Each year for one week in July, the Portuguese city of Abrantes begins to buzz with creative collaboration as the 180 Creative Camp takes over, shaping the city into a joyful, inclusive and international camp bursting with artists from all disciplines.
Since it started in 2012, the 180 Creative Camp has invited various practitioners to work together across workshops, discussions and talks. Its aim is to give back to the people involved, hoping to enhance everyone’s work — participants or professional practitioners — by embracing collaboration through conversation.
Part festival and part conference, this year’s edition includes a range of exciting speakers from Negative Feedback’s George Muncey, Elise by Olsen, Jordy Van Den Nieuwendijk and It’s Nice That, who will be giving talks, workshops and creating work together with attendees over the course of the week. In the evening the activities continue by turning into a festival, creativity develops into exhibitions and lively concerts dotted around the city.
Ahead of this year’s edition taking place from 1 — 8 July, below we have a chat with organisers Kasia Dorda and Luis Fernandes to find out a little more about 180 Creative Camp and the many brilliant events there is to look forward to this year. More details about how to get involved in 180 Creative Camp’s week of insightful creative collaboration can be found here.
Can you tell us about the beginning of 180 Creative Camp?
Canal 180 [a Portuguese TV channel championing culture and the arts] started 180 Creative Camp almost at the same time it was founded! As a platform for a new generation of creators, its activity is based on its international network of collaborations. It became clear that it was important to have an event that could gather our network in the same place for a week of creative collaboration in media arts with workshops, talks, content production, project development and the exchange of ideas.
What do you think the 180 Creative Camp offers that other events like this do not?
If you compare it with other events they normally work independently as a summer camp, a music festival or an arts festival, and they work under a specific schedule. 180 Creative Camp’s agenda is divided into three main blocks, programmed individually but experienced as one: It’s an academy, with workshops and talks; a factory with a series of urban interventions and content production; and it’s also a festival with concerts, exhibitions and public activities.
Our proposal was to invite an international community to spend a full week together, discover new territory and have a series of experiences which could empower the idea of creative collaborations. Due to the scale of the event, and also the scale of the city of Abrantes, it has the perfect balance for you to slow the pace, get some knowledge, interact with the local community, meet new people, develop projects and enjoy some music.
It’s quite cliche to say it, but every time we answer what the event is about we talk about “the experience”. Of course you can have really nice experiences at different conferences, exhibitions or summer schools, but I honestly think that there is a kind of “aura” going around in the 40 degree sun of the Portuguese countryside in this week of July.
What are some of your favourite parts of the week? Are there certain activities you always look forward too?
Firstly, it’s meeting everyone. We start the week with a welcome dinner on Sunday, on Monday there’s a walking tour followed by a conference where invited artists present work and the project they’ll be developing in workshops during the week.
During the week there’s one evening dedicated to a portfolio review, but it’s more like the start of a conversation between invited artists, creators and speakers about the participant’s work. It’s great because there are a lot of participants that apply for the Camp and they have time and space to have deep conversations about their work. Here they find the perfect context for it as they spend the full week with professionals they admire. As the motto of 180 Creative Camp is “creative collaborations in the media arts”, it’s always great to see how new relationships, partnerships and collaborations start under the sun of Abrantes.
At the end of the week we organise a final presentation. It’s an opportunity to see the results of all the projects and have a tour around the city, everybody sees what artists and participants have produced with, and for, the city during the week. It’s a great opportunity to gather the community in a big walk around the city an understand how engaged they are with the projects!
What people are looking forward to collaboration with this year in particular?
Looking at this year’s agenda of 180 Creative Camp I think we were able to put together a really nice line up of young professionals! George Muncey (Negative Feedback), Devin Blaskovich, Elise by Olsen, Jack Turits, Luis Severo are in their 20s and Jordy Van Den Nieuwendijk, The Royal Studio, Fala Atelier in their early 30s!
We are also really looking forward to meeting all the participants. Every year we have super interesting groups with different creative fields with more than 10 nationalities represented. We also offer tickets to selected students from Portuguese schools of art, architecture, design and video and therefore we’re really looking forward to know who will join us this year. As Elise by Olsen once said, “The youth invents the future!”