EJN Staff Exchange Programme

Back to list

Previous Participant: Frank van Berkel

From: Bimhuis (Netherlands)
To: Handelsbeurs Concert Hall (Belgium)
13 - 18 November 2019

Work done  During my stay in Gent I worked in the daytime from my airbnb appartement and in the office of Handelsbeurs. I visited all the concerts of the 10th edition of the Istanbul Ekspres Festival taking place from 13th until 18th of November. Artists in the program were: Sertab Erener, Turkish pop diva; Stéphane Galland & The Mystery of KEM ft. Levent Yildirim, jazz/world; Baba Zula, psych-rock; Bir Nevi'i Alaturka, eat, sing and dance; Mehmet Erdem, Turkish pop; Yeni Türkü, Nuevo Cancion; Melihat Gülses, Turkish classical music & jazz; tiksim trio, Turkish Gypsy jazz. I had five meetings with Wim Wabbes and/or his staff members.  

1). Wim Wabbes, artistic director and his staff: Charlotte Huyghe, Elsie Vercaigne, Marie Wauters,  introductional meeting. 
2). Wim Wabbes, artistic meeting and informing on practices and finances. 
3). Kurt Melens, general director, informal meeting and financial references, facts and ideas on topics like price discrimination and price differentiation and other budgetary issues.  
4). Wim Wabbes, exchanging artistic experiences, also with: Charlotte Huyghe, Marie Wauters, Cleo Janse 
5). Wim Wabbes, exchanging artistic idea's, informing on practices, investigating future cooperation. 
6). Wolf Raman, Joachim Verschaeve about production and technical issues, showing me the backstage and the impressing 'under'stage. 
7). Final and evaluation meeting with Wim Wabbes, Charlotte Huyghe, Marie Wauters, Cleo Janse   

I had two meetings with the staff of the cooperating venue in the festival, De Centrale; 
1). Attila Bakiroglu & Yilmaz Koçak, programmers; talking about communities, Turkish culture, and ways to reach the Turkish audience (community) in Belgium. 
2). Jos Lootens, programmer; regarding typical artistic projects compromising Turkish and Belgium artists 
3). Luc Baeckeland, director; talking about De Centrale and showing me implementation in the former power plant.   

I had one meeting with Jens Tytgat, important agent and manager for current and relevant Belgian artists.   

When I arrived, the general mood was one of disappointment among all the employers due to the announcement by the Flemish minister of culture for a mayor budget cut in Belgium’s cultural sector with 60% for producing institutes and a global cut of 6% for every institute. A huge cut, which we had in the Netherlands 7 years ago. Everybody was talking about it and how destructive this was going to be for the cultural sector.    

In the morning I worked at my apartment on necessary BIMHUIS work, which goes on continuously. In the afternoon I joined the staff in the office and worked on my own temporary desk. Apart from a completely different atmosphere in the monumental office room, from what I'm used to at home, I experienced some good cooperation from the staff in practical issues. In the night and Sunday morning I listened thoroughly to all the concerts. It gave me a good impression of Turkish culture and habits, like for instance the Fasil evening with food, music & dance. Also the very social and friendly Turkish community in Gent and how they react to the different genres of Turkish music.