In Retrospect

The skills of festival managers needed for the artistic development of festivals is at the heart of the Atelier. Participants worked in small groups, attended lectures and debates, and learnt from case studies and practical activities. Atelier mentors and presenters – all renowned, trailblazing festival managers from all over the world - shared their rich experiences with the participants.

Mohamed El Ghawy, AFCA for Arts and Culture, Egypt

"At the Atelier you learn from experienced mentors, festival pioneers; you hear inspiring stories from young festival managers from around the world; and you broaden your network. But the unique thing is that you get to know more about yourself."

Photo credit to Clark James

Warm welcome to Edinburgh

The Atelier for Young Festival Managers Edinburgh 2014 launched on Thursday 3 April 2014 at 17:45 at the  historic City Chambers. The Atelier was opened by Bailie Elaine Aitken from the City of Edinburgh Council, and Laura Mackenzie-Stuart from Creative Scotland. Participants were welcomed with speeches by Sir Jonathan Mills, Edinburgh International Festival, and Kathrin Deventer, EFA Secretary General .Joseph V. Melillo, Brooklyn Academy of Music New York gave the keynote address.

Photo credit to Clark James

High-level festival managers from across the globe

Leading and experienced festival operators, professionals and artists gave lectures, led workshops and took part in round tables and debates – all of them spent several days with the participants of the Atelier for face-to-face contacts and discussions. At the Atelier Edinburgh 2014, participants met:

  • Mark Ball (Artistic Director London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), UK)
  • Hugo De Greef (Atelier Coordinator, former EFA Secretary General, Director European Capital of Culture Bruges 2002, Co-Founder Kaaitheater Brussels - Belgium)
  • Bernard Faivre d’Arcier (former long-standing Director Avignon Festival, President Lyon Biennial, France)
  • Heiner Goebbels (Artistic Director Ruhrtriennale, Germany)
  • Nele Hertling (Vice President of the Academy of Arts Berlin, Member Strategy Group “A Soul for Europe”, Germany)
  • Grace Lang (Programme Director Hong Kong Arts Festival Society, China)
  • Joseph V. Melillo (Artistic Director Brooklyn Academy of Music New York, US)
  • Michal Merczyński (General Director Malta Festival Poznań, Poland)
  • Sir Jonathan Mills (Festival Director and Chief Executive Edinburgh International Festival, UK)
Photo credit to Clark James

Intense 7-day programme

The programme of the Atelier Edinburgh aimed to foster cultural exchanges, and support participants in developing their personal projects through lectures, debates, small topic-based working groups, practical activities and case studies. Exchanges with artists and leading cultural institutions from the region were an excellent opportunity to link insights gained in the working sessions with the concrete environment.

Check out the full 7-day programme.

Photo credit to Clark James

Theme & topics

As in the previous editions of the Atelier in Görlitz (Germany) in 2006, in Varna (Bulgaria) in 2009, in Singapore and Izmir (Turkey) in 2011, and in Ljubljana (Slovenia) in 2012, the motto of the Atelier was: “The true role of a festival is to help artists to dare, to engage in new projects.” Particular emphasis was placed on the artistic aspects of festival management, including artistic vision, political and social responsibility, internationalisation, networking, renewal and sustainability.

Friso Wiersum, participant from the Netherlands

"The Atelier is a great opportunity to meet, learn from, and discuss your work and beliefs with like minded people, in your professional field, from all over the world. And if I may add: it is stimulating to have a better understanding of where festivals come from, to us the challenge of deciding where they go to."

Photo credit to Clark James

More insights


Blogs by participants on Festival Bytes:

Atelier Gwangju 2015 online: