FAME, the festival that combines the arts and activism at the service of emancipation, returns for a second edition with an ever more ambitious, vibrant and needed program.
Through dance, circus, theater, workshops and conferences, a space for encounters and dialogue between feminist, queer and decolonial struggles opens up from September 18 to 24. A week centered on the themes of heritage and transmission. What we carry and what we pass on, what we endure and what we deliberately propagate...
As Alderwoman, my priority is to ensure that the cultural sector is at the forefront of the feminist cause.
So I'm delighted to see the FAME confirm its place as an essential event on Brussels' cultural agenda. In addition to raising the profile of these communities, this event designed to highlight the creations and artistic work of women and gender minorities within the performing arts helps to deconstruct stereotypes, offer new models, build more inclusive collective imaginations and convey a more egalitarian future.
Excellent festival to all!
Alderwoman of Culture, Tourism, Big Events and Municipal Equipment.
FAME is a multidisciplinary, mixed media performing arts festival which aims to encourage the discovery of new, fairer, and more inclusive narratives and imaginations. This is done through the exhibition of works and reflections produced primarily by women and gender minorities.
The festival takes place yearly in the month of September at a variety of venues across Brussels. The programme consists in theater, circus, performances, concerts, film screenings, conferences, and workshops curated by people who think, people who create, people who fight…
Every year, the festival programme hosts both international and domestic artists (francophone and Dutch-speaking) as well as emerging, established, and young artists. In addition to the artists, FAME also invites grassroots associations, collectives, and activists to the festival to give voice to their work and to create networks and bridges between arts, politics, and ongoing initiatives.
This is not a feminist festival.
This festival doesn’t pretend to be a substitute to the sociopolitical fights that have contributed to advances in women rights and those of gender minorities in the struggle for justice and equality. This is an arts festival, but also a festival for reflection, games, discovery.
And joy too.
The function of artists is not necessarily to educate, to cultivate, to make people more intelligent or less obtuse… though this can indeed happen. Artists are individuals who simply create art. Whether they are full-time or part-time; artists on weekends, on Sundays, one day a month or even once a year, they nevertheless contribute to our imaginary worlds.
Some of these worlds are more egalitarian or more inclusive than others and it is these that we want to share with you.
As stated above, this is not a feminist festival.
This is a festival that is feminist in its conception, its creation and in dialogue with feminists.
It is a festival that values and promotes the work and creations of female and gender minority artists, people of colour, white people, cis and trans, non-binary people, homeless people, those with or without savings, those with or without disabilities visible and invisible, lesbians, heterosexuals, bisexuals, those with or without families, professionals or amateurs and those from the present, past or future…
In the broad and troubled sense.
This is a festival for those who believe that women and gender minorities also have a rightful place in the world.
Come to the festival alone or with your chosen family, with your friends, children, grandparents… You will find a space for everyone and anyone.
To contribute to the visibility, dissemination and valorisation of the work and productions of women and people from gender minorities
To facilitate the creation and exhibition of new, fairer, and more inclusive narratives.
To support the production and dissemination of knowledge on the dialogue between the arts and feminisms.
To offer emancipatory tools for women and minorities in the cultural sector.
To create a place for knowledge exchange and learning for the general public.
To change welcoming and accommodation practices towards artists and audiences and to rethink inclusiveness and safety in the organisation of and during the festival
FAME has given itself a series of verbs as a guide to orient our relationships with artists, audiences and between the members of the FAME team:
The choice of performances and activities is justified by their relation to the annual theme and by what they contribute aesthetically and politically to the subject.
Despite the purpose of the festival (to promote gender minorities’ works), the artistic line-up will not solely focus on gender, women, and feminism. In taking the onus off gender, we give people the opportunity to freely explore the facets and nuances of their identities.
The ultimate goal is to explore what feminist thinking and knowledge contribute to art, but also what art (which is only ever an abstraction of reality – something that models, questions, and criticises it) can contribute to feminism.
In other words, how can art, as a language of its own, facilitate the invention of new, more inclusive, emancipatory, and fairer imaginaries?
Every year, the programme is drawn up by a programming committee. This committee is renewed either entirely or in part for each edition in order to respect a diversity of subjectivities and points of view.
The committee is composed of three to five people, including the artistic director of the festival.
The committee members are chosen each year for their knowledge, know-how, their experience in the field, their ethical positioning, and even their contribution and commitment to the fight against sexism and racism in the cultural sector.
For the 2023 edition, the programme committee is composed of :
Camille Khoury · Artistic director of FAME ;
Aru Lee · Poet, dramaturge, workshop facilitator on inclusion ;
Milady Renoir · Poet, activist, performer ;
Miriam Youssef · Director, actress, teacher.
Since 2015, we have seen awareness of the existence of gender inequality, violence, discrimination greatly amplified.
In 2016, La Bellone highlighted the gender inequalities that exist in the cultural sector.
To resume : Women, gender minorities and especially POC are very much present but remain underrepresented in the cultural sector both economically and symbolically.
In 2020, Delphine Houba launched a call for the creation of a feminist festival in Brussels.
In 2021, Camille Khoury responded to this call proposing a festival of this kind with a focus on performing arts, due to the absence of a festival of this kind.
In 2022, the first FAME edition took place:
· 19-24 September
· 43 Activities over one week across 10 different venues
· 9 shows, including 2 by Dutch-speaking companies and 3 by international (France, Sweden)
· 70% average attendance
· Archives 2022
The creation of FAME · Festival where Arts Meet Empowerment thus intends to support the work of these artists in a programme which promotes alternate ways of seeing the world and new imaginations which are fairer and more inclusive.
To find out more, here you can find some resources which address the absence of women, and gender and racial minorities in the cultural sector (in french):
Relations and Encounters
Finances and Administration
Press and Communication
Relations and Encounters
Finances and Administration
Caroline De Decker
Leopold De Nève
We are immensely grateful to the city of Brussels and our precious partners, whose unwavering support fuels the dream of our festival, breathing life into it with a generosity that shines in every edition.
FAME is an initiative of the Alderwoman for Culture of the city of Brussels, Delphine Houba, who strives to contribute to the reinforcement of equity and equality in the cultural sector.
With the support of Faouzia Hariche, Alderman for Public Education, Youth and Human Resources of the City of Brussels, of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the National Lottery. In collaboration with visit.brussels. Discover all the cultural and touristic attractions in the neighborhood on visit.brussels.
We also extend our thanks to the various venues that open their doors to host our festival, transforming each space into a time and place where creativity comes to life, thanks to their invaluable hospitality.