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What Drives Us? A Publication on Festival Sustainability

An initiative within the framework of the Robert Bosch Cultural Managers Network.

A project by Katja Melzer, Sophie Le-Phat Ho, Julia Ovcharenko, Christine Rahn and Hajnal Szolga.

Online Launch in spring 2016, with events in Canada and Europe

Festivals are interesting creatures. They usually emerge from, with and for a specific community and help to build it. Because they are usually meant to be recurrent, with time, festivals become bigger and institutionalize. Sometimes, they disappear. Often, they disappear because they are underfunded, lost relevance, and/or because organizers leave the field due to often precarious working conditions. Within the current non-profit art world festival organizers need to be very creative to assure the survival of these initiatives while also constantly questioning their mandate or raison-d’être.

The publication seeks to shed light on festival sustainability. Acknowledging that festivals run on different models, we invite grassroots collectives along with more institutionalised organisations, festival producers, cultural experts and researchers to share their approaches towards sustainable cultural work, as well as their strategies and challenges within their specific working environments. While focussing on media art festivals, the discussion will be open to related practices engaged in arts and politics.

The publication aims to develop a critical take on current discussions around sustainability while underlining the importance of independent, cultural production for our understanding and shaping of the world that surrounds us.

Further sponsors and partners: Studio XX Montreal