Launch Atelier Johannesburg Tonight, 23 March

23 March 2018

We are very pleased to gather 27 talented, emerging festival managers coming from 15 different countries together with renowned festival leaders coming from all over the world in Johannesburg, South Africa for the Atelier for Young Festival Managers which will be launched today, Friday 23 March.
This 13th edition of the Atelier is organised by The Festival Academy (an initiative of the European Festivals Association) in partnership with the Market Theatre Foundation and the University of Witwatersrand’s School of Arts.
“The Market Theatre Foundation is excited to partner up with the University of Witwatersrand and The Festival Academy to present the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, taking place for the first time in Africa. This partnership comes at a perfect time as the Market Theatre Foundation’s own Zwakala Community Theatre Festival turns 25 years this year. We believe that we have much to offer from our experiences and to learn from the experiences of others.”

Ismail Mahomed, Chief Executive Officer Market Theatre Foundation

 The Atelier is a unique occasion for festival managers, young or experienced, to step out of the daily routine for 7 days, and to dive in discussions on the role of festivals in today’s society in transition.
This is the first edition to take place in Africa and in the Global South which will shift the perspective of the dialogue with the attendance of participants and speakers working in a totally different context. The Atelier aims for diversity on all levels, in its participants (geographically, art disciplines, socially etc.), its mentors and its programme.
The programme is focusing on the topics and issues raised by the participants which will be further developed and elaborated during the Atelier. The topics include amongst others the artistic aspects of festival management, including artistic vision, political and social responsibility in relation to the cultural and artistic significance of a festival in its community or region, as well as internationalisation, inclusiveness, renewal and sustainability. 
The Atelier is an exceptional opportunity for participants and presenters to network, to exchange ideas and to explore future cooperation possibilities. The sharing of experiences on an equal footing and networking are key to the Atelier.
Facilitated by Mike Van Graan (President of the African Cultural Policy Network– South Africa), participants will work with leading festival professionals such as:

  • Mantse Aryeequaye, Co-Director at Accra [Dot] Alt, Chale Wote Street Art Festival – Ghana
  • Cristina Fuentes La Roche, International Director Hay Festival, UK/ South America
  • Carole Karemera, Artistic Director Ishyo Arts Centre, Rwanda
  • Annet Lekkerkerker, Director Holland Festival, The Netherlands
  • Ismail Mahomed, Chief Executive Officer The Market Theatre Foundation, South Africa
  • Brett Pyper, Associate Professor and Head Wits School of Arts, South Africa
  • Carmen Romero Quero, Director Santiago a Mil International Festival, Chile

Public Opening and Closing

The Atelier Johannesburg will be launched with an opening ceremony at the University of Witwatersrand, where the participants, mentors and guests will be welcomed by:

  • Ambassador Hubert Cooreman, Embassy of Belgium in Pretoria;
  • Prof. Mr. Brett Pyper, Associate Professor and Head Wits School of Art, who will present the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, the Wits School of Arts and the city of Johannesburg;
  • Ms. Inge Ceustermans, Managing Director The Festival Academy, who will introduce the Atelier;
  • Mr. Ismail Mahomed, CEO The Market Theatre Foundation, who will deliver the keynote speech.

The Atelier will close with a public session on Thursday, 29 March at 19:00 at The Market Theatre.  

Latest news and more information on presenters and participants can be found at the  as well as on our Facebook and Twitter account.