Ghent arts centre Vooruit sets course for the future


After years of soul searching, Vooruit is celebrating its official recognition as an arts institute with a week of debates, talks, performances and a question to the public


Ghent arts centre Vooruit has done some artistic and organisational soul-searching over the last few years, brought on by its application for status as one of the Flemish government’s officially recognised arts institutes. It was awarded the status last year, meaning more subsidies to spend on programming.

Vooruit will demonstrate its metamorphosis with a week of debates, talks and performances. But it also wants to know what you think.

Blauwdruk (Blueprint) shouldn’t even be called a festival, says performing arts programmer Matthieu Goeury. “It’s a work week.” Vooruit, he says has “changed drastically in two ways. First, there are no more directors. Vooruit is becoming a collaborative effort. Second, for each new production we will team up with one of Ghent’s other arts organisations, like the Fine Arts Museum city theatre NTGent or performance arts centre Campo. But also relatively small ones such as Kerk and Gouvernement, which both recently lost their subsidies.”

While Blauwdruk is intended as a series of dress rehearsals and a relaunch of a new Vooruit, Ghent’s citizens are also in the spotlight. The public is invited to voice its opinion on what an arts institute should be able to offer. Wooden panels in the corridors of the building will ask for input on the new blueprint, while a camera will be on stand-by, giving everyone a chance to say it out loud.

Whether you choose to make your voice heard or not, the week’s programme offers plenty of reasons to head into the building. It all kicks off with the free multi-room performance/installation Amusement Park: Tunnel of Thoughts (pictured) by Flemish artist Miet Warlop – the first time she has constructed the “living sculpture” indoors – and New York’s world-renowned sociologist Richard Sennet, who will tell us what cities should provide, and how poor management causes them to fail at every level.

14-19 March, Vooruit Gent