Are festivals the way forward for the arts?

Are festivals the way forward for the arts?

Symposium – Resonant Terrains

10-12 October 2013, Portland, Dorset


With many arts venues struggling due to funding cuts, cultural professionals will be gathering on Portland to discuss the potential for festivals at this time of economic uncertainty.


Representatives from arts organisations, artists, curators, and producers from all over the south west and further afield will be examining the new role of arts festivals in the changing economic climate at Resonant Terrains, a symposium taking place at HM Prison The Verne, Portland, Dorset from 10 to 12 October 2013.


The symposium is organised by Dorset-based b-side multimedia who played a leading role in last year’s Cultural Olympiad projects for Weymouth & Portland.


During the Symposium, delegates’ subjects for discussion will include:

·         what festivals can offer local communities,

·         how festivals can contribute to local authorities’ objectives such as health & wellbeing, tourism and regeneration

·         a proposal for an international art event or biennial for the South West

·         the economic and cultural benefits of festivals nationally


Delegates will also have the opportunity to hear about things from the artist’s point of view as well as experiencing artist-led walks and a bus tour around Portland. Creative interventions during the two days will include:


·         A keynote performance lecture by artist Phil Smith within the historical walls of the chapel at HM Prison The Verne.


·         Producer and researcher Alex Murdin will explore the potential and proven benefits of art in public space, asking how it can contribute to social and economic objectives.


·         Sue Palmer and Joff Winterhart will explore the corners, signage and human life of the Fortuneswell area of Portland.


·         Jez Riley French will use unconventional devices to provide different ways to listen to sounds normally hidden from our naked ears.


·         A bus tour with Neal White will draw upon Portland’s unique coastal location, geological properties and social history, which make it an ideal field laboratory for scientists, naturalists and the military.


b-side is an artist-led organisation which specialises in presenting work in less obvious sites. Typically for b-side, Resonant Terrains takes place at an unusual venue – HM Prison The Verne, set in the rugged landscape of the Isle of Portland.


B-side Producer Sandy Kirkby said:

“With arts funding cuts affecting so many venues, festivals, biennials and events that present contemporary art in temporary locations are increasingly being seen as the way to commission and present visual arts and media. Resonant Terrains is an opportunity for artists, producers, curators and other cultural professionals to discuss the issues and opportunities for festivals and site-based art.”


The new Director of Visual Arts at Arts Council England, Peter Heslip will open the two day event. Resonant Terrains takes place from 6pm 10 October to 6pm on 12 October 2013 on Portland, Dorset. A £60 ticket includes both days of the Symposium, artist led events, film screenings, meals and can be booked online.





For further information

Gillian Taylor 07768 458601


Notes for editors

The Resonant Terrains Symposium programme is available to download


b-side multimedia is an artist-led organisation, which works with, and commissions artists to make new site-responsive work revealing the marginal, often forgotten and less commercial aspects of Dorset’s coastal towns and communities. A biennial festival in Weymouth and Portland showcases the work of the organisation. The next b-side Festival takes place in September 2014.