Change Makers Festival Conference – The Transformative Power of Festivals

Friday 14th February 2020, 9:15am

Change Makers Festival Conference – The Transformative Power of Festivals

Venue: Irish World Academy

The Arts Council in partnership with the MA Festive Arts (University of Limerick) presents Change Makers conference, the first national gathering of festival makers and festival stakeholders in Ireland to map, measure and gather intelligence about arts festivals and better understand their scope and impact in civic society.

The event will bring together professional and voluntary festival creators, artists, funding agencies, policy makers and academics that have a vested interest in this domain to: evaluate current practices, network, assess the contribution of the festival sector’s contribution to the cultural life of contemporary Ireland and support festival capacity building.

We will be joined by festival maker, Jude Kelly CBE, Founder of the Women of the World festival (WOW), former director of the Southbank Centre and theatre creator who will deliver our keynote address along with both international and Irish festival practitioners..

The conference will be the first of its kind to be hosted by the Arts Council and has been developed as a response to Festival Policy commitments and objectives arising from the Arts Council’s Strategy, Making Great Art Work 2016-2025.

The conference programme outline is below along with details of how to book your place.

Conference Programme

9.15am                 Registration                        (Tea & Coffee)

10am                     Welcome                             Arts Council Director, Arts Council of Ireland

10.30am              Key note address              Jude Kelly CBE

11.15am               Panel discussion               The transformative power of festivals

12.30pm               Networking lunch

1.45 & 2.30pm   Festival Toolkits* 

1. Way to engagement (audiences, volunteers, participation)

2. Community development and local heroes

3. Your mission, what do you do and how do you achieve it

4. The act of collaboration (ways of working together)

1.45-3.15pm       Pop Up Clinics**

One to One – 15 minute sessions

  • Clinic organisations: Creative Europe, Association of Irish Festivals

3.15pm    Presentation & Discussion

  • Keeping Going….
  • The Irish arts festival landscape
  •  What is left and lost? Building a national festival  archive….
  •  What do we need and who’s going to do it?

4.30pm     Commitment to Actions

4.45pm      End


*Delegates will register for two of the four toolkit sessions at registration on the day of the conference

** Pop Up Clinics run at the same time as the festival toolkit sessions. Each clinic runs for 15 minutes as a one to one session. Places are allocated on a first come first serve basis and must be booked in advance by 7th February 2020. Please  email  Adrian Colwell  at:  to book your place.  (Please note: due to limited availability spaces are restricted to one festival per clinic)

Please note that filming/photography will be taking place at the conference for documentation and archival purposes.

 Details correct at time of publication


Conference tickets are available from the 8th January 2020, call our box office on +353 61 331549 or you may book on line.

Please note: Lunch is included with your conference ticket. If you have particular dietary requirements please inform the box office when booking your tickets so that your preference can be registered.


Presented by: A partnership between The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaion and MA Festive Arts (University of Limerick)


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