Second Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Asia to kick off 31 August in Gwangju

19 August 2015

[PRESS RELEASE - Brussels, Belgium/Gwangju, South Korea, 18 August 2015] The next Atelier for Young Festival Managers, an international training programme run by The Festival Academy and initiated by the European Festivals Association (EFA), will take place in Gwangju, South Korea, from 31 August to 6 September. Hosted by Chonnam National University and Asia Culture Center, the Atelier GWANGJU 2015 will gather 35 young festival managers from 20 countries. During the Atelier participants broaden their programming skills, join a network of future festival leaders worldwide, and are inspired by seven renowned festival directors from all over the world who share their experiences. A public opening session will kick off the Atelier GWANGJU 2015 on 31 August at Chonnam National University’s Convention Hall. The Atelier will end with a public closing ceremony on 6 September at the Asia Culture Center.

“With Gwanjgu the Atelier is going to Asia for the second time. Following the Atelier SINGAPORE 2011 the cooperation with our partners in Gwangju is key for EFA and The Festival Academy to further strengthen our collaboration with the Asian cultural world. Gwangju bears an important historical and cultural significance in the region, and is one of the most vibrant and colourful places in the country,” says Kathrin Deventer, Secretary General European Festivals Association. 

The Atelier’s mission is to share and construct know-how on festival management focusing on the essence of festivals – the art and the artist – and touching upon all artistic disciplines. It is inspired by the motto coined by Atelier presenter and former Director of the Avignon Festival Bernard Faivre d’Arcier: “The true role of a festival is to help artists to dare, to engage in new projects.” The Atelier GWANGJU 2015 will foster cultural exchanges, and support participants in developing their personal projects through lectures, debates, small topic-based working groups, practical activities and case studies. Exchanges with artists and leading cultural institutions from the region will be an excellent opportunity to link insights gained in the working sessions with the concrete environment.

Under the coordination of Hugo De Greef (General Coordinator The Festival Academy, former EFA Secretary General, General Manager Bruges European Capital of Culture 2002, Founder and former Director Kaaitheater, Belgium) participants will work with leading festival professionals, such as Robyn Archer (Artistic Director The Light in Winter Melbourne, Deputy Chair Australia Council for the Arts, Strategic Advisor Gold Coast Arts and Culture in Queensland, Member European House for Culture, Australia), Marie-Hélène Falcon (former Director Festival TransAmériques Montréal, Canada), Nele Hertling (former Vice President Academy of Arts Berlin, Member Strategy Group “A Soul for Europe”, former Director Hebbel-Theatre, Germany), Seonghee Kim (Artistic Director of Asia Culture Center Theater, South Korea), Chiaki Soma (Art Producer, Representative Director Arts Commons Tokyo, former Artistic Director Tokyo Festival, Japan), and Monique Veaute (President Fondazione Romaeuropa - Arte e Cultura, Italy).

The Atelier hosts, Chonnam National University (CNU) and Asia Culture Center, two leading cultural organisations, will enforce the qualitative immersion of the participants into the Korean arts sector. CNU has been playing a pivotal role in strengthening justice and human rights in South Korean history, since its establishment in 1952. Asia Culture Center, a government-funded establishment housed in the heart of Gwangju, is an ambitious art project in terms of budget, artistic vision and spatial scale. The Asia Culture Center Theater (ACC Theater) questions, supports and creates contemporary performing arts in Asia. In September 2015, the theater opens with a three-week festival which will present 33 commissioned, co-produced and invited works.

“Being South Korea’s first and only graduate school specialised in education and research in the field of cultural convergence and training for creative and global culture professionals it is our pleasure to host such a global initiative as the Atelier, which will bring diverse experiences and creative visions of early career professionals to Gwangju. The Atelier GWANGJU 2015 will be all the more meaningful because it will be held in conjunction with the opening festival of the Asian Culture Complex. We invite all participants to benefit from meeting leaders of arts and culture in the city of light, Gwangju,”says Ju No Lee, Dean of Graduate School of Culture, Chonnam National University.

The Gwangju Atelier will be launched on Monday, 31 August at 18:00 with a public session at Chonnam National University’s Convention Hall by Jee Byung-moon, President Chonnam National University, and Bang Sun Gyu, Assistant Minister of Asia Culture Center. Darko Brlek, President EFA and The Festival Academy, and Inge Ceustermans, Managing Director The Festival Academy, will welcome the Atelier group, and introduce the Atelier. Hugo De Greef will give the opening speech. The Atelier will close with a public session on Sunday, 6 September at 18:00 at the ACC Theater including a closing lecture by Robyn Archer.

Journalists are invited to attend the public events: RSVP to Chamseul Kim at or contact by 28 August 2015. The detailed programme and a comprehensive press kit will be available online at; interviews can be arranged.

The Atelier for Young Festival Managers GWANGJU 2015 is set to continue the success of previous editions held in Goerlitz, Germany (2006), Varna, Bulgaria (2009), Singapore (2011), Izmir, Turkey (2011), Ljubljana, Slovenia (2012), Edinburgh, UK (2014), Poznan, Poland (2014), and Beirut, Lebanon (2015).

Latest news and more information on presenters and participants can be found at the and on Facebook.


Inge Ceustermans
Managing Director
The Festival Academy
Sainctelettesquare 17
1000 Brussel, Belgium
+32 2 644 48 00

The European Festivals Association (EFA) is the umbrella organisation for festivals across Europe and beyond representing about 100 festivals, national festival associations and cultural networks from 40 countries. EFA initiated the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in 2006; since 2013 it has been organised by The Festival Academy. The Atelier GWANGJU 2015 is co-organised with Chonnam National University (CNU) and Asia Culture Center, and supported by Arts Council Korea, Institut Français République de Corée, Goethe-Institut, British Council, Japan Foundation, and Flemish Community. The Festival Academy and the European Festivals Association thank for their support: the European Commission and the City of Gent.