Closing News - Atelier Gothenburg 2018

4 September 2018

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

29 festival managers coming from 23 different countries and regions in the world and all continents gathered in Gothenburg for an extraordinary 7 days spent together with outstanding festival and cultural leaders and activists from across the globe. The engagement and openness to share of all individuals present - participants, guest speakers and mentors alike - contributed highly to the global conversation on the role of festivals that The Festival Academy wishes to enable today and in the future. 

Throughout the Atelier, plenary sessions (panel discussions on topics such as ‘festivals as agents of change’; mentor’s presentations; engaging with Scandinavian festival networks; meetings with ICORN-related artists) were alternated with conversations and work in smaller groups (the development of different toolkits; curated lunches; ask mentor’s anything sessions), combined with a substantial cultural programme connecting the group to Gothenburg’s art scene. Find out more about the programme and presenters here.

On the 7th and last evening, participants, mentors and presenters were welcomed at the Gothenburg City Theatre by Pontus Stenshäll (Artistic Director), waved goodbye by Bengt Källgren (CEO Kultur i Vast), which was followed by concluding statements by Mike Van Graan (Founding President African Cultural Policy Network).

Mike Van Graan offered participants a perspective of the global challenges we face through giving facts and figures showing the current inequality of the world we live in. He facilitated an equal and global conversation guiding people to stretch and step out of their comfort zone, enabling all to voice their issues and challenges.

Inge Ceustermans (Managing Director The Festival Academy) concluded the ceremony by emphasizing her commitment to facilitate an equal global conversation, to continue building partnerships worldwide to sustain it and to create opportunities for the participants of the Atelier Gothenburg and the alumni network of today counting 585 festival leaders from 80 different countries to keep on exchanging and working together on a global level.

“The fragility and openness we shared here, and the safety and freedom we have experienced because of that, may be taken to our homes, our families, our festivals and our communities. This global conversation creates an awareness of our vision of how we stand in the world and generally how we communicate with and relate to people. Maybe festivals are also about guiding people through their fear, to create circumstances and a safe environment for artists to risk and experiment, for making audiences or people in general feel welcome, to take away barriers for them to come into our venues, festivals etc. and generally to make them feel like they belong.” 

Latest news and more information on the activities of The Festival Academy can be found on as well as on our Facebook and Twitter account. 

The call for applications for the 15th Atelier for Young Festival Managers, taking place in Valletta, Malta from 23-29 March 2019 is open until 15 September, you can apply here