In Retrospect

Public events included the official opening ceremony with a keynote speech by internationally renowned Australian festival director Robyn Archer, a press conference with focus on the Atelier, a new EFA publication as well as EFA’s and Ljubljana Festival’s Diamond Jubilee, and a closing session with the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Danilo Türk, and festival icon Gerard Mortier.

Gemma Connell, participant from the UK

"We all felt that we have a strong new network here – the seeds of many potential future collaborations between us have certainly been sowed."

Photo credit to Julianne Reisig

Warm welcome to Ljubljana

Participants were warmly welcomed to the Atelier on Sunday, 14 October, in the inspiring setting of Ljubljana Castle by Zoran Janković, the mayor of Ljubljana, and Darko Brlek, EFA president and artistitc and general director of  Ljubljana Festival. James Hampson, the director of the British Council Slovenia, and Graham Sheffield, former artistic director of the Barbican and director of arts for the British Council,  also greeted participants with words of welcome before Robyn Archer delivered the keynote speech.

Photo credit to Victoria Harnski

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 Ljubljana 2012, participants met:

  • Robyn Archer (Creative Director The Centenary of Canberra (2013), Artistic Director The Light In Winter Melbourne; Australia)
  • Hugo De Greef (initiator of festivals, General Manager Bruges European Capital of Culture 2002; Belgium)
  • Bernard Faivre d’Arcier (former long-standing Artistic Director Avignon Festival, President Lyon Biennial; France)
  • Nele Hertling (Vice President of the Academy of Arts Berlin, Member Strategy Group “A Soul for Europe”, Germany)
  • Michal Merczynski (Director Malta Festival Poznan; Poland)
  • Gerard Mortier (General Director Teatro Real de Madrid, former Director Salzburger Festpiele, former Director Ruhr Triennale; Belgium)
  • Fruzsina Szép (Programme Director Sziget Festival, Budapest; Hungary)
Photo credit to Victoria Harnski

Intense 7-day programme

The programme of the Atelier Ljubljana 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 Victoria Harnski


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

Jonathan May, London International Festival of Theatre - UK

"I did not expect to be stimulated so much, and to make such great friends."

Photo credit to Victoria Harnski

More insights


The Atelier online