IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts – is a network of over 450 performing arts organisations and individual members working in the contemporary performing arts worldwide: theatre, dance, circus, performance, interdisciplinary live art forms, new media. Their members include festivals, companies, producers, theatres, research and resource centers, universities and institutional bodies. IETM holds two plenary meetings a year in different European cities, and smaller meetings all over the world. Their upcoming plenary meeting will take place in Rijeka, from 24 October 2019 to 27 October 2019 and for all those who want to participate – the applications are open.

In a never-ending attempt to defend their relevance, the arts have labelled themselves with a variety of concepts and frameworks, each triggering open questions and conveying a hint of confrontation: community art or participatory art? “High art” or grassroots culture? Cultural democratisation or cultural democracy? Professional art or everyday creativity?

What is participation in the arts: yet another product of neoliberal thinking or a meaningful audience experience? At what level and in which phase should audiences be involved: on or off stage, in the creative process or in delivering a performance, in the management or in the mission and strategies of a cultural organisation, or at each of these steps? When we address audience development, are numbers not at all important, or if they are, how can we combine them with genuine exchange and forging stronger bonds with citizens?

We live in an age in which valuing the status of the artist is becoming increasingly acute. At the same time, we are confronted with the urgency of involving communities and being socially relevant. How can we create a space where respecting the professional artist coexists with celebrating the everyday creator, where highlighting the social responsibility of the arts is not paired with their instrumentalisation, and where audience development is understood and rethought in a variety of ways and not solely in funders’ jargon?

IETM Rijeka 2019 will deepen and challenge our understanding of the broad, complex and fascinating theme of Audiences.

Early-bird registration deadline: 20 September

Both IETM members and non-members are welcome to participate. Register now.

Foto: Men & Girls Dance by Fevered Sleep, photo by Benedict Johnson

www.feveredsleep.co.uk