Festival Production Management Training 2019 - Closing News

23 January 2019

Between 16 - 19 January, the fourth edition of the 3-module Festival Production Management Training was launched with Module I, taking place in Antwerp, Belgium. The Festival Academy (an initiative of the European Festivals Association) in collaboration with deSingel International Arts Campus gathered 9 festival managers from 6 nationalities for a four day programme during which they participated in conversations with the mentors present throughout the programme, guest speakers and artists, and together had a chance to reflect on several topics related to producing artistic creations. 

The plenary sessions and small working group were facilitated by Roy Luxford (Programme Director Edinburgh International Festival - UK), and together with Han Van Poucke (Head of Production Holland Festival – NL) and Mohamad Hamdan (Co-Director Zoukak Theatre Company - LB), they guided the group through the different topics formulated by the participants and the questions and reflections on the challenges production managers are facing.

The three mentors shared their experiences regarding specific topics such as change management, communication, volunteers or organisational tools used in different festivals.  A particular emphasis was put on sustainability with Mohamad Hamdan (Consultant in training and in strategy, Co-manager Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural association Beirut – France/Lebanon) and Fleur van Muiswinkel (Artistic Coordinator visual & performing arts nona arts centre – Belgium / The Netherlands) who presented their work and gave concrete insight in sustainability in festivals and cultural structures. These cases served as extra inspiration for the participants in the development of a toolkit for sustainable festival production.

Participants also received first-hand insights into our host organisation, deSingel International Arts Campus through presentations by director Jerry Aerts, and by the team of deSingel on production, communication, artistic development and education, concluded by an energetic tour of the premises, which has become a tradition on this training! In the evenings deSingel invited us to join performances by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker & Jean-Guihen Queyras, Rosas Mitten wir im Leben sind / Bach6Cellosuiten.

The group also discovered some of the artistic and cultural spaces in Antwerp such as AIR Antwerp / International residency project for visual artists, EXTRA CITY Art Space, Monty Kultuurfaktory and Matterhorn.

The exchanges and discussions between participants themselves were extremely valuable as well for the programme - in combination with informal time with the mentors as this is an essential aspect of the programme - and the participants left with a new network of fellow production managers. They will also join the extensive Alumni Network of festival makers which also count alumni from the Ateliers for Young Festival Managers, The Festival Academy’s training with a focus on artistic programme management. After 14 Ateliers and four Festival Production Management Trainings, the Alumni Network now counts 596 members from over 80 countries.

Over the course of the year, the Festival Production Management Training will continue with Modules II and III. Module II consists of a (minimum) one-week placement in a festival from across the globe, in which participants will get hands-on experience and work directly with another festival’s production manager.

The festivals hosting a participant are all high-level events of various genres. This year, we have the pleasure to offer our participants a list of placements including amongst others:

Ars Electronica ; Wiener Festwochen ; Ghent Flanders Festival ; Tsibili International ; Festspiele ; Santarcangelo Festival Internazionale del Teatro in Piazza ; Ravenna Festival ;  Maqamat / BIPOD- Beirut International Platform of Dance ; Førde Traditional & World Music Festival ; Malta Festival Poznan Holland Festival ; Wonderfeel ; İzmir European Jazz Festival ; Edinburgh International Festival.

Once participants have concluded their place, they can move on to Module III, which consists of a 3-day concluding session during which participants will reflect on their practical experiences gained during the placements, once again guided by experienced production managers.

The training programme was documented and the photos (by Olivier Truyman) are available on our Facebook page.

To stay updated with the Festival Production Management Training as it moves into Modules II and III, or to hear about other training opportunities from The Festival Academy, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.