The participants represented 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 shared the desire to implement excellent artistic festivals.
The Training: gathering an enormous variety of creative minds
Festival managers coming from all over the world who are interested in different aspects of festival management were selected. The Training up-skilled and informed them about the state of play of the world today and offered 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.
We were delighted to host 42 participants from 38 countries on all continents for this Online Training. You can read about their bios below and find a full list of participants here.
46 years old, Annabel Guérédrat is certified in literature and history from the Universite of Sorbonne. She has a background in dance and somatic techniques.
She founded Artincidence in 2003.
Between 2010 and 2015, Annabel travelled all around the world with her first performance: A freak show for S. Annabel then opened a new cycle of performances and conferences around black feminism. These events considered the social and politic body of black and mixed-race women between the Caribbean and Europe. Preoccupied today with the question of post-identity, she wants to offer a new political vision in a performative way, questioning her own black ecofeminism. The most important performances she made are A Freak show for S., Women part two, Hysteria, I’M A BRUJA, and Sound of success that investigate performance art with Henri Tauliaut, a visual artist from Guadalupe. Together, they created in 2017, the first international festival of performance art, in Martinique.
With a certificate of contemporary dance and as a practitioner of BMC, she gives workshops in prisons, in hospitals, to teenagers in social break-up, young mothers living in a violent context.
Anastasios Papanastasiou is the Founder of Olympolis Art Project and an Event Manager based in Katerini, Greece. His organization is now preparing the polythematic project “PrometheusIX”, a dedication to the famous Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, and he is preparing the Red20.online.barfestival, a hybrid operation to take place in his business and online.
Bek Berger is the newly appointed artistic director of the New Theatre Institute of Latvia and curator of international festival of contemporary theatre, Homo Novus. Originally from Melbourne, Australia she has worked in festivals across the globe such as American Realness (NYC), Dance Massive, Darwin Festival (AU), Fierce Festival and Forest Fringe (UK). As a curator she has (co)/initiated projects such as Critical Futures(FI), Convergence (AU), La Discorso (AU) and Possible Futures Forum (LV). Bek has ongoing artistic collaborations with choreographer James Batchelor (AU/DE) and media artist Daniel Hengst (DE). In 2020 she was the inaugural international artist in residence at Annantalo Arts Centre (FI) making Incoming Transmission with over 20 young people from Australia and Finland. www.bekberger.com
New Theatre Institute of Latvia (NTIL) is a project based organisation working in the field of contemporary performing arts. Since 1995 NTIL has been organizing the International Festival of Contemporary Theatre Homo Novus, which is the largest performing arts platform in Latvia. NTIL also produces and presents projects and long term collaboration programmes together with local and international partners, strongly believing in the necessity to explore the contemporary performing arts field together with artists and audiences.
Bess Mutsaerts studied law and worked for a television producer as a corporate lawyer. After 2.5 years she switched to the social domain. Besides her social sustainability activities for the Wonderfeel festival, she is an advisor at a social consultancy firm.
Camila Provoste Cid
Camila Provoste Cid is a producer and cultural manager in Patagonia, Chile. Master candidate in Cultural Management from the University of Chile and a bachelor's degree in Drama from the University of Chile. Currently is the Production Manager of Festival de Artes Cielos del Infinito, Producer of the theater company Geografía Teatral and Director Assistance of Festival Internacional de Teatro del Bobío. Camila has worked as a Producer in the field of different - national and international - productions. Her interest focuses on the development of local, decentralizing, and democratizing cultural policies, particularly in Patagonia, Chile.
Originally from France, Claire Delhomme has been living in Finland for seven years. She graduated in Spring 2019 from Sibelius Academy’s Arts Management Master’s Degree Programme. Her background is in festival management, and especially the co-creation of meaningful partnerships between festivals and businesses. In the last few years, she has been leading the creation of a new Moomin-inspired cultural event in Helsinki, with locals and travellers as main target audiences. The first edition was cancelled due to the pandemic. This Fall, she moved to Tampere to join the team preparing the City’s bid for the 2026 European Capital of Culture, where she takes care of developing international cooperation projects. She has a strong personal interest for opening Finnish culture and values to the world, as well as developing cultural travelling through cultural events.
Elena Volina holds a Ba in Music Technology and Acoustics at the Hellenic Mediterranean University and a Ma’s in Cultural Policy and Development (2020) and has a background as a musician.
After 3 years of experience as a sound engineering (2015-2018) I decided to gain experience on creative and cultural industries. For this she worked and collaborated with local and international NGO’s in the field of education, capacity building, music and performing arts festivals.
Since 2014 I have participated as a musician in 6 countries (India, Cyprus, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Brazil). Her interest focuses on the development of cultural practices and policies within the communities of Cyprus.
Born in La Spezia (Italy) in 1996, in 2018 Francesca Lombardi graduated in D.a.m.s (disciplines of arts, music and performing arts) at the University of Bologna, where she continued her studies in Music and Theatre Disciplines. She attended the first writing school for cultural magazines of the Tascabile (Treccani encyclopaedia) in Rome. Since 2018, she has been in charge of web communication for the Fuoriluogo Festival (La Spezia) and for the Teatro degli Impavidi (Sarzana). From October to December 2020 she worked as a trainee at ERT- Emilia-Romagna Teatro Fondazione following the production of the show Lingua Madre by Argentinian director Lola Arias.
Georgemario Attard produces works between the realms of fine art, music and graphic design. He studied these subjects with various artists active on the islands of Malta, both as an apprentice and in local institutions as part of formal education programs. This led to further education in the United Kingdom where he was awarded with a Master of Arts Distinction from the University for the Creative Arts. In recent years self-initiated projects were exhibited outside conventional institutions, creating a series of installations and happenings in selected spaces. The work often generates dialogue and interaction within the community. At times the community is central to the work itself. The current focus of the work is to discuss how art can be actively engaged with the subject being explored. A wide repertoire of work was exhibited and performed in various spaces; physical and virtual. He participated in numerous collective exhibitions locally and abroad. Through the years independent research has been more integral in the creative process of the work. Currently he is continuing with his research at the Mediterranean Institute at the University of Malta specialising in Ethnography and Ethnomusicology studies.
Jay Menes, founder of Storyhouse Philippines, is a multi-talented artist that does; hosting, singing, storytelling, directing, facilitating workshops, and acting on stage or on screen. After his stint as a banker, he now enjoys meeting and interacting with children, educators, parents and students. In fact, he traveled all over the Philippine archipelago sharing Filipino stories. He is a prime mover in promoting the Art of Oral Storytelling since March 2011.
He performed already in different festivals in other countries such as USA, Singapore, Morocco, UAE, Iran and among others. Jay was considered the “Winner” of the 17th Iran International Storytelling Festival. A member of the Federation of Asian Storytellers (FEAST) and the first Filipino member of International Storytelling Network Red Internacional de Cuentacuentos.
John Namai or Titi - as he is artistically known - is a professional storyteller with passion for traditional storytelling and its use. He is a renowned artist in Kenya that has performed across continents, in Europe, Asia, America, Australia as well as in several countries of Africa, often invited to represent.
He is a founding member of Zamaleo Act, an Eastern Africa Centre of Artistic Excellence specialized in participatory educational theater, and of the annual Sigana international storytelling festival, which has been running for over a decade. Together with the organization TICAH (Traditional indigenous culture and heritage), he has been using storytelling to disseminate knowledge at the National Museums of Kenya. He has also been behind the production of Re imagined storytelling festival - , that draws on age-old African traditions of storytelling in order to revive the art, re-imagining African folktales to keep oral traditions increasingly under threat in the internet and Smartphone age. The festival has shed light on the important role of folktales today as a powerful tool of examining and criticizing history. HE has also been part of the Story, story Come! Production of narratives that speak to issues that are fundamental to Africa's development in a way that is unconventional but true to the past traditions of oral storytelling. He has been coordinating and leading various research projects within the continent and abroad. He is currently lead historian in the @ 100 Africa story project on social media that seeks to tell the historical excerpt about Africa to an online audience. Recently, adapting to covid-19 restrictions, he has been active hosting and organizing storytelling festivals online.
Juul Huitema (1995) graduated from the master program Arts, Policy and Cultural Entrepreneurship at the University of Groningen in June 2019. Since then, she has been working as a freelance (creative) producer and business director in the field of performing arts and arts festivals. She is currently working for International Filmfestival Assen, Theatrecompany Tussenland and Hybrid Agency. She is mainly active in the northern area of the Netherlands.
Layla Madanat is an Arab-British inter-disciplinary creative and social justice activist. Whether it be through art or charity work, she is driven by the desire to make radical, lasting change. She has been freelancing across the arts and social justice sector for a short time since graduating from an MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation from LSE, and is always keen to critically analyse and discuss the work we do, why and how we practice in these sectors.
She is currently a Young Associate with Shubbak Festival, a member of the Orange Tree Young Company, part of the Paines Plough “Re:Assemble” cohort, as well as a recent graduate from the Sour Lemons “Making Lemonade” programme for emerging leaders.
Louisa Norman has worked in the cultural sector for the past 15 years producing theatre in a wide range of contexts from London’s West End to women’s prisons. Since 2013 she has worked for Country Arts South Australia supporting arts in regional Australia. Currently as Executive Programmer she programs for five 500 seat venues and produces in a variety of communities and artforms across the state. In February 2021 she will work with the Adelaide International festival to deliver their 2021 program.
Prior to relocating to Australia, Louisa worked as a producer in the UK for some of the UK’s leading theatre companies and venues including Headlong Theatre, Clean Break and Soho Theatre in London.
She studied at University of Wales, University of Montana USA, Trinity College Dublin and recently undertook a Masters in Cultural Leadership at NIDA. She is passionate about the power of the arts to drive social change and build intercultural understanding.
Lucila Piffer (Buenos Aires, 1988) is an Argentinian cultural manager, performing arts producer, theatre director, and dramaturg. She produces local and international festivals and cultural events, and collaborates with artists from different fields in site-specific and documentary art works. She worked with Lola Arias (AR), Guillermo Heras (ES), Constanza Macras (DE), Rimini Protokoll (DE), Laura Kalauz, Sofía Medici, Silvina Grinberg, Guillermina Etkin, Luis Cano and Agustina Gatto (AR).
As a production manager, she is part of BP – Argentinian Performance Biennale and worked for FIBA – Buenos Aires International Festival. She also produced several international art events such as the Buenos Aires German Film Festival and the urban interventions festival Changing Spaces | Espacios Revelados, coproduced by Siemens Stiftung and the Government of Buenos Aires. She also created and developed the Iberoamerican festival Espacios Comunes in Buenos Aires and Santiago in 2008.
Between 2015 and 2019, she worked as production manager and artistic assistant for the documentary artist Lola Arias, with whom she collaborated in several projects which toured worldwide. She also produced art works for institutions and independent companies in Buenos Aires and: the contemporary dance play Cuando reinaban los cocodrilos, by Silvina Grinberg and Guillermina Etkin, Science Fiction’s Future Nostalgia, by Laura Kalauz and Sofía Medici, and the Argentinian version of the performance Remote by the German collective Rimini Protokoll.
As an artist, she directed between 2007 and 2012 the theater company CARSON. With them, she staged the shows Contando las maneras, Una historia tendenciosa and Caen las rosas sobre chicles carmesí. She was direction trainee at Constanza Macras / Dorky Park Berlin for the contemporary dance play Open for Everything. Since 2011, she works as dramaturg and artistic assistant in different projects, such as El crítico and Los áspides de Cleopatra, under the direction of Guillermo Heras.
She received the Pablo Podestá scholarship from the School of Dramatic Arts of the City of Buenos Aires (EMAD). During 2016, she was awarded with the DAAD language fellowship in Berlin, and was invited to participate in the young artists programme of the Theaterformen Festival in Braunschweig. Together with other 14 international cultural managers, she was selected in 2020 to participate of the 5. Producers’ Academy by CIFAS / Kunstenfestivaldesarts Brussels.
Magdalena Żelasko is cinema enthusiast, film festival organiser (LET'S CEE Film Festival), film distributor (CEE FILMS), EU expert (EU Youth Cinema) and film curator. Originally from Cracow/Poland, has been living in Vienna for about 25 years now. The certified marketing and advertising expert with a diploma from the Business School in Cracow studied Slavic studies, journalism and communication sciences at the University of Vienna, which she soon after rounded up with a Ph.D. in 2005. She has worked as a manager for several international companies and as a well-published journalist for various Austrian and Polish media. The university lecturer with focus on culture and communication, documentary photographer and charity activist for human rights and integration projects is also organiser and participant in panel discussions and events across these areas.
One of the LET'S CEE Association philosophy‘s cornerstones is a clear commitment to an open, pluralistic, democratic society free of prejudice and based on the fundamental principle of the rule of law, a common European identity, respecting values such as tolerance, solidarity, equal opportunities and justice as well as unconditional protection of human dignity and human rights.
Dr Maria O'Brien
Dr Maria O'Brien is co-founder and organiser of the East Asia Film Festival Ireland (EAFFI), an annual festival that celebrates the diversity and artistry of films from East and South East Asia. She holds a PhD in political economy of audiovisual industries. She teaches on the MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management in Queen's University Belfast.
Marika Vapaavuori is a member of the Artistic Board of the Tampere Region's Capital of Culture project. Theatre director and screenwriter with over 20 years of versatile work experience. Her special expertise is the challenging major events of the performing arts. She does ice swimming.
Maruša Šinkovič works in the Public Relations office at Festival Ljubljana. She actually started this job during the first Covid-19 pandemic in spring and says that it was a very interesting experience - she has learned a lot this year and it was a challenge which she accepted without hesitation. During her studies, she volunteered at several smaller festivals all around Slovenia, because culture was always her passion and that is why she also chose the profession of Cultural Studies. She attended an Erasmus programme in Netherlands for her Masters Studies as well and this was actually the first time when she realised there is so much more about it, it widened her horison. She believes that culture is a basic human need. And a community, such as the festival community, can give us so much, it can help us reach out to almost every human being, no mater where in the world you live.
Milica Popović is born in Kotor, Montenegro where she currently lives. She holds a degree from Specialist's studies Field Of Study MaritimeM anagement from University of Montenegro as well as a degree as a Bachelor of Information Technology Field Of Study InformationTechnology from University Mediterranean.
Milica is employed in the Cultural center since 2016. Worked as a program and festival organiser and now as an agency and marketing consultant and project manager.
She has been participating in numerous projects and training course because she believes that a person learns while he/she is alive, and that by sharing experiences we can achieve more.
She has a strong personal interest for opening the Montenegrin culture and values to the world, as well as to achieve international cooperation with cultural institutions in the world.
Nina Tertnik is Marketing Manager at Festival Ljubljana since March 2020. She studied dramaturgy and worked on several projects in theatre, film festival LIFFE and on the radio as a journalist. After her studies, her career turned in another direction. She mostly worked in sales and marketing in different fields. She started working in the field of tourism in Tourist Agency. After that short period of time, she was employed in a large IT company as a Marketing Assistant. For almost a decade she was Project Manager in an advertising agency, after that a Product Manager in Marketing & Ad sales department of the biggest Publishing house in Slovenia. For a while, she worked as a freelance. In 2018, she participated in the organization of two bigger events from the field of energetics: Sustainable Energy 2018 and Energy Innovation 2018.
The field she works now fulfills her. She believes that art is essential for every individual.
In her opinion, the institutions and artists should cooperate more, especially in these difficult times.
Nuša Ferkulj, Marketing Assistant at Ljubljana Festival, passionate about music and culture, marketing enthusiast, educated in Graphic and Media Technology.
Petra Terzi is an award-winning Greek filmmaker, producer, event organiser, festival founder and the creative director at the distribution platform Inspire-TV.com
She has under development “Butterfly's Dizziness” a psychological
thriller, "Round Red Candy" a romantic drama, and "I am Nana" an
She is a founding member at Cultural Company CINEART which organizes
high calibre events in Greece and Cyprus since 2001 www.cineartfestival.eu
She is the founder and artistic director of a. the Cyprus International Film Festival focused on first shown filmmakers since 2006 cyiff.eu and b. the Bridges International Film Festival in Greece focused on world cinema since 2008 bridgesfest.eu
Petra is a member of Greek Directors Guild, Cyprus Directors Guild and NYWIFT (Women in Film and Television in New York). She is a visiting professor at Communication University of China in Nanjing. She is a jurist at Jaipur International Film Festival and Cell Phone Cinema Humanitarian Awards by Karl Bardosh and founder of the chapter Women In Film and Television in Cyprus WIFTCY.
Samantha and Tina, from Festival Ljubljana, are both passionate about social media with 4 years of experience in marketing and public relations. Hard-working, multi-taskers, known for doing whatever it takes to get the job done, they have been involved in writing press-releases, planning marketing, keeping social media up-to-date and doing general communication with press, artists, customers and other departments.
Youssef Soubai is a production manager and international relations coordinator in ATHENS SPACE Tinghir and manager in cultural affairs and preserving cultural diversity service in the regional council in Errachidia. He is preparing a Ph.D. dissertation on heritage management and preserving cultural diversity in the south of Morocco at the University of Fez. He received a grant from The Arab Council for the Social Sciences, Lebanon to conduct a research paper about cultural justice and was selected to participate in a cultural policy workshop initiated by Almawred Althaqafy in Lebanon and a grant by AFAC to participate in the Atelier for Young Festival Managers Düsseldorf/ Theater der Welt 2021. He participated as well in several MOOC and workshops and conferences in managing the arts, cultural investment, strategic planning on arts, creative industries in the digital era, arts marketing, living human treasures, cultural diplomacy… etc in Morocco, Sultanate Oman, Egypt, and Tunisia
Zane Estere Gruntmane
For almost a decade Zane Estere Gruntmane (32) has been working with cross-sectoral project management for various cultural events in Latvia and internationally. She has a strong commitment to create, present and experience contemporary art. Her's curiosity and reliability in the field have been leading Zane to work with wide spectrum art forms and creative projects holistically, contributing in a creative way in all stages of the process. Furthermore, Zane's passion relies on innovative approaches of collaboration and partnership building at the international level, practices in creation and sustainability, audience development and community engagement. An artistic platform "Pigeon-bridge" (www.pigeonbridge.com) is one of the most relevant projects in which she combined production, curatorial and artistic interests. Since 2019 Zane Estere has found hers Home in Portugal and continues the professional development as a creative knowledge producer while building bridges of international partnerships and networking for the Aveiro 2027 (www.aveiro2027.pt) - the city's candidacy towards the nomination of the European Capital of Culture in 2027. Since 2018 she is a member of the Advisory Committee of IETM (www.ietm.org).
Zeynep Uğur is a PhD candidate at EHESS, CESPRA in political science under the supervision of Nilüfer Göle. Her PhD dissertation is entitled “Transformation of Public Culture: Theatre as the Battleground of Politics in Turkey after 2000s:”. She worked as a research assistant between 2017 and 2019 in the project PublicDemoS (Public Space Democracy) led by Nilüfer Göle and funded by NOMIS Foundation at EHESS. Her research interests include performing arts and public space, the relationship of populism to the culture, artistic expressions in social movements and. Among her publications ``Queering the Public Sphere: LGBTI Movement in Gezi”, Démocratie de la place publique: Les mouvements de maidan, Nilüfer Göle et Yves Cohen (dir.), Politika, TEPSIS. 2019, “From Staging to Enacting Politics: The Case of Alternative Theatres in Istanbul'', Re:Shape Project, Flandres Art Institute [forthcoming 2020] and "(De)constructing the Public Space: The Case of AKM Building in Istanbul'', Public Space Democracy, Nilüfer Göle (ed.), Ashgate [forthcoming 2021]. She is also co-founder and Cultural Policy Director of Istanbul Fringe International Performing Arts Festival.