Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Korea: Public Call for Interest

The Festival Academy, an initiative of the European Festivals Association (EFA), is delighted to announce that the Atelier for Young Festival Managers will take place for the second time in Asia in September 2015 (exact dates to be confirmed) in Gwangju, South Korea. The Atelier Gwangju will coincide with the inauguration of the Asian Culture Complex (ACC), with close collaboration with ACC’s Asian Arts Theatre. Ten renowned festival directors will guide 45 participants from the region and from all over the world through the 7-day training programme in this very special context of a very ambitious and momentous art project in Korea.

This first Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Korea offers a unique opportunity to dig into the Asian arts context, to look at the regional visions for what is contemporary art, what are the missions of new venues and festivals, and what are the cultural visions regarding social concerns in a global world. This will all take place in Gwangju, the sixth largest city in South Korea close to the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.

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

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.


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. Mentors and presenters, pioneering festival managers, will 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.

Partner & city

Asian Culture Complex (ACC) is a government-funded establishment housed in the heart of Gwangju, a southwestern metropolitan city of South Korea. ACC is doubtless the most ambitious and momentous art project in Korean history in terms of budget, artistic vision and spatial scale.

Based in this newly constructed complex, Asian Arts Theatre (AAT) questions, supports, and creates contemporary performing arts in Asia. Scheduled to open in 2015, AAT will produce, co-produce, invite and promote art works from Asia as well as the rest of the world. It aspires to become a hub for the production, presentation, discussion and international distribution of the most cutting-edge works in the context of the international performing arts scene.

What is Asian art? What is contemporary art? The Asian Arts Theatre seeks to perform these questions. It will do so by inviting artists with unique and stirring visions, artists who can evoke, respond to and reshape the most urgent aesthetic and social concerns of our time. AAT puts the artists right in the core of its engine, by providing them with full professional supports – financial, residential, and artistic – with which they can work through their own visions free from any political pressure or aesthetic bias. The outcomes of these endeavors will be presented through two channels of presentation: the annual festival and seasonal programming. In September 2015, AAT opens with a three week opening festival which will present almost 30 commissioned, co-produced and invited works, with main emphasis on Asian artists.

Theme & topics

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.


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 (in a hotel in walking distance to all venues), 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

If you are interested in participating in this Atelier for Young Festival Managers, please send an email to Interested participants will receive an official call for application with an application form. The call for application will be launched in November 2014. All information on the Atelier, selection criteria and application procedure can be found on the Atelier website.


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 can provide information on possible support schemes at international level. Please indicate in your application if you need to apply for additional support in order to attend the Atelier and provide details of your funding applications including the final date of approval. Have a look at previous examples of participants funding and funding institutes.


Please contact or call +32 9 241 8080.


Organiser and initiator of the Atelier

The Festival Academy

European Festivals Association (EFA)

Host and Co-organiser

Asian Culture Complex

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