Imagining Futures: What If?

Rethinking Europe’s independent festival landscape

A new publication created by members of the Imagining Futures network, a EUNIC funded project in partnership with the Goethe-Institut London and Transform Festival, Leeds UK

A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, we were invited to join Imagining Futures, a new network which brought together twelve innovative performing arts festivals for a pan-European experiment. Imaginging Future was a future-focused network that offered its participating festival directors and artists a deep listening space and a moment to be together, think together, and dream different futures. 

Care, well-being, and sustainability became prominent topics across the series of digital and in-person residencies. Together the as participants we considered how to share power, how to leave behind the inherited structures and ideologies that so many cultural institutions adhere to, above all how to rip up the rule book and work instead with radical new ideas and provocations that might transform ‘what is’ into ‘what if’.

The many provocations, inspirations, examples of existing good practice and desired ‘what ifs’ discussed by the network have been gathered into a new publication that aims to continue to inspire and inform the working practices of festivals, cultural institutes and associated organisations across Europe and beyond.

On Friday 20th May at 4pm CET, artists Angela Alves and Claire Lefèvre and festival directors Amy Letman and Anna Mülter will share insights into the conversations that took place across the project at Goethe-Institut’s Frequencies. Sharing Feminisms festival in Berlin and online, find out more. 

Download the digital publication

Listen to the audio version

Timecodes for the audio version:0.27 What If…
1.37 Introduction
4.58 A note on the text
7.41 Theme one: Care
13.32 Theme two: What is a festival – now and tomorrow?
18.30 Theme three: Inspiring ways of creating, presenting and touring work
24.15 Theme four: Relationships between festivals and artists
30.24 Theme five: Relationships with audiences
35.54 Imagining a network: Key learnings from a pilot project
40.39 Biographies
54.57 The dream festival