Since 2002, ECUMEST participates in the development of new regional
network in the field of performing arts - Balkan Express - , being, together
with IETM (Brussels), Bunker (Ljubljana) and Vlaams Theatre Instituut
(Brussels), one of the supporters, promoters and coordinators of this network.


What is Balkan Express?

· A network of contemporary performing arts operators from South East Europe and from other regions interested in collaboration in and with Balkans.
· A meeting point for diverse organisations or individuals promoting and encouraging the development of performing arts in all of its diversity.
· An information point on the contemporary performing arts in the Balkans, its major artistic tendencies, the models of management, the opportunities of cooperation and exchange, funding, education, innovative practices, etc.
· An active promoter and facilitator of mobility with and within the Balkans.
· A think-tank on relevant issues concerning cultural policy, mobility, exchange and other topics in relation to the development and role of contemporary performing arts in the Balkan region.


What does it do?

· Bringing together professionals from the field of performing arts through regular meetings, seminars, trainings and performance showcases
· Creating opportunities for the exchange of ideas and examples of good practice, thus implementing the spirit of networking and building intercultural competence.
· Working actively on dynamic communication and information exchange.
· Setting up short artistic and managerial training programmes for young professionals.
· Identifying important issues and responding accordingly by small publications, specific meeting and information exchange focus. Currently, five working groups are active within the network, focusing more closely on the issues of: mobility, education and training, dance, information and communication, and advocacy in the performing arts.
· Publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, constantly updating its web-page, and animating an interactive group mailing list, thus providing news, info, links, databases and documentation and facilitating access to information and communication amongst members.


Who is already on?

· Balkan Express is a network bringing together diverse organisations and individuals from South East Europe and other regions, sharing a common interest.
· At present, four organisations are particularly committed to and supporting its development: IETM, Brussels, Bunker productions, Ljubljana, ECUMEST Association, Bucharest, Vlaams Theater Instituut (Flemish Theatre Institute), Brussels. All interested organisations and individuals who want to invest in and participate to this process are highly welcome to join.


Want to come on board?

· Membership is open to organisations and individuals sharing a common interest in cultural and artistic exchange in contemporary performing arts.
· It is simple and free - the completion of a subscription form and/or the subscription to the BE mailing list - balkanexpress-on@network.ietm.org is putting you on board!


More info?

· Tamara Bracic, Bunker productions - balkan_art@yahoo.com
· Oana Radu, ECUMEST - oana.radu@ecumest.ro
· Milica Ilic, IETM - office@ietm.org
· Webpage: www.ietm.org/projects/Balkan



PAST ACTIVITIES


2002, April: BE launching meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia
In the framework and as a follow-up to the IETM plenary meeting in Trieste, Italy (April 2002), a first meeting took place in Ljubljana addressing for the first time the idea of creating a network for contemporary performing arts in the Balkans. It tackled in particular the mobility problems encountered by artist and operators in the Balkans and other East European countries, and the possibilities of political action regarding the subject.

2002, December: BE development meeting in Medana, Slovenia
A small group of active members focused on identifying the key needs and lacks in the field of performing arts in the Balkans, defining the role and means of action of the BE network in the region.

2003, May: BE caravan meeting in Flanders, Belgium
A group of ten cultural operators from the Balkan region gathered in Flanders, at the invitation and with the support of the Vlaams Theatre Instituut. The meeting was aimed at a direct contact and better knowledge of the contemporary performing arts situation in Flanders, and in making contacts and connections with local operators & artists.

2003, November : BE meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
It focused on the possible collaboration and exchange of information within the region as well as with other European and non-European countries. Organised in cooperation with Jazz fest Sarajevo. It also included an artistic workshop dedicated to actors and directors, led by Jozef Houben (pedagogue, professor and artist).

2003, March: BE working group within the IETM meeting in Budapest, Hungary

2004, June: BE meeting in Sfintu Gheorghe, Romania focusing on the topic of audience development
Organised by the ECUMEST Association, it also included: an artistic workshop for theatre directors & actors, held by the theatre and opera director Andrei Serban; a workshop for cultural operators on "How to set up international projects. The role of European cultural networks" held by Corina Suteu.

2004, August: Artistic workshop for actors and dancers held by Jozef Houben
In the framework of the Mladi levi festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2005, March: BE meeting in Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro
Organised by the DAH Theatre Research Center as a Satellite meeting to the IETM plenary meeting (17- 21March 2005).

2005, September/ October: BE caravan meeting, Istanbul, Turkey
Networking event bringing together 7 artists and cultural operators from SEE countries with the aim to explore and establish contacts with the contemporary arts scene in Istanbul. Organised by IETM in collaboration with Europist, Istanbul.

2005, November: BE meeting in Skopje, Macedonia
On the occasion of the Balkan Dance Platform and in cooperation with Lokomotiva, Skopje.


FUTURE MEETINGS


2006, April: BE Info cell in Istanbul, Turkey
On the occasion of the IETM spring plenary meeting (19-23 April) organised in partnership with Europist, Istanbul.