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Simon Mundy, in interview with Europalia

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Bernard Faivre D’Arcier: “A festival is to help artists to dare, to engage in new projects”

12 September 2017

Around 40 young festival directors from all over the world are about to take part in the Atelier for Young Festival and Cultural Managers in Shanghai. For them, it is the opportunity to exchange with experienced presenters. One of them is Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, former long-standing director of the Avignon Festival and President of the Lyon Biennial in France. He previously participated in the Atelier GÖRLITZ 2006, Atelier VARNA 2009, Atelier SINGAPORE 2011, Atelier LJUBLJANA 2012, Atelier EDINBURGH 2014, Atelier POZNAN 2014, Atelier BUDAPEST 2016 and Atelier CHIANG MAI 2016.

“Art can bring a dissent, upset minds, change the perception of the world, the way of thinking. Art can be dangerous and divide people. And this implies a very specific responsibility for festival directors to build a direct relation with the public,” Bernard Faivre d’Arcier.

Bernard Faivre d'Arcier studied Economy, Business Management and Political Science. He decided to work for the Ministry of Culture rather than for the Ministry of Finance. Cultural policy, in his opinion, is just as important as economic policy. He was leading and advising boards of directors in numerous art organizations in France and across Europe.

He was Deputy Director of the National Audiovisual Institute, Deputy to the President of the National Centre of Cinematography, Director of the Centre National du Théâtre, and Culture Advisor to the French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius. He also worked with the biggest festivals all over the world. He was the Director of the Avignon Festival (1979-1984 and 1993-2003) and Consultant of festivals in Houston, Tokyo and Rome. With consulting and designing clear artistic visions he influences political strategies of arts. Furthermore, Bernard Faivre d'Arcier was Head of the Cultural Development Department at the Ministry of Culture in France (1984-1986), Chairman of the International Fund for the Promotion of Culture (UNESCO), and Commissioner for the Hungarian and the Polish Cultural Season in France. He launched the television channel La Sept, now Arte, and is a founder of the European Theatre Network Theorem. Currently, he is the President of the Lyon Biennial in France, Vice President of the Theatre de la Ville de Paris, Cultural Consultant at BFA-Conseil, and the initiator of the Cultural Cooperation Institution “Metz en scene”.

“Bernard Faivre d'Arcier gave us a strong sense of the story of European festivals, in particular the Avignon Festival which was started by gallerists in post-war France. Bernard, as with the other mentors, went into what it has to be a festival. The question in this is: when is something a festival and when is it a season of programmed events? What makes a festival a festival?” Summa Durie, participant Atelier Edinburgh 2014.

Renowned mentors from all over the world will guide the participants throughout the seven days of the Atelier Shanghai 2017 under the coordination of Hugo de Greef (Atelier Coordinator, former EFA Secretary General, Director European Capital of Culture Bruges 2002m Co-Founder Kaaitheater Brussels – Belgium): Robin Archer, (Artistic Director The Light in Winter Melbourne – Australia), Mark Ball, (Associate Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival, UK), Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, (President Lyon Biennal -  France), Nele Hertling, (Member Strategy Group “A Soul for Europe”, Former Vice-President of the Academy of Arts Berlin, Former Director Hebbel-Theater Berlin – Germany), Nick Rongjun YU (chief director of ACT Shanghai International Theatre Festival, the director of Shanghai International Comedy Festival - China), Ismail Mahomed (Chief Executive Officer of the Market Theatre Foundation – South Africa), Catherine Wang (President of the Centre for China Shanghai International Arts Festival – China), Ophelia Huang (Head of International Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center – China), Lin Hongming (Professor and Dean of the Art Management Department of Shanghai Conservatory of Music – China), Tian Gebing (Director, Founder and Artistic Director of Paper Tiger Theatre Studio – China)

More information about the Atelier Shanghai 2017 can be found on the Atelier website.

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