Edinburgh Update #1


This is the first of a series of blogs from the team commissioned by Arts Council England to come up with a new showcase for performance from England at the Edinburgh Festivals.

We don’t have a name for it yet. We’re working on that.

We – BAC, Dance4, Fierce, GIFT, MAYK and Transform – threw our hats in the ring because we wanted to help people making live performance build new, sustainable, long-term international collaborations. We wanted to do things differently. We wanted to bring the spirit of the four festivals at the heart of the consortium to Edinburgh’s Festivals. And we didn’t want to do any of it in a conference room.

We want the process of putting together this project to be as transparent as possible. It feels important that we don’t just squirrel away at something and then emerge with a ‘ta-da’ at some point in Spring next year.

So now feels like a good time to open up our thinking as we’ve just had four days on Zoom (UGH) trying to figure out how it’s all going to work, and we’ve had a few messages from people asking what the deal is.

So first of all, if you’re an artist, you haven’t missed any deadlines, and nor are you about to. We’re experimenting with doing away with deadlines altogether. What we’re going to do early in the New Year is let you know how you can talk to us about your work. We want it to feel like a conversation, rather than a pitch and we’re working up different ways for people to engage with us and the people around the world who will be attending Edinburgh (in person or online). We’ll be announcing multiple ways for artists to take part, and all will be paid opportunities.

More on that soon.

Some things we’ve been talking about over the past couple of weeks:

  1. How we’re going to work with each other, with the people who will show work in Edinburgh, and with the people who will come and experience it. What are the things we want to do differently? What feels important for us to respond to? What do people need from an international project like this, post-Covid and in a climate emergency?
  2. What will the Edinburgh Festivals look like in 2021? We’ve started talking to colleagues about this and we’re trying to make plans that are responsive and flexible (but also don’t have many, many scenarios)
  3. How can we use each of our own programmes to expand the reach of this project outside Edinburgh?
  4. How can artists be at the heart of this process? We have plans to work with artists in a meaningful way to help shape the project and we’ll be saying more about this very soon

So even though the world might feel unpredictable and unstable, we’re looking forward to creating something that feels welcoming, accessible, truly international and a lot of fun.

Finally, you’ll be reading this blog on one of our websites. We’ll be launching a dedicated website, newsletter and socials soon, but for now we’ll keep posting blogs here, so if you don’t already follow these links:

Battersea Arts Centre: https://bac.org.uk | @battersea_arts

Dance4: https://www.dance4.co.uk | @Dance_4

Fierce: http://www.wearefierce.org | @fiercefestival

GIFT: https://www.giftfestival.co.uk | @GIFTfest

MAYK: https://www.mayk.org.uk | @maykithappen

Transform: https://transformfestival.org | @Transform_Leeds

We have a lot more thinking and talking to do. And we’ll keep updating you as we go.