23 March 18

The 13th edition of the Festival Academy’s Atelier for Young Festival Managers took place 23 - 29 March 2018 in Johannesburg and was organised in partnership wit the Market Theatre Foundation and the Wits School of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand. 25 young festival managers and cultural professionals from 13 different countries participated in this 7-day training programme during which they discussed various aspects of festival management with renowned festival managers.

Amarachi Attamah, Oja Cultural Developement Initiative, Nigeria

"I loved every bit of it from the first moment, the design of sharing knowledge, the participation, everybody all inclusive, everybody at some point had something to say. There was no participant that did not say something at a particular time, and that to me meant a lot. It build our confidence, we got to know the strength and weaknesses of each of us and we got to see how to assist everyone in dealing with these issues."

Nikissi Serumaga, Program Manager 32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust, Uganda

"There were several key points brought up on the workshop that we benefited from, particularly about understanding our audiences, the sustainability of the festival from a financial point of view, and different approaches to making sure a festival is reflective of its surrounding communities. (...) It seems many other participants also felt the program was very important in the development of how they are approaching their respective projects."

“Much of what has been taught during the Atelier is nearly impossible to find in other spaces (...) “For me, the Atelier is a space for critical thought and practical outputs around festivals expertly tailored for its target arts practitioner.”

Marisa Benson, ArtsWorldGPS, USA

“I have learnt the importance of dreaming, doing and creating with or without resources in an equitable way that not only transforms people but also space and other sectors”

“We not only created a practical tool, we also learned of the cultural protocol and were inserted how we conceive our vision, our approach and our efforts.”

Ismail Mahomed, CEO, Market Theatre Foundation, South Africa

‘I think it’s wonderful to bring everyone in a room and for once to be able to engage a global conversation for everyone to withdraw from their personal experiences and their personal contexts, for us to be able to get a bit of understanding that we are all working for the same common purpose, that festivals are dynamic components in the Art sector.’ 

Ross Millard, Sunderland MAC Trust (Summer Streets Festival), UK

‘I think the mentors have been excellent as well, I have to say, the openness they have attended this Atelier with, the keenness that they have to unsee your questions, share their ideas and give you advice as well, because you are talking about people who are at the very top of their game with a lot of experience, and that’s a gift, a lot of the people on this Atelier are at the very beginning of their career, so to get great advice from people who have 30 years’ experience face to face, it’s very difficult to get that outside of this context.’ 

Papama Mnqandi, Little Jazz Town Store, South Africa

‘The Atelier has been such a profound experience and is so important for the global community and for south Africa. We always get projects coming from Europe and the Global North that are about benevolence. They always see  Africa as a place where we are giving stuff to. I think what The Festival Academy and the team have been able to successfully put together, is a very circular and democratic space where everyone feels like an equal contributing to a global conversation.’

Inge Ceustermans, General Director The Festival Academy, Belgium

‘The Atelier Alumni Network counts today more than 500 festival managers from more than 70 countries and all continents. To create this global community of festival managers is essential in the world of today where challenges cannot be addressed only on the basis of a nation or a continent but need to be addressed globally. With the Atelier in Johannesburg, we aspire to have a more equal dialogue between participants coming from the Global South and the Global North, we are also inviting speakers from both parts of the world so that people coming from there, participants coming from there, working in completely different conditions, economically and socially, feel better represented.’

Rasheeda Nalumoso, 32º East | Ugandan Arts Trust, Uganda

‘It was very useful because we are thinking about how do we dream, how do we enact what we want to do. And I am going away with some actually really tangible solutions and operational models that have given me confidence and renewed affirmation of different ways to work and operate as a cultural activist and programmer across Africa which is really great.’

Hyunji Park, Inc. One More Smile, South Korea

“The Atelier smashed my narrow world and made me dream bigger and broader.”

“Before, I didn't think that my idea could be a solution of a problematic phenomenon of hectic city.”

Brett Pyper, Wits School of Arts, University Witwatersrand, South Africa

‘We realised there is a broader conversation globally around the kind of questions that the festival managers are asking here. And I think festivals often take upon themselves the burden of responding to some pretty deep social and political and educational and artistic challenges, it’s really wonderful to be strengthening a network, to be making sure that those conversations aren’t stuck in one national context but actually are part of what’s happening to change context for Art making in the world now.’ 

Mike Van Graan, Founding President African Cultural Policy Network

‘For people to leave here having been provoked around some of the key global themes and how those impact on their festivals. And I think to maintain relationships in a post-festival Atelier, what has happened in this particular Atelier feed into Ateliers of the past in terms of Alumni who have graduated from previous Academies being alluded to the kinds of themes that have been dealt with here, and that that becomes basis for future Academies as well.’

Dominique Soma, Weheartbeat, South Africa

“The Atelier opened my mind to new ways of thinking, it shifted my perspectives, changed my perceptions and gave me deep insight into the world of festivals and the power that I hold. There is a lot of power in human connection and we shouldn't ignore the wealth of knowledge that comes from the people around us.” 

 "Some of us are to serve the human soul and this is a powerful responsibility that should be used wisely.”

Robert Murray, AFDA, South Africa

‘Not just Southern Africa but also (…) Northern Africa, because we tend to get so insular and working around a problem or a challenge that we are experiencing in the industry or in terms of our festival, and this idea of actually just stepping outside of our day to day routine and being able to share and being able to ask for help. We don’t know all answers so we ask for help and other people experiences, other people expertise comes in and we walk away with lots of questions but feeling really really enriched.’