The Arts Council in partnership with Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Galway and Creative Europe Desk Ireland presented the Festival Makers Conference (formerly Change Makers) on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 May 2023 in
Galway City. The two-day conference provided opportunities for festival makers, festival stakeholders and artists making work in a festival context to exchange ideas, share, map sector developments and discuss practices relevant to festivals in Ireland.
Download the Festival Makers 2023 Conference E-pack files below.
Conference Live Stream
Look back on day two of the Festival Makers conference on 12 May, streamed live from the O’Donoghue Centre at the University of Galway.
Look back on day one of the Festival Makers conference on 11 May, streamed live from the Town Hall Theatre in Galway.
Festival Makers 2023 Conference Updates
Arts Council announces keynote speaker for FESTIVAL MAKERS Conference 11-12 May 2023
The Arts Council announces Kim Cook, Director, Creative Initiatives from the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, USA as the keynote speaker for the FESTIVAL
MAKERS Conference in Galway this month.
Kim is a cultural strategist and festival maker working at the frontier of international artistic collaborations that extend Burning Man culture into the world. Drawing on a deep and varied well of experience in creative place-making, performing arts,
and non-profit finance, Kim successfully builds urban, regional, national, and international projects that increase mutual understanding, advance civic well-being, elevate cultural engagement, and further the aesthetic design elements of communities.
The keynote address will take place on 11 May in the Town Hall Theatre Galway and will be followed by a Q&A session with delegates. Kim will also be present across the two days, feeding into the conversation with Irish festivals
and festival stakeholders.
Elevator Pitches/Festival Bulletin speakers confirmed.
Nine speakers have been selected to share 5-minute presentations which will provide insights into festival practice taking place across Ireland. Festivals and festival stakeholders from across the country, operating in different contexts and in different
artforms, will share their learnings and insights with conference delegates. Topics include: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in festivals; programming for children; professional mentorship for small festivals; and collaboration across festivals
through consortia models.
A list of the contributors and their organisations is listed below.
The nine speakers will be present over the two days and are happy to meet with other delegates to share ideas and discuss their presentations in further detail.
- ‘Festival Audiences and the Digital
Experience’ – FADE (
Audiences and the Digital Experience), TU Dublin
- ‘EDI Toolkit for Festival Makers; Data Collection and Diversity in Programming’ – Trad Fest, Temple
- ‘Place Making Through Festivals’ – Architecture at the Edge
- ‘Naturally Wild Festivals’ – First
Fortnight on behalf of the Naturally Wild Festival Consortia
- ‘Artist Residencies Matter’ – ISACS
- Children’s programming in festivals: ‘
Child Participation in Practice’ and ‘Nurturing Diversity Among Makers’ – Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival, Lime Tree
Theatre and Baboró
International Arts Festival for Children
- ‘Festival Crèche – Mentorship in Festivals’ – Cavan Arts Festival
- ‘Developing Arts Audiences in Partnership’ – Clonmel Junction Arts Festival on behalf of Clonmel Arts Partnership.
create a GREENER CONFERENCE!
The Arts Council has published a series of measurable greener actions to ensure that the Festival Makers conference has a low environmental impact and lower carbon footprint. Those attending the conference programme can help by committing to the following
1. Use public transport where possible for your journey to and from the conference. Information on transport links can be found here along with information
on e-bike schemes which are available in Galway City.
2. Where public transport may not be an option use electric vehicles; where electric vehicles are not available consider car-pooling with other conference delegates so that more people can travel by vehicle.
3. Bring ‘keep-cups’ for tea and coffee and/or water bottles for reuse to reduce plastics and one-use materials.
4. Reduce reliance on printed materials. We encourage you to reuse any print such as brochures, pop-up banners etc. Where possible we encourage you to share your information through digital means (websites, cloud-based platforms etc.).
5. B.Y.O.L. (Bring your own Lanyard!) If you are a conference delegate, you should bring lanyards with you for your conference pass to reduce production of these materials.
6. Recycle – Where printed materials are used, consider using recyclable materials to ensure that they can be reused.
The Arts Council’s Greener Conference commitments can be found here
Bring your Own Lanyard – A call to action for
festival conference delegates!
As part of its partnership with Drama and Theatre Studies University of Galway and Creative Europe Desk Ireland the Arts Council will adopt approaches to reduce its environmental impact at the forthcoming FESTIVAL
MAKERS CONFERENCE in Galway on 11th and 12th May. The conference theme, ‘the changing landscape of festival’ informs a diverse programme of workshops, panel discussions, side bar and networking events, capturing how festivals
have adapted and evolved in recent years.
The two days are dedicated to supporting festivals capacity building. The conference will provide a unique and valuable opportunity for arts festivals, festival stakeholders and artists making work in a festival’s context to come together to learn from
each other and share skills and knowledge.
Information on the full day conference programme can be found here.
Informed by the Arts Council’s new Climate Action Policy, the conference team will adopt approaches to reduce its environmental impact with a series Greener
Event commitments; actions by which we will benchmark our evaluation.This includes reducing, reusing and recycling materials, utilising local vendors to reduce environmental impacts and a call to action for delegates to use public transport/carpool.
Creative solutions will be found in achieving these actions, including the production of digital conference programmes and reducing conference materials.
With that aim in mind, we are asking delegates to bring their own lanyards and ‘totes’, ‘keep cups’
in order to reuse and repurpose these materials for the two days in Galway.
Arts Council seeks speaker submissions from festival organisations, festival
stakeholders and artists making work in a festival context
Elevator Pitch Session
As part of the FESTIVAL MAKERS conference programme we are seeking short five minute in-person presentations which share developments with the festival sector. We are dedicating time in the conference programme to facilitate festivals or those working
with festivals to share news, updates or new initiatives.
We intend to select 10 speakers who will pitch their information to fellow conference delegates. Speakers can be individual artists, local authority arts officers, festival organisations or festival stakeholders. Contributors are asked to present for
up to five minutes on a single topic. The purpose of the session is to provide festivals with an update of developments in festivals across the country. The topic should be something that is relevant to festivals in Ireland. The list below provides
some suggestions as a guide:A request for festival partners to join an initiative or project
- An update on research a festival has undertaken
- Sharing partnership models (such as resource pooling or information sharing/ networking)
- Sharing a festival consortia model (how it evolved, the purpose of the organisation and its work to date)
- A festival organisation seeking mentorship
- Information on new initiatives that you wish to share, such as climate actions, equality and diversity developments, slow festival modelling,
- Sharing local authority festival strategies/ festival initiatives
- How your festival works collaboratively with the public (social engaged practice/ citizen artist development).
- Working with International partners or how to develop International connections as a festival.
make a submission
To make an Elevator Pitch submission please send an email to email@example.com including ELEVATOR PITCH in the subject heading. Provide us with your contact details and the
name of the festival it relates to along with no more than 150 words which outlines your idea and what you would like to share. Please note in selecting speakers we will consider the idea, the model of practice and the geographical location to ensure
a broad and representative selection of works from across the country.
Deadline for submissions Friday
3 March 2023.
If you have further questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org