Cultural programming: angels and demons
12 October 2020
Monday, 9.30am to 6pm
Online, on Zoom

“When is the leading and when is the responding? Is there some clear demarcation between those? I think it’s the responsibility of an artistic director – or, let’s say, the collective, which is the artistic institution – to say ‘Here’s the pull that I’m feeling in our community’. But, after all, isn’t it our responsibility to have a sort of eloquence or articulation around that, that maybe the community itself feels but does not deliver as a particular statement of need? So, I think being sensitive to that, to me, is leadership, saying ‘Here’s what we feel is in the air and what we think is worthy of giving voice to’.”

Interview with Martha Lavey, artistic director of
Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago between 1995 and 2014

The function of programming is still largely unknown – but also misunderstood and, at times, poorly received – among us. There are those who see it as an intention to present and reflect on diverse worlds, to relate proposals and people, a way of creating meanings, a kind of mediation that enhances creativity and imagination. There are also those who see it as a function of legitimisation, conditioning of the creative process and power (as well as abuse of power).

Who are the people who do programming? What is their technical preparation? Are they a figure of freedom or control? Who and what do they think of when they programme? What are their working methods? What are their intentions? Do they programme according to their taste? What makes a person a good or bad programmer? What makes us happy or discontented in the way they perform their role? Why do we need them?

On the 12th of October we will reflect together on these and other issues. We will still do it online, which has the disadvantage of the lack of physical contact and the real eye-to-eye debate, but the advantage of being able to easily bring to the conversation colleagues from around the world.


A conversation with Cristina Grande and Maria de Assis, moderated by Elisabete Paiva (in Portuguese)
Vídeo or podcast

Panel 1 – Role, profile, preparation (in Portuguese)
Vídeo or podcast

Panel 2 – Criticism and challenges (in Portuguese)
Vídeo or podcast

Panel 3 – Around the world (in English)
Vídeo or podcast


9.30-9.45am:       Opening
Dália Paulo, Access Culture President

9.45–10.30am:     A conversation with Cristina Grande and Maria de Assis Swinnerton, moderated by Elisabete Paiva


10.45am-12.45pm:   Panel 1 – Role, profile, preparation 
Emília Ferreira, Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea
Maíra Zenun, Mostra Internacional de Cinema na Cova – África e suas Diásporas
Paulo Pires, Municipality of Loulé
Susana Gomes da Silva, Gulbenkian Museum
Susana Menezes, LU.CA Teatro Luís de Camões
Moderator: João Sousa Cardoso (artist, univesrity professor)

Lunch break

2-4pm:     Panel 2 – Criticism and challenges
Adelina Paula Pinto, Vereadora da Cultura de Guimarães, Presidente d’ A Oficina
André e. Teodósio, Teatro Praga
Catarina Saraiva, Linha de Fuga / Festival Verão Azul
Mariana Passos, Pó de Vir a Ser
Patrícia Portela, Teatro Viriato
Moderator: Cristiana Morais (producer)


4.15-5.45pm:     Panel 3 – Around the world

António Pinto Ribeiro (Portugal)
Chiara Organtini (Festival Santarcaneglo, Italy)
Deborah Cullinan (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, USA)
Faisal Kiwewa
(Bayimba Foundation and Festival, Uganda)
Pámela Lopez (GAM – Centro Gabriela Mistral, Chile)
Moderator: Vânia Rodrigues (cultural manager and researcher)

17.45-18.00:     Closing

Note: Panels 1 and 2 will be conducted in Portuguese. Panel 3 will be conducted in English.