Atelier News #2 - At the crossroads of cultures: the participants of the European Atelier

28 April 2009

"Some refreshed after a good night sleep, and some fresh out of the airport, all participants of the European Atelier for Young Festival Managers gathered in the morning at the Conference Hall to present their project papers. The presentations started to emerge under the guiding hand of the mentors, Hugo De Greef, Bernard Faivre D’Arcier, Rose Fenton and Nele Hertling. Their nurturing questions and supportive comments succeeded to put everyone at ease during presentations. The Atelier papers covered a wide range of topics – from ideas about ways of changing already existing festivals, to ideas about starting new ones. There was also a strong presence of ideas about bringing educational elements into festivals. Although participants are from different backgrounds – some are working for already established festivals and others are developing fairly new projects – they all shared the same vision for innovation and desire to change the existing formats by supporting young artists and new experimental art forms. As mentor Rose Fenton pointed out, festivals are not only a place to share artistic visions but also to find, address and solve problems within a society, and for that we need artists who dare to come out of the conventional thinking. Many participants shared their concerns about the aging audiences and the difficulty to find new audiences for some traditional art forms such as classical music. Educational projects and other side projects to support the community were seen as a key factor in attracting younger audiences. Also, participants who were in the process of developing new festivals asked for advice on how to build an audience. It was agreed that this will become a topic for further discussions in one of the following days. The challenges of running a festival on private funding were discussed. Mentor Nele Hertling pointed out that with private funding, a festival cannot be positively sustained because it will always depend on personal taste and preferences. She shared her strong belief that culture productivity has to be a government responsibility, and as festival managers we have a role to make culture be seen as the most important factor in building European community. “It was a good walk,” said mentor Hugo De Greef at the closing of the presentations. After a guided tour around the city, participants gathered at the Drama Theater to be greeted by the theater’s Director, and then went for a dinner at a very elegant restaurant by the beach." Varna, 27 April 2009 By Roumi Petrova, participant from Varna Summer International Music Festival Related news: • Atelier News #7 - The last day is the first day of a new networkAtelier News #6 - Another of the mainly highlights: Robyn Archer and Jonathan Mills at the AtelierAtelier News #5 - Intense work combined with Bulgarian arts and culinary enjoyment Atelier News #4 - In-depth discussions and exchanges at the European AtelierAtelier News #3 - “We are led by the artists we choose to serve”Atelier News #1 - A dynamic start of the European Atelier for Young Festival Managers 2009 For further information please visit the Atelier website or contact EFA at More photos at the Photo Gallery!