Following on from the Pathways webinar series in spring 2021, a new series of webinars took place between March and April 2022.
Pathways 2022 focused on organisational sustainability and inclusivity within a festival context.
The aim of these
sessions was to provide festival makers with an opportunity to acquire transferable skills from relevant experts from outside the festival sector and to hear from and share knowledge with other members of the festival community.
2022 was delivered over four two hour sessions. In a departure from the
previous year, the first two sessions were interactive workshops, while the
latter two were formal presentations by invited speakers with a panel
discussion, followed by questions from
Session 1 - Planning in
the face of uncertainty’ - Scenario planning
the two years of the Covid pandemic festival organisations, responding to the
challenges faced by ever changing public health restrictions, were required to
concurrently plan several festival programmes or programmes with multiple
contingencies. In this two hour workshop Conor McAndrew of Solution Consulting
gave a short presentation on scenario planning exploring the application of
flexible planning tools in a festivals context. The workshop introduced the
collaborative online application MURAL and covered some of the basic ways in
which festival teams can work together to develop flexible plans for the
Facilitator - Conor McAndrew
Please find presentation from this session here.
Session 2 - Planning for renewal
During the Festival Makers Forum in Autumn 2021 a recurrent theme raised by the attendees was the challenge of bringing about and sometimes even talking about regeneration and renewal of their festival context. In response, Ali FitzGibbon led a two-hour interactive workshop to explore how we make decisions about the future, who is involved and how do these decisions develop organisational sustainability. Built around questioning strategies relating to succession planning, change management, and inclusive leadership, participating festival makers worked in small groups to share experiences and discuss ideas. This workshop aimed to better equip festival makers to start or progress conversations internally and with external partners about the future of their organisations and events.
Breakout workshops session facilitators:
- Lead facilitator – Dr Ali
FitzGibbon - Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast and head of Arts
Management and Cultural Policy. (link to pdf – overview of session – to follow)
- - Dr Jonathan Price - Lecturer in
Creativity & Enterprise at the University of Leeds (School of Performance
and Cultural Industries), England.
- - Jenna Hall - Chief Executive of
Circusful (formerly Belfast Community Circus School), Northern Ireland.
- - Tony Reekie, Executive Director,
Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, Scotland.
Please find presentation from this session here Session 2 - Planning for renewal and regeneration
Session 3 – ‘Stronger Together’ Part 1 – Responding to change
During the pandemic festivals demonstrated capacity to respond to change by adapting operating models and programming. Post pandemic, the world within which festival organisations are operating continues to change and evolve bringing with it new opportunities and challenges. In this session we examined different change models such as:
- festival consortia – sustainability through inter-festival collaboration;
- strategic partnerships – capacity building initiatives with local authorities and private business;
- festival networks – avenues for knowledge sharing that support festival practice;
- other festival models – the risks and opportunities moving away from the annual festival model.
This session looked at different models festival organisations have developed and sustained in recent years that involve cross-sectoral and inter-sectoral collaborations.
- James McVeigh - Head of Innovation and Marketing, Festivals Edinburgh, Scotland
- Emma Nee Haslam - Manager of Birr Theatre & Arts Centre and member of Birr Festivals Collective
- Mary Kennedy – Managing Director of O’Connor Kennedy Turtle (Arts Council Raise Programme)
- Beatriz Pizaro – Founder and Artistic Director of Rutus Festival and Camina Festival, Toronto, Canada.
To view the Pathways 2022 Session 3 - 'Stronger Together' webinar, please follow this link
Session 4 – 'Stronger together' Part 2 - Can festivals play a leading role in furthering Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity?
Arts Council’s Equality, Human Rights and Diversity policy affirms that
“that every person living in Ireland has the right to create, engage with,
enjoy and participate in the arts”. It also recognises that there is a
substantial number of people who “continue to experience barriers to engaging
with and participating in the arts because of their socio-economic background,
their ethnicity or religion, their sexual orientation or gender identity, their
family status, their age, their membership of the Traveller Community, or
through lack of accommodation of a disability”.
final Pathways 2022 session looked at ways festivals are supporting this
a presentation by Dublin Fringe Festival about its WEFT programme, that
supports talent development and network building for emerging and early career B.M.E artists, and the development of a toolkit by
Tradfest that to help festivals assess gender balance in their programming. Representatives
from Misleór Festival spoke about the importance for the traveller community of
having a festival that celebrated nomadic cultures presenting work by traveller
artists in the cultural institutions in Galway. Finally choreographer and festival
maker Tobi Omoteso highlighted the need to have the voices of communities that
have been marginalised ,not just represented in festivals, but involved in the
his concluding remarks the Arts Council’s Head of Festivals, Karl Wallace encouraged
organisations to make incremental changes to operational and programmatic
models to ensure that the festival sector plays its part in reflecting the rich
diversity of contemporary Ireland and ensuring access to the arts for