ArtsGames Forum Montreal

I am in Montreal on 25 and 26 May to discuss the value and impact of large scale cultural events.

My contribution takes place during the launch of the Montreal ArtsGames 2018, a new event edition, focused on bringing artists from around the world to present their traditions as well as explore ways of fusing and reconnecting art practices and art forms.

The ArtsGames initiative, with headquarters in Montreal, has been inspired by the tradition of the Olympic Arts Competitions, taking place between 1912 and 1948 in the context of the Olympic Games. ArtsGames aspires to make accessible and showcase the work of artists from a wide array of countries in all continents to audiences that are mainly used to the most dominant expressions from Western – and mainly, North American – environments. There have been presentations of this initiative in previous Olympic cities and there will also be a showcase in Rio de Janeiro this summer, at the time of the 2016 Olympic Games.

I will speak about the value of major events to connect diverse communities of interest and make them share a communal experience. I will warn against the dangers of large-scale interventions that are not properly connected to – or sensitive – to their local environments. But I will also highlight the positive effect of aspirational interventions that can transform the image and reputation of host cities, generate collective memories and inspire very diverse communities to engage with the arts, think of artistic practice differently, and become contributors and arts leaders themselves.