ON THE BLOG: A first-timer's view of IETM

IETM is a Creative Europe-supported network of over 500 organisations and individual members working in international contemporary performing arts.

Among the host of events they hold for members are plenary meetings in different European cities, including a meeting in Porto in April 2018. Creative Europe Desk UK’s Culture England Manager Steph is an IETM newcomer and she shares her experience.

“My time at IETM kicked off with a welcome from the British Council and disability-led arts programme Unlimited, which had supported a group of BAME and disabled artists to attend the event – providing a really interesting insight into the work that British Council does around facilitating international collaboration. I bumped into a couple of the artists in various sessions later on and they seemed to be having a productive time taking in lots of information and making connections. It was great to see that happen.

"We often advise that IETM is a place where potential partners are looking for new connections – and it was great to see this in practice."

“The IETM newcomers' meeting was helpful as a round-up of what IETM is and what to expect, and following that a pre-selected group of newcomers did three-minute presentations explaining their work and what they were hoping to achieve during the conference.

“A Creative Europe info session was run – led by the Portugal Desk and supported by Desks from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Slovenia and us in the UK. Beneficiaries from different countries were invited to talk, including a spokesperson Dublin-based The Ark talking about the Scottish-led Push project  very enthusiastically. UK-led Aerowaves also got a special mention as an example of a European Platform.

“The other sessions I went to included:

  • Producing in the Margins about geographical peripheries with speakers from the far north of Norway and east of Lithuania.
  • Geography of Festivals in Portugal: a discussion between a few festivals from Portugal of various ages and sizes about their role in developing political work that remains relevant to the communities in which they’re based.
  • Connected Centres about cooperation and collaboration and networking. It was especially good to hear a couple of Cooperation Project examples here, including A Manual on Work and Happiness: a theatre project with performances, residencies and an online platform. I’m looking forward to finding out more about it.

“At Creative Europe Desk UK we often advise UK organisations that IETM is a place where potential partners are looking for new connections – and it was great to see this in practice. There was lots of interest from international arts organisations in finding UK partners for Cooperation Projects.

“IETM is commonly praised for the wealth of opportunities it provides for making new connections and networks, and that was certainly borne out for me. Highlights included having dinner with a contingent of Scottish dance organisations including CDMT, White & Givan and The Workroom. I also took the chance to meet Creative Europe beneficiaries from Walk the Plank, Quarantine, Artsadmin and Prime Cut Productions.

“Overall, IETM was both really useful and lots of fun! I would absolutely recommend it.”

Image: IETM Porto Plenary Meeting 2018 (c) Cesar Coriolano

Stephanie Grant