Location: Aix-en-Provence, France

This multi-session training programme to raise public awareness of the arts gives young artists the opportunity to put their musical talents into practice and to develop their professional skills outside of the concert hall, and thus reach out directly to audiences. Its aim is to help each participating artist to design and implement his or her own artistic awareness project. Each session is made up of roughly fifteen instrumentalists, singers and creators from a variety of countries, and provides a space to reflect on the contributions artists can make to society and to specific communities.

The programme has been designed and is led by Mark Withers, a clarinettist and the coordinator of participatory educational projects (LSO Discovery). Other artists from various disciplines are regularly invited, according to the themes developed in the sessions.

These training sessions help participants gain professional skills that are vital today so that artists can carry out innovative and participatory projects for highly diverse audiences. Experimentation and musical improvisation are the core of the learning process: they help individuals develop their creativity by drawing inspiration from their own cultural heritage and encourage intercultural initiatives.

In every session, participating artists will encounter diverse audiences far from the world of the performing arts, in order to apply their newly acquired skills directly in the field. These encounters, developed by Mark Withers, are part of outreach programs organized by Passerelles*, an educational and socio-artistic department of the Festival d’Aix.

Contents of the introductory session
— Presentation of the artist’s role as a creative facilitator
— Introduction to basic creative techniques and group management

*Passerelles leads awareness-raising events, as well as projects with nearly 5,000 participants, thanks to relationships forged with over two hundred schools, universities, associations and social institutions.