An international group of producers gathers with peers for 4 days in Brussels during Kunstenfestivaldesarts.



A learning lab for international producers

The Producers' Academy is a dedicated time to reflect, think, co-learn, encounter, and question the practice of the producer. With open minds and open hearts, integrity and fun, this four day workshop delves into the current urgencies and issues around producing work and being a producer.

Producers' Academy 2023 (image : Cifas)
Producers' Academy 2023 (image : Cifas)

With approaches that are sometimes experimental (have you heard of the fairy purse?) or deeply technical (art(ists) still need(s) to cross borders), we aim to explore how we can practice values of cooperation and collaboration, care and solidarity, empowerment and enjoyment, tackling the questions of (self)care, fair practices, transnational practices, as well as the nitty gritty of producing performing arts, playing with budgets, and maybe reinventing one-self.

The different subjects will be explored while talking, listening, walking or playing, using the expertise of inspirational guests and the knowledge within the room.

This year, the Producers' Academy will be facilitated by producer et curactor Bek Berger (LV). Among other things, these four days will be dedicated to tackling some of the ethical questions internationalism poses, more particularly within Global North and Global South collaborations, thanks to Caroline Ngorobi's (KE) perspective. We will learn methodologies to support collaborative work within projects, such as Action Learning with Rachel Nelken (UK), and Delia Barker (UK). We will also question the producer's practice, shedding light on the different roles the producer has in the artistic process with Tim Stitz (AU) from Back to Back Theatre.


Monday 13

Introduction - Marine Thévenet (Director Cifas)

Getting to know you - Bek Berger

How to build an artistic progamme today? - Daniel Blanga-Gubbay

Reflecting on his experience, Daniel will raise the questions “How to build an artistic program today?”, “How to work within an institution with a history and bring it elsewhere?”.

The role of the producer - Tim Stitz

Speaking from his experience as a creative producer, fundraiser and programmer, Tim Stitz will discuss notions of collaboration and international exchange. He will share with the group how to work in the most humane, responsive and creative way whilst always aspiring to make the best work possible. Tim will utilise examples from throughout his career in Australia and his position as Executive Producer and Co-CEO of Back to Back Theatre, traversing the world.

Tuesday 14

Introduction to Action Learning - Rachel Nelken and Delia Barker

An opportunity to get to know each other and work together on reflective problem-solving!

The session, run by experienced Facilitators Rachel Nelken and Delia Barker will include an extended introduction exercise and then the chance to try Action Learning.

Action Learning is a formal process where one person in a group will present a challenge (personal/professional) they are facing. The group (called a ‘set’) helps them to find solutions via ‘actions’ that they can take away. The set can only ask ‘open questions’ to support the presenter to find their own solutions. The set works together to ask questions which will help open the presenter’s thinking There is no two-way conversation, no talking about our own experience and importantly, no giving of advice. This unusually reflective opportunity provides time and space for the presenter to come up with new options or ideas. It is a disruption from normal dialogue and the way we generally interact with each other. The process can lead to real ‘lightbulb moments’. Participants generally leave an Action Learning set feeling uplifted having connected with each other at a deep level.

There will be the chance for 2 producers to present any challenge they are currently facing professionally and work on it with the group, so do have a think if you would like to take advantage of this great opportunity!

A Tarot to cross thresholds - Bek Berger

‘A Tarot to cross thresholds’ is a tool, a collaboration, a methodology which invites artists and conspirators to have an honest conversation about their relationships. Drawing on the legacy of conventional tarot, this new deck utilities contemporary language, imagery and a collaborative practice to generate new cards as part of a larger group of people. These cards and the performed reading provide a platform for honest conversations to arise, the invitation to talk to the imagery and language in the cards provides a safe and non-confrontation backdrop to talk about collaborations, crossing borders (artistic and physical) and thresholds. The major questions that this project explores – How can conversations that invite honesty / Magic transform collective practice? What mystic conditions do we (artists and others) need to artistically thrive?

Bek will lead a session on how to use this tool, that participants will be able to take home with them and use with their collaborators.

Decolonial Tour - Collectif Mémoire Coloniale et Lutte Contre les Discriminations

Wednesday 15

Ideal International Collaborations: A fantasy or reality? - Caroline Ngorobi

A session to provoke the notion and ethics around internationalism, focusing on global north-south collaborations. If money is not the first thing on the table, how do we rethink access? Who has the power to invite? Who has the power to have their work seen?

Producers often have to negotiate favourable terms of collaboration. In this session, we will redefine ‘favourable’ factoring in equality, diversity of practice, and care to all parties. The goal of the session is to interrogate international collaboration structures, equality, access to institutional collaboration, peer to peer collaboration, gatekeeping, possibilities, successes and fails. Together with the producers, we will explore how we can navigate regional power structures and innovate methods to develop working cross culture collaborations.

The three-part session will include, a presentation on case studies of successful and failed collaborations, a participatory experience sharing session with the producers on multicultural collaborations-highlighting power dynamics, historical constructs, decolonizing practices, ethics and resources. The last session will involve curating a model collaboration structure. I will lead a session where participants co-curate an ideal structure for multicultural collaborations, borrowing from collective experiences, failures and lessons learnt from such collaborations. The overall objective of this session is to explore how we can cultivate equitable multicultural exchanges.

Workshop - Caroline Ngorobi

Tools for sharing - Bek Berger

Thursday 16

Values at work, 'The (Fair) Kin Arts Almanac' - Justine Maxelon and Gosie Vervloessem (SOTA)

A work session on the chapter of the Almanac on the notion of Ecology with Justine Maxelon and Gosie Vervloessem, founding members of SOTA (State Of The Arts).

European Network for producers - PAMPA

Meeting the European Network of producers PAMPA.


Bek Berger - facilitator

Bek Berger is an artist, curator and dramaturg, originally from Australia, now based in Riga, Latvia. From 2020 to 2024, she was curator of the International Festival of Contemporary Theatre, Homo Novus. Bek’s practice binds curiosity with innovation in order to design new models of connection, collaboration and reciprocity between artists and communities. In the last years she has instigated a number of international collaborations such as Baltic Take Over Helsinki (LV, LT, EE, FI), The Shake Down with Rosendal Theatre (LV, NO) & The Festivals Path with ANTI festival (LV, FI).

As an artist she is currently concerned with exploiting magic, making new conditions for togetherness and improving the performing arts with pleasure centred design. Her expertise lies between festival making, dance dramaturgy and karaoke.

Alongside her curatorial practice Bek works as a Dramaturg for Australian Dance artist James Batchelor. Working together since 2017 they have premiered four works and toured extensively including contexts such as Centre Pomipduo (FR), Tanz Im August (DE), Dance Massive (AU), Spring Forward/Aerowaves19 and Impulstanz (AT) Bek currently serves of the board of IETM. In 2020 She was awarded the Australia Council HIAP residency and 2023 the Kone Foundation SARRI residency in Mynämäki, Finland.

Daniel Blanga-Gubbay

Daniel Blanga Gubbay is a Brussels-based performing art curator and researcher. Since 2018 he serves as artistic co-director of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts. He has worked as an educator and independent curator in performance and public programs, among which: The Telepathic School (Ural Biennale, Yekaterinburg 2021), Yogurt and Other Spaces of Labour (Ashkal Alwan, Beirut 2021, together with Zeynep Öz), Four Rooms (2020), Sonic Dawn (Homo Novus, Riga 2019), Can Nature Revolt? (Manifesta, Palermo 2018), The School of Exceptions (Santarcangelo, 2016).

Tim Stitz

Tim Stitz is the Executive Producer and Co-CEO of Back to Back Theatre. Tim’s recent history within the arts sector includes positions at the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) Office, Arts Centre Melbourne and Creative Partnerships Australia. Tim was Creative Director & CEO of Chamber Made from 2013 – 2018, and was involved in raising $3.2-million for the rebuild of Melbourne’s iconic La Mama Theatre, following the devastating 2018 fire. Tim is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, an alumni of the Asialink Leaders Program and the Australia Council Emerging Leaders Development Program, and a passionate advocate for intersectional representation, inclusion and access across all parts of the arts sector.

Rachel Nelken

Rachel Nelken - CEO Raw Material Music and Media, freelance facilitator and consultant - Rachel’s 20+ years in the London creative sector have included work with many high-profile and grassroots arts organisations designing, developing, and running creative programmes for communities, developing artists, producing events and shows, and working with strategic music funders. Senior roles include Head of Creative Programmes at The Albany theatre in Deptford from 2017-2019, and Senior Producer at Camden’s Roundhouse in 2013-2017.

As CEO for NPO Raw Material Music and Media, Rachel has redefined and grown the Brixton based charity, in the heart of London’s most diverse communities. She has developed new representative and reflective governance, collective leadership and cultural democracy structures, raising over £1m towards the programme and building development. Rachel is also a parent to 2 lively and opinionated teenagers. She is passionate about the creative arts and is a keen musician, currently studying jazz cello.

Delia Barker

Delia Barker leads Brixton House, a lively cultural venue in South London, drawing on a wealth of experience from senior creative roles. Previously, she partnered with major players like BT and NHS England on culture change and diversity and equity initiatives at Deeds and Words. At The Roundhouse, she focused on music, performance and engaging young people, enriching the lives of thousands aged 11-25.

Delia's experience spans arts institutions like the English National Ballet School and Phoenix Dance Theatre and is always interested in supporting the development of individuals and organisations. She regularly delivers mentoring sessions and public speaking engagements across a few sectors as well as facilitating executive and board awaydays. She's also passionate about fundraising for Dementia UK and still enjoys social dancing whenever time permits.

Collectif Mémoire Coloniale et Lutte Contre les Discriminations

CMCLD is a decolonial organisation in permanent fight for the construction of a decolonial society:
- that builds an objective history in which all its citizens can find themselves
- which faces up to its colonial memory and carries out permanent work
- freed from racism and negrophobia
- freed from stereotypes and prejudices that lead to discrimination
- freed from oligarchic economic exploitation leading to competition of the poor and
consequently to racism
- freed from a colonial management of society that pits citizens against each other

MCLCD organises tours in Brussels and its surroundings to inform the public about the construction of a decolonial citizen’s conscience through history, the cultural values of Africa and by occupying public space.

Caroline Ngorobi

Caroline Ngorobi is a theatre producer and director based in Mombasa, Kenya. She is an ISPA (International Society for Performing Arts) Fellow 2023/4. She founded Jukwaa Arts Productions - A creative greenhouse which voices social issues through creation and presentation of performing and visual arts based in Mombasa in 2015. Her work fuses drama, movement, music, and poetry and explores the subjects of culture, art as education, identity, gender, environment, taboos, and their intersection with emerging and popular culture. At Jukwaa Arts, she has produced, Art Cocktail (weekly show), Chimidzi 2023, Bahari Huru Festival (Annual), Tabasamu 2020, Who Killed Change 2019, Lips that Bite 2018, Golden Tongue 2017, Lessons from the Wild 2017 among others. Her work is presented in both theatre and non-theatre spaces, with a special love for street art. She holds a BA (2009) and an MA (2015) from the University of Nairobi. Caroline is keen on growing and sustaining an empowered community through arts and culture.

SOTA (State Of The Arts): Justine Maxelon and Gosie Vervloessem

State of the Arts (SOTA) is an open platform to reimagine the conditions that shape the art world today. SOTA operates through the collaborative intelligence of artists and artworkers, but is open to all individuals and organisations that want to co-create a more fair and diverse cultural scene in Belgium. SOTA is solidair with other sectors in our society and supports the Palastinian struggle for freedom from colonial oppression.

Justine Maxelon is an artist, gardener and weaver in becoming based in the "rural" of Belgium. Her work explores the relation between voice and listening in different ecologies. She is a practitioner of all kinds of things and strives for coherence of personal ethics in all forms of relating. In 2015 she co-founded oracle, a body-voice-practice, together with Caroline Daish and Michel Yang. Since 2021 she is working on de ambulanten - Toolbox for care, together with Ann Weckx and Rasa Alksnyte, which aims to explore sustainable and resilient relations between the art sector and care sector. Since 2019 Justine is core-member of State of the Arts. Within this platform she co-created SOS-Relief, was part of Door to Door and guided the almanac process together with Kobe Matthys.

Gosie Vervloessem is an artist researcher based in Brussels. Her work is mainly presented as lecture-performance, in the form of workshops or publications, and it focuses on the position of the researcher in times of multiple crises. Her practice looks for new tools and ways of knowledge production that relate to a messy and chaotic world. She juggles with and re-interprets cooking, digesting, co-digesting, immersion or osmosis, as tools to literally embody that relation. In scrutinising this relationship she focuses mainly on the concept of nature and tries to unravel the ideas that underpin this concept. In doing that, she identifies herself as a Sick Detective, a character that involves the vegetal kingdom as a possible ally in her research. Her work is highly inspired by plant biology, comic books, horror movies.


PAMPA (Producers, Agents, Managers Performing Arts) is a community, a caring and brave space for both new and experienced international producers, agents, managers, and similar professions, based in Europe. Forged from the collective labour of a working group, PAMPA aims to build cooperation between us, to demystify, improve and empower the people in these roles who are highly skilled, deeply connected, and which support production and distribution equally.  PAMPA is built on international exchange in order to help its members have a stronger voice and take action nationally by getting the knowledge of, and by being inspired by, international conditions, contexts, and best practices.

Applications and conditions

Applications now closed.

Criteria of eligibility

The Producers’ Academy is open to:
- People from all nationalities
- People who have at least five years of experience as a producer in the performing arts* sector
- Producers**/cultural entrepreneurs who have developed or are in the process of developing innovative way(s) to support creation in an international dimension and/or with a trans-sectorial approach (decolonisation, feminism, fair practices, climate change, accessibility, etc.)
- The event will be held exclusively in English. Therefore, participants need to be able to understand, communicate and work in English.

*Performing arts: are excluded from this definition opera and music-only related projects.

** Producers: supervise, support, follow an artist or a collective/company.

If you have any question regarding your eligibility, please get in touch with Beth Gordon:


Participation is free of charge (full programme + lunches during the four days + 2 performances).

We do not take in charge travel and accommodation costs*. We can send official invitation letters to those who wish to activate ways to support their participation costs. Our partner On the Move can provide advice and guidance about available mobility support programmes for selected participants.

* Travel support can be considered on an exceptional basis, see below.


Cifas offers travel grants to support producers from countries where little or no financial support is available for international mobility. For more info about other international mobilty funding, please refer to the funding guides published by On The Move.

The Producers' Academy is organised with the support of Wallonie-Bruxelles International.

Supported by Wallonie-Bruxelles International.