opening new doors to the arts

Paula Horton and Mike Bettison from Blaize took time out to attend a thought-provoking international conference in Hull recently. Read on to find out what they discussed…



Exciting news from IETM conference in Hull

Staff from Blaize took part in a lively discussion about contemporary issues facing the arts at the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts conference (IETM) held in Hull earlier this year. 

Themes explored included the reality of inclusion in today’s societies. Participants were invited to examine issues around race, ethnicity, faith, disability, age, gender, sexuality, class and economic disadvantage and any social and institutional barriers that  might prevent people from participating in and enjoying the arts as an integral part of the societies they live in.

We were also asked to consider the practicalities of involving everyone in a project, and debated whether or not terms like “inclusion” were more problematic than helpful. Since one size does not fit all, we were asked to give consideration to who we chose to include in particular projects? How should we strive to deliver inclusion practically in our work?

The debate started from the principle that, for the arts to survive and thrive, we need to have spaces and places to have positive discussions and debates about these issues. We need to have time to talk about our approaches to ensuring our work is for everyone. Alongside this we need to keep talking about how we make and keep international partnerships and collaborations going, especially when things are constantly changing politically.

The conference was a great success and has left us thinking and thinking of ways to improve our work!

IETM  is a network of over 450 performing arts organisations and individual members working in the contemporary performing arts worldwide: theatre, dance, circus, performance, interdisciplinary live art forms, new media.

Members include festivals, companies, producers, theatres, research and resource centers, universities and institutional bodies.

The organisation holds two plenary meetings a year in different European cities, and smaller meetings all over the world. They also commission publications and research projects, facilitate communication and distribution of information, and advocate for the value of performing arts.

Their mission is to advocate the value of the arts and culture in a changing world and empower performing arts professionals through access to international connections, knowledge and a dynamic forum for exchange.

Here we are photographed at the conference (left). That’s our Mike Bettison, enjoying a cuppa and a deep thoughtful chat with Sue Robinson from Spot on and our Paula J Horton, brainstorming on the white board!

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