EFA newsletter FestFlash 1/2014: Inside the Atelier for Young Festival Managers

21 May 2014

In this FestFlash, the European Festivals Association (EFA) gives you not only insights into the Atelier for Young Festival Managers and its incredible new network of festival managers from all over the world; what’s more, it provides some first-hand insights into festival making, as well as a series of questions festival makers ask themselves.

The Atelier for Young Festival Managers EDINBURGH 2014 took place in April and was hosted by the Edinburgh International Festival. It brought together 51 young festival managers from 28 countries that are now part of a network of 223 festival makers worldwide. The next chance for ambitious festival leaders of the future to make use of this opportunity is around the corner: the application deadline for the Atelier POZNAN (20-27 October 2014), hosted by the Malta Festival Poznan, is approaching: apply until 30 May 2014!

Last but not least, the FestFlash invites you to discover, through the eyes of the Atelier participants, the rich arts and cultural scene of the festival city Edinburgh.

A Collection of Collectors

[By Summa Durie] Drizzling rain greeted 51 slightly jet lagged young festival directors who had made their way from 28 countries to this beautiful, if somewhat grey city. Like most events like this, the first few hours are always like a slightly awkward speed-dating session, figuring out who is who and where everyone is from, but what followed was quite possibly the most intense seven days of thinking, sharing and learning I’ve experienced. In no chronological order here are some of the key learnings I took away from the mentors of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers EDINBURGH 2014 and some of the big questions discussed with fellow emerging festival directors. Continue reading!

Fluid identies

[By Joyce Rosario] To spend an intensive seven days immersed in the world of festivals amongst peers from around the world was inspiring and rejuvenating. There’s something about taking yourself out of the day-to-day, to an unfamiliar place with people who don’t know each other that allows you to reflect and focus on issues, themes and ideas that are most important to you. Some of the most potent conversations I had were with peers who come from very different circumstances – a Palestinian from Jerusalem, an Israeli from Tel Aviv running a festival in Jerusalem; a children’s festival director from Cairo, Egypt; Maori curators from New Zealand. Continue reading!

What will be different now?

[By Laura Drane] “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” (Quote from Alice Through The Looking Glass) I started this gathering at the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Edinburgh with a quote high in my mind. It’s from an artist I work with, called Micah Purnell: “If you don’t design the future, someone else will.” And now we are almost at the last day, I have questions and questions and questions. Continue reading!

Dear festival directors, go crazy and dare

[By Mohamed El Ghawy] Day five of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers (7 April 2014) started well with an interesting chat at breakfast with Inge [Project Manager of the Atelier] about social integration in Belgium. First item on our agenda today: visits of various cultural venues in Edinburgh. I was in a small group with nine other festival managers from Australia, Palestine, the UK, Greece, India, Malta and New Zealand guided by Emma from the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) through the empty streets of Edinburgh heading towards the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Everybody was talking about how this city looks completely different in August. Continue reading!

An amazing day: Heiner Goebbels, Jupiter Artland, and much more

[By Ruchira Das] One begins to fall short of adjectives when they are to describe a day that began with an interaction with Heiner Goebbels and ended with a visit to Jupiter Artland. Most of the talk at breakfast was about the presentation by Heiner Goebbels the previous evening and how we were all so inspired by it. The interaction with him provided insights into several aspects of festival management covering a variety of topics ranging from physical spaces to audience demographics. Continue reading!

Never Never Land of Arts

[By Ceyda Berk] Dream about a city where every shade of green embraces an endless variety of misty grey offering chains of sensory experiences of the kind Eliot suggests. A city not only repeatedly hit by fierce cloudbursts but also caressed by a warm sun – at those rare moments, when it shows its face. A city guarded by hills where magnificent castles lurk in the darkness as if they want to hide their secrets forever. Here it is: Edinburgh – the specific aesthetic experience of getting lost in narrow, declivitous streets inviting you to dive into a mystical excursion taking place as much in the concrete outer world as in your soul. Continue reading!

Being an alumnus of EFA’s Festival Academy

[By Premshay Hermon] In 2012 I participated in EFA’s Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Ljubljana. The wonderful 7-day meeting was at once a training, a networking event and a lab for developing new ideas. That experience has led me to the one I am writing about now. After 60 years of existence, EFA has extended its scope and founded The Festival Academy in 2013 – a global initiative for rethinking the role of festivals today and the future of festivals in culture. I was invited to take part in EFA’s “Sarajevo Conversations” (February 2014) – part of the annual meeting and general assembly, where over 100 delegates from leading festivals and cultural institutions in Europe met and discussed both practical and theoretical aspects of culture-making today. Continue reading!

For more festival news, download the FestFlash 1/2014 (May 2014).

The European Festivals Association’s 2014 FestFlash series brings news from the world of festivals. EFA thanks its bloggers writing for Festival Bytes for their rich insights into the life of festivals all over the world. More festival stories are shared by the authors of the EFA BOOKS series which are available on the EFA eShop.

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