EJN Staff Exchange Programme

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Previous Participant: Charlotte Huyghe

From: Handelsbeurs Concert Hall (Belgium)
To: Tampere Jazz Happening (Finland)
19 - 29 May 2019

I work on marketing and 'public work' at Handelsbeurs Concert Hall in Ghent, Belgium. During my EJN Staff Exchange I went to the USF building in Bergen, Norway for ten days. There I was witness of 1) Nutshell Showcase Festival and 2) Nattjazz Festival.    

1) Nutshell Showcase Festival   
Nutshell is a showcase festival for programmers, bookers and journalists. During 3 days the group goes through a schedule of a couple of showcases a day of promising Norwegian talent, together with little trips to dive into the Norwegian culture.   

My tasks during this period: to manage the EJN Instagram / Facebook and report about the festival + help out with small logistics.   

The things I got out of it: although it was fun to handle the social media channels, I found that the most interesting thing for me was to talk to all the different members of the group. This gave me a sense of the jazz community and how this landscape is shaped outside of my own country.    

Also, I made connections with people who where involved with social projects within their organisation, which is my interest. Talking about the different challenges we face and how we manage them was very refreshing.   

2) Nattjazz Festival   
After Nutshell I changed organisations (same building) and followed the team of Nattjazz Festival. I helped logistically with the concerts for children and youth, a thing that also was very interesting as we at Handelsbeurs are investigating possibilities in that field.    

The rest of Nattjazz I had mostly an observational role, which I didn't mind. I talked to as many people as possible, learning about the ins and outs of the festival, their view on childrens programme and diversity. Via connecting with some Bergen musicians I got an inside look of the music network within the city. As a public worker this gave me new insights.    

I went for ten days, during two festivals. The downside was maybe that everybody was very busy. But because I was there quite long at a time when the jazz community was present, and I myself am a inquisitive person. So I could form connections, have a lot of interesting conversations with a lot of different people, and create a sense of the international and Bergen jazz community. This was very valuable for me.    

I came back with a lot of new ideas and the urge to put them into practice. I also am really gratefull for all the truly nice people I got to meet, hope to see them again.