EFFEA Call #1: Outtake Seminar

As the implementation period for EFFEA Call#1 residencies draws to a close, the artistic community involved in the first generation of the Call gathered for the European Festivals Fund for Emerging Artists - EFFEA Outtake Seminar on 21 November. With about one month remaining until the end of residencies in December, the seminar served as a moment to reflect on the achievements and challenges of the past year and discuss future opportunities for continued engagement of the community.

Outtake Call #1

142 Festivals and 43 Artists part of Generation #1 are witnesses to the ambition of the European Festivals Association and European Commission to underpin the significance of the work we do in bringing new art to our audiences, of encouraging the next generation of artists and in getting to know each other better post-pandemic and post everything else – in a European landscape that is as tough as it ever was.”

Colm Croffy, Executive Director of the Association of Irish Festival Events

The seminar began with welcoming words from Jan Briers, the European Festivals Association - EFA President, Kathrin Deventer, EFA Secretary General, and Donika Rudi Berishaj, EFFEA Project Coordinator, extending greetings to the festivals, artists, EFFEA Platform members and EFFEA Jury members present.

During the first session, Colm Croffy facilitated a discussion amongst key contributors to the successful implementation of the EFFEA Call - EFFEA Platform Members – that function as the “eyes, ears, and operational spokes on the ground”, playing a crucial role in delivering the Call. EFFEA Platform Members are national and regional supporters, vital local contact points that bring their expertise to the table actively engaging and supporting festivals in their countries. Representatives from some of the EFFEA Platform Members - Franco Belletti - ItaliaFestival (Italy), Mirna Gott -Croatian Composers Society (Croatia), Stephanie Bonnici - ARC Research and Consultancy Ltd. (Malta), Erik Palm - Sweden Festivals (Sweden) and Colm Croffy - Association of Irish Festival Events (Ireland) - shared their experiences and insights. The discussion highlighted increased visibility for Members within their arts, culture, and political national systems by being part of EFA and EFFEA. The Call was a catalyst for discussion and closer dialogue between the Members and the festivals in their countries. Artists and festivals praised the simplicity of administrative procedures in the Call when sharing feedback with Platform Members. While the desire for more financial support was acknowledged, there was a consensus that festivals and artists were able to carry out necessary tasks within their frameworks. Another noteworthy observation was that the support extended to both smaller, understaffed festivals and larger, more institutionalised ones. It not only strengthened existing connections across borders but also forged new ones. Additionally, with the second EFFEA call, festivals and artists actively spread the word among themselves, encouraging their colleagues based on their unique perspectives of involvement in the space. During the discussion, it became evident that EFFEA significantly emphasised the human connection between festival personnel and artists when they were able to bring their own presenters to the same stage. As Colm Croffy summed up, “the project gave a degree of confidence to festival programmers, festival makers and to artistic directors to actually get out, get down and dirty with people they have not worked with before.”

The programme continued with a session where the artistic voices were heard more strategically, with festivals reflecting on the strengths and challenges within their partnerships and artists delving into the global impact of the residencies on their international careers and contribution to the realisation of their objectives.

Over the past year, their explorations encompassed inclusiveness, fairness, well-being, sustainability, and digitalisation, employing various artistic mediums such as sound explorations to contemporary circus performances. A prevailing sense of championing diversity and embracing differences was noted by the artistic community. Key observations from this session included the chance to learn about the back end of each other’s festivals, acknowledging the diversity and unevenness across art forms and countries. There was a profound emotional attachment to the empowering impact of the project, enabling many emerging artists and art forms to realise their emerging potential within the established landscape of festivals. The project's significance for the laboratory offers, avenues of approach and career evolution of emerging artists, often from locations where being independent and innovative is challenging, was underscored. Heartfelt reflections on the challenges faced by the independent sector in parts of Europe also surfaced during the discussion.

Emphasising the importance of keeping communication channels open, participants acknowledged that sharing experiences in difficult terrain could at least offer a spotlight. Festivals recognised the potential for future collaborations stemming from the partnerships established, although, for some, these opportunities can only materialise through the financial support provided by initiatives like EFFEA.

Péter Inkei presented the EFFEA Duty of Care Protocol, a tangible and graspable remainder of the project on how festivals and artists can contribute to shaping the future of the arts sector through their participation in EFFEA. Each generation of EFFEA grants will conclude with a Duty of Care Protocol, which will propose new strategies for improving the conditions of artists by highlighting best practices and lessons learned from the new generations of artists and festivals. The Duty of Care Protocol will empower EFA to assess the established residencies and provide decision-makers with feedback on potential adjustments to various criteria, taking into account the verified needs.

The morning concluded with discussions about future opportunities for the current generation of festivals and artists, including EFFEA Call #3 and Perform Europe.

"As an initiative of the European Festivals Association - EFA, EFFEA is a platform for festivals to connect across borders and offer a development framework for emerging artists. EFA works hard to continue this endeavour."

Kathrin Deventer, EFA Secretary General

The seminar provided a platform for reflection, celebration, and anticipation of the artistic endeavours that lie ahead. The collaborative spirit demonstrated throughout the year sets the stage for the ongoing success of EFFEA and the vibrant artistic community it has fostered.

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For more information: Donika Rudi Berishaj, EFFEA Coordinator: donika@efa-aef.eu & Luana Santos, Communication and Administration Assistant: luana@efa-aef.eu