In April this year, I travelled to Bucharest in Romania to attend the IETM Spring plenary meeting, along with Monika Smekot and George Adams. We were 3 of 380 arts professionals who had travelled from 50 countries to participate in this meeting and explore themes around the sustainability of artists.
The Work Room is a long-standing member of the IETM network and has supported our members to attend the plenary meetings. Since its inception, TWR has recognised the importance of an international perspective and encouraging members to be outward looking, placing their work in a wider context beyond Scotland. We offer bursaries to attend IETM meetings as part of our work in developing the sustainability and international capacity of our members.
IETM is a network of over 500 performing arts organisations and individual members working in the contemporary performing arts worldwide: theatre, dance, circus, interdisciplinary live art forms, and new media. Members include festivals, companies, producers, theatres, research and resource centres, universities and institutional bodies. IETM holds two plenary meetings a year in different European cities and smaller meetings all over the world. It provides performing arts professionals with the information, knowledge, skills and contacts that are necessary to work in the field of contemporary performing arts internationally. Besides these meetings, IETM commission’s publications and research projects, facilitates communication and distribution of information, and advocates for the value of performing arts.
Monika and George were awarded bursaries to attend this meeting in Bucharest. TWR members Saffy Setohy and Joan Cleville also attended in their own capacity having previously been supported by TWR and having recognised the value in participating in IETM to their work.
Reflecting on the trip, Monika said:
Attending IETM gave me an insight into the current state of the cultural sector around the world. It helped me to understand what are the most current problems, issues, accomplishments, directions and interests of the cultural sector in Europe and more distant places like Canada, Australia, some of the countries of central Asia… It was beneficial to see what people are working on, what they are struggling with, what support they are looking for and what opportunities they create for artists. It gave me an idea of potential prospects for me as an artist on an international level but also it helped me think differently about my own practice for the future.
You can find out more about the discussions that took place in Bucharest through the meeting review on the IETM website:
I was particularly interested in taking part in a session called, How to Save Europe? Well, we failed to do this in the time available, but I took away an overwhelming sense from colleagues across Europe of a desire to continue to connect and collaborate with us in the UK.
Gatherings of hundreds of people can be rather intimidating. The value of IETM is that it brings together people from across performing arts – artists, producers, supporters, presenters – who are all there to meet others and make new contacts. It can be an important catalyst for peer to peer networking, expanding knowledge and developing awareness of dance and performance internationally.
We will continue to offer bursary opportunities to members to participate in these events. The next plenary meeting will take place in Brussels, 23 - 26 November 2017.