Valentina Bellocchio (Italy, Entertainment Services) and Antonia Rosselò Rigo (Spain, Enternainment Services)

New Entrepreneur (NE):
Name & surname: Valentina Bellocchio
Country: Italy
Age: 45
Sector of activity: Music, theater, cultural and entertainment services
Did you already start your business? No

Host Entrepreneur (HE):
Name & surname: Antonia Rossellò Rigo
Country: Spain
Sector of activity: Music, theater, cultural and entertainment services
Experience in running a business (in years): 10
Name of business/website: Tshock Cultura Emocional
What is your business? Producer

Period of exchange: 01/03/2021 – 25/08/2021
Duration of exchange: 6 months

How did Valentina manage to organize cultural events and survive to egocentric artists during the COVID19 pandemic?

My name is Valentina, I’m 45 years old, and I live in Bologna, Italy. I’ve been travelling a lot in my life both for personal and working reasons. I’ve been living abroad more than 10 years working in audio-visual production and events coordination, learning to manage fears, experiences, expectations and at a certain moment of my life I decided to come back home. But I always dreamed and hoped to return to work abroad, in any country, just to complete my “unfinished” training.

It was the beginning of 2020, I was returning home in Bologna from my usual trip to Spain when I go visiting Arco, the art fair in Madrid, when I faced the unimaginable. The coronavirus was all around us and in a couple of days I found myself lockdown in my own house and without a job. The initial panic quickly turned into anger and pain facing a situation in front of which I could do nothing, waiting for answers that no one could give me. Speaking with some friends living in South America, one of them told me about the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program; something in my head woke up and finally I found the way to start planning a new, alternative solution to my precarious situation. I was determined to renew myself from a personal, professional, and economic point of view, imagining what it would be like dropping everything and getting back in the game at my age, return to living abroad even if only for a short period.

In a moment of impasse and uncertainty due to the COVID pandemic, I was determined to react, and this international program seemed to me the perfect occasion to find a way to escape a forced situation of stasis. At this point, I had to decide what my project would be, in which country I could gain experiences, updating my skills, and how to find a company suited to my needs which at the same time could be interested in my professional profile. I started thinking and all the answers came quite fast. Looking inside myself, I understand that I had everything under my eyes, what I had always dreamed of and maybe hoped but never done for fear of failing and now, I had the possibility to try. What worse could ever happen to me compared to my current situation? I could never fail if I didn’t give up.

Making me independent from the rigidly structured corporate world and becoming a freelance by creating my own business – an event planning agency particularly specialized in providing video mapping light installations – was the way to regenerate my life and transform my profession as a result of the changes that the corona virus would have created soon in the field of live events.

Having lived in Spain before I knew it could have been a good place to find new ideas in the audiovisual, creative, and live events field. I got in touch with various realities in different parts of the country and then I found a multidisciplinary production company operating on various levels of performing arts, settled in Palma de Mallorca.

Tshock manages and creates a residency center in Santanyí, in the Balearic Islands, as well as the international and independent Performing Arts Festival S’Illo, with the main objective of creating productions that show the transformation of personal values, promoting and investigating the emotional culture through performing techniques.

Once the relationship with Antonia Rossellò had started, I immediately realized that with her I could have developed many aspects of my future activity, as Tshock is not only active in the production of theatrical performances and cultural events but also about to launch its new online platform for those stage trainers who want to expand their theater market. We had found ourselves in an ocean of possibilities, I was useful to them as well as they to me.

During the six months of exchange, I’ve been involved in the production of Anima, a new theatrical play as assistant director, in the organization and coordination of cultural events such as art exhibitions, two dance courses, the creation of a web page of which I have followed the audiovisual contents and an International (Short) Film Festival. I helped Antonia and the little team of Tshock in the daily activities – contact artists and suppliers with attention to financial and time constraints, organizing facilities and details such as set up, transportation, location, equipment, promotional materials – improving my abilities in the events coordination and audiovisual shooting-editing. Six months flew by very fast in a wonderful context like that of Palma de Mallorca, even if being there during the Covid pandemic made things harder than what I could have expected. Many things where forbidden and sometimes I really felt alone, but now that everything’s finished, I can tell that all these difficulties have only made me stronger and more determined in pursuing my goals, more aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I had some difficulties at the beginning, but I was able to adapt quite well soon, so the initial situation didn’t stop me from moving forward safely in my tasks. Due to Covid restrictions things have been more challenging than usual and obliged everyone to change their own life and work habits and I must admit that at some point I began feeling the weight of this “strange” way of living-working, but at the end I’ve managed to reach my goal, and I’m really proud of myself. For what it matters, at the end, our own opinion is the most important! My next steps… I don’t know yet, but as I hope to achieve success in my professional life, something I know that I’ll have to wait a little longer because the economy will be slow to recover, I’ll continue what I’ve started in order to achieve my dreams, positive that sooner or later, they will come true.

Valentina Bellocchio (NE): “I definitely recommend the EYE program to everyone. A life experience abroad is a great opportunity to improve both in a professional and human way, forcing you to manage unknown situations and learning new points of views. You never stop learning, at no age, and if you feel stuck in a reality that does not flow as you would like, get up and try something new, it can only help you finding what you want or not from life, help you update your knowledge and skills because the confrontation with different cultures and way of working just opens the mind. Maybe you’ll not change your life, but it’s worth a try.”

Antonia Rossellò Rigo (HE): “I didn’t know the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program and when Valentina knocked at our door, I was so happy, her arrival was as unexpected as well-timed given the amount of work we had and the fact that she has an interdisciplinary background in the field of art and events was very helpful for us. This experience has been so necessary and motivating for my team of work, obliging us to confront our way of working with a different vision of conceiving things. Despite the fact that Covid impacted this exchange in a negative way since we could not go out for several weeks obliging Valentina to work from home, we adapted to circumstances learning to communicate and working in streaming, something very new for us. It has been a pleasure to share this experience with Valentina.”