The Atelier travels to Gothenburg for a global conversation on festivals’ role

24 August 2018

At a time when Sweden, like many countries, is confronted with a polarised debate on the position of refugees, with elections coming up and populist voices rising, The Festival Academy brings a group of young and experienced festival leaders, cultural activists and refugee artists together in Gothenburg to have a global conversation about today’s challenges and the role art and culture can play in these. 

On 23 August The Festival Academy (an initiative of the European Festivals Association, EFA) launched the 14thedition of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, taking place in Gothenburg, Sweden from 23 - 29 August 2018, co-organised with and hosted by Kultur I Väst, the cultural administration of the Region Västra Götaland, in collaboration with Sweden Festivals.  

Ruth Mackenzie set the tone for the next 7 days with a provocative keynote speech focusing on digital arts and about how to implement a better interaction between artists and audiences in this age of powerful tools as smartphones and social media. She challenged the participants to experiment with their artists and audiences, also suggesting the participants could develop some joint projects together in the next 7 days. 

“We have to change to get back to the urgency, the relevance, the importance 
and the transparency that great art and great festivals can offer.”

Ruth Mackenzie, Artistic Director Théâtre du Châtelet Paris

Find the video of the Keynote speech of the Opening Ceremony here. 

31 festival managers coming from 23 different countries and regions in the world and all continents gather in Gothenburg for an intense 7-day programme. The programme is focusing on topics raised by the young festival managers and tackles issues as artistic vision, accessibility, sustainability and fundraising, technology, fair international collaborations and the role of festivals in a society in transition, guided by outstanding festival and cultural leaders and activists from across the globe. 

‘With the Ateliers we aim to open up different perspectives, create a better understanding of the other and to inspire current and future leaders, young and older people simultaneously, to help them grow into alternative visions of a globalized world incorporating fundamental values and to offer them concrete tools to improve their capacities and possibilities for collaborations that incorporate this vision and values which can be shared with their communities and the world.’ 

Inge Ceustermans, Managing Director The Festival Academy

Expert festival managers and cultural leaders are amongst others Christopher Crimes, Consultant/Advisor to [N!A] Project and Eleusis 2021 European Capital of CultureHjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Theatre activist, Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre, Ruth Mackenzie, Artistic Director Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, Brett Pyper, Associate Professor and Head Wits School of Arts Johannesburg, Oussama Rifahi, Board member Arab Fund for Arts and Culture Beirut. Participants will also meet regional networks as Swedish FestivalsNorway FestivalsFinland Festivals and Nordic Fringe Network. Refugee artists working in ICORNcities and many more will contribute to the debate. The conversation is facilitated by Mike Van Graan, Founding President African Cultural Policy Network, who developed the programme together with The Festival Academy. 

The Atelier is an exceptional opportunity for festival managers to network, to exchange ideas and to explore collaborations. The sharing of experiences on an equal footing and networking are key to the Atelier. Participants of this Atelier become part of the growing global network of more than 500 festival leaders from more than 70 countries and all continents The Festival Academy sustains.’

Jan Briers, President European Festivals Association and The Festival Academy

Working together with local authorities and cultural organisations, Kultur i Väst raises awareness of the importance of culture in society by strengthening the regional cultural landscape with venues, knowledge and practices. Kultur i Väst provides opportunities for artists from all fields to develop their creations in the region. Working as a consulting and advising body, the organisation organises courses, building networks like the Festival Platform that welcomes all the festivals in the region for networking and courses.To give young and passionate people from all over the world valuable opportunities for the growth of their professional careers is at the core of the organisation. 

Public Opening and Closing 

The Atelier Gothenburg launched yesterday, Thursday 23rdof August 2018 with a public sessionat Auktionsverket Kulturarena,where participants, mentors and guests present were welcomed by:

The Atelier will close with a public session on Wednesday, 29 August at 19:00 at the City Theatre. 

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

The Festival Academy, an initiative of the European Festivals Association, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union wish to thank: