653 young festival leaders from 80 countries worldwide have now participated in one of our training programmes and they have a lot to say about their experience with us!
The Atelier for Young Festival Managers Johannesburg, March 2018 was the 13th edition of the Atelier and the first to be organised in the Global South. 25 participants from 13 countries were gathered and engaged in a global conversation about today's challenges of Festival making around the world.
Evegnia Kavvadia, Eleusis ECoC 2021, Greece
"One of the treasures of the 16nth Atelier in Malta was the opportunity to share questions and thoughts with our "distant relatives", people from the Arab region, Africa, people from continents that aren't that far!
Culture was the context within which we were able to talk about our cultures, but never taken for granted. The Atelier offered the opportunity to deconstruct the usual dipoles of West and East, and tackle topics such as artistic excellence and mass audiences, culture and economy and reset new standars towards new shapes of creativity, fresh approaches to our work and to our worlds.
Malta, one of the most historical crossroads of the Mediterranean was the perfect setting of that unique experience!"
Angele Galea, Artistic Consultant, Malta
"The Atelier provided us an environment to meet and discuss issues we as festival management go through. Relevant and important concerns were examined meticulously and everyone was willing to share their experiences. With each exercise and presentation we could all feel enriched by the process. It was a great opportunity for networking and such fun. Thank you."
Adel Abdelwahab, Theatre is a Must - Egypt
‘For me it was very valuable to be here, it was really inspiring on many levels from the different scopes. There were 29 people from many different places in the world and it was very important to be part of such an experience.
(Following the Atelier...) I will now try to work more with the context. Even if I am already always developing my work depending it, this Atelier opened my eyes on other political situations and contexts. Now it is more about how I can shape and frame our experiences and approaches to the context, and also to be more open to other continents, bring in performances from across the globe and think about how we connect the content with the context.
Having people from all those different continents and countries was really interesting but it is not easy; you have to listen and to reach common ground in the learning process so you can’t just focus on yourself. The Atelier was very intense but we were all open to share, it was very rich to all of us, to share the experiences, the personal stories, that was very important. Transferring knowledge from experiences was very important and interesting.’
Joo Won Kim, Non Sense Music Festival, South Korea
‘I could learn about what Art and Festival mean to people, I had a chance to talk about lots of big questions which we do not ask to ourselves in ordinary days so it really was an enlightening moment to learn and rethink about what the arts means, and what the art festival means in various aspect. I was especially fascinated to learn about artists in Gothenburg, without this Atelier I would have never had a chance to learn about Gothenburg artists in this deep way. After the Atelier, I will clearly be more aware about what is going on in this time, everywhere and also what is my responsibility as an art festival manager.’
Aditi Akkalkotkar, Pune International Film Festival, India
'I will never forget the mini panic attack I had after your (the other participants’) introductions. Looking back now, I can't help but to laugh because I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Little did I know that on that night, I was walking into a family that would show me such an incredible amount of unconditional love. Thank you for always making me feel welcome, making me feel comfortable and helping me to come out of my nutshell. I have had some of the happiest moments of my life at the Atelier. Thank you for always being so down-to-Earth and non-judgmental from the very beginning. Most importantly, thank you for always being supportive and encouraging. I cannot thank you all enough for sharing your stories, intense talks about culture's and festivals, dancing like crazy, singing together Malaika and most importantly helping me to grow as a human.'
Ángela Delgado Valdivia, Hay Festival Arequipa, Peru
'About the unforgettable experience of having participated in the 14th Atelier for Young Festival Managers, in Gothenburg, Sweden, organised by The Festival Academy.
I'm trying to make words like:
magic, surprise, imagination, creativity, creation, love, struggle, weariness, frustration, humanity, human, imperfection, vulnerability, diversity, challenge, encouragement, soul, you, me, us, them, they, word, voice, presence, echo, memory, country, territory, limit, refuge, peace, anger, war, spirit, do, believe, see, hear, feel, admire, confirm, doubt, write, think, hate, grasp, fear, and several others,
…make sense when putting them together following what my mind tells me and my heart reaffirms.'
Christina Illmayr, Stockholm Early Music Festival, Sweden/Germany
has been a thoroughgoing strength-giving one
and led small every-day-bubbles to burst by being confronted
with not every-day-questions. These thought-provoking questions transformed
the Atelier into a different kind, yet wonderful bubble, full of
valuable meetings, inspiration, challenges, openness, tolerance and
Within this particular space of the Atelier, the deep political and philosophical conversations were what surprised me the most and I now go home with the will to reflect even more on my work practices and how to change them.”
Nora Niethammer, Munich Biennale for new music theater / Spielmotor e.V.
'Incredibly thankful for having had the chance to spend one week with these wonderful people from all over the world in Gothenburg, Sweden. Taking a look at the world together - this was inspiring, heavy, fun, sad, overwhelming at times and full of energy!'
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.”
Karabo Kgokong, Lentswe Arts Projects, South Africa
“For me the experience was just truly inspiring. I got to really imagine and see the possibility of my dreams coming true (...) I learned to find the motivation to believe in my dreams or ideas and implement them whether there's financial support or not.”
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.”
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.”
The Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Budapest, Hungary, took place from 2 to 8 June 2016, and was hosted by the Armel Opera Festival. It gathered 43 participants from 25 countries and confirmed the success and necessity of providing training opportunities for early career professionals and to collaborate across continents
Jessica Teague, Stichting Omscholingsregeling Dansers NL, USA
“I was very impressed with the caliber of participants, I feel the Atelier did a really good job in selecting intelligent and vibrant individuals. Everyone had something to offer and was involved in something interesting. The networking events were really incredible! The venues and atmosphere, food and wine all superb for putting everyone at ease to really get to know each other. This is not an easy thing to accomplish!”
Sara Ilana Arias Cano, Vitoria International Music Festival Spain
"The Atelier was a paradise island of inspiration and experiences that sent us back to our homes with courage and determination to lead the next generation of festivals with creativity and responsibility"
Module I of the pilot edition of the Festival Production Management Training took place in Antwerp, Belgium, from 20-23 January 2016, hosted by deSingel International Art Campus. 22 young production managers from 15 countries met and exchanged with experienced production managers.
Emilie Bendix, HAUT, Helsingør Teater, Passagefestival, Denmark
"Back home in Copenhagen after a week spent in Gwangju, South Korea, the thoughts gathered during the Atelier for Young Festival Managers start to form new shapes in my head. At the Atelier I found myself in a room full of curious, creative and hardworking people engaged in the arts all over the world. Each one of us having very different realities and backgrounds, but all of us in various ways struggling to make the world a better place through our work."
Martin Kadinov, ON! Fest // Gaming Entertainment LTD, Bulgaria
“Gazing from the airplane window on my way back “home” I caught myself thinking the Atelier, for me, was like the first time I took a plane. Full of expectations – you prepare, buckle-up, accelerate, take off, penetrate the hazy clouds and gain clear vision of the immensity of the sky. Feel it, experience it and learn from it.”
Tomas Kutinjac, BLITZ International Performing Arts Festival, Croatia
"For the Atelier, 36 young festival leaders from all over the globe landed in Beirut to inspire and get inspired, exchange ideas, raise questions and try to give answers on the meaning and artistic management of festivals. One of the strongest feelings I had. Everybody had the same chance to express and share their story, concerns and mingle with everyone else with the same intensity."
Daniel Maposa, Savanna Trust, 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."
Mohamed El Ghawy, AFCA for Arts and Culture, Egypt
"At the Atelier you learn from experienced mentors, festival pioneers; you hear inspiring stories from young festival managers from around the world; and you broaden your network. But the unique thing is that you get to know more about yourself."
Gemma Connell, The Artifact Dance Company, 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."
Nikki Cassidy, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, UK
"A significant value of the Atelier for me personally has been the chance to meet people who live and breathe artistic Festivals, from all over the world. I have enjoyed having my stereotypical assumptions of the world (seen through a prism of western media information) broken down, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to begin developing a greater understanding of other people, continents, cultures and viewpoints"
Cristina Goletti, I.F. O.N.L.Y. Festival, Ireland
“Being able to listen to people from all over the world offered me an incredible wider prospective. We were blessed to have incredibly renowned mentors with us for the whole week, speaking about their festivals and their experiences. The networking opportunities of the Atelier are immense and I believe I have made strong contacts, which will help me building my festival. I found myself thinking less as a European and more and more as a global citizen.”
Emily Thomas, Watch this Space Festival, UK
"The opportunity to meet with other festival managers from throughout Europe, to exchange ideas and experiences and initiate conversations, is an invaluable and rare one."
Tobias Kokkelmans, Festival van Vlaanderen, Belgium
"The Atelier was the opportunity to meet both experienced festival leaders in an intimate context, as well as the possibility to meet young colleagues. It’s very rare in our specific professional context to meet so many young people together. To me, that was food for thought."