IETM Munich 2018

In October 2018, I was supported by Federation of Scottish Theatre’s Go See Network Share Fund.
As part of the bursary, recipients are asked to share updates about the trip via social media, give a few top tips that would be useful to someone attending in the future and, if you choose, a short creative response.

Here is what I sent:

Contender for the world’s worst limerick.
I travelled to Munich to chat with
Artists, producers and wordsmiths.
Old and new faces,
From different places
All at IETM to share practice.

People often ask what IETM stands for.  The acronym previously stood for Informal European Theatre Meeting but now they are the International Network for Contemporary Performing Art as their remit reaches beyond theatre in the traditional sense.

Why do I attend?
I like being a member.  I work best being part of a network.
I enjoy being in spaces that don’t focus on selling but where connecting is prioritised.

As an artist I work and want to work internationally because the performance community is actually really small.  Being connected with and hearing stories from artists all over the world enables me to frame my work, understand the wider impact of my decisions and understand the privileged circumstances in which I make work.

Artists from all walks of life have something to bring to the meetings and getting to visit a different city twice per year to connect with the local arts scene is really special.  Just turning up is a valuable experience in itself but as a working class independent artist it is almost impossible to attend regularly without subsidy so support like the Go See Network bursary is crucial.

IETM Top Tips:

1: Head to Whose There? and the Newsround Sessions.
These are quick fire sessions and can be overwhelming but as a newcomer to the network they give you a really strong insight into the range of people attending.  It can be a great way to make new connections, introduce you to projects you want to check out or simply to practice how you introduce yourself as you will be doing it a lot over the coming days!!

2: Do what works for you.
If you are a night hawk, head to the late-night meeting point and skip the breakfast sessions.
If you would rather listen than talk, head to more panel discussions fewer interactive sessions.  If you don’t enjoy watching too many performances in a short time period, just go to one or two things that catch your eye.  This all sounds like common sense but it is really easy to get a sense of FOMO when so much is happening or to give into the notion that to make the most of it you have to turn up to everything. If you watch the long time network members, each approaches the meetings in their own way and in turns connects with the people who they would likely work well with.  There is no exact science to it, just trust your gut!

3: Be prepared to change your plan.
The most interesting part of IETM is the network members, if you hear someone interesting speak in a session don’t be scared to scrap your plans for the next two hours and grab a coffee with them.  Nobody keeps a register and the event recognises that plans change. Similarly, if you are in a session and don’t feel engaged, it’s okay to leave.  This totally contradicts my Scottish sensibilities and I understand that it can feel awkward but this fluidity is built into the fabric of the plenary meetings. It also means that if you are curious about two sessions that are happening simultaneously or that overlap you can try to catch a little of each.

Emma Jayne Park