Closing of the Atelier NEXT 2019: Insights on 7 intense days & Mike Van Graan on leadership and hope

20 November 2019

The 16th edition of the Atelier for Young Festivals Managers was closed yesterday 19 November with an inspiring speech on leadership and hope by Mike van Graan, Atelier facilitator and Founding President African Cultural Policy Network: 

"One final thought on hope, on optimism and leadership: You have no right, nor reason, to hope for a better world, unless you are making it so."

The Atelier took place in the Eurometropolis region of Lille-Kortrijk-Tournai and Valenciennes (BE/FR), organised in partnership with the International Arts Festival NEXT and brought together 35 passionate festival makers, mentors and guest speakers from across the globe for 7 intense days. 

It is quite difficult to think that a week has already passed and that it is time for our 35 participants to go back to their homes, located literally in each corner of the world. The experience is over but what was learned and shared during these days will last forever. The engagement, openness and curiosity of all individuals present - participants, guest speakers and mentors alike - contributed highly to the global conversation on the role of festivals as tools to contribute to social changes, democracy and inclusiveness that The Festival Academy wishes to enable today and in the future. 

One of the participants on the Atelier: 

The Atelier is a life changing opportunity shaped by the people I have met, the friendship I have built and the sense of community we have created

Throughout the Atelier, plenary sessions (panel discussions on cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, cultural diplomacy, sustainability, digital revolution) were alternated with conversations, work in smaller groups (curated lunches; ask mentor’s anything sessions) and the concept of an Open Space - introduced by the participants - on exchanging, connecting and growing together in diversity. 

Everything combined with a substantial (cross) cultural programme connecting the group to the Eurometropolis region and its artistic scene, promoted by the Arts Festival NEXT. Find out more about the programme and presenters here.

Have a look at the 7 days on The Festival Academy's websiteFacebook page and Instagram

The calls for application for the 2020 activities Digital (R)Evolution (22 – 25 January, Antwerp), Atelier Dusseldorf 2020 (23-29 May) and Atelier Kampala 2020 (14-20 August 2020)  are open until 30 November, apply now!