IETM, the 500-strong international network for contemporary performing arts, has appointed Iceland’s Ása Richardsdóttir as its secretary general. Richardsdóttir has played a prominent role in the evolution of Iceland’s contemporary performing arts scene: she is currently the director of Ice Hot Reykjavík 2018, project ambassador for the Nordic Culture Fund, and a long-standing member of IETM.
Said Richardsdóttir: “IETM is one of the most important networks of arts organisations in the world. The opportunity to represent it is a fantastic one. I have been a member for 18 years and I look at IETM as my most important professional family. To be offered to lead this family is an honour.”
After the next Ice Hot Nordic Dance Platform, taking place in Reykjavík 12-16 December, Richardsdóttir will move from Iceland to Brussels, joining the organisation on 1 February 2019. Current IETM secretary general Nan van Houte will say farewell to the network during the IETM Spring Plenary Meeting in March 2019.
With a hand in politics, media, finance and the arts, Richardsdóttir brings a bulk of experience to IETM: she has worked as an international news reporter; founded her own theatre company, Kaffileikhusid; served as executive director of Iceland Dance Company, stood as president of Performing Arts Iceland and contributed to many projects as creative producer. Her work with international networking events, festivals and projects has brought international attention to Icelandic performing arts and Nordic dance.
She has taught artistic management courses at University of Iceland, Iceland Academy of the Arts, Bifröst University and led courses for various organisations in Europe. In 2017 she co-authored a guide for artists and producers who wish to work collaboratively and internationally, which can be downloaded for free on www.itstartswithaconversation.org.
She added: “I need to learn the ropes of the job first and thankfully Nan and I will have a month together at the beginning. Under Nan’s leadership, IETM’s position has strengthened and I intend to carry on the good work. IETM has a global task to fight for the values of the performing arts and empower artists and other professionals. This is a hugely important role and I will do my very best lead us onwards.”
IETM couldn’t be in better hands: after the collapse of the Icelandic bank system in 2008, Richardsdóttir was appointed one of five directors of the board of the New Landsbankinn, the largest resurrected bank in Iceland and served on the board for two years. She has been an active member of the Women’s alliance, the Social Democratic alliance and served as city councillor from 2014-18.