Festival making in 2020 was faced with unimaginable challenges; with public assembly curtailed, festivals were required to discover new pathways to produce and present arts for the public. In a challenging and ever changing landscape, festivals innovated
to deliver imaginative and intelligent public facing programmes in virtual, analogue/digital and public spaces.
Central to these programmes has been the on-going conversations, collaborations and partnerships with artists and other key festival stakeholder groups to find solutions such as: scenario planning, approaches to working differently and sustainability.
Following on from the Talking Festival Series 2020, the Arts Council hosted a programme of panel discussions for festival makers, artists making work in a festival context
and festival stakeholders to discuss and share learning from 2020 and the forthcoming challenges presented in 2021.
Pathways 2021 was curated and hosted by Dr David Teevan, Festivals Advisor to the Arts Council.
Session 1 – Pandemic proofing: What are the survival strategies for uncertain times?
10 March 2021, 3pm
In light of continuing public health restrictions, how are festivals planning in the face of such uncertainty, and what creative strategies or operational pivots might be of benefit to arts festivals in the months ahead?
Inge Ceustermans is the General Director of The Festival Academy, a non-profit organization initiated by the European Festivals Association (EFA). The Festival Academy has grown out of the success of the Ateliers for
Young Festival Managers. It offers unique, intense and rigorous peer learning training programs on festival management to dynamic and passionate festival makers worldwide starting from the essence of festivals: art, artists and audiences. www.TheFestivalAcademy.eu
Caroline Conway is a visual artist and arts coordinator for Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival, a 53-year community festival with an eclectic mix of events. In recent years the festival has programmed art in the public realm that encourage community
participation. In 2020 Offaly was put under additional restrictions on the day of the launch to which we had to swiftly adapt.
Caroline Conway Presentation
Eamon O Boyle is a Chartered Engineer and Managing Director of Eamon O Boyle and Associates (EOBA) based in Dublin. EOBA advise major sports organisations, Government Departments and concert promoters on all aspects of public safety. During the
Covid-19 Pandemic, EOBA have been in involved in developing Covid -19 Strategies for many public and private sector organisations. EOBA are currently working with the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland to develop a guidance document to assist Festival
and Event Organisers to reopen and operate in line with COVID-19 government guidance.
Conor McAndrew is a Senior Manager and Innovation Designer at Accenture’s Global Centre for Innovation, The Dock. His work focused on growing new businesses and helping clients plan and anticipate the future. He is a historian by training.
Conor McAndrew Presentation
Olga Barry is currently the Director of Kilkenny Arts Festival. Her previous roles include; General Manager of Crash Ensemble, General Manager of the Festival of World Cultures, Manager of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and Festival Producer at Kilkenny
Arts Festival. She has also worked extensively as a freelance producer and project manager, as Festival Producer at New Music Dublin and she served as overall Project Manager for the 2016 Centenary Easter Monday Celebrations in Dublin, the largest
civic event in the history of the state. Olga serves on the boards of Chamber Choir Ireland and Corcadorca Theatre Company.
Session 2 – Remodelling your festival: Temporary programmatic pivot or long term organisational change?
24 March 2021, 3pm
During 2020 arts festivals responded with resilience and imagination; devising new ways for the public to celebrate, engage in and interact with the arts. These initiatives have demanded learning and acquiring new skills, the acquisition of new resources
and making significant operational changes. In times of constant change, is a short term programme pivot sustainable or should festivals consider longer term remodelling as they face into an ever changing landscape.
Panellists will share
and discuss how they have responded to the challenges of running a festival during a pandemic, and the implications this has on their organisation, human resources and training and resources needs.
Avril Stanley is the founder of Body & Soul, a three day arts, music and wellbeing festival held on the weekend of the Summer Solstice. The event, now in its 11th year is situated on a 150 acre estate in the Irish countryside, just over an hour
from Dublin. Embracing creativity, innovation, incubation, inclusivity, and sustainability as the 5 values that are central to the ethos of our organisation, Body & Soul is an all-encompassing holistic festival experience and arts organisation that
aspires to educate, celebrate and ignite a sense of aliveness in our community and beyond.
John Crumlish is CEO of Galway International Arts Festival. During his tenure, he has overseen its development into one of Ireland’s best-known cultural enterprises with attendances of over 260,000 in 2019 and an economic impact of €34.5m on the
John Crumlish Presentation
Dani Gill is the current Artistic Director of Ennis Bookclub Festival and was previously the Director of Cúirt International Festival of Literature. She works with venues around Ireland as a Literary Audience Development Officer, in association
with Words Ireland. She has also worked on theatre and film projects and is currently delivering The Lighthouse Project, a site specific, outdoor event taking place in six counties in 2021.
Dani Gill Presentation
Grace Toland is a singer and joint organiser of the Inishowen Singing Weekend, a volunteer-run festival now in its 31st year. Facing the impact of Covid-19 on the artform within the community & the ongoing pressure of delivering professional events
as volunteers, including digitally, the organisation is currently reviewing its role & future strategy.
Rowan Cannon has been co-director and founder of Wild Rumpus since 2009, initially dreaming up Just So Festival and then disappearing down a wormhole of immersive and transformative experiences in outdoor landscapes. Together with Sarah Bird, Rowan
heads up Wild Rumpus, working on strategy, concepts and content aimed at extending the fleeting experience of live events through deeper engagement in stories and ideas, in blurring the lines between participants and performers to create communities
that inspire change.
Rowan Cannon Presentation
Session 3 – Understanding public engagement in the digital realm
7 April at 3pm
Ciara Higgins is Artistic Director of Great Music in Irish Houses Festival, a long-standing and highly respected annual event whose mission is to bring audiences to interesting and non-traditional concert venues to experience exceptional performances
by some of the world’s greatest exponents of chamber music. Ciara has a significant, proven track record in creative and collaborative classical music programming, and extensive experience in arts management at both an international and local level
over many years. She is also Head of Artistic Programming at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.
Ciara Higgins Presentation
Cliona Maher has over 30 years’ experience working in the arts in Ireland, the US and France. She has worked as an arts manager, as a theatre practitioner, and extensively in outreach and education as both a workshop facilitator and programme coordinator.
She took over as Artistic Director of Clonmel Junction Arts Festival in April 2019. A Gaiety School of Acting graduate, Cliona has a Masters in Modern Drama Studies from UCD. She is a Board member of South Tipperary Arts Centre and of Finding A Voice
concert series, which she co-founded.
Cliona Maher Presentation
Ruth McGowan is Festival Director of Dublin Fringe Festival, Ireland’s largest multidisciplinary arts festival. The festival is a platform for Ireland’s most exciting new performance and new voices for 16 days and nights every September, and FRINGE
LAB in Temple Bar is a hub for independent artists year-round. As a dramaturg and producer specializing in new work for the stage, Ruth has supported the development of hundreds of artists and ideas in Dublin and New York since 2009.
Ruth McGowan Presentation
Pádraig Naughton became Executive Director of Arts & Disability Ireland in 2005. Working strategically in partnership with the arts sector ADI champions the creativity of artists with disabilities and promotes inclusive experiences for audiences
with disabilities. Pádraig is the current Chair of the VSA Affiliate Council, a global network of arts and disability organisations.
Padraig Naughton Presentation
Michael Barker Caven is Artistic Director of The Civic, Tallaght, and a 10 times nominated director at the Irish Times, Irish Theatre Awards. In 2020, via a partnership with The Space (UK), he established PROJECT PROTEAN, a training and mentorship
digital artform development agency to provide best practise support for Irish artists as well as expertise in dissemination and participation by online Irish and global audiences.
Robert Lindsay is a Digital Producer and Marketer who specialises in helping arts and heritage organisations use digital media to engage meaningfully with new and developing audiences. Having worked in arts and broadcast for almost two decades,
including significant roles with BBC and Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rob focuses on understanding how online and social content behaves differently to other media. Working as Associate Producer for The Space, Rob works across a slate of R&D commissions,
and manages a series of mentoring programmes across the UK. He is a guest lecturer at University of Birmingham.
Session 4 - Festivals as collaborators, enablers of creative practices and place making: strengthening festival practice through partnership.
21 April at 2.30pm
Fergus Linehan was born in Dublin where he began his career in the theatre as a founding director of Pigsback Theatre Company. He was Festival Director of the Dublin Theatre Festival, Festival Director of the Sydney Festival, Head of
Music at Sydney Opera House, Festival Director of Vivid LIVE, and, since 2015 has been Festival Director of the Edinburgh International Festival
Fergus Linehan Presentation
Dr. Mervi Luonila is Senior Researcher at the Center for Cultural Policy Research, Cupore and at the University of Jyväskylä in the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Dr Luonila’s current research is exploring the cultural, social
and economic impact of arts and culture on cities and regions focusing on decision making in cultural politics and arts institutions - arts and cultural festivals. As a Visiting Research Fellow at the Sibelius Academy of the Uniarts Helsinki, Dr Luonila
continues her contribution to the literature of arts management and festival management from the perspective of networks. Dr Luonila has also extensive experience working in the arts, having been engaged as project manager, producer and project researcher
on several EU-funded development and education projects.
Dr. Mervi Luonila Presentation
Dr Wolodymyr “Vlad” Smishkewych is producer and codirector of the Limerick Early Music Festival. A performer in early music and Galician traditional music, he moved to Ireland in 2011 to become director of the Chant MA at UL. In 2015 he returned
to performing and to the world of broadcasting and film, joining RTÉ Lyric FM as the host of Ireland’s weekly early music programme, Vox Nostra. He is cofounder & codirector of Now and Then Media, which produces festivals, music and art events, and
Dr Wolodymyr “Vlad” Smishkewych Presentation
Theresia Guschlbauer is a collaborative artist and curator based in South Tipperary, where she has been deeply involved in the cultural landscape since the 1990s. In 2018, in collaboration with several creative partners, she founded Clonmel
Applefest to celebrate the diverse aspects of the apple, with which the town has a long association, through a cross-sectoral multi-disciplinary approach to food, environmental and heritage themes.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Charmaine T. Matonsi is currently working as a part time carer in a nursing home in Sligo, studying full time at St Angela’s college and is a co-creator and currently working on projects, ‘The Bed’ and ‘Uprooted’.
She worked as an extra in the screen adaptation of Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’. She performed ‘Look No Mark’ by Donal O’ Kelly, a poem about direct provision at the ICTU conference in 2019 and for the Feminism, Fertility and Reproductive Rights
conference in NUIG.
Tara McGowan co-founded and is currently Festival Director of Cairde Sligo Arts Festival - an annual MDA festival which presents a programme of national and international arts events, commissions and develops new work, and has a keen focus
on collaborative arts practice. Tara has an MSc in Cultural Management and over 25 years’ experience working in the arts in Ireland and in Germany. She is a board member of Sligo Youth Theatre and Spilt Milk Festival.
Lorraine Maye is currently the Director of Cork Midsummer Festival, one of Ireland’s largest multidisciplinary arts festivals that uses the city as its stage and inspiration. She has a wealth of experience in festivals, having worked in a variety of roles for events
both nationally and internationally including the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in Belfast, Cork Film Festival, Edinburgh Fringe and Temple Bar Cultural Trust. She recently joined the board of Irish Theatre Institute.
Lorraine Maye Presentation