IETM Montreal Plenary Meeting 2007

30 May 2007 to 03 June 2007

The IETM Secretariat and the organisers of IETM Montreal 2007 welcomed IETM members from 31st Spring Plenary Meeting in Montreal, Canada, from May 30 to June 3, 2007. It was held alongside the first edition of the (reborn!) theatre and dance Festival TransAmériques (23 May – 7 June) which provided an artistic programme of high international quality. A pre-meeting activity took place in Quebec City on May 29. 

Indeed, one of the several reasons IETM selected Montreal’s bid to host IETM was the launching of the new festival, which many IETM members will have known previously as the theatre festival, Festival de théâtre des Amériques.  IETM members may also know of the former dance festival, Festival international de nouvelle danse. 

As possibly the only official IETM Plenary Meeting which was ever held outside Europe, the IETM Board was careful to recommend that both the teams in Canada and Brussels did their best to make the meeting accessible to all IETM members. We thus investigated possibilities for travel grants from diverse sources, from twin cities to youth exchange programmes… 

Our destination was Montreal and Canada, an exceptional departure in IETM’s history and a leap across the ocean for many participants. It was an opportunity to know (or get to know better) a part of America where people -- the Québécois -- speak French but aren’t French and where North Americans are not Americans! The journey was worthwhile for the discovery of a unique culture and a cosmopolitan city of many faces, a city which is both Canadian and Québécois, with a Nordic character and First-Nations roots. 

The only French-speaking metropolis in North America, Montreal is home to many creative artists, whom IETM members already knew. Over twenty Canadian performing arts organisations are members of IETM; a majority are based in Montreal. With a strong desire to make IETM better known throughout Canada, a few of them - with perseverance and persuasion - created this special opportunity for IETM members to meet outside mainland Europe. Montreal is beautiful when the explosion of spring after a harsh winter brings an unmatched joie de vivre – a great match for the informal spirit which characterizes IETM! 

In fact, the overall theme we have chosen for our gathering is Cultural Warming – evoking the effervescence of artistic activity in the world today, given additional impetus by possibilities offered by new technologies, and referring to challenging issues we all face: global warming, the commercialization of culture, the complex practice of cultural diversity. 

It had become imperative to adapt our practices to these cultural ‘climatic shifts’. Thus cultural diversity was one of the main sub-themes of IETM Montréal 2007. Canada and Quebec have been leaders in the campaign for the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and Canada was the first country to ratify it. 

The new generation of artists was also ‘heating up’. At IETM Montréal 2007, we took a decided stand in favour of younger artists and cultural operators who – with fire and passion – were entering the cultural domain in force and were demanding their place in it. In the artistic programme, the workshops, the working groups and debates, their presence was felt and their ideas were heard, even if it made the temperature rise a few degrees! 

Other themes – being investigated by our Canadian and European colleagues, were debated, allowing us to highlight exemplary practices, to gain insight into innovative cultural and related policies and to analyse new artistic tendencies visible on the horizon of the performing arts field. 

IETM Montréal 2007 was a partnership with Festival TransAmériques, Place des Arts and UQAM.