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 could challenge and provoke our thinking or the way we do things. 

We are delighted to announce that 22 participants from 19 countries and 4 continents have participated in this training. Please find the participants list here. You can find their bios below.


Alessandro Tommasi

Alessandro Tommasi (07.03.1993) studied piano in Bolzano and Rome, getting his Master Degree at the Conservatory “C. Pollini” in Padua with 110/110 cum laude in 2018. During the same year, he attended the Course in Cultural Project Management of the Fitzcarraldo Foundation in Turin. In 2017 he took part in the Festival Academy’s Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Meran. In 2012 he founded Essere A Tempo, a concert-lectures season with the University of Padova, and in 2013 the Orchestra Sperimentale, where he was President and Artistic Director until 2016. From 2016 until 2018 he worked as Press Office at Asiagofestival, as Promotion Office for Trame Sonore – Mantova Chamber Music Festival from 2017 until 2020 and Artistic Secretary and then Director of the Bartolomeo Cristofori Piano Festival in Padua from 2016.  In 2019 he became Assistant of the Jury of the Orléans Piano Competition in France and later that year he started working as Tour Manager at the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester in Wien. From 2020 he works as Promotion and Internationalization Office at the Pinerolo Music Academy in Turin as well.One of the youngest music critics in Italy, Alessandro writes for many different online and paper magazines (Amadeus, Musica, Suonare News, Le Salon Musicale, Quinte Parallele) and is speaker and artistic consultant for Venice Classic Radio. In March 2020, he published his first book on Alfredo Casella’s pianistic language for LoGisma Editore in Florence. From September 2020, he is Regional Representative for the Italian Youth Association for UNESCO, representing Trentino-Alto Adige.

Ani Hovsepyan

Born in Armenia, Ani Hovsepyan has been involved in the festival management for already 10 years. At present she holds the position of Administrative Assistant and Project Manager at the "Yerevan Perspectives" International Music Festival and is a PhD researcher at Brusov State University. Her educational background was reinforced by PhD research project at the City College, the University of Sheffield International Faculty for the period of two years.

Ani holds BA and MA degrees in Languages and Intercultural Communication. She participated in a number of mobility projects, trainings, seminars and conferences in various higher educational institutions, non-governmental organizations throughout Europe. With advanced academic and professional background, she has a great experience in managing different projects, educational programs, as well as national and international projects. From 2017 she has been delivering course “Career Management” for the BA 2nd year students and “Managerial Competences” for the MA students at the Brusov State University, Chair on Education Management and Planning.  

Bacar Mmadi Saadi

Bacar Mmadi Saadi is of Comorian nationality. After finishing his secondary studies on Professional Management at the University of Comores, he changed fields and started studies in Meteorology and Maintenance of Air Security. Currently, Bacar works at the international airport of Comores as maintenance technician since 2016.

Bacar has recently become a member of AIMR (International Street Music Association) and is passionate about the climate and protecting it.

Brandon Farnsworth

Brandon Farnsworth, born in 1991, works as an independent music curator, and as a research associate at the Zurich University of the Arts, where he also studied classical music performance and transdisciplinary studies. His is pursuing his doctoral degree in historical musicology at the University of Music Carl Maria von Weber Dresden, and is an affiliated researcher with the joint Epistemologies of Aesthetic Practice doctoral program at the Collegium Helveticum. 

Camila Provoste Cid

Camila Provoste Cid is a Producer and Cultural Manager. 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.

Clio Flego

Clio Flego is an artistic programmer and cultural manager. She received a graduate degree in Visual and Performing Arts at IUAV University in Venice and she is a former Media Arts Cultures scholar. Her expertise is sound art, experimental music and expanded cinema. Clio has cooperated as a creative and critical thinker with Universities and cultural institutions all around the world, collaborating in many international festivals and events based across Europe. She plays as DJ Wasabii. 

George Mario Attard

georgemario 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.   

Iva Evguenieva

Originally from Sofia, Iva Evguenieva is acting as Project Manager for Lindy Hop Bulgaria (, the first and biggest Lindy Hop dance school in her country. She has been actively involved both as volunteer and as a team member in the organisation of already recognized international events such as Sofia Swing Dance Festival (, Balkan Lindy Hop Championship ( and LOVE Swing Dance Festival ( Currently Iva is coordinating the Swinging Europe Network ( consortium implementing Swing Dance festivals in 5 EU countries and funded under the Creative Europe programme.

Iva holds a MA degree in Business Administration from Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris) and an MA degree in European Studies from King’s College London. Her professional background is mainly linked to the business development and administrative implementation of international projects in the social and entrepreneurial fields and she has gained large experience in several European programmes. Iva’s personal interest in topics such as dance and improvisational theatre leads her to a merge between her professional activities and her hobbies. In 2019 she has spent a year in Barcelona in order to gain experience in the field of social theatre and has developed a project idea based on that experience which she is currently implementing in Bulgaria.

John Namai

John Namai  or Titi - as he is artistically known - is a professional storyteller with passion for traditional storytelling . 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 founding member of Zamaleo Act, an Eastern Africa Centre of Artistic Excellence specialized in participatory educational theater, and of the 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

Kimberley Kute

Kimberley Kute is a young and vibrant woman from Zimbabwe who has vast experience in Events Planning and Management, with special focus in Festival Management and is a certified Wedding Planner. 

 She is passionate about growing the Arts Industry in Zimbabwe and this is shown by her commitment to working with artists even outside of Shoko Festival, as a Bookings Agent. 

She has been working with Shoko Festival for 3 years and has proven to be a valuable member of the organisation and enjoys her work.

Lorena Martínez Mier

Lorena Martínez Mier is a producer and cultural manager. Graduated with a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design, a Master in Interaction design, and graduate programs in Cultural Policies and Arts Management. She worked for 10 years as project manager and on-line entrepreneur. Since 2005, she has been working in performing arts projects and festivals. Her major projects include the Mexico Bicentennial Independence Parade, Veracruz Central American and the Caribbean Games Ceremonies, Seña y Verbo: Deaf Theater; Créssida Dance, Guanajuato International Film Festival y Festival Internacional Cervantino. She has participated as a speaker and panel member in events about Arts and Disability and arts management. She is currently working at British Council México as Arts Manager. 

Louise Demelas

Louise Demelas is a French cultural manager and translator/interpreter. She studied English, German and Slovak languages, linguistics and translation at the University Paris 7 and at the Institute for oriental languages (INALCO) in Paris. She graduated in cultural management at the Academy of Music Franz Liszt Weimar, Germany. She has worked on a variety of artistic projects, from artist residency programs in Slovakia and the Netherlands to a year-long assistance to the audience development department of HELLERAU (European Centre for the Arts Dresden, Germany) and a trinational theatre project in Ukraine, France and Germany. Since May 2020, she is working as a freelance consultant for the Dutch international development organisation Hivos, where she is coordinating a Community Resilience Fund created in response to the outbreak of Covid-19, as well as assisting the development of African Crossroads, a pan-African network of thinkers and doers, among which artists and art collectives. Throughout her work, Louise Demelas seeks to combine her passion for the arts with her love for foreign languages and cultures and explore the intersection between different working fields and industries.

Magdalena Żelasko

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.

Marina Bolado

Marina Bolado has been working at the Santander International Festival for more than 20 years. Throughout these years she has held numerous and diverse functions in the area of ​​artistic relations, external relations and production. She has also coordinated the concerts held on the occasion of the Lebaniego's Jubilee Year and the Camino Norte de Santiago as it passes through Cantabria.

For a few years she has been the person in charge of trying to maintain a Green Festival and implement actions that protect the Environment, both before, during and after the Festival.

Matjamela Motloung

Matjamela Motloung has 20 years of exceptional aptitude in various spheres of theatre in both social development and commercial work. He is a theatre director, producer and trainer who was discovered through the Market Theatre Standard Bank Arts Administration program in 1998. And he advanced to different roles at the Market Theatre for 13 years, culminating in him being the head of Market Theatre Laboratory from 2008 – 2011. Over the last 10 years Matjamela has worked across his country with different institutions and organisations including recently as the Resident Director for Development for the Playhouse Theatre Company. He is also the founder and director of Ruban Noir Pty Ltd.

Petra Terzi

Petra Terzi has studied Business Administration, Classical Studies, Life Coaching, Film Direction, Writing and Film Production. Petra's films, produced from 2016 to 2019, have been selected in over 60 Festivals. She has received awards and been a finalist in over 25 Film Festivals. The “Studio - To Belong to Yourself” - a proof of concept for a feature film- is Petra's first student short film and was officially selected in the 69th Cannes Festival Short Film Corner in May 2016. With the feature documentary film “She Should Run – Cyprus” (concerning women empowerment, human rights, diversity, war victims etc) Petra received the Master of Arts in Digital Video Production in Neapolis University in Cyprus. She co-wrote “49 Years After” and directed the documentary “Roses Trilogy” about refugees and minority groups. Her feature films including “Emergence”, based on Michael Kokkinaris' novel, a horror medical ethical drama, “Butterfly's Dizziness”, Petra's script, a psychological thriller, and "Round Red Candy", a romantic drama, are under development as well as the inspirational film "I am Nana" based on the true story of a disabled girl.

Petra developed the Inspire-TV platform with activities involving independent artists' and filmmakers' works distribution and promotion. She founded the Cyprus International Film Festival (2006) and the Bridges International Film Festival in Greece (2008), both holding the EFFE label - Europe's quality stamp for remarkable arts festivals -, and other festivals promoting emerging artists and gender equality in film.

Since 2000, Petra is a promoter, an award winning film director and producer, a high caliber events' (Kevin Costner, Michael Bolton etc), CINE@ART's magazine Editor-in-Chief and film festivals' organizer in Greece and Cyprus with a vast professional background in industrial management, destination management services and volunteerism.

Petra is a visiting professor at the Communication University of China in Nanjing, a member of the Greek Directors Guild, the Cyprus Directors Guild and the NYWIFT (Women in Film and Television in New York). She is a jurist at the Jaipur International Film Festival, at the Karl Bardosh Humanitarian Cellphone Cinema Awards@Cannes and the founder of the Women In Film and Television in Cyprus (CYWIFT).

Sharmila Elias

Sharmila Elias is a Senior Project Manager at Lake of Stars Africa (the award winning Lake of Stars Malawi Arts Festival, since 2004). South African – Malawian, with a tourism, business leadership and logistics professional background. Using her corporate skills to develop the arts, culture and tourism industry, currently in events planning, covering most aspects of the festival requirements at Lake of Stars, as the Senior Project Manager and Tourism Expert. Elias is also a writer, poet and stage actress. She writes her own work. Her work advocates for women’s rights, the youth, and against gender-based violence, child marriages and other pressing issues.

Susanna Basso

Susanna Basso is the Co-founder & Art Director of the Climate Crisis Creative Hub, a platform for climate action which hosts the Climate Crisis Film Festival every November. She has a background in event cinema, with a degree in Film Studies and a specialisation in festival curation, and work experience in film festivals and premières since 2011. In the past 4 years, Basso has been developing a focus on branding and creative management, as she saw a chance to contribute my skills as a designer and web developer to improve the visual communication and digitalisation of the organisations I worked for. After working as the Creative Manager for a fast-growing London social enterprise, she set up ALAK Design, where she works as Designer & Brand Consultant for a variety of international businesses. She has been involved in the Climate Crisis Film Festival since early 2019 and oversee all their branding, marketing and curatorial efforts.

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" ( 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 ( - 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 (