“ISPA’s programme is invaluable”
Katrin Amberntsson is one of Musikverket’s three participants in the ISPA Swedish Fellowship Programme, a three-year leadership training for performing arts producers. The programme aims to provide increased knowledge and better tools for international co-operation on the independent music scene.
Katrin Amberntsson is executive producer for the concert and cultural organisation Re: Orient. She has previously worked as an event manager at Södra Teatern in Stockholm, press co-ordinator for the television channel MTV, and communications officer for the project Stockholm – European Capital of Culture in 1998. She has also produced study trips to Cairo and Alexandria for Swedish cultural workers. She will participate in the ISPA Swedish Fellowship Programme between 2015 and 2017. The programme is funded by Musikverket and the Swedish Performing Arts Association.
How would you sum up the programme so far?
– ISPA is made up of about 500 executives who run festivals, agencies and concert halls around the world. It is a great privilege to take part there, and I have extended my international network in the performing arts significantly since I started the ISPA Fellowship programme. In addition to our participation in the large congress we have our own training days, where we discuss and compare how we work in our various regions. In this year’s round, we are 48 people from almost all continents. To exchange professional experiences with other producers operating everywhere from Brooklyn, Beijing, Harare, Vancouver and Havana to New Delhi and Melbourne is, of course, completely invaluable.
What is the most important lesson so far?
– Re: Orient, where I currently work as a producer and tour manager, has gone from producing large outdoor festivals to a wider business model where we run long-term projects with concerts and performances that tour in Sweden and internationally. This autumn, we will make our first extended tour in the Middle East. Through ISPA’s network, I have confirmed that many in the world are already aware of us, but I hope that my participation in the programme will highlight our work further. The fellowship programme has also led to me having the opportunity to develop my network in Toronto and Montréal’s music scene, which gives me the chance to share experiences. Through ISPA, I have also found a mentor and gained insight into how rewarding this can be. I now have a mentor in Canada and one in Sweden. Both are very supportive and generous in sharing their professional experience and are a great source of inspiration.
Has your participation led to any concrete initiatives?
– I have worked half of my working life with communication and public relations, and the other half with production and events, whilst keeping myself within the worlds of the cultural and music industries. I have spent much time in the Middle East, and worked there in various capacities for more than ten years. I first visited there, by chance, through my interest in music. In recent years, the gap between East and West has both decreased and increased markedly, and therefore the need for the sharing of knowledge and meetings is increasingly important. Culture has an important role to play as a tool for better understanding and also as a bridge-builder.
– Something that is very important to me is how we can meet a new audience, with backgrounds other than the traditional Western. Now, in January, I made a study visit to Toronto, which is considered one of the world’s most multicultural cities. The purpose of the trip was to learn more about how performing arts organisers work with audience development. I gained many insights to take home with me. Both in Canada and the US, there are a couple of festivals and organisers who have shown an interest in bringing over some of the groups and performances that we work with in Sweden.
How will you share your new knowledge on the independent music scene?
Since I started the programme, I have partly supervised a course for future festival organisers and also given some lectures on the role of the producer. It is a way to share my experience with the independent music scene, where there is a great need for producers. The role of today’s producer changes to meet the new demands of a globalised world. Therefore, an international programme like this is especially important.