From 4-7 November Glasgow will become a global focus point for those working in the performing arts as it hosts the IETM plenary meeting. IETM is a European network representing over 1000 arts practitioners from 45 different countries. The IETM plenary meeting is held biannually at locations across Europe and attracts over 600 delegates. They will be attending a packed programme of events – open to the public too – with a varied and distinguished number of guests, speakers and performers.

Central Station caught up with Steve Slater, producer of IETM Glasgow, to find out more about this exciting event.

What has been your experience of past IETM meetings?

I became a member of IETM while programming Tramway in the mid 1990s. At the time Tramway was still very much involved in maintaining Glasgow’s international profile and maintaining the legacy following the success of Glasgow’s 1990 European City of Culture celebrations. I found that being a member brought me into direct contact with many of the major ‘players’ and arts institutions in Europe. It is a fantastic way of maintaining a consistent dialogue with the wider performing arts sector, allowing for a unique perspective on performance and it’s impact on the arts closer to home.

Because the IETM plenary meetings happen twice a year, in different locations, the constant unifying elements are the people who attend, the relationships that develop over time and the opportunities which are born out of this regular framework of meetings.

What aspect of IETM Glasgow are you looking forward to the most?

I think the thing I’m looking forward to most is the prospect of showing Glasgow off in all its creative glory! The combination of 500 or so international participants, mixed with our own contingent of artists and cultural facilitators over a long weekend, packed with great performances and locations can’t be underestimated – this city is a great place to be creative…

Which guests will you be welcoming to the city?

There are so many, but I guess I’m keen to meet our keynote speakers Mike Daisey and Todd Lester, Americans who are both from New York. Mike is a well known writer and performer, who is very outspoken and confrontational. Todd is very much the academic and activist. In bringing the two of them together for IETM Glasgow, I’m hoping we can really get the participants thinking in new ways about what our sector is engaged with on a broader level; what we can affect as artists and practitioners beyond the artwork itself in social and political terms.

Tell us about the theme of ‘voices’ – how will this be explored?

‘Voices’ is a vehicle for any number of themes and subjects to be dissected during the meeting. It allows us to enter difficult territory on race, integration, activism and equality. As a professional body, the membership of IETM need to keep talking to each other, to find common ground and understanding, especially when faced with difficult times such as these, when funding is being stripped back to the bare minimum.

IETM is an international event, how does it build/draw on Glasgow’s own history of performance?

Bringing IETM to Glasgow has involved a great deal of work and commitment over the past couple of years. Initiated originally by the Scottish Arts Council and continued now as a Creative Scotland project, IETM Glasgow has been able to mark the city’s 20th anniversary of the European City of Culture status. In hosting the meeting and it’s associated programme of performances, tours and events it marks a moment in time, allowing us to witness the living legacy of 1990 and hopefully add something to the ongoing development and enrichment of the arts in Glasgow and Scotland for the future. If I were asked to sum up IETM Glasgow, I’d have to say it was a ‘truly good thing’ in these times of uncertainty. I’d urge everyone involved to make the most of the opportunity to meet, talk, plan and create the future they strive for.


Make friends with IETM Glasgow, join the group and check out the IETM blogs by performance critic Gareth Vile.

Full programme details can be found here.