International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts is the biggest organization of this type, working in the field of advocacy in Europe. Thirty years from the organization's foundation, Polish city will host for the first time the annual Autumn Plennary Meeting
International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts, Glasgow, photo provided by organizer
Between the 6th to the 9th of October a series of meetings take place under the Party! motto, focusing on a range of meanings inspired by the word - from an entertaining meeting of minds, to politically-driven debates and cross-cultural participation.
The IETM - International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts is the biggest organisation of its sort, working in the field of advocacy in Europe. Thirty years from the organisation's foundation, the Polish city will host the annual Autumn Plenary Meeting for the first time.
The motto Party! is a play on words that starts off with the most basic connotation of a 'party' among friends. This is also to emphasize the deepest idea governing IETM, which does not aim to be a 'market of projects' or a 'conference', but rather a meeting of people from the performance art environment in a friendly atmosphere, facilitating the exchange of creative ideas. According to the IETM's strategy of putting together a library of good practices and educational activities in favour of the network's members, the meetings will encourage the active participation of those in attendance at the meeting.
Despite seemingly light title of the meeting, the organizers do not escape serious matters that will be raised during the meetings, workshops and presentations. They will focus on two fields:
PARTY (symbolising POLITICS) – concentrates mostly on problems of environment's contacts with the outside world. Problem of censorship, still present in some countries, and post-censorship. It is a problem of marginalization of culture by politicians and pushing out the searching art by commercial offers in the culture's circulation market.
This part of the meeting will cover threats deriving from the outside world, but also methods of advocacy in favour of the sector and chances of finding suitable mechanisms for objecting such threats.
Discussions in this part of the meeting will be held in three groups:
“Workmen of culture” - dealing with defining a quantified value of artists' work and encountering methods for stable work of sector's representatives in the free-market economy environment.“Strategies of cultural advocacy” - how to present, in a effective manner, role of performative arts in the context of other sectors, mainly the environments with a decisive role in the field of culture financing.
“Censorship – Self-Censorship – Post-Censorship” - Despite progressive democratisation on a global scale, the issue of censorship does not disappear from the everyday agenda, especially of the artistic environment, shaping up into even a more dangerous these days form of artist's fear of quiting the mainstream, artistic search that may jeopardise the support they receive.
PARTY (as in PARTIcipation) – focuses on problems concerning the internal activities within the sector, establishing methods for a better cooperation, synergy of activities on one hand, and diversification of knowledge, abilities and tools on the other hand.
“Programming strategies” - with the ever more thinner line dividing culture from entertainment and strong influence of economy on the environment's issues, people responsible for programming remain on a safe position of “shopper on the market”, chosing “safe products”; however, progressing festivalisation requires return to the idea of critical and original construction of the programme, with an aim to pass a clear message to the recipient and to stimulate the environment more strongly.
“Art for social change” - The role of festivals is to search more actively for subjects important to the communities in which they take place, as well as comment upon the current issues of the social discussion. This significant role must be, however, conducted without detriment to the cultural aspect and losing of the artistic vision.
“Organisations recycling” - after years of strong polarisation on the part of “institutions of culture” and indepentant organizations, the current economic situation begins to force a closer cooperation, proving that big institutions may serve as a perfect “umbrellas” for small and dynamic organizations that bring in a fresh perspective and dynamics, receiving in return a greater stability of activities.
The meeting in Kraków will take place in a context of the Polish Presidency in the EU and the idea of the Eastern Partnership. The seventh topic of the discussion “East, West and Shengen in-between” will focus on the practical sides of cooperation between organizations and institutuons from the EU and countries of the Eastern Partnership, as well as solving problems they encounter in daily-basis contacts.
The IETM meeting always abound in a number of additional events and meetings aimed at specific subjects and projects prepared in partnership of network's members. During the Cracow's meeting, other meeting that will take place within the congress will be FIT network (Festivals in Transition) meeting, founding meeting of East Europe Performing Arts Platform, as well as summary meeting of SPACE – pilot project of mobility in the performance arts' sector.
Meetings will be accompanied by an artistic programme put together by the Kraków Theatrical Reminiscences initiative and an showcase of local theatre performances.
This event is part of Attention Culture!, the Cultural Program of the 2011 Polish EU Presidency, which comprises a six-month series of exceptional events and artistic projects, including the European Culture Congress, held within the framework of the programme.