In the fall of this year, there are a couple of exciting events taking place that we’d like to update you on. As you might remember from our previous newsletter, ICAF director Eugene van Erven spoke at the bilingual, multidisciplinary Earagail Arts Festival in Ireland. Integrated in the festival was a two-day symposium on community art and rural sites, which turned out to be creatively stimulating and profoundly moving. Eugene’s presentation in Letterkenny included observations on how the ICAF parade created by Catalina García from Colombia in March 2014 has sparked a growing interest in the art of parade making in the Netherlands. ‘The Art of Parade Making’ can be found here.
One of the initiatives we came to know about at the Earagail Festival was Fun Palaces from the UK: an annual, free, nationwide celebration of arts and culture, driven by localism, innovation and engagement. In October 2014, 130 Fun Palaces took place across the UK, with 8 outside the UK in France, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Canada and Iceland. Forty thousand people took part in these free community events, combining arts and sciences in local venues and spaces. Crucially, the majority of Fun Palaces were not made by ‘experts’ (in arts, sciences, or engagement) – they were led by 3183 local people, many volunteers, creating their weekend events as part of building an ongoing local community. More than just a weekend, Fun Palaces is a campaign to enable greater access for all to arts and sciences, contributing to community and social cohesion through radical fun and radical accessibility. The annual event in October is both a simultaneous international shout for culture at the heart of community, and a movement for greater engagement for all. The 2015 dates are the 3rd and 4th October, and a short film about the weekend in 2014 can be found here. We are currently contemplating ways in which we could possibly include – or create – a temporary fun Palace as part of our next ICAF.
Between 8 and 13 September, our Portuguese partners, community theatre company Apele will organize its third international festival, MEXE-III. It will feature live performances from Portugal, Spain and, yes, our very own Rotterdams Wijktheater production Meysara, directed by Jasmina Ibrahimovic. But there are also workshops, debates and a symposium. The whole event is curated by Apele artistic director Hugo Cruz.
More to the east from Porto, from 23 October to 8 November Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona offers a national and international program consisting of a series of laboratories, workshops, performances, screenings and debates with the aim of taking a step forward with regard to the visibility and working methods of the arts with diverse physical capacities in Catalonia. One of the companies presented is Stopgap Dance Company, a charitable organisation that makes exhilarating dance productions with exceptional disabled and non-disabled artists, driven by inclusiveness and community outreach.
And last but not least – our dear friends Debajehmujig Storytellers from Canada are returning to Europe! This September, Sering from Antwerp welcomes you to come listen to their tales based on the Anishnaabek worldview, which is something not to miss. They will be sharing their story on 18 and 26 of September as well as on the first and second of October. You can find the event here.