FiraTàrrega’s new direction
Anna Giribet Argilès, Art Director
Eduard Ribera, Head of Communication
Over the next five years FiraTàrrega will be embarking on a new creative and managerial project. As a result of recent changes to both the Fair’s directing positions these first few months have been spent in redoubling efforts to find the lowest common denominator that responds to the spirit of projects presented by Lau Delgado, the new executive director, and Anna Giribet, the new art director. Along with the rest of the team, we have been reflecting very seriously on what role we should play within the sectorial mechanism of the Generalitat de Catalunya’s strategic culture market. This process of reflection has prompted us to define a series of new action frameworks for the Fair to operate within over the next five years.
As successors to the previous era of the Fair, we can confirm that its essential features have been encapsulated within our new project. Rather than describing this new stage as a rupture, it should be seen as an ongoing process of evolution that involves a change of approach: it drinks in and soaks up the things that work, recycles or updates certain aspects that need to be reviewed, and proposes new challenges that necessitate the involvement of the whole team. We would like to stress this point because we like working as a team and we value everyone’s potential. Therefore, the pillars that sustain the structure of the Fair over the next few years must be cross-cutting and collaborative in all respects.
In short, we endorse the idea that the Fair is, primarily, a space for the exhibition of contemporary scenic creativity, emphasizing street arts and public space as well as being a meeting, contact, hiring and exchange point for agents operating in this culture market. Secondly, we assert ourselves as a structure that seeks to accompany the production of shows, and the insertion of new creators, or those who have chosen to redirect their creative work towards the field of street arts, into distribution networks Thirdly, our aim is to maintain and, if necessary, expand our role as a space for specialised training, in the field of creativity as well as in the management and programming of street arts and art in public spaces.
We envisage that the project for the next five years will evolve towards a new paradigm. This model is to reinforce the function of the event in two lines of action: as a generator of distribution spaces and audiences for stage productions and as a sectoral benchmark that concentrates experience and knowledge and makes it available to institutions, creators and professionals. In short, we would like this project to become an essential agent in tackling the challenges facing the sector in the coming years.
In terms of the project’s creative scope, our intention is for it to have a multi-faceted approach, to address many different types of audiences, so that anyone can find a piece that interests them. We would like to emphasise the cross-cutting nature of our project, together with values of commitment and research, because street arts, in particular, and the performing arts, in general, are no longer conceived merely as a form of cultural expression, but as a catalyst which, from the perspective of art and creativity, must respond to the needs and concerns, as well as the social and political challenges of the 21st century: territory, individual and collective identity, memory, social inclusion, cultural democracy, the uses of public space, the expression of citizenship, education, health, thought, multiculturalism, intergenerational relations, freedom of expression, innovation and so many others.
We seek to accommodate contemporary, inclusive, universal, cohesive and critical discourses. The inclusion of pieces that may be highly critical in nature and others that are more festive, but equally high in quality, is essential. We’d also like to pose some questions. How can art in public spaces contribute to urban transformation? How can it celebrate, highlight or question the range of our cultural identities?
On the other hand, we must not forget that FiraTàrrega is a market and, as such, one of its main objectives is to offer professionals a quality service that works in their interests. Therefore, the programming must cater to the needs of range clients including for example a professional coming from Newcastle in search of a piece in a town square; a programmer from Valencia who is looking for a scenic experience in an unconventional space; a group of friends who simply want to have a good afternoon.
In order to implement this, a balance must be struck between the novelties of the season, the result of creative collaborations and exchanges and the generation of pieces based on research within the framework of the Creation Support programme which, incidentally, has positioned the Fair in recent years and has given it good results.
Through Creation Support, at the Fair we have learned to accompany creative processes in which public space is one of the main protagonists. Now it’s up to us to shake up the model and move it forward. We are tackling this new phase by integrating all possible relationships between artists, professionals, the market, the city and citizens of Tàrrega and its surroundings. We are incorporating a new classification that anticipates different types of projects, depending on the type of accompaniment, either longer or more intensive, as required. We would also like to include specialist advice to companies from within the organisation, about the market for example. Furthermore, we envisage including Tàrrega’s adjoining villages so as to provide more creative venues. The addition of art residences to the value chain of the distribution of shows in exhibition circuits that are truly sustainable is another possibility. In short, we would like to complete the circle of this accompaniment process based on the experience that we have been acquiring over the years and the knowledge possessed by the Fair, as an organization and in relation to the art market.
It is clear to us that the project of the Fair has several recipients. Not just the audience, the artists, or the professionals who are accredited in each edition. There are also institutions, members of the sector, professional associations and distribution networks. And why not, the people involved in the management of public space, in the education of children and young people (who, let us not forget, are also spectators), the people who work for social integration, equality or cultural democracy… In short, all those people and institutions with whom we may share values, concerns and objectives and with whom we would like to expand the field of action of the performing arts.
This is direction we would like move in over the next few years.