“Young” in the Atelier title refers first of all to the festival managers being “young in the festival business”. The participants represent a broad diversity of cultural and professional backgrounds – from students in arts management to young managers working for large established organisations, to emerging curators running their own innovative international festivals. They all share the desire to implement excellent artistic festivals.

Gathering creative minds for bridging connections across the globe

Our atelier will gather 35 festival managers coming from all over the world who are interested in the artistic and social aspects of festival management.

Participants are early career festival managers coming from all over the world and working for art organisations or festivals, and who are interested in the artistic aspects of festival management. 

The Atelier upskills and informs participants about the state of play of the world today and offers a time out to reflect critically on the role of festivals in today’s world, infused by people of different backgrounds and perspectives who can challenge and provoke our thinking or the way we do things.

Participants will have the chance to share their experiences with colleagues from various cultural and professional contexts whilst encouraging a global discussion about the social and political role of festivals and festivals-makers, as well as how these views reflect upon the local context of the Atelier and their own festivals. 

Once the Atelier is over, all participants have the opportunity to connect to a diverse global network that currently features more than 830 alumni and 260 festival/cross sector experts that have the potential to inspire participants for new collaborative projects.

If you would like to participate in this unique and inspiring opportunity, apply now.

Agnese Desideri

I’m Agnese Desideri, I’m italian and I am a theatre teacher for kids, an actress and puppeteer. I’m also a writer of plays for childrens.

After high school, I studied Shows’ arts and sciences in La Sapienza University of Rome, thinking that screenplay writing for cinema was my future. Meanwhile I started working as a children entertainer for parties and summer camps and I really enjoyed it. The association I worked with was in the same office of Teatro Verde, so I started to get interested in their works. After university, I got into a first level master in Silvio D’Amico academy in Rome to study screenwriting and dramaturgy: by the time of my graduation, I knew that my place was in a children’s theatre, combining my passion for art and theatre with my love for the children’s world.

Photo credit: Inke Johannsen

Anna-Katharina Müller

Anna-Katharina Müller has been a dramaturg at Theatertreffen since 2019 and became Head of Theatertreffen’s Stückemarkt in 2021. She was born in Moers and grew up in Magdeburg. She was a major Theatre student at Southeast Missouri State University. From 2012 to 2015, she studied Drama Studies at Universität Leipzig. This was followed by a Master’s degree at Akademie für Darstellende Kunst Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg. During her Master’s course, she worked with Anna-Elisabeth Frick, who won the Körber Studio für Junge Regie at Thalia Theater Hamburg in 2016 for the production “Die Unerhörte”. From 2017 to 2019, she was part of Lars-Ole Walburg’s team at Schauspiel Hannover, first as an assistant dramaturg, then as a dramaturg, where she was in charge of the artistic direction of Cumberland, a venue of Schauspiel Hannover. Her work as a freelance dramaturg includes a collaboration with director Katerina Giannapoulou at the Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2021. Since 2022 she is an elected member of Rat für die Künste Berlin.

Annalise Prodor

Annalise Prodor is a multi-disciplinary artist and creative facilitator currently based in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Kjipuktuk). Annalise has a decade’s worth of arts facilitation and non-profit organizational experience, including dedication to live art and performance production and administration. She has facilitated predominantly socially engaged performance practices alongside organizations like Toronto’s renowned Mammalian Diving Reflex (Mammalian). Her professional practice contains a delicate balance between administrative and active facilitation, having filled roles such as: associate project manager, operations manager, fundraising & development consultant, grant writer, producer, co-director, script writer. Annalise is most interested in engaging communities through art by facilitating accessible artful experiences that can be viewed and participated in by people of all income brackets, and all cultural backgrounds.

Annalise is also a visual artist whose artistic practice uses an interdisciplinary approach; seeking to evoke curiosity and emotion through displays of the human experience. She explores ideas that surround femininity, complacency, mediocrity, and environmental responsibility.

Cebile Dube

My name is Cebile Dube. I am the founder and creative director of Emasikweni Arts. I am an indigenous traditional African music and dance performer. I am also a culture activist. I am born of the EmaSwati tribe, which is a minority among the Nguni tribes of Southern Africa. I started Emasikweni Arts and Culture as a response to the indignation to our cultural heritage. During the colonialism era, part of Swati tribal land was split, making some Swati people live in parts of South Africa and some remained in Swaziland/Eswatini. I was fortunate to have grown on the main land and in a rural area where we had cultural activities every Friday at school. I also participated in the annual traditional Swati reed dance festival in Swaziland, right through high school and into university. That planted a seed of passion in me, for our tribal music and dance performance. I now work as an information transmitter, to help my peers and those that will come after me to be able to understand and appreciate our indigenous heritage. I teach indigenous music and dance.

Christina Skarpari

I am a creative director, designer-researcher, and educator and my practice sits at the junction of social and communication design. I design, curate, and art direct communication design projects, interdisciplinary arts festivals, non-formal education programs, workshops, exhibitions, and other projects. I am interested in socio-ecological practices and interdisciplinary methods of community engagement that straddle design, fine art, and anthropology, for the purposes of sustainability and innovation. I have a history of working in the public arts sector, in the higher education industry, and in the NGO field for over nine years. My training began during the Masters' program in Communication design at Central Saint Martins (2012-2014). There I focused on the conceptualisation and realisation of Xarkis Festival which is now an international, nomadic arts Festival roaming mountainous villages of Cyprus. In 2013 I became the founder and creative director of Xarkis NGO. You can click here to read more about the NGO. My personal practice spans various exhibitions, publications, and initiatives in the UK and Cyprus.

In the context of academia, I have received an AHRC Techne studentship for my ongoing practice-based research degree (Doctor of Philosophy - PhD) at Central Saint Martins, which focuses on developing a co-design methodology within craft heritage communities, alongside community resilience. Since 2017 I have been working as an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, on the BA Unit focused on tackling environmental issues via collaborative practice and an intersectional lens, and at London College of Communication, where I work in the co-design unit focused on speculative futures under the 'MA Design for Social Innovation and Sustainable Futures'.

In parallel, since 2022 I have started collaborating as Creative Director for boutique advertising agency 'Okay When' which specialises in promoting Pan-European causes within the fields of human rights, the green economy, the environment, and climate change, alongside LGBTQI+ rights, culture, and more, with clients such as the Green/EFA, The European Parliament and the European Council.

Corné Venter

I am a 27-year-old from Cape Town, South Africa. I graduated with a BA in Drama and Theatre Studies at the Stellenbosch University, with an honors degree in Theatre Directing. I’ve always had an immense love for the arts, especially theatre and dance, though I’ve never felt like I truly belonged on stage. I found my place within the industry when I started working for a festival organization in 2018 – the Toyota SU Woordfees in Stellenbosch.

I thrive on admin and structure and feel right at home as the artist liaison and communications agent as well as programme coordinator for the Woordfees. I also manage the Stellenbosch University Choir who is currently is holding the title of the number 1 amateur choir on the Interkultuur World Rankings list for the past 10 years.

I come off as quite shy and introverted, but once you get to know me you will learn that I am a vibrant and caring person. My passion for the work that I do and the people I work with is clearly reflected in the dedication I have for my job. I love working with people and learning from people. One of my favourite things to do in a busy environment is to take a step back and watch the people around me, as I feel you can learn so much from people by listening and observing.

Daniel Cordova

Daniel Cordova currently studies at the Master of Applied Theater Studies at the Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, Germany. In 2010 he graduated in Performing Arts from the University of São Paulo (ECA-USP). He worked at the production office as production manager and editorial coordinator for theater and dance guest performances, exhibitions and multidisciplinary projects of international artists, collectives and institutions in São Paulo, furthermore as independent producer of theater and dance artists and collectives from the local independent scene, in short or long-term collaborations. In 2018 he was resident for 3 months at the dramaturgy of the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt am Main. In 2021 he co-curated the series of talks on dramaturgy "entre:dramaturgismos", with an accompanying publication, in collaboration with Goethe Institut São Paulo, as well as the festival DISKURS35, at the Institute for Applied Theater Sciences in Giessen, Germany.

Demetra Socratous

Demetra Socratous was born in Cyprus. She obtained her Major in the Science of Education and a Minor in French Studies (University of Cyprus, 2004), a Master in Drama & Theatre in Education (University of Warwick, UK, 2007) and a second Master in the Arts & Culture Management (Rome Business School, Italy, 2017). She is working as a primary school teacher (15years experience), as an adults’ professional trainer, a drama pedagogist and facilitator, a human rights and peace trainer. In the past she has been performing in street theatre, invisible theatre, and storytelling. 

She published the children books “Mary and the White Pea” (on child cancer), “Dad in a Cage” (on parental imprisonment), “Narrations on the island” (on child-refugee’s journey) and the poetry collection “Truths, Dreams and Peace” (nominated for the Cyprus National Children Literature Award 2017). She presents in conferences and facilitates workshops on the previously mentioned topics, and furthermore, on drama and theatre in education, emotional literacy, conflict resolution-reconciliation, active citizenship, cultural heritage, cultural diplomacy, etc.  

Since 2001, Demetra has been a youth leader, a cultural manager, and an active member of various socio-cultural and bicommunal organisations. She was the Coordinator of the ‘Youth and Culture’ Workshop of PAFOS2017 European Cultural Capital (2012), as well as the co-Coordinator of the Cyprus Youth Network of the European Cultural Parliament (2013-16). She has been designing, coordinating, and running projects, events, and local festivals (e.g., the CYPRUSiTAGe2021 youth-driven dialogue AHDR-UNESCO MGIEP bicommunal project on Education & Peace; the ‘ANTAMOSIS - Narrations on the island 2020’ engaging locals and Syrian refugees; the Cyprus Archaeological Treasure bicommunal project by the International Children’s Film Festival; the 1st “ANTAMOSIS-Children’s Arts Festival: tales, brushes and imagination 2011”, etc.). A short video on her bicommunal volunteer work has been posted on the European website for the European Year of Volunteerism 2011.

Demetra is a Heritage Youth Ambassador of the Cyprus (bicommunal) Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage since 2018, an amazing stone-by-stone and hand-to-hand procedure to preserve Cyprus’ common heritage. She is consciously committed to her vision of leading projects and festivals in heritage sites across the divide, aiming to embrace and heal Cyprus’ people surrounding and inner wounds, to encourage them connect with their past and shape together their peaceful future.

Emma Hay

Emma Hay is a cultural producer and programmer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is currently Programme Manager at Edinburgh International Festival working across artforms. With over 10years experience in large scale festivals, community engagement and international programming, she is a strong advocate for the benefits of cultural exchange and engagement.

Raised on the west coast of Scotland, Emma moved to Edinburgh to study theatre, where she developed a passion for the festival sector and has worked in various roles across Edinburgh’s festivals, including Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh International Book Festival. She recently joined the board of Hebrides Ensemble where she was appointed Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Champion.

Career achievements include producing a large scale participatory dance work Kadamati with Akram Khan Company as part of 1418NOW, leading a three year programme of work at Castlebrae Community High School and developing and curating a season of work Refuge, exploring themes of migration and identity for the International Festival’s 75th Anniversary.

Fergus Turner

Fergus Turner lives in Cape Town, South Africa in a seaside community called Muizenberg - at the intersection of the city’s complex and and divided geo-spatial and socio-economic landscapes. Grown and raised in his family’s movement arts studio, Fergus is a life long committed martial artist and aspiring dancer, in a loving learning friendship with movement and music.

His interest in festivals and festival organising was first sparked by his engagement with local organisations working to bridge socio-economic divides with creative exchange programmes and workshops with schools and colleges across spatially and culturally separated communities.

After participating in a Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 project, called the Muizenberg Festival, Fergus coordinated and curated the continuity of the festival and its social process of holocratic renewal. The Muizenberg Festival  an annual community organising process culminating in a week long event showcasing and celebrating community-led innovations and the creative wealth of the area. Fergus continued curating and co-coordinating the festival 2014 through to 2020. As part of the groundswell in community participation and cultural activations emanating from the festival process, Fergus established The Hive - a multi-functional community and co-working space for people and teams to build skills, co-create, foster collaboration and nurture innovation and cultural entrepreneurship within the greater social and cultural ecosystem of Cape Town.

The Hive continues as a network agency working to provide catalytic capacity building and programme design to social purpose organisations and civic institutions, incubating festival programming that encourages social cohesion, builds local economy and fosters active citizenry. As a festival organiser, alongside dynamic teams, Fergus has worked with festivals across Cape Town and internationally in various capacities, and assists social purpose organisations in using creative activism and cultural activations to catalyse social innovation, build more caring and inclusive teams and amplify advocacy objectives.

He holds Masters in Inclusive Innovation Studies where his work and research focused on action research with Cape Town’s community-based festivals as vehicles for socio-economic transformation. Fergus is currently the programme lead for the Systems Justice Innovation portfolio at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship where his work includes convening collective impact processes for systems change, teaching and training for entrepreneurship incubators in emerging economies, and designing innovation labs to catalyse solutions for socio-economic and climate justice issues.

Fredyl Hernandez

Fredyl B. Hernandez is a senior artist-teacher member of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). He joined PETA through its youth arm, the Metropolitan Teen Theater League (MTTL), which trained him in organizing workshops, art camps, and a number of youth theater festivals. Throughout his years of stay in PETA, his festival management work is an extension of his various roles as a performer, facilitator/collaborator, cultural worker, production staff, and as an associate program director. He was part of the Festival of Windows (2017), a gathering of artists from the Philippines and Southeast Asia dedicated to theater for development; the Taga-alog 2018, a creative campaign on the cultural role of Pasig River in Metro Manila; and the Bagong Bilang, The Power of the Youth Vote (2022) an online festival that promoted the role of the young people's vote in this year's national and local election.

In 2019, he joined the 2nd Next Generation Program, a theatre residency organized by the National Centre of Theatre for Children and Young Audiences in Lahore, Pakistan, as well as the Global Youth Peace Ambassador Training in Male, Maldives. He was also a 2019 Fellow of the Arts for Good Fellowship, a program of the Singapore International Foundation which aims to foster a community of practice that harnesses the power of arts and culture for positive social change, where he participated in the creative exchanges in Singapore and in India. In 2021, he was part of the International Exchange Program organized by the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ) Germany in the City of Braunschweig. This year, he was a collaborator in the Young IDEA Lab in Reykjavik, Iceland for the 9th IDEA World Congress. He attended as well the Kaimera Lab 2022, a training on site-specific, immersive, and participatory performance organized by Kaimera Productions in Gorzanow, Poland.

He is also an Instructor at the Department of Art Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman. His interests include theater and performance studies, arts and social practice, and artistic/performance research.

Freo Majer

Freo Majer is the founder and artistic director of the international mentorship program Forecast based in Berlin.

Freo has no idea what he is and whether there is a profession for him. But sometimes he gets a rough idea of what he's doing, why something may succeed or fail, and he tries to get better at it. The German term “Überforderung” means that somebody does or has to do something they cannot actually do. Failure and Überforderung are essential to Freo's progression and learning (although they're not always fun).

As a preschooler, Freo was given all sorts of pens, paintbrushes, musical instruments, modeling clay, and even a typewriter, and he grew up believing that tinkering, playing around, and experimenting with artistic means meant being human. On the other hand, Freo comes from a merchant family. He finds structures, forms of organization, and numbers fascinating, loves scientific podcasts and is quite good at using Excel spreadsheets. At times Freo Majer thought he had to write stories, paint, take photographs, write plays, make films, act, sing (pop, seriously!), and time and again he wanted to be a spy or at least lead a double life.

After school, a very formative work with old women with dementia, and a deeply frustrating and confusing interlude at a humanities faculty, Freo Majer tried to create a connection between all of his interests. In the (completely wrong) assumption that opera represented a combination of all the arts, Freo Majer started studying opera direction at the “Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler”—as someone who had rarely ever entered an opera house. He became assistant and student of the director and choreographer Ruth Berghaus and got to know and love a radical notion of the freedom, the boldness, and the megalomania of art. But when he himself began to move from one opera house to the next as a director, Freo Majer became more and more alienated from that work. He—like many artists he met in his career—felt he lacked the playful element, the freedom to experiment. He missed the immediate, surprising experience of art. Most of the opera professionals wanted a predefinition, and an explanation, before the would even move. Every detail had to be described, every artistic idea justified and substantiated verbally. It felt disturbingly mechanic and boring, and Freo Majer was on the verge of becoming a zombie.

Freo Majer heard about the program EMAA (Executive Master in Arts Administration) in Zurich and took part in it from 2010-2013. As part of this training, he developed the concept for the mentoring program Forecast and looked for his first allies. Since then he has benefited from countless generous, open-minded, wise, energetic as well as powerful supporters who have become his mentors in the never-ending development of the project, and the spin-offs that have grown out of it.

Inna Goncharova

2011 - still the head of the independent repertoire theater "MASKAMRAD"

2013 - still coordinator of Joyfest projects:

• Joyfest International Theater Festival - 7 editions annually since 2013

• All-Ukrainian Theater Festival of Children's Theaters "Joyfest-Children" - annually since 2015, 5 editions, including 2020 online

• Out of Time International Historical Film Festival - since 2014, 8 editions of the Smalt Festival of Ukrainian Classical Music - since 2015, 4 editions

• International Theater Festival of Monodrama Solo Plays Fest, annually since 2019, 2 editions

2020 - 2021 - expert of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation (UKF)

2019 - present - founder and coordinator of the project "International Theater Festival of Monodrama Solo Plays Fest"

2019 - PR-director of the project "Fortress without Borders" with the support of the UKF (inclusion, applicant NIAM "Kyiv Fortress"

2017 - still the founder site of modern Ukrainian drama Drama & World / Drama & World - since 2017

2016-2019 - organizer of the international jury, member of the jury of the International Theater Festival "Joyfest"

2017 - 2018, 2019-2020 - member of the jury of the International Theater Festival Andrew's Fest.Ukrainian format

2019-2021 Coordinator of the Independent format of the International Theater Festival St. Andrew's Fest

2014 - present - Chairman of the Charitable Foundation "Horizon" (assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine in eastern Ukraine, assistance in the implementation of projects in the field of culture)

2018 - still a member of the Board of the NGO "Guild of Independent Theaters of Ukraine"

Iryna Bilan

Iryna Bilan is based in Kyiv and works with partnerships, cooperations, and grants in the team of Mystetskyi Arsenal National Art and Culture Museum Complex. Also, she is a co-founder and head of Art Arsenal Community NGO, a newly created organization to support the sustainability and development of individual and institutional actors in the cultural sector.

Iryna received her first degree in Marketing from Lviv Polytechnic National University, Ukraine. After serving at Tustan State Historical and Cultural Reserve as Communications Manager, she completed a year-long traineeship at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The following year Iryna returned to the United States to pursue her Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in nonprofit management and leadership at Grand Valley State University, Michigan. After graduation, for one year Iryna worked at Grand Valley’s Development department as a Prospect Research and Grant Writer, helping raise money for capital campaigns and outreach programs, and then returned to Kyiv, Ukraine, to work at Mystetskyi Arsenal.

With the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army, Iryna joined the volunteer initiative, which later was officially established as Group 35 Charity Fund. The fund began with the basic equipment support of the Territorial Defence Forces units, and upon gaining expertise started focusing on providing the technological dominance of the Ukrainian army over the enemy.

Johanna Couvée

Johanna Couvée is a Brussels-based cultural manager, curator and consultant, originally from the Netherlands, with a background in Sociology and Psychology. She works for Citylab, a creative incubator supporting talent in Brussels to develop and imagine perspectives on an urban future. She also worked as curator for the exhibition 'Apparition' at Bozar, 'These Streets, Our Streets' at Beurs metro station, and 'Moving Within' at Kaaitheater. She believes in the power of art for collective healing, as a medium to change habits and attitudes, and as a rich source of inspiration to work towards new social realities. Also trained as a somatic psychologist, she explores ways to build bridges between therapeutic, embodied practices and collective action for social justice.

Kseniya Kleynos

I'm from Berdiansk, Ukraine. I’m a creative producer, cultural manager, multi-sphere manager, social entrepreneur, sometimes I can be a coach and mentor.

I research and promote co-creation between people. I am sure that the future belongs to the teams. One creative person can create something brilliant, and 5 creative people from different fields create something 50 times more brilliant. Why? Because it's a synergy. I like to help people, ideas and projects grow.

I'm created and organised activities of the Creative Hub in Berdiansk from 2015 to 2022. During the existence of the hub, I was actively involved in the creation of various good events in Berdiansk and festivals that developed various creative and professional directions. I know how to create something new and creative in a small town and at the same time interest conservative residents.

The first fashion festival in the city, where Ukrainian fashion designers gathered and presented their works, and city residents were inspired by new images and joined world trends — Fashion Day. It grew from a small fashion workshop to a big event with invited guests from Europe. I organized the first Piano Day in the city, a musical event that was launched in 2016 in Europe, and in 2018 Berdyansk joined it. From a simple screening of Best SCI FI fantastic movies, my team and I created Festival Fantastic movies, a kind of mini cosplay festival with characters from fantastic movies, it was not just a festival, it set the standard for all other events in the city.

For those who want to become a restaurateur, I and my team organized a Restaurant Day, where anyone could create their own small restaurant, treat guests to food that they prepared themselves, and also hear honest feedback about their food creativity. Participated in the creation of the Yoga Festival in the city, which unites people with a love for yoga. I was involved in the creation of the Ravlyk-fest Festival of Animation, which brings together animation professionals and fans. I also created a lot of Quests for young people and children to unite them and teach them new skills on the topic of ecology or critical thinking.

Maria Vtorushina

‍Maria Vtorushina is a curator, researcher and artistic director from Kyiv. Her curatorial projects are based on analysing notions, concepts and practices of freedom and her main field of research are the history of queer art and the fight for human rights in Ukraine. In her ongoing research, Maria aims to reveal and articulate voices and practices of queer people from Ukraine, censored or repressed by different government regimes starting from the beginning of the twentieth century.

Maria Vtorushina holds a Master’s degree in Art History from the National Academy of Arts and Architecture, Kyiv and is currently working as a researcher at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the Maastricht University. Maria is a co-founder and curator of Set Foundation. The basis of Set exhibition activity is an anti-hierarchical collaboration between representatives of different ideas and schools in contemporary culture.  Since 2016, Maria has been leading Kyiv Art Week as its artistic director.

Matthew Higgins

Matthew Higgins is an arts manager, producer and programmer working across live performance, festivals, and major events.

Prior to joining Dancenorth Australia as Development & Marketing Manager, Matthew was the Festival Producer at Sydney Mardi Gras, where he produced a multi-arts program and festival hub, major outdoor community events, the largest LGBTQIA+ party in the southern hemisphere and managed cultural partnerships with Sydney Opera House, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and Moogahlin Performing Arts. Matthew has worked in programming teams at Brisbane Powerhouse and Brisbane Festival, in strategic event development and investment at Destination NSW, and corporate partnerships at the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. As Curator-In-Residence at The Bearded Tit, Matthew was awarded a Creative Fellowship from the City of Sydney to develop a COVID-19 resilience and recovery plan for Sydney’s queer arts community. As an independent producer, he has presented new works at La Boite Theatre Company and World Theatre Festival. Matthew offers pro-bono arts management consulting to the Wulgurukaba Walkabouts, a group of traditional Aboriginal dancers based on Wulgurukaba Country – Gurambilbarra (Townsville) and Yunbenun (Magnetic Island), North Queensland, Australia.

He is a member of Townsville City Council’s Inclusive Communities Advisory Committee and Creative Partnerships Australia’s Queensland Development Collective Organising Committee.

He is passionate about bringing communities together through arts experiences; regional arts advocacy; developing artists and audiences; and exploring diverse identities and social-political issues through performance, conversation, and art.

Matthew holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from QUT and is completing a postgraduate law degree to further investigate the nexus of business, law, and creativity.

Naomie Kiesse

Nicola Mitropoulou

Nicola is a Cypriot cultural practitioner. She enjoys collecting ordinary moments and finding art in the everyday. She has recently obtained a BA from Sussex University in Art History and Film Studies.

Currently, her interests include community building, decolonizing cultural institutions, contemporary visual art, identity formation in contested spaces, queerness and the female experience. Nicola is an Artistic Collaborator and Curator for Animafest Cyprus.

aspiring to create and curate

shifting and adapting

Olga Bekenshtein

Olga Bekenshtein is a Kyiv-based cultural manager, music curator, and DJ. She specializes in cross-sectoral, contemporary, and experimental music events. The most important of them are Am I Jazz? festival and Closer art center, including its electronic music festivals such as Strichka, Brave! Factory. All projects are international and located in Kyiv. 

As a Fulbright scholar, she earned MA in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans (USA). Both in practice and theoretical research, she focuses on decolonization, Black studies, and politically aware performance.  

Omeed Khalid Weli

Omeed Khalid, a film producer and director from Baghdad, holds a diploma and a bachelor’s degree in cinema from the Academy of Fine Arts, CEO & Founder & CEO Babylon Film Institute.

He worked in a number of BBC films, at the Iraqi Independent Film Center, Human Film Production, and other companies. Participated in a filmmaking workshop in Los Angeles from the University of California (UCLA). Worked in many short films and documentaries such as (Under the Sands of Babylon directed by Mohamed Al-Daraji, winner of the Best Film Award in Abu Dhabi 2013 and My Father's Gift that won the Crystal Bear in Berlin 2015.

Photo credit: Evagoras Vanezis

Petros Konnaris

Petros Konnaris (Cyprus, 1988, he/him) is the artistic director of Dance House Lefkosia. He graduated from Theater Academy of UniArts Helsinki (MA in Live Arts and Performance Studies, 2017), and holds a BA in Dance (University of Nicosia, 2011) and a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics (University of Cyprus, 2011). In 2022 was part of the European research project Micro and Macro Dramaturgies in Dance co-organized by Anghiari Dance Hub (Italy), Bora Bora (Denmark), Dance House Lemesos (Cyprus), DansBrabant (The Netherland) and Tanec Praha (Czechia| leader).

As the director of Dance House Lefkosia (a nongovernmental organization dedicated to the development of dance and performance) he is focusing in creating spaces for the needs of the (dance) community. Our programs and curatorial line expand in four directions: presentations and mobility, audience development, artistic development and research, education and discussions.

Additionally, Konnaris is working as a performance and text artist between the fields of live art, participatory art, and conceptual dance. He presented his work in various festivals and events in Cyprus, Czechia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Finland, Germany, Singapore, and Thailand.

Pilar Ayerra

Pilar Ayerra (1988) is a cultural manager and artistic producer based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She focuses on the design, development and the implementation of cultural policies that involve associative networks with different local and international key actors of the artistic and cultural management sector. Pilar focalizes on building public engagement through the design of thematics programing (feminism, gender diversity, immigration, climate crisis)  and open calls for young and mainstream artists. Since 2018 she is part of the Contents and Programming Department at Centro Cultural Recoleta, being responsible for the music and performing programs and visual arts exhibitions.

Pilar has an Art History and Management Degree. She believes in team working in order to  develop  programes that are engaging, challenging and generate relevant connections and deep impact in the society .

Raffi Feghali

Member of the Lincoln Theater Center Directors Lab

Co-Founder of Tahweel Ensemble Theater

Co-Founder and Director of Laban – Live Lactic Culture (2009 – 2017)

Raffi Feghali is a performer, peacebuilder, and trainer based in Beirut – Lebanon.

As a performer, he's acted in 100s of performances all over Lebanon, the Arab World, Europe, and USA. He's worked with numerous renowned directors in Lebanon and abroad. Raffi is an improviser who contributed to the creation of a modest improv scene in Beirut through performances and training as well as through the creation of an improvisational theatre-based organization, that he left as a fully functioning entity after 8 years to pursue an independent touring career. His directing endeavors include more than 25 improvisational theater, Forum Theatre and other performances. He has co-directed the Arabic version of August: Osage County in 2015, and in 2021 he devised and directed We Are the Ones Who Live Here in Beirut. His debut storytelling, biographical monodrama, Peer Gynt of Bourj Hammoud, was launched in the Amsterdam Storytelling Festival in 2018. The sequel, Anatomy of a Home, premiered in The Amsterdam Fringe Festival in 2022. He currently tours with both shows alongside his other theatre and improv performances.

As a peacebuilding consultant, practitioner, and trainer, Raffi has worked on projects in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Turkey in his 15-year career. Over the years, Raffi has been frequently trained by CDA Inc. on their tools – Reflecting on Peace Practice, Listening Exercises, and Systemic Conflict Analysis – culminating in a master training at Harvard University in Boston. He has facilitated multiple dialogue sessions and working groups through various formats and for different outcomes. Through harnessing the power of the arts, he has used them not only as tools for his peacebuilding work, but also as guiding methodologies and approaches. He is an avid practitioner of Theatre of the Oppressed, Playback Theatre, and other related formats, some of which were of his own development. His training sessions are filled with embodied arts-based exercises. Raffi uses project-based and experiential learning and as such has a holistic approach to learning. For him, learning doesn’t only happen at the cognitive level of the human’s existence, but through all of their aspects of existence.

For the last 5 years, he's been bringing his multi-disciplinary skillset to the corporate world by offering training and coaching on various soft skills using improvisational theatre and storytelling through his company Perform.

Photo credit: Isabelle Renate la Poutré

Sabine Pater

Sabine Pater is  based  in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and  started  working  in  the  cultural  industry  in  2005. Sabine has  worked  for  various  Dutch organizations, big  and  small, as employee and also successfully ran her own practice as an independent entrepreneur for 7 years. As (creative)producer, dramaturge,  project leader, festival coordinator, programmer, counselor  for  the  Performing Arts Fund NL - the most important culture fund for music, music theatre, dance and theatre in the Netherlands.

Since 2013 she's  working for  Terschellings Oerol festival, one of the most exceptional landscape arts festivals in Europe. From its roots as a small festival in 1982, Oerol has grown to become a true phenomenon. Every June, the island of Terschelling in the Wadden Sea is transformed for ten days into a unique natural stage for theatre, dance, art installations and music.

At Oerol she started as creative producer for The Atelier, a talent development project for site specific art. She worked her way up from assistant programmer, to coordinator and currently head of the programming team.

During her work, there’s always been a focus on site specific arts and genuinely connecting people through arts. From projects with youngsters in a former harbor area, to a festival in a neighborhood that’s heavily challenged with gentrification, to currently the exciting job of leading the programming team of a progressive festival. Where every year for ten days, the beautiful island of Terschelling -with only 5.000 inhabitants -  hosts a large audience. That’s without counting all the residents in the nature.

Sabine holds degrees in Arts and in  Social Work. She’s a mother of two young kids and commutes between Amsterdam and Terschelling.

Shalli Citalime Salamán Arguelles

Shalli Salamán is a professional dancer and artist based in Mexico. She has a Bachelor of Performing Arts at the University of Guadalajara. 

 Artistic director of the kids play: Balam: el último guerrero jaguar from choreographers Pardo-Heli, with whom she has worked with for the past 7 years in a number of projects; as a member and artistic director in the collective Hikuri Danza; as festival assistant and project manager of Agave Intercambio Escénico, a dance festival held in the city of Guadalajara; as choreographer assistant in the 90 year-anniversary gala of the National School of Dance Nellie y Gloria Campobello, the 1st institutional dance school in Mexico, and more. 

 Trying to keep a vision of the world that sticks to the feminist and woman’s rights movement, she keeps exploring new zones in the arts and cultures of her country of origin.

Sibusiso Molefe

Sibusiso Molefe is an international award-winning performing artist and a social enterprise entrepreneur. His work is dedicated to the development of the creative industries and its practitioners. Born and raised at Sada in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa he has made a name for himself in the Creative Arts and Audio-Visual circles mostly as a performing artist known as C tutor J and recently as a founder of BANG Entertainment where his social enterprising takes center stage.

As a musician, amongst other works of his performed in the National Arts Festival (Makhanda, South Africa), he has written and produced the Standard Bank Ovation Award 2021 winner Out of the Red C. He was also part of the team responsible for creating the Liberty Radio Awards twice nominated Radio Drama Series titled Uhambo Lwethu as well as the SABC Education nationwide syndicated Radio Series Side-by-Side.

His entrepreneurial journey has taken him through co-founding the Arts Development Non-Profit Organization SADA CDT, the now defunct media company S Mol Fee Technologies, right up to his current passion BANG Entertainment. Through BANG he represents many talented artists’ music as a Publisher, has produced several multimedia productions, and consults as a Brand Developer and Strategist. In his latest associations with the South African Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, and Business and Arts South Africa, he is soon to launch an educational wing of the company dedicated to designing and running programmes that facilitate the launching of creative arts small businesses. Currently in its pilot stages, this Creative Arts Hub (SMME-C) has modified and integrated the UK SA Tech Hub’s open license idea stage toolkit into its Launch Your Business Programme for artists.

Photo credit: Carmen Rachiteanu

Soline Asselin

Soline Asselin (she/her) is a writer and curator based in Montreal. She is co-founder of the Festival Filministes, the largest francophone feminist film festival in North America. 

She holds a Master's degree in Literary Studies and Women's Studies. She is currently a PhD student in Arts Studies and Practices (UQAM). Her research-creation focuses on the experience of death from a feminist perspective. 

 Having worked with several festivals and cultural organizations (Festival du Jamais Lu, Festival Boréalis in Norway, Théâtre Aux Écuries), Soline has several expertise in communication and management of cultural organizations. Her feminist and activist commitment is reflected in her artistic practice, her academic research and her editorial vision.

Viktor Kozhevnikov

Organization and holding of the International Theater Festival "JOYFEST" 2013-2019 (EFFE Label 2019-20), Joyfest Children (2014-2019) (EFFE Label 2019-20), Film Festival "Out of Time" (2014-2019), International Theater Festival monodrama Solo Plays Fest (2019) (EFFE Label 2019-20) and other events. 


Maskam Rad - Actor and director 

Roles, directing and scenographic projects: Baron Munchausen - "The same Munchausen" Grieg - "Nameless Star" Hetman Skoropadsky - "Days of Turbines" Panas, Potemkin, Rat, set design - "The Night Before Christmas" , set designer, Marco, Jones - "Animal Farm" Don Guang "Stone Guest" Pastor "Shrine" and others.Participant Participant of 20 theater festivals, including: in Lugoj (October 2012), "VREME", Vratsa (Bulgaria, June 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), "Dionysius", Ciechanow-Warsaw (Poland, August 2013), "Do you like You ”, Sillamäe (Estonia, September 2013),“ Priests of the Muses ”, Lozenets-Tsarevo (Bulgaria, August 2014),“ Apollo ”, Alba Iulia (Romania, April 2016, April 2018), Experiment Festival, Virgo, Romania , April 2018), Albamono, Korça (Albania, May 2018), Theater Without Borders (Moldova, October 2019). 



Documentary (cameraman): "Winter on fire". Oscar nomination for Best Documentary in 2015, Crystal Globe of the American TV Academy in 2016, etc. Participant and speaker of the II EFA Festival Summit in Lisbon (2019) Speaker and moderator of conferences, seminars and round tables on various issues.

 Implemented grant projects: 

2020: Sikorsky Virtual Museum (supported by UKF) 2019 with the support of the Kyiv City State Administration IV All-Ukrainian Festival JoyFest-children, 2017 III All-Ukrainian Festival JoyFest-children at their own expense. Manager.Fundraising, logistics, document management. • 2019 Out of Time International Historical Film Festival, partly at its own expense, partly at the State Cinema in 2019, in previous years, starting in 2014, at its own expense 6 editions. Manager. Fundraising, logistics, document management. % 81% D0% BE% D0% BC-273007789824393 / • Project: Participation in the International Conference of the European Festival Association in Lisbon in April 2019 at their own expense. Participant, speech with presentation. • Project: Holding in 2017 and 2019 V and VII International Theater Festivals "JoyFest" on their own funds. Manager. Fundraising, logistics, document management. Scenography. https: // • Project: Holding the First International Theater Festival of Monodram Solo Plays Fest in May 2019 at their own expense. Manager. Fundraising, logistics, etc. https: // -% D0% BA% D1% 80% D0% B5% D0% BF% D0% BE% D1% 81% D1% 82% D1% 8C / the-international-theater-festival-solo-plays-fest / 749843598709643 / Awards: Medal of Alexander the Great (Greece)

Zanara Ahmad

Znara Ahmed (1987) is an artist, experienced educator, former festival jury-member and founder of Sêv Gallery. 

 Raised in in a small kurdish village in Syria where houses were usally made of clay and mud. Growing up in an environment of nature, the simplicity of living has naturally drawn her to study a related field. She graduated in Ceramic Arts in Damascus. Later in Life Znara became a refugee and continued shaping her view on human kind and following her passion for art that led her to painting. In her pictures she reflected life in her country of origin and the country of refuge. Nature, traditional motives and the simplicity of being can be clearly seen in her paintings. 

 In 2018 she started Sêv Gallery in Hêwler, also known as Erbil. Sêv Gallery is a center for inter-disciplinary and mult-ethnic community buildung through applied arts. Healing and meaningful inter-personal connection throught art has always been her main focus and is the aim of Sêv Gallery. Especially focused on socially deprived communitys, she teaches children and youth in IDP-Camps in Kurdistan and supports expiring Artists all over the region. 

 Znara works on building bridges between the growing and expanding communities in Hêwler and is keen to work on solutions against the widely-spreaded stigma and difficult conditions of art in Kurdistan. 

 She was able to establish nurturing networkes and continues to work as an cultural manager for the Sêv Gallery. Always with an emanzipatory and empowering approach to encourage future talenst and create consiousness for the importance and meaning of art.