653 emerging festival leaders from 80 countries worldwide

“The Alumni Network is the heart of our organisation, because it’s all about them – the people – and the things they can imagine and realise together,” Inge Ceustermans, Managing Director The Festival Academy

Legacy and impact

The Festival Academy aims to sustain and further develop the Academy Alumni Network that unites the participants from the Ateliers for Young Festival Managers, the Festival Production Management Trainings and the Festival Readings. After the 15th Atelier, that took place in Valletta 2019, the network includes 653 festival leaders from 80 countries and all continents. 

You can find the list of Atelier Alumni here and the list of Festival Production Management Alumni here

The Alumni Network ensures sustainability beyond the training formats. It allows young festival managers to connect to participants and presenters from other training programmes, and supports them in their personal and professional development. The Alumni Network is continuously growing with each training edition. The aim is to allow for extended cooperation, networking and career opportunities. 

Photo credit to Olivier Truyman

Activities 2019


The European Festivals Association and The Festival Academy hope to see many alumni again in Lisbon, Portugal from 14 - 17 April 2019, where we will be welcomed by the Estoril Lisbon Festival. The Festival Academy Alumni are very welcome to join on Monday 15 April starting with an afternoon session at 15:30-17:30 (Ideas and Best Practices Salon  II: Future Heritage Ambassadors) and during the evening for the official opening starting at 19:00Tuesday 16 April will be fully consecrated to the MeetUp: Impromptu! 

More information on the programme can be found here

An impromptu is a piece of music containing improvisational elements, often in free-form but sometimes also in ternary form (ABA, AAB or ABC form). It is mostly written for piano and based on a musical idea, which is worked out in the composition. This musical form dates from the Romantic era, when composers went looking for new and more personal forms of expression.

Isn’t it true: our job is to be concerned with the future: we are projecting projects, inventing collaborations, foreseeing budgets for our festivals in one, two, three years. That is our job. The annual gathering of festival makers is NOW! We create together a space of countless encounters. Let us permit ourselves, without purpose or any further finality, to enjoy three days of an ongoing conversation in a shared time. We don’t discuss the better world. We are the world now. Eye to eye. One on One. Be ready for the Lisbon Impromptu!

Be ready to embark on a conversation about Senses, Places and Destinations or Arts Festivals, Cities, Communities and Cultural Tourism and shed light on this discussion under the main questions: How do we want to live together in our cities and territories today? What role for artists, festivals, urban developers and tourism colleagues in a joint vision for our cities of tomorrow, and what dialogue formats?

Let us approach Senses, Places and Destinations or Arts Festivals, Cities, Communities and Cultural Tourism from various perspectives with various examples from festival makers, artists embedding their work strongly on the community/place development, mayors, marketing people in the city, European platforms of cooperation such as Eurocities, ASfE or EFA and tourism agencies.

250 festival makers from all over the world are together and invited to share their wisdom(s) with each other. The work formats and the inspirational setting by the Estoril Lisbon Festival and Piñeiro Nagy, our host, will inform these encounters: from one – on – one to plenary conversations. Throw your wisdom into the game of three days of dialogue, open your eyes and ears and be surprised: you will leave with something you had not expected, for sure.

Alumni Atelier Merano 2017 at the Summit in Ljubljana 2018

Activities of the Network are developed in collaboration with Alumni themselves. Activities include Alumni meetings in the framework of trainings of The Festival Academy and events of the European Festivals Association (EFA); online exchanges via social networks and online exchange platforms; information updates through newsletters; and access to materials, speeches, presentations and knowledge shared during the respective trainings.

The Alumni are involved in the further development of The Festival Academy and its network by engaging them in EFA activities, the Board of TFA and Alumni Network meetings. They identify the key elements that the Alumni Network should address, and give feedback on the training formats, as well as on new training formats and activities The Festival Academy is developing.