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, learnt from case studies and implement practical activities. Atelier mentors and presenters – all renowned, trailblazing festival managers from all over the world - shared their rich experiences with the participants. "

Jeffrey Tan, participant from Singapore

"This is indeed a rare and unique opportunity to meet and learn from the very experienced mentors and equally rich fellow festival managers and directors. Taking time to stop and reflect, listen and learn, rediscover why I am doing what I am doing and how I am running my festival."

Photo credit to M.Zakrzewski

A warm welcome to Poznan

On Monday 20 October 2014, participants arrived in the city of Poznan, with its motto 'the meeting place'. At 18:40 at Zamek Culture Centre, the opening ceremony of the Atelier began with a warm welcome from  Marcin Kostaszuk, Vice-Director of Culture and Heritage Department of the city of Poznan, Karol Działoszyński, Chairman Malta Foundation Board, and Anna Hryniewiecka, Director Zamek Culture Center. 

Director of the Gdansk Shakespearean Theatre Jerzy Limon gave a speech to introduce the themes of the Atelier, followed by a keynote speech by Mark Ball, Artistic Director LIFT Festival.

Photo credit to M.Zakrzewski

High-level festival managers from across the globe

Experienced festival operators, professionals and artists from all over the world guided the participants through the seven days. Mentors and presenters, pioneering festival managers, gave workshops and took part in round tables and debates – all of them spent several days with the participants (face-to-face contacts and discussions).

At the Atelier Poznan 2014, participants met:

  • Robyn Archer (Artistic Director The Light in Winter Melbourne, Deputy Chair Australia Council for the Arts, Strategic Advisor Gold Coast Arts and Culture Queensland – Australia)
  • 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)
  • Nele Hertling (Vice President of the Academy of Arts Berlin, Member Strategy Group “A Soul for Europe” – Germany)
  • Michal Merczyński (Director Malta Festival Poznan and Nostalgia Festival Poznan - Poland)
Photo credit to M.Zakrzewski

Intense 7-day programme

The Atelier goes beyond traditional teaching practices. The carefully selected young programmers widened their horizons and perspectives on festivals and programming practices. They were able to enlarge and build a sustainable network which proves to be essential on the long-term.

 Particular emphasis was placed on the artistic aspects of festival management, including:

  • Artistic vision
  • Political and social responsibility
  • Internationalisation
  • Networking renewal and sustainability. 

Check out the full 7-day programme.

Daniel Maposa, participant from Zimbabwe

"The Atelier is organised in such a way that renowned festival directors and managers are mentors who provide lectures, presentations and inspirations to the participants. The participants also share their experiences from their different festivals. This process provides a rich interaction and transfer of knowledge among participants."

Photo credit to M.Zakrzewski

Theme & topics

As in all the editions of the Atelier in Görlitz (Germany) in 2006, in Varna (Bulgaria) in 2009, in Singapore and Izmir (Turkey) in 2011, in Ljubljana (Slovenia) in 2012, and in Edinburgh (UK) in 2014, the motto of the Atelier Poznan 2014 is: “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.

Photo credit to M.Zakrzewski

More insights


  • Robyn Archer, Artistic Director The Light in Winter Melbourne: Closing Ceremony speech (26 October 2014)
  • Kathrin Deventer, EFA Secretary General: Welcome speech (20 October 2014)
  • Mark Ball, Artistic Director London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) - UK: Opening Ceremony speech (20 October 2014)

Blogs by participants on Festival Bytes:

Atelier Poznan 2014 online: