British Council launches programme to train festival organisers

With the ‘creative industry’ being a major global job generator and India having a robust festival circuit, the British Council on September 10 launched its ‘Festivals for Future’ programme to lend professionalism to the festival management sector in India.

This new arts programme aims to enable the future of festivals in India and provide India’s festival sector professionals an opportunity to work in a more open and global environment and learn from their global counterparts.

Speaking at the formal launch ceremony here, Debanjan Chakrabarti, director east and northeast India, British Council, said, “There has been a real shrinkage of employment opportunities in the global scenario due to arrival of artificial intelligence. But ‘creative industry’ is the one field where employment opportunities won’t decrease.”

“There are over 150 festivals in the UK and in India and the creative industries have grown by 18% since 2017,” he said, adding that the new programme will connect and support the professionalization of the burgeoning festivals sector in both the countries.

Jonathan Kennedy, director, arts, British Council, spoke on the relevance of the programme, especially in creating opportunities for the next three years.

Speaking on the occasion, Madhurima Baurah Sen of the cultural affairs department of Assam, lauded the effort to bring professionalism to the festival organising circuit.

She said, “There are a lot of amateurish and voluntary work in the festivals right now. There is a lack of professionalism. There is the need to motivate the festival organisers and also, keep an eye on the accountability and credibility of the festivals and the organisers.”

The ‘Festivals for Future’ programme has two primary strands, Festivals Academy and Festival Connections.

The nationwide initiative of Festivals Academy under the programme was launched here with a three-day course on the core principles of Festival Management, up-skilling Indian festivals sector professionals and creating international opportunities.

The festivals academy will include three levels–beginner’s, intermediate and advanced. The beginner’s course is being organised which will train 24 participants from across the country.

Some of the modules that will be covered include essentials for running a successful festival, inclusive business models, programming and curation and audience development among others.

Through workshops, case studies, peer-to-peer learning, mentoring, and plenary sessions, participants will be encouraged to find new solutions and routes to sustainability and growth of festivals, through developing a clear understanding of the principles of festival management.

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