Arts Festivals Summit 2019

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Robyn Archer: “We are all participants in the Atelier”

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 Robyn Archer, Artistic Director of The Light in Winter Melbourne, Former Deputy Chair Australia Council for the Arts and Strategic Advisor Gold Coast Arts and Culture Queensland. She previously participated in the Atelier GÖRLITZ 2006, VARNA 2009, SINGAPORE, IZMIR 2011, LJUBLJANA 2012, POZNAN, EDINBURGH 2014 and CHIANG MAI 2016.

Robyn Archer is a singer, writer, artistic director and public advocate of the arts. She is currently Strategic Advisor, Gold Coast Arts and Culture; Chair of the Arts Centre Gold Coast (tasked with the A$150 million transformation to Gold Coast Cultural Precinct); consultant to Launceston Arts and Culture (Tasmania); and has a busy schedule with her own song recitals, and a new work The Sound of Falling Stars which she wrote and directed for a premiere in June.

“As mentors and presenters I know we will get at least as much out of the participants as they may get out of us in the coming week. It should be understood at the outset that there are very few differences between us as mentors and you as participants, except perhaps in terms of experience. We are all participants in the Atelier.” Robyn Archer during the Opening Ceremony of the Atelier LJUBLJANA 2012.


Singer (she won Best Cabaret Performer 2013 in Australia’s most prestigious arts awards, the Helpmanns), Robyn is also patron of numerous arts organisations across Australia, and has been awarded throughout the world for her contribution to the arts. She is an Officer of the Order of Australia, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France), Officer of the Crown (Belgium) and holds honorary doctorates from five Australian Universities. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy for the Humanities.

A selection of public speeches is published under the title Detritus (UWA Press), and she is in constant demand as a speaker on the arts, most recently in New York, Singapore and throughout Australia In 2016, Robyn was appointed the Australian Book Review’s Laureate and will give major speeches in Melbourne, Sydney and Berlin in the next twelve months.

Robyn is former artistic director of the National Festival of Australian Theatre, the Adelaide and Melbourne Festivals, Ten Days on the Island (which she created for Tasmania) and The Light in Winter (which she created for Federation Square in Melbourne). She worked for 5 years as Creative Director of The Centenary of Canberra 2013 and was the Deputy Chair of The Australia Council (2012-16).

“She gave us great lectures and workshops and her words remained in our memories and were brought up numerous times during the Atelier.” Darja Demšar, participant Atelier LJUBLJANA 2012.


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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