Festival Connections is an annual programme of online events in partnership with Arts & Culture Resource India. In response to sector need and demand, Festival Connections brings senior managers, artists, and stakeholders together to exchange, discuss, and share learnings relevant to the festival sector.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic in India, the British Council and The Art X Company took the Festival Connections programme online. In a bid to share best practices and solutions the online programme addresses some of the key issues, challenges and opportunities faced by the festivals industry.

Themes and webinars

Lead, Govern, Scale, Repeat

The session was held on 20 March and 27 March, and focused on festival governance models, transformational leadership, team structures, and related business planning in the arts and culture sphere in India. 

Session recording: March 20 session on YouTube | March 27 session on YouTube

Coping with COVID-19: Financial Health Management for Cultural Festivals

he Covid-19 situation makes it a difficult time for the cultural sector, and through this webinar we explored the large-scale impact of Covid-19 in the cultural and festivals sector. This webinar, held on 30 April 2020, looked at how festivals can manage their finances and maintain financial health during these uncertain times. 

Session recording: Watch it on YouTube

Gig Workers and Covid 19

Held on 29 May 2020, the webinar looked at the gig workforce who sustain the festivals sector and the impact Covid-19 has had on them. 

With festivals being cancelled and postponed; gig workers have lost out on projects as well as income and have emerged as one of the hardest-hit communities in the sector.

The Indian festivals sector is reliant on gig workers, freelancers, and consultants, who have sustained and shaped the sector in multiple ways. The mushrooming of cultural festivals generated further employment opportunities for gig workers. 

Without knowing when their next paycheque will come, this huge community of artists, curators, artist managers, production assistants, photographers, video assistants, designers face huge job insecurity. This webinar looked at the impact of Covid-19 on the community and explored how collectively festivals can change working conditions and contracts to provide greater certainty for gig-workers in the future.

Session recording: Watch it on YouTube

Digital Futures and Alternate Revenue Models - Festival making following Covid-19

Entrepreneurship, enterprise, and innovation in the cultural sector is part of its DNA, and during Covid-19 this is more important than ever. Risks to health and safety and social distancing requirements have forced festivals to think differently and adapt to new business models. With this session we looked at innovation in digital production, distribution and consumption; and considered pathways to different revenue models currently being explored by arts festivals. The webinar took place on 26 June 2020.

Session recording: Watch it on YouTube

Health, Safety, and Social Distancing at Festivals

Given that many of the festival organisers wouldn't be contemplating opening up this year or till FY 21, we held a closed-door webinar - a type of community building and engagement exercise that aimed to share knowledge and engage in discussions around the challenges, possibilities, and actionable ways forward within the festivals space.

The session covered three key areas:  

  • Setting standards for festival making in a 'space' 
  • Creating Safe and Socially distanced experiences 
  • Health & Safety for all stakeholders including audiences, artists, security personnel, arts managers and technicians 

Session recording: Watch it on YouTube