Afijma (the "Association of Innovative Jazz and Contemporary Music Festivals"), founded in 1993 , today represents some thirty jazz and improvised music festivals in France. As part of its objectives, Afijma seeks to promote French and European jazz , and is working to increase international exchanges in order to facilitate the programming of foreign musicians in France and of French musicians throughout Europe.
United around a 10-point charter of objectives, those festivals who are members of Afijma base their programming on being part of confirmed cultural projects and “good-citizen” projects to enhance awareness : increasing audiences, activities in city districts and rural areas, frequent stagings of performances and pioneering projects, artists-in-residence, multi-focal educational activities, supplementary programming during the year, reduced prices, etc. As of 2009, Afijma has begun to host as part of foreign festivals Afijma participants of long standing and with whom we share concerns over programming and cultural actions.
Since its founding in 1994, Afijma has pursued concrete results in terms of these three focuses:
- Actions at the international level: invitations to foreign promoters and presenters, international cooperative activities and exchanges (“Jazzé Croisé”, especially with Italy, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Belgium, and Eastern and Central European countries), providing assistance to European broadcasting systems and the hosting of international professional meetings;
- Actions at the national level: setting up co-productions and concert tours, establishing data bases on jazz in Europe, discussions on cost-saving measures for productions, local regional tours for young emerging groups in France (“Jazz Migration”) and a partnership protocol with Onda for the circulation of large orchestras;
- An on-going discussion about the world of jazz: debates on cost-saving measures for productions and questions raised about cultural policy through the publication of “Cahiers de l'Afijma”, active contributions to the development of government policies on jazz and the holding of symposia (“Jazz and Improvised Music: what are the challenges today?”).
These are all accomplishments that have enabled Afijma to make its name as a key figure in the life of jazz and its organisation in France , and more widely in Europe – where our network has become a standard-setter and stimulated the emergence of similar initiatives.