What did you think of the workshop itself and what did you learn for your own practice as a critic ?

I am really glad I have been able to participate in this workshop. It was a very useful, instructive and enriching experience. I think that, for an emerging critic, it is always useful to share ideas with peers and with more experienced critics.

I think the order of the workshops was the right one. Anna Tilroe set the group at ease straight away. She has a very friendly yet direct approach, which worked wonderfully. From the first day on there were no tensions or uncertainties among us. We felt at ease, even while criticising each other’s work and having our own criticised. That was as wonderful as unusual.

Pieter had a different approach, yet an equally challenging and enriching one. He had the disadvantage of appearing before a group that after one week of non-stop discussing, writing and watching performances, was truly exhausted, however, we never really got discouraged, because I guess everybody was equally motivated to get the most out of the programme. And we did.

I think I have learned a lot from Anna, Pieter and the other participants. Anna and Pieter both have handed us very useful tools to approach our practice of art critique. When writing, I use them a lot, now. There are several aspects of writing critiques that have become more clear to me. Some can be put into practice straight away. For others, it has become clear what I can do to improve them. A lot of what has been said sticks with me when watching (esp. Pieter’s exercise on observing every detail) and writing about (Anna’s ten commandments on art critique) performances.

I also liked the fact that we operated in an international group. I mainly write about theatre and when you participate in an international group, you have to acknowledge the fact that you usually are very much focused on the situation in your own (small) country. It was very informative to learn more about the situation in other parts of Europe.

A workshop like this is also great on a mental level. Being a critic can be a lonesome activity. It is very enriching to share thoughts, ideas, uncertainties and questions. It is the best way to create a new generation of high quality critique.

And what about the logistics (VTi, Beursschouwburg, lodging, food, transport … ) and the following-up by Ultima Vez, Eline and Annick?

Being from Belgium, I travelled home every night. All the other things: VTi, Beursschouwburg, food were great. Nothing to comment on. The follow-up was great as well. All questions could be asked, all problems (if any) got solved straight away.

What about the tool online for publishing your texts / audio ?

At first, the idea of having everything recorded was a little bit creepy, but in the end nobody took notice of the recording device anymore. It was nice to have a platform on which we could publish our texts. The only problem sometimes was the lack of time to make our texts as perfect as we wanted.

It would be great if a tool like this for European performing arts critique could be created and maintained. It felt great to be in a network of European critics. It would be even greater if the cooperations could get permanent bases.

I realise, that, for a critic, I don’t have a lot of negative critique to give. But I think all other participants will agree that we have shared a very unusual experience on many levels. It was high quality all over. And in cases like that, no nuances need to be given, since there just aren’t any.

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