Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Beirut; 21-27 March 2015.

Are you part of the next generation of artistic festival directors? Do you want to broaden your programming skills and be inspired by colleagues and experienced leaders in the field? Do you want to join a new network of future festival leaders worldwide? Call for Applications open: deadline extended until 31 October 2014!

The Festival Academy, an initiative of the European Festivals Association (EFA), and the Beiteddine Art Festival are delighted to confirm the final dates of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Beirut, Lebanon: it will take place from 21-27 March 2015.

“After the Atelier for Young Festival Managers planned for 2013 had to be postponed, I am happy to reiterate my invitation to host the first Atelier in the Arab world in Beirut, Lebanon in March 2015. I am looking forward to welcoming all the young festival managers in this artistically vibrant city that is Beirut,” said Nora Joumblatt, President of the Beiteddine Art Festival.

The Atelier for Young Festival Managers is an intensive 7-day training programme bringing together different generations of festival makers, some 45 participants and ten renowned festival leaders. It allows its participants to gain knowledge and skills in the field of artistic festival management. The application form must be submitted by 31 October 2014. Apply now!

If you are interested in applying for the Atelier please read carefully the information below as well as on the general Atelier website.

„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.“

Mohamed El Ghawy, AFCA for Arts and Culture, Egypt
Participant Atelier EDINBURGH 2014

Mission of the Atelier

The Atelier – initiated by the European Festivals Association (EFA) – is guided by the motto “The true role of a festival is to help artists to dare, to engage in new projects,” borrowed from Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, longstanding Director of the Avignon Festival and President of the Lyon Biennial (France). It is an intense and rigorous 7-day training platform addressed at emerging artistic festival directors or those who have ambitions to become involved in programming or in programming related departments within a festival. It is all about formulating experiences and passing on knowledge to a next generation of festival makers: knowledge about programming a festival, thematically focusing on the very essence of arts festivals: the arts and the artist.


The skills of festival managers needed for the artistic development of festivals is at the heart of the Atelier. For seven days, participants will work in small groups, attend lectures and debates, learn from case studies and implement practical activities. Atelier mentors and presenters – all renowned, trailblazing festival managers from all over the world – will share their rich experiences with the participants. The Atelier goes beyond traditional teaching practices; the carefully selected young programmers will widen their horizons and perspectives on festivals and programming practices. They will be able to enlarge and build a sustainable network which proves to be essential on the long-term.

Partner & city

The culturally diverse host city is a key feature of the Atelier. A city is a place with historical meanings and its role as an entity in society is not to be underestimated.

Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, strikes with its cultural dynamism. An overwhelming number of cultural events, such as artistic workshops, theatre plays, concerts and exhibitions of all kinds are presented to the public on a regular basis. In Beirut, art can be found everywhere, as more than 5000 artists are active in the city.

The Beiteddine Art Festival has been founded during the Lebanese Civil War in 1985. The festival, which started locally, has managed to raise international interest and has become the most attended festival in the region. For 27 years now, it has attracted more than tens of thousands of spectators every year in its beautiful location, the palace’s courtyards. The Beiteddine Art Festival is regarded as a great space of encounters for all those who believe that culture and art have a fundamental role to play in the development of society.

During the Atelier, participants will get to know and visit various cultural venues in Beirut.

„This vibrant and resilient city is the cultural hub of the Middle East. It is renowned for its festivals and artistic activities, universities, free press and its rich history, as well as for being a dynamic financial and banking center. Come and discover the cradle of civilization, and experience the successful encounter between East and West, and between tradition and modernity, in one of the ten liveliest cities of the world, the city of Beirut.“

Nora Joumblatt, President, Beiteddine Art Festival

Theme & topics

As in all the previous editions of the Atelier, the motto of the Atelier BEIRUT 2015 is: “The true role of a festival is to help artists to dare, to engage in new projects.” Particular emphasis is placed on the artistic aspects of festival management, including artistic vision, political and social responsibility, internationalisation, networking, renewal and sustainability:

  • How to articulate, develop and realise an artistic programme?
  • Who contributes to the artistic process?
  • What is the role of festivals as platforms for creation and innovation?
  • What is the importance of festivals for artists? How can festivals serve the art?
  • How important is the contact with artists? To what extent do the selected artists have an impact on the identity of the festival?
  • How to set up and handle partnerships with artists, cultural organisations and institutes?
  • How to ensure artistic autonomy in altered situations and under pressure?
  • How to recognise and contribute to the development of successful projects and talents?
  • What are the risks of programming and how to manage them?
  • What is the importance of venues, their impact on the programme and the audience?
  • What is the role of internationalisation in a festival’s work?
  • What is the role of festivals in creating global citizenship, intercultural dialogue, participation and access to culture?
  • What are new models of collaboration in a globalising world?
  • In how far do festivals appear like instruments of change? Hence, allowing the artists and audiences alike to open up new perspectives and contributing to fostering democracy?
  • How can large scale festivals continue to make sharp artistic choices, even for big audiences?

Attention will be given to more questions and issues raised throughout the Atelier.


Under the coordination of Hugo De Greef (former EFA Secretary General, Founder and former Director Kaaitheater), leading and experienced festival operators, professionals and artists from all over the world will guide the participants through the seven days. Mentors and presenters, pioneering festival managers, will give lectures, lead workshops and take part in round tables and debates – all of them spending several days with the participants which will allow face-to-face contacts and discussions. At least three of the experienced festival leaders will stay for all seven days. Have a look at the list of presenters of the previous Ateliers.

The following festival directors had agreed to participate in the initial Atelier BEIRUT 2013. They are being invited to confirm their participation for the 2015 edition:

  • Robyn Archer (Creative Director The Centenary of Canberra (2013), Artistic Director The Light In Winter Melbourne, Australia)
  • Hugo De Greef (Atelier Coordinator, former EFA Secretary General, Director European Capital of Culture Bruges 2002, Co-Founder Kaaitheater Brussels – Belgium)
  • Rania Elias (Director Jerusalem Festival and Yabous Cultural Centre, Palestine)
  • Bernard Faivre d’Arcier (former long-standing Artistic Director of the Avignon Festival and President of the Lyon Biennial – France)
  • Rose Fenton (Director Free Word, Co-Founder LIFT Festival, London – UK)
  • Nele Hertling (Vice President of the Academy of Arts Berlin, Member Strategy Group “A Soul for Europe” – Germany)
  • His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Kabbaj (President and founder of the Fès Festival of World Sacred Music and of Spirit of Fes Foudation, Morocco)
  • Jonathan Mills (Festival Director and Chief Executive Edinburgh International Festival – UK)
  • Annemie Vanackere (Artistic Director Hebbel Theater Berlin – Germany)


The Atelier is a working space especially designed for festival operators:

  • dealing with one or more artistic disciplines within a festival
  • having a basic practical knowledge in festival operation
  • demonstrating the ambition to deepen their skills in the field of programming or in a department closely related to it (e.g. communication, production…)
  • proving alternatively that a study course (already completed or due to be completed) is in line with the Atelier
  • giving evidence of his/her ambition to work in the festival business

Terms and conditions

The following application criteria will be applied (not cumulative):

  • average age of Atelier participants (from experience of past editions) is 35
  • excellent knowledge of English (working language of the Atelier)
  • applications (selection criteria are not cumulative) must be:
    • supported by a festival or another initiative in the cultural sector
    • supported by a training/academic institute (study module)
    • based on a proof of future employment in the field
    • based on personal arguments and motives

Course fee

  • individual EFA members: 1300,00 EUR
  • non EFA-members: 2100,00 EUR

The fee includes accommodation for seven nights, registration, working documents, access to all sessions, meals and drinks, receptions, local transport, cultural and artistic programme and follow–up activities.

Travel expenses and health insurance are on the participants’ costs. EFA will assist as much as possible with visa issues and other permissions in preparation of the Atelier.

Application procedure & deadlines

The call for application for the Atelier BEIRUT 2015 is open. The application form must be submitted by 31 October 2014!

A selection Committee set up by EFA will evaluate the applications. Successful candidates will receive a confirmation letter in the mid-October 2014. The decision of the Selection Committee is final and no correspondence on the selection process will be entered into.


Funding opportunities for a training programme such as the Atelier are numerous at local/national level. EFA advises applicants to start researching funding opportunities at national and international level from the moment they apply. EFA is glad to provide information on possible support schemes at international level. Have a look at previous examples of participants’ funding and funding institutes.

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