Mentors and guest speakers at the activity were renowned festival directors, cultural activists and artists, as well as people working in different fields of action such as the political, social/humanitarian and technological.

Mentors and Speakers

During their participation, they not only acted as lecturers but also as true mentors as they engaged in in-depth discussions with the participants. They were present for multiple days, some for the whole period of the training. They allowed participants an honest and open insight into their careers, including both success stories and failures.

The mentors and speakers present in the 2 days of the Online Training #1 were:

Facilitator:

  • Mike Van Graan - Playwright, Founder of the African Cultural Policy Network - South Africa

Mentors:

  • Brett Pyper - Associate Professor and Head of the Wits School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, former CEO of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (Absa KKNK) – South Africa
  • Robyn Archer - Singer, writer, creator and Artistic Director The Light in Winter Festival - Australia

Speakers: 

  • Asiimwe Deborah Kawe - Director of Tebere Arts Foundation, Producer & Co-Curator of the Kampala International Theatre Festival, Sundance Institute Theatre Program Associate - East Africa
  • Brenda Uphopho - Co-Founder & Festival Producer of Lagos Fringe, Founder of Women in the Arts - Nigeria 
  • Kate Craddock - Founder and Festival Director of GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre - United Kingdom
  • Luiz Coradazzi - Cultural Consultant, Founder of Pangea Cultura, Deputy Artistic Director at Theatro Municipal de São Paulo - Brazil
  • Marisa Henderson - Chief of the Creative Economy Programme in United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Palais des Nations - Switzerland 
  • Omar Abi Azar - Theatre Director, Founding Member of Zoukak Theatre Company - Lebanon
  • Ouafa Belgacem - CEO and Co-Founder of Culture Funding Watch - Tunisia 
  • Rashmi Dhanwani - Arts Consultant, Curator, Creative Producer, Founder of The Art X Company - India
  • Vigdís Jakobsdóttir - Artistic Director and CEO Reykjavik Arts Festival - Iceland

Observer: 

  • Amadou Fall Ba - Cultural producer, founding member of the Africulturban association and Director of the Festa2H festival - Senegal

You can find their biographies below.

FACILITATOR

Mike Van Graan

Playwright, Founder of the African Cultural Policy Network - South Africa

Mike van Graan, founder of the African Cultural Policy Network, has served in leadership positions in a variety of anti-apartheid cultural organizations such as the Congress of South African Writers and the National Arts Coalition of South Africa. He is also an award-winning playwright, who has written thirty plays to this date. He was appointed as Artscape’s Associate Playwright from 2011-2014 and is considered as one of South Africa’s leading contemporary playwrights.

He is the 2018 recipient of the Sweden-based Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award in recognition of his contribution to the fight against apartheid, to building a post-apartheid society and to the interface of peace and culture both in South Africa and across the African continent.

You can read his full bio here.

MENTORS

Brett Pyper

Associate Professor and Head of the Wits School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, former CEO of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (Absa KKNK) – South Africa

Brett Pyper is Associate Professor and Head of School at University of the Witwatersrand School of the Arts, a cultural practitioner, arts administrator, festival director, music researcher and academic. He began his career as an arts administrator and facilitator of developmental music projects during the transition from apartheid before taking up a Fulbright scholarship to study in the US, where he was based for six years (1998 – 2004). He holds Master’s degrees from Emory University (in Public Culture) and New York University (in Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies), and is currently writing a doctoral dissertation on contemporary jazz culture in South Africa.

Between 2005 and 2007, he headed the Division of Heritage Studies and Cultural Management in the University of the Witwatersrand School of Arts in Johannesburg, incorporating the Centre for Cultural Policy and Management. In August 2007, he was appointed CEO of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (Absa KKNK), which takes place annually at Easter time in the town of Oudtshoorn in the rural Western Cape and is currently expanding its organisational mandate as the non-profit company Kuns Onbeperk (Arts Unlimited). He held this post till the end of September, 2013.

Brett was founding Chair of the South African Society for Research in Music, which was formed out of the merger of the former Southern African Musicological Society and the Ethnomusicology Symposium associated with the International Library of African Music. He also serves on the steering committee of the Arterial Network, South Africa.

Robyn Archer

Singer, writer, creator and Artistic Director The Light in Winter Festival - Australia

Robyn Archer is a singer, writer, creator and Artistic Director The Light in Winter Festival, and was the former Artistic Director of the National Festival of Australian Theatre (Canberra), the Adelaide and Melbourne Festivals and Ten Days on the Island (which she created for Tasmania). She is also a public advocate for the arts and Chair of HOTA - Home of the Arts in Gold Coast, Australia. She is currently an Australia Book Review Laureate, an ambassador of the International Women’s Development Agency and a patron for the Australian Art Orchestra (Melbourne), Brink Productions (Adelaide), the Australian Script Centre (Hobart) and the Arts Law Society (Sydney).

Specialising in the works of Brecht, Weill and Eisler, Robyn made landmark recordings of that repertoire with the London Sinfonietta at Abbey Road, won the prestigious Helpmann Award as Australia’s Best Cabaret Performer of 2013 and was named Cabaret Icon at the 2016 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.  Robyn was the Dedicatee of the 2018 Adelaide Festival of Ideas and delivered its inspiring opening keynote address. 

She has received many awards for her contribution to the arts, and for cultural leadership. Robyn is the patron of numerous arts organizations across Australia and an Officer of the Order of Australia, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Officer of the Crown (Belgium) and an Honorary member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Find out more about her here.

SPEAKERS

Asiimwe Deborah Kawe

Director of Tebere Arts Foundation, Producer & Co-Curator of the Kampala International Theatre Festival, Sundance Institute Theatre Program Associate - East Africa

Asiimwe Deborah Kawe was born in Kiruhura, in South Western Uganda. She is an award-winning playwright, producer and performer. Currently, the Producing Artistic Director of Tebere Arts Foundation and co-Artistic Director of the Kampala International Theatre Festival. Asiimwe has worked with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program; dividing her time between New York City and East Africa, she led the East Africa initiative, a program that covered the countries of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda for six years, and she continues to be associated with the Institute. Ms. Kawe received a Diploma in Music, Dance and Drama, and a B. A. in Theatre and Performing Arts from Makerere University in Kampala-Uganda, and an M.F.A. in Writing for Performance from the California Institute of the Arts. Ms. Asiimwe’s recent plays include Red Hills, Forgotten WorldCooking OilAppointment with gODUn-entitled, Do they Know it’s Khristmas? to mention but a few. Her radio play, Will Smith Look Alike won an award with the BBC World Service African Performance playwriting competition. Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, who was the judge of the competition had this to say about the play; “I thought the writing was very good and I became really caught up with the play wondering what the final denouement would be.” 

Asiimwe has been a writing fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, and a guest lecturer/Artist at Pomona College in California, USA and at New York University in Abu Dhabi. For more about Asiimwe’s work, visiting her website

Brenda Uphopho

Co-Founder & Festival Producer of Lagos Fringe, Founder of Women in the Arts - Nigeria 

Brenda Uphopho has been in the art scene for the past decade as an Arts Manager and Professional Arts Administrator in both festivals and theatre. She was a pioneering producer of Lagos Theatre Festival and for 5 years worked to develop LTF as the largest outdoor festival in West Africa.

In 2015 she created a focus group known as Women in Arts. It provides a networking platform that connects women in the creative arts community to one another. With the launch of its first Women In Arts festival in 2018, She was able to give female creatives a chance to showcase their art. 

In 2018, she co-founded the Lagos Fringe and is preparing to deliver a Hybrid version of the Fringe in November 2020.

Brenda has made a name for herself as the resident Producer for the Performing Arts Workshop and Studios where she is had been a partner since 2010.

She is a committed advocate against sexual violence and abuse against women. This lead her to be recognized by the Obama Foundation and was made an Obama leader in 2018. She has co-produced a play called “Shattered” , which galvanizes victims of sexual abuse to break the silence surrounding it.

Find out more on her website and Instagram

Kate Craddock

Founder and Festival Director of GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre - United Kingdom

Founder and Festival Director of GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre, an annual artist-led festival celebrating contemporary theatre, Kate Craddock has combined working across academic roles and creative projects since 2005. She completed her practice led PhD in 2010 with the title: ‘Collaboration in Performance Practice: Trust, Longevity and Challenging Proximity’. Kate has worked as a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and at Northumbria University, where she led on the industry focused MA Theatre and Performance programme (2015 - 2019). In September 2019 Kate took on a new role as Research Associate at Newcastle University where she is undertaking a three year research project exploring strategies for nurturing risk taking in audiences.  

As a theatre maker, Kate has presented her performance work to critical acclaim at a range of organisations across the UK and in multiple international festival contexts. Through GIFT, Kate presents a programme of contemporary theatre and performance that otherwise would not have a platform in North East England. Kate works closely with partners including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Gateshead Council to deliver GIFT. Kate is a Trustee for ARC, Stockton Arts Centre and The Paper Birds Theatre Company. Kate was recipient of the Theatre Fellowship with the Clore Cultural Leadership Programme 2018/19, and undertook a secondment with HOME in Manchester. She is currently part of the British Council's GENERATE programme.

Luiz Coradazzi

Cultural Consultant, Founder of Pangea Cultura, Deputy Artistic Director at Theatro Municipal de São Paulo - Brazil

Deputy Artistic Director at the Theatro Municipal de São Paulo, in Brazil, Luiz Coradazzi is an active member of global networks like ISPA – International Society for the Performing Arts, Mensa, Opera Latinoamerica and the Global South Arts and Culture Initiative. He is also the founder of Pangea Cultura and former Director Arts at the British Council Brazil. 

Graduated in Marketing and Communications, post-Graduated in Cultural Policy Management (University of Girona), and Master in Music Business Management (University of Westminster), Luiz has been working in the Culture & Society sectors for 22 years as a planner, producer, fundraiser, programmer and advocate. He has worked as a manager and consultant at several institutions and projects including the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, TV Cultura, the Goethe-Institut, Time4Fun, Inhotim, Universal Music, and the Heliópolis Youth Orchestra. 

Find out more about him by clicking here.

Marisa Henderson

Chief of the Creative Economy Programme in United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Palais des Nations - Switzerland 

Marisa Henderson has been working at UNCTAD for the last nineteen years.  She is currently the Chief of the Creative Economy and Development Section in UNCTAD which aims to support developing countries in maximising the use of their rich supply of creativity and cultural assets to generate employment and to reduce poverty. 

 Prior to her current position, Marisa worked for UNCTAD Geneva in different capacities in the Office of the Secretary-General, the intergovernmental support service, the Virtual Institute and the Trade Division.  She also spent two and a half years as the Chief of the UNCTAD Office in New York and three years as the Chief of Staff of the Division of Trade and Commodities in UNCTAD where she provided authoritative strategic advice and guidance to the Senior Management Team on the vision, mission, mandate and operations of the Trade Division as well as substantive inputs on a range of trade-related development issues.

 Marisa received a PhD in International Political Economy from the University of Warwick, U.K, and a master’s in international Relations from FLACSO, Argentina. Before joining UNCTAD, Marisa worked at the Mission of Argentina in Geneva, dealing with WTO issues and at the House of Commons in London working with for the then Labour Shadow Minister on Development. She has taught at University level both in the England and Argentina. Marisa has a number of publications on international trade issues, including training material for UNCTAD’s Virtual Institute and a number of parliamentary reports on trade and development issue.   

Omar Abi Azar

Theatre Director, Founding Member of Zoukak Theatre Company - Lebanon

Omar Abi Azar is a theatre director and founding member of Zoukak Theatre Company. He was the dramaturge and director of several of Zoukak’s performances that toured in various cities in the Middle East, Europe, the United States, South America, South Asia and Africa.

He was commissioned by international festivals, theatres and universities to create original work: NYUAD’s Performing Arts Center, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center, University of Houston, Texas, Theaterfestival Schwindelfrei Mannheim, Williams College, Massachusetts, among others. He was artist in residence with Zoukak at the Lift Festival, London, Sundance Theatre Lab, Utah among others.

Since 2008, Omar leads psychosocial interventions with Zoukak, targeting various communities in different regions of Lebanon and abroad (in Serbia and in Calais’ Migrants’ Camp, France); giving drama-therapy workshops and creating collective performances with various groups. Since 2013 he co-curates “Zoukak Sidewalks” an international performance festival, and “Focus Liban” a platform showcasing and supporting the work of artists residing in Lebanon.

Omar holds a BA in Theatre from the Lebanese University, Institute of Fine Arts (2006).

Ouafa Belgacem

CEO and Co-Founder of Culture Funding Watch - Tunisia

Ouafa is an expert in Resources Mobilization and sustainability and a researcher interested in topics related with arts and culture funding, cultural policies and art financial engineering. She is the founder and CEO of Culture Funding Watch www.culturfundingwatch.com the leading Cultural and Creative Industries financing intelligence platform in the MENA and Africa regions. CFW offers support to financers and CC entrepreneurs on how to strategises and raise resources. She is also the initiator of the www.cciboost.com the cultural and creative enterprises global index.

She holds four Masters degrees in History, Archaeology, MBA and Heritage Management.  She has work experience in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Prior to founding Culture Funding Watch she worked with Oxfam GB as Regional Funding Coordinator in Myanmar and West Africa. Previously she worked with SNV in Laos as Senior Business Development Advisor and as Assistant to the Head of Finance and Contract Section for the European Commission Delegation in Cairo. Ouafa was also assigned as head of fundraising unit within the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt.

She is the writer of several global reports : UNESCO special report on creative economy 2013, Compendium of cultural policies in the Arab region 2010, CS report on 2005 convention 2019, Cultural policy in the MENA region (UNESCO) 2019. She is board member of the CS interim steering committee for the UNESCO 2005 convention, Vise president of Tunisians startup association.

Rashmi Dhanwani

Arts Consultant, Curator, Creative Producer, Founder of The Art X Company - India

Rashmi Dhanwani is the Founder of the Art X Company, a strategic consultancy for the cultural sector focused on strategy, audience development and sector research.

Prior to founding Art X, Rashmi has worked with NCPA Mumbai, Breakthrough in Delhi, the newspaper Daily News and Analysis (DNA); Kalaghoda Arts Festival, and The Goa Project. 

She holds a Masters in Cultural and Creative Industries from King’s College London. She has also been a recipient of the ARThink South Asia Fellowship (2011-12), a participant fellow at The Academy — a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute’, a scholarship grantee of the JN Tata Trust and Charles Wallace India Trust, and a 2017 Global Fellow of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA), New York.

Rashmi has also founded Arts Culture Resources India, a network and platform for cultural professionals in India and South Asia.

Vigdis Jakobsdottir

Vigdis Jakobsdottir is an experienced theatre director, workshop facilitator and lecturer, both in her home country Iceland, and globally. She has directed performances at the National Theatre of Iceland and with numerous independent theatre companies.

She was Head of Education at the National Theatre of Iceland from 2002-2011 and adjunct and later programme director for MA studies in Theatre Education at Iceland University of the Arts from 2002-2016. She is the founder of Þjóðleikur – The National Youth Theatre festival in Iceland which she led from 2008-2017. Vigdis was elected on the executive committee of ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) in 2011 and was vice president of the association from 2014-2017. She was chairperson of ASSITEJ Iceland for many years and artistic director of UNGI, an international performing arts festival for young audiences in Reykjavík, from 2013-2016.

She holds a BA honours degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from the University of Kent (UK) and a Post.grad. diploma in Teaching Studies for Higher Education from the University of Iceland.

OBSERVER

Amadou Fall Ba

Cultural producer, founding member of the Africulturban association and Director of the Festa2H festival - Senegal

Amadou Fall BA is a young Senegalese cultural operator. Worker of the cultural association Africulturban (first on urban cultures in Africa) who co-founded it with friends in February 2006 in Dakar. Africulturban works to promote the development and dissemination of urban cultures through frameworks of artistic expression (festivals, trainings, exchanges, forums).

 Today it has more than 1250 members. Amadou is Director of Festa2H (international festival of Hip Hop and urban cultures) which just celebrated its 11th birthday in May 2016. After having followed a higher education in cultural management in Germany, Amadou is Ceo from King Booking Management (Fair label Music in Senegal) and director of Hip Hop Akademy (training and documentation center for Hip Hop and urban cultures).

 Master student in Arts and Cultures at Isac (Higher Institute of Arts and Culture) Amadou is deeply involved in the interaction between culture and social and has developed the program Yuma (Youth Urban Media Academy) which is a project of social rehabilitation of young former minors in Dakar by training in audio-visual video in photo in languages in techniques of written and oral expression in computer leadership in entrepreneurship and also in computer-aided music. Since March 2014 Amadou has been in charge of the Mayor of Dakar for urban cultures and at the same time administrator of the MCU (house of urban cultures of Dakar).