the seal in buzz rooms

Register here

Thursday 27 May, 19.30 – 20.30 PM CEST: Bergen International Festival online performance

Music: Christian Ihle Hadland performing Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated



The Festival Cities (a)Live Workshop is organised by the European Festivals Association, in collaboration with the City of Bergen, the Bergen International Festival and the input of the Cities Steering group including the cities of Rotterdam, Bergen, Ljubljana, Edinburgh, Ghent, Krakow and Belgrade. 

This meeting is organised in the framework of the project FestivalFinder.eu (a)Live Now, a project implemented by the European Festivals Association in partnership with the City of Bergen, Italiafestival, Summa Artium, EURACTIV Media Network and publiq, and co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.