IETM Munich

November 2019

By Tess Letham on 15.01.19

Having never previously attended an IETM, what first drew me to apply for the bursary, was that I wanted to learn more about what is happening in different countries, in terms of conversations, issues, ideas and opportunities.

I didn’t have any particular goal of what I wanted to get from attending the meeting and after speaking to some artists here in Scotland who have attended multiple times, I believe that it was probably the best attitude to have. Rather than thinking - what is going to come off this after? I focussed on being present there, seeing what came up and not chasing a certain expectation.

IETM is not really a place for selling work and even though I did speak to some people about possible performance opportunities in different countries, I quickly realised that ‘promoting’ my work wasn’t going to be an objective during the meeting. Rather, IETM for me, was a place that generated ideas and created new relations.

As someone who isn’t particularly confident in speaking in front of big groups, I was a little overwhelmed by some of the events and discussions taking place, especially on the first day, but again, after speaking to some previous attendees, I realised that being part of these discussions can be just as productive as a listener. Later conversations would continue to evolve through a smaller number of people, over dinner or a drink and this seemed to be when the more interesting ideas emerged. There is plenty of opportunities within IETM for this to occur and this is why i think it’s a welcomed space for all to converse in a way they feel suits their field and personality.

The third day of the meeting for me was the most enjoyable. I spent the day attending more practical events, after feeling a bit mentally drained. I went on an artistic walk with four artists from different disciplines who were at the start of their collaborative project. What inspired me most from this were the artists themselves. They had come together just a few days before and had managed to create an interesting piece of work that a few of us had the pleasure of joining. It felt great to get out of the conference centre to see the city and witness the idea that I had listened to them talk about the previous day come to life. Attending this event also sparked an idea of my own which I’m currently in the process of initiating.

Another highlight of the meeting was a scheduled gathering with an organisation from Munich, Tanzbüro München, and their independent artists. Amazing Bavarian food, some drinks and informal conversations about our practices and future exchanges, which initiated some possible plans for me to return to Munich.

I truly enjoyed the networking and socialising that occurred between the Scottish contingent. Some of which I knew, but had never properly talked with before, and some that I had never met. This reaffirmed to me the great and supportive artistic community we have and built new relations for future work. People that had attended meetings before were also so helpful at giving advice or helping with very practical things like introducing you to someone you wanted to talk to, but felt a little nervous to initiate a conversation.

The perfect ending to the Munich meeting was the closing party where nearly the whole Scottish crowd were heavily involved in letting loose on the dance floor until the wee hours. What a way to bring a close to very valuable first IETM meeting.

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