The Festival Academy

The Festival Academy, an initiative of the European Festivals Association (EFA), offers various training formats on festival management to young, dynamic and passionate festival makers worldwide. Its motto is: "The true role of a festival is to help artists to dare, to engage in new projects,” a statement coined by Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, President Lyon Biennale.

A voyage of discovery

Do you care about artists and the arts? Do you care about the future of the arts sector? Are you eager to confront your own views, together with others in the field? Are you keen to learn more about managing the arts in new ways that reflect globalisation, new technologies, and other aspects of our quickly-changing world? Are you passionate about how the arts reflect and contribute to social change?

Join us on a journey of learning and exploration in mentored, working training formats. Come and meet peers from all over the world and become part of a global network.

Photo credit to Olivier Truyman

Exchanging and constructing know-how

The Festival Academy aims to share, exchange and construct know-how on festival management. All its training programmes touch upon all artistic disciplines. It empowers a new generation of emerging leaders and generates new professional opportunities for festival makers. This way, The Festival Academy develops and sustains a network of festival leaders of the future. Capacity building and internationalisation are at The Festival Academy’s core. The Festival Academy considers the art and the artists as the essence of festivals. Starting from this conviction, topics such as audience participation, quality of presentation, sustainability, budgetary orthodoxy, social impact and community engagement are on the agenda of the training programmes.

Three unique training formats

The Festival Academy offers unique training formats for cultural professionals:

  • Atelier for Young Festival Managers: The intense 7-day training programme brings together around 45 young artistic festival managers from all over the world in each edition. Some 10 renowned and experienced festival directors from exceptional festivals worldwide accompany the participants. The Atelier includes workshops, lectures, dialogues, debates and cultural outings all addressing the artistic aspects of festival management. 
  • Festival Production Management Training: The training focuses on production management in view of realising the mission of the festival, the vision of the artistic director with focus on the work with artists. It consists of 3 modules – an introductory and concluding workshop as well as a placement at a festival – spread over one or more year(s).  
  • Festival Readings: During 3 days high-level speakers from the festival sector give lectures on their experience in managing festivals. The readings take place during a festival and are addressed at the professional audience attending a festival. Speakers are present during the three days and exchange with the participants.

All training formats create opportunities by connecting local and international professionals, foster the development of new and long-term collaborations, and encourage an exchange of know-how. All programmes are designed in close exchange with the local partner, thanks to which participants get to know the local cultural sector, the visibility of the city increases and local artists are supported. 

Atelier Gwangju 2015

An initiative of the European Festivals Association

The European Festivals Association (EFA) initiated the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in 2006, and launched The Festival Academy in 2013.

EFA has been uniting distinguished music, dance, theatre and multidisciplinary arts festivals from Europe and beyond for more than 60 years. EFA’s members are the core element that make the Association an open, influential, international place for any festival that wants to be part of a bigger festival community. EFA brings festivals together to inspire one another, fosters an exchange of knowledge, helps festivals to speak with one strong voice to shape policy developments, increases networking opportunities, and keeps festivals informed about issues at stake in the festival and cultural world, all under the flag of artistic excellence and internationalisation. Since its foundation, the Association has grown from 15 festivals into a dynamic network representing about 100 music, dance, theatre and multidisciplinary festivals, national festival associations and cultural organisations from 40 countries.

EFA develops various key activities including the investigation on quality in festivals through the EFFE – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe programme, and concentrates on working relations with colleagues across the globe, especially in Africa and Asia. The training programmes within The Festival Academy are one of EFA’s core activities.

Odile Quintin, former Director General European Commission

“The engagement of The Festival Academy and the European Festivals Association in allowing life-long learning experiences in the cultural sector is exemplary. These kinds of initiatives are crucial for the further development of a cultural Europe. Nobody will be successful by doing business as usual. We need young creative minds for regenerating and rethinking the future.”