A record number of #ijf20 proposals: for the love of journalism

Since New Year’s Day we have been evaluating the proposals submitted for inclusion in the 2020 festival programme. We will notify on 05 January those whose proposals have been accepted. The 2020 programme is now full. Please do not send in any more proposals!

Here are the numbers: a total of about 550 English-language proposals were received, of which 97 on 31 December (deadline day) alone, from Uruguay to Canada, from South Africa to Finland, from Australia to Nigeria and points in-between. This is, by a significant margin, the highest number of proposals we have ever received. 

Many will be disappointed. We acknowledge the experience, expertise and enthusiasm which goes into the preparation of these proposals and we take this opportunity to thank all those who have participated in the call for ideas. We would like to accept more proposals but we simply do not have sufficient programme space. In particular, the proposals of quite a few festival veterans have not made the cut due to our policy of aiming at about 50% of first-time speakers year-on-year.

We have accepted as many proposals as possible. Note that the English-language part of the 2020 festival programme will be concentrated on Thursday 02, Friday 03 and Saturday 04 April with the remaining two days (Wednesday 01 and Sunday 05 April) given over to the Italian-language programme. So three full days of English-language programming in eleven different venues, giving a total of at least 231 one-hour sessions. But even this is nowhere near enough to accommodate all the proposals which deserve to be included on merit and which we believe would be of interest to festival attendees.

The 2020 programme structure set up months ago cannot now be changed. In recognition however of the quality and quantity of proposals received we have decided to increase – budget permitting – the English-language programme space at the 2021 festival. Next year’s festival will take place from Wednesday 14 to Sunday 18 April 2021 and we will allocate four full days (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday) to the English-language programme, thus increasing it by one third in relation to 2020.

To those whose proposals were not accepted our message therefore is please do not be discouraged. We invite you to submit proposals for the 2021 festival (submission deadline 31 December 2020) in the knowledge that – budget permitting – the total number of session slots available for English-language sessions will be at least 308 (77 one-hour session slots per day spread over four days).

Veteran speakers and attendees will be aware that at the conclusion of each festival we generally declare it to have been the best yet. We now state with confidence, three months before it starts, that the 2020 festival will be the best yet.

We feel thrilled and humbled by what the festival has become. Reading through the proposals over the past couple of days has been such an uplifting experience; a demonstration of the vitality of quality journalism worldwide, of the widespread desire to learn from and mix with others holding a similar passion for journalism, of a conviction that what journalists do really matters, however frustrating, alarming and indeed at times mortally dangerous that commitment might be.

We look forward once again to welcoming the entire festival community (supporters, speakers, attendees, volunteers, others) back to Perugia in April. A heartfelt thanks to you all.

Arianna and Chris