After the success of our discourse-based community engagement programs at The Fusebox Festival in 2012, we were invited back to conduct a weekend-long critical writing workshop with Austin’s Fusebox Festival bloggers.
We developed a syllabus and a “Contemporary Performance Criticism Reader” which we distributed to participants in preparation for our arrival. Over the course of the weekend we discussed current practices in critical writing, trends in performance, the emerging role of the arts festival as civic space and the role of the critic in facilitating dialogue.
Working with festival leadership we designed a program that would support the development of a sense of mission and focus for the festival blogger cohort; thus the intensive included traditional instruction as well as peer-led discussion.
The blogger-only workshop concluded with an editorial brainstorm session with the bloggers and artistic director Ron Berry to review the program for the upcoming festival. Out of this discussion was developed an editorial plan to create festival-related content on a regular schedule leading up to the festival itself.
The weekend culminated with a participatory public program where the wider Austin arts community was invited to discuss the issues and ideas explored by the bloggers.