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ICAF Festival 2023

WELCOME TO ICAF EDITION 9: THE SOUND OF CHANGE
For the 9th Edition of the International Community Arts Festival Rotterdam (ICAF), which encompasses performances from countries and contexts across the globe, covering theatre, performance, dance, visual arts, and music, we are proud to present ICAF 2023 “The Sound of Change”.

We invite you to form part of the sound of change we wish to create over our five shared days together, across different locations and public spaces that will turn Rotterdam into a stage that celebrates community arts practices in all of their many, fascinating and challenging forms.

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More on our 2023 Festival theme, "The Sound of Change"

The time that has passed since the last, planned ICAF of 2020 has caused long-lasting, far-reaching rifts. For some, it has ground their known realities of before to a halt, offering time for pause and reflection, and a significant change of pace. Yet for many more, this same period has only increased existing hardships, tensions, suffering, precarity, and loss, in forms that will last far beyond the pandemic itself. We have been posed questions that relate individually, societally, organisationally and within and between our communities, that will be carried with us into the future. In this sense, as Arundhati Roy states, the pandemic presents “a portal, a gateway between one world and the next”.


Many people working in community arts in very different contexts around the globe share the belief that inclusive, participatory arts can contribute to positive change and transformation in the world. Yet this is an ongoing journey of evolution and transition that is not always linear or predictable in its route. Such transformations can be recognised from large scale to small scale, and in both tangible and intangible forms. This said, all great participatory artworks and processes, regardless of their size, scale, or form, require us to think more deeply and richly about how we share and connect within our communities. They aid is in understanding how we form knowledge, build bridges, cross borders, and dig for layers of experience, meaning and perspective beyond our own, as part of a shifting axis.


ICAF 2023 endeavours to explore through diverse community arts practices and performances how such a complex journey of transition can be encapsulated through the medium of sound. Sound demonstrates as equal an importance for embodying the role of the listener, as it does the speaker. Sound is a communicator, a way of empathising, sharing, and expressing. Sound can be a song, a protest, a chant, or complete silence. It can be opera, music, meditation, clapping, percussion, or symphony. It can be footsteps, traffic, or a voice. It is life in action; felt sensorially and bodily. Sound is a vehicle to bring people and contexts together, to communicate with one another within our communities, and between our communities, and to connect across borders, boundaries, and bridges. Through its many, diverse forms, sound offers the option to whisper or to shout, to activate our voices and tell our stories, or make space through silence for those who are not heard, as we embark upon our journeys of evolution and transition, towards positive change.

News

HIGHLIGHT ICAF’23: Take Away Art Packs from Athens Comics Library, Greece:

HIGHLIGHT ICAF’23: Take Away Art Packs from Athens Comics Library, Greece:

Over the course of the Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings of ICAF, we warmly welcome Athens Comics Library/Comicdom Press to facilitate a series of workshops where you can create your own Take Away Art Pack, which will be opened and shared with the children of the IJsselmonde Neighborhood, where ICAF has its headquarters, during our Saturday family day.  The…

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HIGH LIGHT ICAF’23: Dançando com a Diferença, Portugal

HIGH LIGHT ICAF’23: Dançando com a Diferença, Portugal

For ICAF 2023 Dançando com a Diferença will be bringing their latest work, “GABO”, a children’s and family show where differences are highlighted so that young people and children can make their own interpretation of the way certain communities are treated within society. The name of the show, GABO, is also the name of the puppet who, like…

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HIGHLIGHT ICAF’23: Fanfakids, Met X, Belgium

HIGHLIGHT ICAF’23: Fanfakids, Met X, Belgium

Fanfakids are group of youngsters from Brussels, ranging from 6-16 years in age, who transform their youthful energy into explosive concoctions of rhythms that combine a metropolitan mix of dance and music and will turn the city up to full volume, and get everyone, of all ages, moving and dancing. We are overjoyed to have them…

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HIGHLIGHT ICAF’23: THE WHISTLEBLOWERS, JOHANNESBURG

HIGHLIGHT ICAF’23: THE WHISTLEBLOWERS, JOHANNESBURG

Five women from Johannesburg storm onto the field, ready for a decisive hockey match. Today they can become champions. Yet haunted by memories of sexual assault and harassment, it soon becomes apparent that there is more at stake than a title. Gradually, the line between the competition and social reality disappears and the women find…

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HIGHLIGHT ICAF’23: DR. SRUTI BALA, THE NETHERLANDS

HIGHLIGHT ICAF’23: DR. SRUTI BALA, THE NETHERLANDS

DEEP DIVE INTO THE POLITICS OF PARTICIPATION WITH dr. SRUTI BALA What are the pitfalls of participation? And what role do community arts makers take (consciously or unconsciously) when they make participatory art that is part of a not-so-social, neoliberal political policy? For ICAF 2023, dr. Sruti Bala (University of Amsterdam) will build upon these arguments,…

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HIGHLIGHT ICAF ‘23 NANTEA DANCE COMPANY, TANZANIA

HIGHLIGHT ICAF ‘23 NANTEA DANCE COMPANY, TANZANIA

EMOTIVE DANCE PERFORMANCE “ONYESHA THAMANI” Nantea Dance Company will bring to the ICAF stage their performance of ONYESHA THAMANI, translated as SHOWING VALUE. A beautifully affective dance performance about gender equality that promotes the idea of men and women living together as equals. Through its choreography ONYESHA THAMANI uses dance as a voice and as…

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HIGHLIGHT ICAF ‘23: HEALTH ACTION TRAINING, NORTHERN IRELAND

HIGHLIGHT ICAF ‘23: HEALTH ACTION TRAINING, NORTHERN IRELAND

A LECTURE AND WORKSHOP ABOUT CARE AND CONNECTION  While we were applauding nurses and healthcare professionals during the first peak of the corona virus and realised more than ever how important healthcare professionals are, we also appreciated under how much pressure our healthcare system is. Due to a lack of financial resources and therefore time,…

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The runup to ICAF 2023 kicks off with Drama Box’s online programme series

The runup to ICAF 2023 kicks off with Drama Box’s online programme series

The runup to ICAF 2023 kicks off with Drama Box’s online programme series  Join us online via Drama Box’s Facebook Page or Youtube Channel this Friday, 13 January at 10am CET / 5pm GMT+8 to hear more from Mekong Cultural Hub.  The runup to ICAF 2023 officially begins this Friday, 13 January, with the first…

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