EJN Staff Exchange Programme

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Previous Participant: Aurélie Di Benedetto

From: Le Périscope / Association RESEAU (France)
To: Jazzlines - Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham (UK)
17 - 22 November 2019

When I arrived at Symphony Hall, I attended the first evening a concert organized by Ruben James' Jazzline. Young pianist from the Birmingham Conservatory and Jazzline's young talent discovery course. The next day, I had an appointment with Tony Dudley-Evans for a visit of the premises (Symphony Hall and Town Hall) and a discussion on the history and development of the project. In the afternoon, I took the opportunity at the end of the day to move forward with the organisation of our joint event, as part of our Europe Creative project, and prepare for the meeting the next day.

Tuesday morning, we met with Tony, Mary Wakelam and Richard Foote to discuss the actual organization of the Jazz Connective event in Birmingham as well as the Incusivity Day co-organized by the EJN. After lunch, I took some free time to visit Birmingham (Library, Museum, Historic District). Wednesday morning, I left for London to attend the London Jazz Festival. I took the opportunity of my stay in London to meet Oliver Weidling of the Vortex to have a joint meeting via Zoom with Tony and Mary on our March event.

The discussions around inclusivity made me understand that in the United Kingdom, there is already a lot of work being done in this field and that it would seem that we are a little behind in France on this subject. We also discussed the precariousness of the artist's profession and the difficulty for young musicians to become professional. The subject of parity was also discussed, and it is clear that Jazzline is doing everything possible to ensure that its programming is fair in this area.

I greatly appreciated my stay with my English colleagues. Their experiences and expertise have taught me a lot and I am returning to Lyon confident for our 2020 event.