Atelier Montreal: Festivals in a time of existential threat

02 June 22

COVID-19 has reminded humankind of its fragility. Climate change hangs over us as a present and future danger. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raised the spectre of nuclear war. Deep global, regional and national inequalities manifest themselves in conflict, instability and deaths. Colonialist strategies and patterns have left deep wounds in societies worldwide to be healed. 

Festivals and the arts have themselves faced existential threats with cancellations, restrictions on mobility, curfews, sponsorship shifts and the exile of creative practitioners to more sustainable work. 

The European festival movement that arose after the second world war to promote and sustain peaceful co-existence, has been left exposed by the Ukraine war. 

In a time of unprecedented existential threats to humankind on so many fronts, what is the role, the purpose of the arts and of Arts Festivals? Indeed, do they even have a rationale in this context? 

Speakers: Ellada Evangelou, Jacob Boehme (online), Nayse López, Quito Tembe, Victoria Leshchenko (online) 

Atelier Montreal in partnership with Festival TransAmériques: watch all the livestreamed panels and conversations on our YouTube channel.