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.
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 during the Online Training - Festivals and Social Cohesion were:
- Mike Van Graan - Playwright, project manager at Sustaining Theatre and Dance (STAND) Festival - South Africa
Opening Keynotes – Artists changing the world
- Hajooj Kuka - Founder of Refugee Club and the director of Beats of the Antonov – Sudan
- Hira Nabi - Filmmaker and multimedia artist - Pakistan
- Eckhard Thiemann - Artistic Director of Shubbak - United Kingdom
- Hooman Nassimi - Founder of Society in Motion and the New Faces toolkit - Netherlands
- Iman Aoun - Artistic Director of ASHTAR Theatre (Actress, Director, Producer) - Palestine
- John Speyer - Director of Music In Detention - United Kingdom
- Jurriaan Cooiman - Founder and Director of CULTURESCAPES - Switzerland
- Keren Zaiontz – Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Creative Industries in the Global City in the Department of Film and Media and Cultural Studies Graduate Program – Canada
- Tania El Khoury - Distinguished Artist in Residence of Theater and Performance and Director of Center for Human Rights & The Arts at Bard College, New York – Lebanon/United States of America
- Vallejo Gantner – Artistic Executive Director of the Onassis Foundation, chair at Hoovie – United States of America
Mentors and Working Group leaders:
- 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
- Jurriaan Cooiman – Founder and Director of CULTURESCAPES – Switzerland
- Lily Hughes - Programme Manager for the Edinburgh International Culture Summit - United Kingdom
- Tom Creed - Theatre and opera director, festival director and independent producer - Ireland
- Vallejo Gantner - Artistic executive director of the Onassis Foundation USA, chair at Hoovie - United States of America
- Mauricio Lomelin – Former producer at the Lincoln Centre New York, associate producer at Por Piedad Teatro - United States of America/Mexico
- Samantha Nampuntha - Event producer, PR and Communications Expert - Malawi
- David Teevan - Festival Advisor to the Arts Council of Ireland - Ireland
- Ellada Evangelou - Co-founder of Rooftop Theatre, member of the Leadership Circle of the IMPACT Project, Artistic and Executive Director of the Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival - Cyprus
Mike van Graan
Playwright, project manager at Sustaining Theatre and Dance (STAND) Festival - 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 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.
Opening Keynotes – Artists changing the world
Founder of Refugee Club and the director of Beats of the Antonov – Sudan
Hajooj Kuka directed and produced AKASHA (2018) premiered at Venice International Film Festival, TIFF, BFI and AFI Fest. His 2014 feature documentary Beats of the Antonov premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the People’s Choice Documentary Award. His films have screened in over a hundred festivals worldwide, collecting several other awards. Recently he became an Academy Member. Also, due to his work in the war-torn regions of Sudan, hajooj was named one of the Leading Global Thinkers of 2014 by the Foreign Policy Magazine. He trains and works with conflict affected communities on theatre of the oppressed and film projects.
Hira Nabi - Filmmaker and multimedia artist - Pakistan
Hira Nabi works with images and text to tell stories of the everyday. Her practice is concerned with the environment, the often unseen, and a slow process of re-earthing: by which she intends to shift focus away from anthropogenic stories into a more interconnected and larger witnessing of the times we live in. Her practice moves across research and visual production making inquiries into the relationship between memory and histories, witnessing and testimony through image and narrative, questioning the legitimacy and longevity of capitalist structures, envisioning new social forms, and alliances.
Her work has been exhibited at Dhaka Arts Summit, Colomboscope, Lahore Biennale, SAVVY Contemporary, HKW, Union de Artistas y Escrituras. She has shown at film festivals including CPH:DOX, Sundance, Palm Springs ShortFest, AFI Docs, Dharamshala International Film Festival and Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin. She lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan, where she is teaching at the Beaconhouse National University, and researching cinematic cultures, and botanical migrations in South Asia.
Artistic Director of Shubbak - United Kingdom
Eckhard Thiemann is a programmer, specialising in contemporary Arab culture, dance, internationalism and festivals. He is Artistic Director & CEO of Shubbak, London’s largest festival of contemporary Arab culture. Shubbak 2019 presented over 60 events in over 30 venues, reaching an audience of more the 50,000 people. Shubbak is recipient of the 2019 UNESCO Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. He is also is Programming Associate – Dance for The Lowry. Eckhard chaired the selection committee of Surf The Wave UK Showcase 2019. He is recipient of the One Dance UK Award 2019 for Outstanding Dance Programming Award. Previous positions include: Associate Artistic Curator for CODA - Oslo International Dance Festival, Creative Producer for Siobhan Davies Dance, producer for the London 2012 Festival, curator for Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival 2011. He curated OUTSPOKEN – NEW PERFORMANCE FROM ARAB ARTISTS in Birmingham in 2010, African Crossroads for Dance Umbrella in 2009 and the opening season of Pavilion Dance.
Founder of Society in Motion and the New Faces toolkit - Netherlands
Hooman Nassimi (born in Iran, raised in Germany, working in NL) commits to creating an inclusive society through & with newcomers, both locally and globally. Hooman's vision is to empower newcomers through events and festivals and create social cohesion.
In 2018, the free New Faces toolkit was developed after seeing the enormous benefits of newcomer participation at cultural events. In the last two years, more than 2000 newcomers have directly participated in a variety of roles at the largest venues and festivals in the Netherlands. More and more cultural organizations are embracing this as the standard approach for newcomer inclusion.
Director of ASHTAR Theatre (Actress, Director, Producer) - Palestine
An award winning actress who works in theatre, TV series, and films, Iman Aoun holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Studies and a Diploma in Psychodrama. Started her acting career with Hakawati Theatre Company in 1984 and co-founder ASHTAR for Theatre Productions and Training in 1991. Ms. Aoun received various notifications for her work from different countries and international organizations and festivals. She runs ASHTAR Theatre International Youth Festival – ATiYF. Written and published several articles on the subject of theatre in Palestine, and co-written two books on theatre training. She was panelist in a number of international conferences and World Summits, and participated in the UNESCO Arts Lab. An internationally known theatre trainer specialized in Theatre of the Oppressed. She is the initiator of various international projects, most notable: “One Hundred Artist for Palestine” in 2003 with IETM, “The Gaza Mono-Logues” in 2010 and "The Syrian Monologues" in 2015.
Director of Music In Detention - United Kingdom
John Speyer is descended from Polish, Dutch, Spanish and Moroccan Jews who came to the UK in the 19th and 20th centuries, and learning about the Holocaust as a teenager was a formative experience for him. He has worked and volunteered with communities and marginalised groups for 30 years. He was a primary school teacher and Deputy Head, then led a community regeneration charity in Sheffield, developing services to help people change their lives. As a volunteer he has helped promote human rights and challenge extremism and xenophobia. Music has been a passion of his since childhood. Ha has been Director of Music In Detention since 2008. He loves the way Music In Detention's work goes to the heart of complex problems, and the richness and power of the music the team helps create.
Founder and Director of CULTURESCAPES - Switzerland
Jurriaan Cooiman, born in Netherlands, has a MA cultural Management from the University of Basel. He lives and works in Switzerland and is the Founder/Director of CULTURESCAPES since 2003. CULTURESCAPES is a multi-disciplinary Festival and a Biennale since 2015 with focus on countries, cities or regions (2003 Georgia, 2004, Ukraine, 2005 Armenia, 2006 Estonia, 2007 Romania, 2008 Turkey, 2009 Aserbaidschan, 2010 China, 2011 Israel, 2012 Moscow, 2013 Balkan, 2014 Tokio, 2015 Island, 2017 Greece, 2019 Poland). For the future, CULTURESCAPES plans to be in: 2021 Amazonas, 2023 Sahara, 2025 Himalaya, 2027 Oceans. CULTURESCAPES is a Member of EFA since 2007.
Keren Zaiontz is Assistant Professor and Queen's National Scholar in Creative Industries in the Global City at Queen's University, Canada. She teaches and supervises students in the Department of Film and Media and the Cultural Studies Graduate Program. Keren is the author of Theatre & Festivals (Red Globe Press, 2018), part of the Theatre & series. Her research on performing arts festivals ranges from co-edited special issues in the journals Contemporary Theatre Review, Canadian Theatre Review, and Public to artist interviews in Ivo van Hove: From Shakespeare to David Bowie (2018), and a book chapter in the Cambridge Companion to International Theatre Festivals (2020). Keren's research commitments have long included social practice and art-activism. Her co-edited book volume, Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas (2019) received the 2020 Association for Theatre in Higher Education Excellence in Editing Award.
Tania El Khoury
Distinguished Artist in Residence of Theater and Performance and Director of Center for Human Rights & The Arts at Bard College, New York - Lebanon/United States of America
Tania El Khoury is a live artist creating installations and performances focused on audience interactivity and its politics. She is a Distinguished Artist in Residence of Theater and Performance and Director of Center for Human Rights & The Arts at Bard College, New York. Her work has been translated and presented in multiple languages across the world. She is a 2019 Soros Art Fellow and the recipient of the Bessies Outstanding Production Award, the International Live Art Prize, the Total Theatre Innovation Award, and the Arches Brick Award. Tania holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. She is co-founder of Dictaphone Group, a Lebanon-based research and performance collective aiming at questioning our relationship to the city.
Artistic executive director of the Onassis Foundation USA, chair at Hoovie - United States of America
Since 2019, Vallejo Gantner is the Artistic Executive Director of the Onassis Foundation USA, an innovative programming foundation based in Athens with satellites in New York and Los Angeles. He was the Artistic Director of Performance Space 122 (now Performance Space New York) from 2005-2017 and a consulting curator for BAM and Theater de Welt. For 20 years, working across live performance in all disciplines, cinema, design and hospitality Gantner has sought innovative artists, work, and ideas building new experience and forms of communication for audiences.
He is the chair of Hoovie - a new model of film distribution developing innovative ways that enable independent film screenings in private spaces, and MAKRS, a company supporting creative urban ecosystems of artists, artisans and ideas people. A board member of Myer Family Investments, and Jianguo, both diversified investment companies based in Melbourne, he is currently engaged in driving these toward a new strategy of sustainable investment. He also serves on the boards of In Between Time (Bristol), the Chocolate Factory (NYC) and various philanthropic institutions in Australia.
MENTORS AND WORKING GROUP LEADERS
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.
Programme Manager for the Edinburgh International Culture Summit - United Kingdom
Lily Hughes is a freelance cultural strategist, programmer and producer with a focus on festivals and international relations. She has held positions with the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics and the British Film Institute. Her career is focused on the intersection of arts and culture with civic life and the positive role artists can play in societies across the globe. Her background is in film festivals and she has worked at London Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Africa in Motion and Double Exposure Film Festival. She is an active member of the Festival Academy’s alumni community.
Event producer, PR and Communications Expert
Samantha Nampuntha is an Event Producer who has worked on festivals such as the Lake of Stars and Cape Maclear Triathlon. She also has worked with several organisations such UNICEF, Girl Effect and Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, using arts and culture to promote social behaviour change. She has spearheaded advocacy campaigns, managed entire departments at festivals, and actively engaged with partners and sponsors at events and during projects.
Most of her work is centered around the fight for human rights, especially gender equality, she is also a promoter of more environmentally friendly living. She believes that arts and culture will bring the development that the word needs.
Working with teams of exceptional professionals she has helped to develop two TEDxLilongwe events, the first Vagina Monologues performance in Malawi (and many others to follow afterwards), and the youth band ‘Zathu’ that was developed to remove negative norms between boys and girls in Malawi.
Theatre and opera director, festival director and independent producer - Ireland
Tom Creed is a theatre and opera director, festival director and independent producer based in Dublin. His productions have been seen all over Ireland and at prestigious theatres, opera houses and festivals on three continents. He has previously been Festival Director of Cork Midsummer Festival and Theatre and Dance Curator of Kilkenny Arts Festival.
He is a member of the steering committee of Ireland's National Campaign for the Arts and the board of GAZE Film Festival and Theatre Forum (Ireland). He has participated as a speaker and moderator in three editions of Festival Readings for the Festival Academy and was on the inaugural EFFE jury in 2015.
Festival Advisor to the Arts Council of Ireland - Ireland
David Teevan is a researcher, arts consultant and creative producer. In March 2020 he was awarded a PhD by University College Dublin for his dissertation (En)acting Democracy: practice and policy in contemporary Irish collaborative art. In addition to his work in research he has, since 2016, held the position of Festival Advisor to the Arts Council of Ireland. Prior to this David created, developed and managed a number of highly regarded arts organisations including Clonmel Junction Festival, Ten 42 Productions and Galloglass Theatre Company. At the core of David’s practice as a producer has been the gathering together of artists to realize projects that have the potential to transform the lives of those who make and engage with the work. Latterly David turned to a more socially engaged practice that brought professional artists together with communities of place or interest to collaborate on durational, multi-disciplinary projects. Over the last number of years, he has been a regular lecturer on arts management and cultural policy Masters courses at Birkbeck University of London, University of Limerick, Queen’s University Belfast and University College Dublin.
In 1991 David was one of three co-founders of Galloglass Theatre Company for which he worked as the Company Manager securing Arts Council funding for the organisation in 1993. During the mid 90s, the company was producing three shows for touring nationally. David’s responsibilities included managing finances, show production, tour management and marketing. In 1998 the organisation was selected as one of ten organisations nationwide to trial a three-year funding scheme introduced by the Arts Council. Leaving Galloglass in 2001 David set up Clonmel Junction Festival working for fifteen years as the Artistic Director and CEO. This included mapping out and managing its growth from a non-funded five-day event in its first iteration, to a ten-day festival presenting a multidisciplinary programme of high quality international and Irish work with a turnover of over €400,000 by 2006.
David has also worked as a producer across many artforms including theatre, street arts, music, dance and circus. In 2001 he set up Ten42 Productions, a production and touring agency principally geared towards world music, theatre and dance. The company had very successful tours with Interactive Inis Theatres production of ”Tick my Box”, Welsh contemporary circus Nofit State, and Interactive Theatre Australia’s production of “Faulty Towers The Dining Experience”. In 2009 Ten42 produced the revival of Eamon Morrissey’s production of “The Brother”; in 2011 it revived and toured Michael Harding’s acclaimed one-man show “The Tinkers Curse”; and in 2016 produced “Wild Sky” by Deirdre Kinahan for Meath County Council as part of their 1916 commemorations touring for 7 weeks in Ireland and a sold-out week in the Irish Arts Centre, New York. The company has also toured musical shows by Rodrigo y Gabriella, Dutch tango band Sexteto Canyengue and Irish legendary troubadour Liam Clancy.
A native of Cyprus, Ellada Evangelou has studied in Cyprus and the United States (BA in English, MFA in Dramaturgy, PhD in Theatre Studies / Cultural Studies). She has worked as a dramaturge, theatre director, workshop facilitator, and independent consultant, in collaboration with theatre companies, NGOs and international organisations. She teaches theatre and dramaturgy in higher education in Cyprus and the USA. She is interested in the relationship between theatre and identity, and works in the intersection of aRtivism and scholarship in post-colonial, post-conflict communities. She is co-founder of Rooftop Theatre, member of the Leadership Circle of the IMPACT Project, a global platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation, and the 2019 and 2020-21 Artistic and Executive Director of the Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival, in Nicosia, Cyprus.