Symposium: Creative Producing/New Environments for Learning (2016)

Two day symposium, Graduate School, Grootlab, Overhoeksplein 2
Thursday April 14, 10.00 – 13.30 – side meeting of IETM 2016

How can Industry and higher education work in partnership to address present challenges, support a new generation of professionals and develop new models of practice?


Globally, the neo liberal market principles are impacting on the arts. Everywhere partnerships, collaborations and co-productions are emerging to meet the needs of organizations to share the risk indeveloping new and innovative work. The 4th Creative Producing symposium explores specifically how arts organisations and universities respond to recent changes in the professional field, and how they can collaborate constructively together. What are new skills and new professional profiles that arise? What kinds of proposals exist to educate future producers and programmers in the arts?

In this first public part of the symposium we are looking more in depth at the cultural field and we are scanning the horizon for prototypes of new collaborations between the Industry and higher education. In the context of declining of government funding and free market principles, we have deliberately invited key speakers from three different countries - the Netherlands, the UK and the US - that will problematize the present situation, offer models for cross-sectorial cooperation and that are finally exploring with us the question: How can Industry and higher education work in partnership to address these challenges and together create work that would not be possible alone?

Ongoing investigation

The department for Production and Stage Management at de Amsterdam Theaterschool is already since 2008 investing in the research about the evolving profession of the Creative Producer. In 2012 with the symposium ‘Creative Producing Making: Places & Cultural Enterprises’, 2013 with ‘Creative Producing: Festivals in the Netherlands’ and in 2014 with our partner The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama: ‘Creative Producing: How to make a difference’. Where previous symposia were focussing on the transitions in the professional field and on best practices from the Netherlands, Great Britain, USA, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Brazil – this 4th symposium is dedicated to the issue of education itself.
Throughout our previous encounters we have learned, that there are only a few, pioneering programmes that have already responded to the professional changes and the development of this new, promising profile that is operating between different stakeholders: artistic production, financing and audience. We consider this symposium as an opportunity to learn from each other, compare notes, share experiences and reflect critically on the variety of models and motivations.


Creative Producing: New Environments for Learning takes place at the home of the newly founded Graduate School of de Amsterdam Theaterschool. It is being set up as the umbrella organisation for all masters’ programmes, research and 3rd cycle, bringing together DasArts, the Master of Choreography and the Performing Arts in Transition research group. Since the start of 2016 the Graduate School operates from a shared location: the former Shell laboratory ‘Grootlab’ in the North of Amsterdam. The institute is committed to provide young professionals with a sustainable environment for the further development of their talents and reflects contemporary twenty-first century complexities through a cosmopolitan student population. As a place for research and development, the Graduate School considers itself an ‘ongoing pioneer’ and explores the potential of education and research in making a relevant contribution to the challenges of our day. 

Moderator: Dianne Zuidema

09.30 Entry, coffee/ thee
10.00 Welcome by Dianne Zuidema, Marijke Hoogenboom & Gwenoële Trapman
10.10 Key speakers
10.10 Angela van Wingerden
10.30 Jessica Bowles
10.50 Rebecca Habel
11.10 Break
11.25 Contributions summarized by Dianne Zuidema
11.30 Panel discussion
12.45 Lunch
13.30 End

key speakers

Angela van Wingerden: de Metselarij, Den Bosch – the Netherlands
De Metselarij (since November 2015) is an ongoing platform for young business leaders and creative producers for deepening and exchange of experiences. The members of ‘de Metselarij’ represent creators in the performing arts at the beginning of their professional careers. Members of De Metselarij are, just as their artistic counterparts, self-willed thinkers with great ambitions. They are curious and adventurous, flexible in their practice and willing to share knowledge and expertise.
De Metselarij consists of levels (training and coaching), peer-to-peer learning, reporting and the function as spokesman. The members have committed themselves to this initiative for a year, to meet each other once a week. The goal is to bring together a shared capital of knowledge, network and styles of work. De Metselarij creates a breeding ground for a new generation business leaders and creative producers, to depart from in their (future) practice. De Metselarij connects with Festival Cement, this festival monitors the progress of the initiative en shares their connections. 

Jessica Bowles: MA / MFA Creative Producing, Central School of Speech and Drama London – the U.K
‘Culture is often discussed as an economy, but it is better to see it as ecology. ‘ (Holden ‘The Ecology of Culture’ AHRC report January 2015).
Two weeks ago the UK government published its first white paper on culture in 50 years. Their vision to ‘harness the nourishing effects of culture. It seeks to ignite the imaginations of young people, kindle ambition and opportunity and fuel the energy of communities’. Whether one views this as enlightened or insidious instrumentalisation of the arts can be debated, but what is not in question is that the UK creative industries are the fastest growing sector in the UK producing 5.4 billion for the UK economy.
Partnership working plays a key role in making this vision become a reality and I will examine the factors which make Universities such an important part of this ecology and why the body that represents the UK Creative Industries thinks that sustainable growth and success needs to be much more closely linked to the provision of education.

Rebecca Habel: Theater Organization, Tish University New York - the U.S
Arts organizations in the United States have been dealing with very minimal federal government funding since the 1980’s.  As a result, they have responded in many different ways to make up for that funding as well as the general overall increase in funds it requires to produce theatre in America now.  They have responded by finding different sources of revenue, learning how to adapt to the ever changing ticket buying trends and audience demographics, and in developing partnerships, co-productions, and other collaborative relationships to help provide resources.  At the same time, the requirements for the leaders of these organizations have changed and universities have had to respond by providing the practical training most needed of the future arts administrators.  The demands of the market requires leaders of arts organizations to be highly skilled in fundraising, marketing and fiscal management in addition to being individuals with a passion for the arts and New York University is an example where there are both undergraduate and graduate programs addressing this need.  We will discuss what methods the theaters are using to raise money, find their audience, meet their missions, and collaborate with their peers; and how NYU has designed their programs to produce the future managers of these organizations.  


Download the programme (pdf)
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