Some insights, thoughts, measurements, guidelines that are important to us.
Written in Helsinki and Paris between May 12 – June 15
By Kerstin Schroth and Isabel González
We started working together in the fall 2019. Getting to know each other and diving into the history of the festival. What it has been and what it could be. We talked about the dreams and visions we have and started imagining together the future of Moving in November.
We also evaluated what is important to us when working with artists, creating a festival, and working together. This is what we would like to share here with you:
Our thoughts, principles and guidelines we created for the festival and ourselves.
Moving in November is considered an established festival with a long and important history within Helsinki and Finland. The festival is also known among artists and contemporary dance and performance art communities in Europe.
Looking big from the outside, it is important to mention that the festival is acting and operating with very limited public funding. We have no fixed venue, and we work in collaboration with local venues and institutions. We are a very committed and enthusiastic but small team, and we highly value our independency.
Inviting and presenting works from abroad is mainly possible through the support from partners and culture institutions, and with the help of specific travel subsidies, designed with the clear purpose to make artistic works circulate within Europe and the world.*
Although expansion and growth are not a value in itself, we seek to increase and widen the festival’s diversity of actions, operations, productions and collaborations with artists both local and international and with its audience. The festival has a committed audience we strive to have a dialogue with and reach out to invite new people to the festival. We engage in a continuous reflection on the relationship between the festival, contemporary dance and performance, the city, its artist community and audience.
We believe in the power that art can generate change, on a political and societal level. We believe in the direct encounters between the artists, their artwork and the audience.
We would like to make the festival accessible for everybody and we do our best to offer special assistance. We work on this in close collaboration with our partner venues and organizations.
One of our important policies is, to keep ticket prices low and to offer a festival pass, that allows experiencing several performances with a small budget.
We work on identifying our prejudices and acknowledging our privileges. We acknowledge the intersectionality of discrimination and marginalization, and try to make space, speak up and voice out to support communities such as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (or: queer), intersex).
But first and foremost, we promise to think closely when inviting artists and presenting performances in the frame of the festival. What kind of cultural and racial representations the performances have and what kind of values they mediate.
Time is an important resource in our world. We take time, to give time, for encounters and discussions, as much as to the unknown and unexpected. We acknowledge that some issues, development and concerns need time.
Within the festival, we present artists voicing their critical thinking, their visions, their experiences, their dreams, opening small windows to the world we are living in. Our motor, our pleasure, our passion is bringing people together to be affected, moved, challenged, stimulated and triggered by performing arts.
Moving in November takes usually place during a limited period of time each year. In combination with this short and intense explosion of festivity in the beginning of November, we now seek for ways of spilling the festival over its set time frame. This changes the role the festival has in the city of Helsinki and Finland in general, it enables new ways for collaboration with other arts organizations and allows us to support and follow artists in a continuous way. The festival is already spreading over different locations in the Helsinki metropolitan area through collaborations with different venues, but one of our goals is to find partners to work with in other parts of Finland as well.
We want to engage in supporting the local artistic scene and its development in a continuous way, throughout the year. First and foremost, by arranging a festival. By presenting various artistic initiatives, pieces, projects and current artistic thinking to the local scene. But we are seeking for other forms of supporting and developing the local art scene. We want to be in dialogue and strive to develop strong relations. Our support can take different shapes and it is developed together with the artists in question. Currently we are actively looking for ways to collaborate, advising and thinking along with some local artists. We think along on a content level and try to advise on productional and relational issues, as much as touring and funding possibilities, by using our networks and expertise, helping their development, to expand and broaden their artistic practice.
We like to be in dialogue and to develop strong relations.
The selection of each festival edition is an on-going process. As an independent structure we are able to be flexible. As much as we like to invest in long-term conversations, we also enjoy the ability to take last minute decisions, to go with the flow.
This process includes following artists and attending performances, but also having various conversations with artists. Reflecting together on their desire towards the festival and a possible collaboration. We work in close communication with the festival’s different partners* and reach out for new ones, which is closely connected to the evaluation and thinking of the best possible place and context for the presentation of each artistic initiative.
We are searching for more sustainable ways of presenting and producing contemporary dance and performance, using the existing connections and resources we have access to. We are aware that this is a slow process and something that we can’t change alone. We need help from funders and partners, as it is a question of finances. But it is something we stand for, defend and work on, on a practical and political level.
We think the encounters with artists and taking part in live-performances is highly important when making an international selection for a festival. Obviously this includes travelling which is not always possible by train, bike or foot. One of our strategies is to look around us, before travelling far. We work from Helsinki and from Paris, which gives a good foundation for this strategy.
Slow travelling is not always possible for everybody, but we discuss the possibilities closely with the artist and producers coming to the festival. We would like to give the opportunity to artists to stay for the entire festival (or even longer). It is our goal, and we try to find help and resources for that.
We strive to use local services (practical arrangements, food, housing, transport etc.) and search to collaborate with especially artist driven initiatives.
We search actively for alternatives to big corporate companies. We encourage the artists and institutions we are working with to do the same and question the way these companies are built and making their profit.
Our thoughts and principles that guide the work we do in the frame of the festival are an on-going process, we update and continue to explore, think and educate ourselves. We are open for suggestions, questioning and proposals.
* Current partners and supporters are: Hiap, Caisa, Stoa, Zodiak, Kiasma, Taidehalli, Espoo City Theatre, Nuoren Voiman Liitto, Eskus, University of the Arts Helsinki / Theatre Academy, Goethe-Institut Finnland, Insitute Francaise, Australian Embassy, Benelux, Finnland-Institut in Deutschland, Finnish Institute in London, Institut finlandais in Paris, NATIONALES PERFORMANCE NETZ International Guest Performance Fund for Dance