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David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts: David's Blog
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This is where David writes about his travels and articulates his insights into the performing arts field.


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Top tags: diversity  Edinburgh  2016  Arts and Community  Blog 1  Brexit. international. Ubuntu  CSIAF  CSPAF  discrimination  escape  ISPA Series at the Fringe  meetings  members  nationalism  office  participation  Qiuebec  Regional Initiatives  Shanghai  South Africa  Toronto  US Election  Washington  world events 

Crossing Paths in Shanghai

Posted By David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts, Monday, October 15, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

It has been my pleasure over the past number of years to have been invited to participate in the China Shanghai Performing Arts Market which runs parallel to the China Shanghai International Arts Festival. This international gathering does showcase significant new work from both emerging and established artists from both China and abroad. In fact, I'll be attending the premier of YANG Liping's "Rite of Spring" which was presented at ISPA's Pitch New Works last January.  

I also have the pleasure of serving as a consultant for the “Going to the World!” Pitch Session (modeled after Pitch New Works) which takes place Sunday, October 21st. For those of you familiar, this format is similar to our Pitch New Works session at the ISPA Congress. Our selection panel included other ISPA members: Alicia Adams, Mark Ball, Darko Brlek, Anthony Sargent, Rachel Healy, and Yvonne Tham.  

I look forward to keeping in touch with you while I'm there and please let me know if you're attending!

All best,


Tags:  CSIAF  CSPAF  Shanghai 

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Posted By David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Which international organization shares these three attributes with ISPA:

  • 2017 represented a significant anniversary
  • Core values of inclusion and accessibility
  • Commitment to developing and expanding international networks

If you guessed the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society (EFFS), you would be correct!  2017 represented the 70th anniversary of the Fringe (along with the Edinburgh International Festival) and ISPA was on hand to co-present a series of talks and events under the banner ISPA Series at the Fringe.  The first session was hosted by Lieven Bertels (CEO, 2018 Culture Capital Leeuwarden) and explored the theme Festivals: Creating Opportunities.  About 50 participants engaged in a highly interactive group discussion format exploring festivals and their role in communities.  Two subsequent talks will be held on August 16th and 22nd.

This program is one of ISPA's new regional initiatives that facilitate a presence for ISPA and its membership globally. Through these regional initiatives we are able to engage local members and non-members alike and facilitate participation on a smaller scale than undertaking a full congress.

All of us at ISPA would like to thank the team at EFFS for their support in developing and realizing the program. 


PS  2017 marks ISPA's 69th anniversary and we held in 100th congress!


 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Edinburgh  ISPA Series at the Fringe  Regional Initiatives 

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A World View

Posted By David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, February 1, 2017

As we recently celebrated 2016 drawing to a close, we had no idea what 2017 would bring.  Last month's congress drew more than 550 delegates from 51 countries to New York.  Had the congress been held three weeks later, at least one of those delegates would not have been permitted in the country.  The values of diversity and inclusion are enshrined in ISPA's mission and operations.  As our membership has grown, so has its diversity - not only in terms of national origin but also with respect to: political and/or religious beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic circumstances, race, age, and disability.

As I have written in earlier posts, recent world events promoting inward looking ideals and policies will not address the issues that are facing all nations and peoples.  Our problems are global and need to be addressed globally, not by single nation states.  Recent actions here in the US and indeed, around the world are not based on solutions to address issues but instead are about fear mongering, discrimination and bigotry.

ISPA will continue to embrace its world view and act accordingly to ensure participation by all. 

Tags:  discrimination  diversity  nationalism  participation 

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Moving Forward

Posted By David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, November 9, 2016

This morning we, and by "we" I mean the world, has woken up to a new reality.  Not so very long ago I joked with two friends who categorically stated that if Brexit occurred and Trump got in they would be moving to New Zealand.  At the time we laughed at the absurdity of it all but alas now, a reality.  So how in this era of globalization has a wave of isolationism taken hold so firmly?  

ISPA as an organization values above all diversity and inclusion.  These values have taken on a new importance in light of these global events.  We as a community in the performing arts need to continue to reflect these values to the communities in which we work.  I believe that the role the arts plays in society has never been more important than it is now.  This January we will come together to discuss Arts, Power and Politics - how timely and I do hope you'll join us to engage in the dialogue.

In the meantime, late night television, comedians and satirists will have rich fodder for their material - small consolation but important that we continue to laugh!

Tags:  Arts and Community  US Election 

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Can we really get away from it all?

Posted By David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts, Monday, July 18, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

I wanted to follow up on last month's entry with an introduction I wrote for this month's issue of Network, ISPA's member's newsletter:

Given the world events in the past month it is difficult to know what to write.  After all, generations long before us and (hopefully) long after have witnessed seemingly insurmountable upheavals in their worlds and continued on and indeed even thrived.  Yet what strikes me today is the resurgence of isolationist attitudes in a global society.  Increasingly I hear of people speaking about leaving their homes in the United Kingdom or France (or a myriad of other countries) to live in regions of perceived safety and stability. 

However, I don’t think such places truly exist as we are interconnected in ways that are too intricate to truly "get away”.  I believe it is all the more important for us to continue to fight for what we believe, to present work that presents the best and worst of society and strive to effect change in our communities and the world around us.  

Remember that you are a member of a global community that is part of the solution to today’s challenges.  And with that comment we are wondering what you think?  How are you/your organization/your community responding to the world events of the past month?  Is this simply a blip and part of the normal course of things or are we experiencing a fundamental shift in attitudes?  We want to hear from you so please do take this opportunity to respond with your reaction to recent events.

Tags:  2016  escape  world events 

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What Does International Mean?

Posted By David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts, Friday, June 24, 2016

I woke up this morning to the distressing news that more than 52% of UK voters opted to leave the European Union.  This decidedly isolationist stance is partly in response to the fear mongering with respect to border control and immigration as well a perception of a lack of control over self destiny.   Sadly, it also feeds into Donald Trump's agenda on this side of the Atlantic but that deserves a separate discussion.

Almost 30 years ago, ISPA began holding annual congresses in cities around the world.  Increasingly our membership has grown to reflect the diversity that is our global village.  I believe what unites many of our members is the belief that we need to work together.  A recognition of an interconnectedness, a knowledge that what impacts one region will ultimately impact other regions.

Today's challenges are global and there is no doubt that yesterday's vote in the UK is a huge step back in the face of these challenges.  The refugee crisis, the global economy, climate change, terrorism, all of these problems and many more require a coordinated and unified response and action.  It is hard to imagine today wanting to stand alone in the face of these sometimes overwhelming realities.

I can't help but think back to ISPA's New York Congress in 2006 and the subsequent congress in Durban in 2008 where the theme of Ubuntu was celebrated.  Loosely translated, it refers to humanity and the concept of "we".  It also brings back the proverb, If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

To the 48% of voters that chose to remain in the EU, know that there are countless people around the world that stand with you.


Tags:  Brexit. international. Ubuntu 

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Posted By David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts, Friday, December 18, 2015


I'm not sure about others but I tend to spend my lunch at my desk either catching up on news or email or both.  However, in the past week I've been fortunate to have been invited to two lunches with out of town visitors.  The first was to meet the Quebec Culture Minister Ms. Hélène David.  The lunch was hosted at the residence of the Quebec Delegate General Jean-Claude Lauzon and also attending were Jean-Pierre Dion (Quebec Delegation) and Joe Melillo (BAM).  We enjoyed a free wheeling conversation but spoke a lot about the important role the Quebec Government has played in investing in and promoting Quebec artists - really a template for other regions to emulate.Of course we also spoke about ISPA's upcoming Congress in Montreal (May 22-27, 2017) and the enthusiasm for the event.

Yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed a visit (and lunch) with Sanjoy Roy.  I first met Sanjoy in Edinburgh in August where we were holding a meeting regarding mentoring opportunities for young producers.  Sanjoy is the Managing Director of Teamwork Films, producer of the Zee Jaipur Literary Festival and independent producer based in Delhi.  We had a really interesting conversation with a focus on a greater engagement of ISPA with India.

So, in retrospect, I highly recommend getting out from behind your desk during lunch and engaging with the world around you (or visiting).

Wishing everyone the best for the holiday season!

Tags:  Qiuebec 

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A Thursday in New York

Posted By David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts, Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Believe it or not, it wasn't that many years ago that the ISPA office was north of New York City in Rye.  While a somewhat bucolic setting, it was less than ideal for producing the congresses as well as meeting members.  I was reflecting on this yesterday as I had an afternoon of meetings with constituents from Bloemfontein, South Africa, Washington, and Toronto.  I suspect none of these meetings would have occurred had the ISPA office not been in New York. The meetings themselves were productive and interesting and coincidentally all revolved around festivals and potential ISPA partnerships/programs.

As I look at next week's meeting schedule, the regional diversity isn't quite the same but should prove to be equally interesting kicking off with an Executive Committee meeting Monday morning!  

Have a good weekend everyone!

Tags:  diversity  meetings  members  office  South Africa  Toronto  Washington 

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Posted By David Baile, ISPA - International Society for the Performing Arts, Thursday, August 27, 2015

And so begins my first Blog entry.  It seemed appropriate plus I was additionally inspired by the wealth of activity occurring around me in Edinburgh.  It had been a number of years since I have been to the festival and I had forgotten how much happened and how many people were here.  This morning kicked off with the Arts Producers Breakfast organized by Momentum (Creative Scotland.Edinburgh Festivals/British Council).  Walking into the room felt like old home week immediately spotting Micheal Mushalla, Ian Smith, Leigh Robieson-Cleaver and a wealth of other colleagues.  Faith Liddle (Edinbugh Festivals) was immediately on the case, introducing me to a number of the presenters/producers attending.  I'm now off to a meeting with the Melbourne delegates in town to discuss our upcoming Congress in Melbourne (May 30 - June 4, 2016).  Lots more to tell but you are always on the run here!

Best, David

Tags:  Blog 1  Edinburgh 

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