Shift is a festival of Canadian and Dutch arts with activities in Amsterdam in November, 2008, and in Toronto in February, 2009. Shift will create opportunities for exploration, exchange and new artistic and cultural understanding between Canada and The Netherlands.

Conceived by Continuum's Artistic Director Jennifer Waring, Shift is being programmed by some of Canada's top artistic voices Continuum, International Festival of Authors, Visual Art at Harbourfront Centre and Images Film Festival in collaboration with The Netherlands' influential Muziek Centrum Nederland (formerly Gaudeamus) and the internationally acclaimed ASKO and Ives ensembles. In Amsterdam, the architecturally stunning new Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ is the host venue; Canadian activities will be hosted by Toronto's jewel of the waterfront, Harbourfront Centre.

Shift Programming

Shift will present music, film, literature and visual arts as distinct forms while also encouraging their combination: Canadian and Dutch artists will work together to create new and exciting interdisciplinary projects.


In consultation with the Asko and Ives ensembles, Continuum has programmed concerts featuring some of the most important Canadian and Dutch emerging and mid-career composers. Music highlights will include:


Toronto-based Images Festival, under the direction of Artistic Director Pablo de Ocampo and Executive Director Scott Miller Berry, has drawn on a 20-year history of programming independent film and video art to curate Shift's film and video components. Highlights include:


In its 29-year history, Toronto's International Festival of Authors (IFOA) has presented more than 5,000 authors from more than 100 countries. As part of Shift, Continuum is working with IFOA Director Geoffrey Taylor to present an element of the Festival overseas for the first time. Events in both Amsterdam and Toronto feature authors and media personalities from both countries exploring new writing and sparking discussion of larger issues in literature. This exchange will showcase some of the most important authors currently being published in English and Dutch, in Canada, The Netherlands, and the world.

As a prologue to Shift events in Amsterdam and Toronto, Dutch authors Frank Westerman and Arnon Grunberg took part in the IFOA in Toronto in October.

Why Shift?

The springboard for this activity is the strong connection between Canada and The Netherlands stemming from Canada's role in liberating Holland at the end of World War II. The subsequent wave of emigration and the oft-remarked affinity the people of the two countries feel for each other has created a comfort and innate understanding. But have the modes and symbols of understanding become worn and clichéd? Through music, film, literature, visual arts and a general exchange of ideas, Shift will reevaluate, reinvigorate and redefine an already celebrated international friendship.

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