“The most attractive aspect to me was developing a programme over a longer period of time for a very concentrated moment. And I was interested in working in a foreign country after having worked so long in the international context. It was a great opportunity to face a new audience, address different expectations, and work with a new team. But the main argument for me was to have more time to go deeper into the content of projects, bind them together dramaturgically with a thematic focus,” explains Maria Magdalena Schwaegermann, former Artistic Director of the Zürcher Theater Spektakel in Switzerland, in an interview for the latest publication of the European Festivals Association (EFA) – “Inside/Insight Festivals. 9 Festival Directors — 9 Stories”. Continue reading
Lille Lungegårdsvannet is simply the most visible spot in Bergen. This octagonal water right in the city of Bergen is 700 meters in circumference, and is not an artificial lake. It will be under greater focus in the evening of 22 May, as the 2013 Bergen International Festival officially opens outdoors with an especially composed electronic concert called Murmuration. It is set within an ever-changing multimedia-light-sculpture using latest high-end-technology in the form of 35 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), LED-architecture and artful light design. Guest blogger Hjørdis Losnedahl, Communications Coordinator at the Bergen International Festival, gives some more insight into the mutlimedia production.
“I have come to most things by accident. It never occurred to me that I could ever be a festival director and there were no recognisable models to follow,” Robyn Archer starts to share her insights into festival making in the latest publication by the European Festivals Association (EFA), entitled “Inside/Insight Festivals. 9 Festival Directors — 9 Stories”, the fifth volume in the EFA BOOKS series. Festival making is the “art of juxtaposition”, says Robyn. “The director must have the skill to combine old with new, international with local, familiar with unfamiliar, so that a seamless beast emerges, much much greater than the simple sum of its parts.” Continue reading
Audience participation is a buzz word that reigns programmes in support of arts and cultural activities. It is a key to many strategic objectives in several policy fields also for the European Commission and its new Creative Europe programme: Mainstreaming culture and access to culture to promote audience participation is important in external relations, in development policies etc. In this series of posts on the topic of arts and politics, Festival Bytes will share opinions and reflections of personalities form the cultural and festival sectors on the concept of ‘audience participation’. Continue reading
Behind the applause and footlights, festivals are complex creatures that require careful tending and nurturing. Each festival director brings their own vision, experience, intuition, ambition and inspiration to the process of shaping it – each negotiating in his or her manner the politics, economics, and social realities of the city where it takes place. Ching-Lee Goh, former Director of the Singapore Arts Festival, and Executive and Artistic Director of CultureLink Singapore, shares her personal story in her essay “Strategic intent with artistic integrity” that appeared in the latest publication by the European Festivals Association (EFA) “Inside/Insight Festivals. 9 Festival Directors — 9 Stories”. Ching-Lee believes that “a festival has to mirror the aspirations of our times and be inspired by the spirit of the city it inhabits. It must reflect the creative work of artists in today’s environment.” Continue reading
On Sunday, 14 October 2012 in Ljubljana, internationally renowned Australian festival director Robyn Archer gave an inspiring keynote to open the 5th Atelier for Young Festival Managers. She addressed 32 enthusiastic participants from 21 countries and set the tone for the exchanges to happen during the 7-day training programme. One issue Robyn picked up in her speech was the use of new media tools in festivals – not only as a means of communication and participation, but also for their inherent creative potential. Continue reading
In the months to come, Festival Bytes will feature a series of interviews with experts in the field of digital communication in festivals. To kick off the series, Berlin based Communication and Marketing Specialist Kerstin Schilling spoke to Silvia Fehrmann, Head of Communication at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Germany. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is a place for international contemporary arts and a forum for current developments and discourse. Continue reading
“In 60 years time… Festivals will look differently. They will be structured differently. Art will be created differently. Audiences will have different expectations. Social Media is a hint of what lies ahead. We don’t have to like it – but we have to understand it.” With this statement, Tony Lankester, CEO of the National Arts Festival Grahamstown, opened the workshop on “Audiences building and the digital media” on 24 May 2012 during the Jubilee of the European Festivals Association (EFA) in Bergen, Norway.
Arts festivals are ideal occasions to “activate” citizens’ awareness and participation and have a positive impact in terms of revitalisation of urban life. “Digital participation” can enable festivals to reach a far higher and broader proportion of the population. New technologies offer citizens a way to use festivals as their digital meeting points; to increase the quality and depth of their engagement. Social and digital media can contribute to the reinforcement of festivals’ impact and, through them, to the reinforcement of local civil society. The EU is increasingly looking to define citizenship: 2013 will be promoted as the European Year for Citizens. But what kind of citizenship are we talking about? What does it mean beyond the simple words?
One of the sessions of the Jubilee of the European Festivals Association (EFA) in Bergen (23-25 May 2012) entitled “Festivals and the Citizen in Digital Times” looks at the role of festivals as agents of participation and cohesion, at the implications and opportunities of new technologies, and asks whether (and if so, which) festivals are making the most of them. It looks at how festivals can use their influence during the European Year of Citizens in 2013 to activate citizens and help shaping policies for citizens in Europe.
How social are social networks, asks Steve Austen, and explores the change of networking behaviour since the rise of the internet and social networks. Steve Austen started his career as an art entrepreneur when he set up the Shaffy Theater in 1968. The Shaffy became the Amsterdam podium for innovative theatre performances. Austen left in 1978 and re-organised the Lantaarn-Venter-complex in Rotterdam. In 1981, he became the manager of the Theater Instituut Nederland. Seven years later, he became the Manager of the Felix Meritis, an independent European centre for art, culture, science. Since 2001, he is involved in large international projects such as A Soul for Europe. Continue reading