Mentors and guest speakers are Alumni from previous Ateliers, 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. This Atelier for Solidarity was co-developed with Alumni from different regions and was co-facilitated by them.


During their participation they not only acted as lecturers, but also as true mentors as they engaged in one-on-one 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.

This Atelier for Solidarity was co-developed with Alumni from different regions and was co-facilitated by them.

Participants were guided by experts from a wide range geographically, socially, inter-disciplinary as well as cross – sectorial (experts from foundations, social movements etc) to collect a range of different experiences and strategies.

Have a look at experts of previous Ateliers here

We are delighted to announce the Keynotes Speakers and the Mentors who presented during the 7 days Atelier for Solidarity - re-imagine our future together/ COVID-19.  You can find the keynotes speakers' and mentors' biographies underneath.

Keynotes Speakers : 

  • Hank Willis Thomas – Conceptual Artist – US 
  •  Orwa Nyrabia – Artistic Director International Documentary Festival Amsterdam – The Netherlands/ Syria 
  • Arundhati Gosh – Executive Director India Foundation for the Arts - India
  • Moky Makura – Executive Director Africa No Filter – South Africa 
  • Lemi Ponifasio – Artist and Founder of MAU – New Zealand 
  • Ana Carla Fonseca Reis – Economist and PhD in Urbanism/ Driector Garimpo de Solucoes– Brazil 
  • Benjamin Von Wong - Visual Engineer + Solution Consultant + Installation Artist for Change – Canada

Mentors : 

  • Airan Berg, Artistic Director and Theatre Maker - Festival der Regionen in Upper Austria - Austria 
  • Carole Karemera, Artistic Director Ishyo Arts Centre - Rwanda
  • Brett Pyper, Associate Professor and Head Wits School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, former CEO Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (Absa KKNK) - South Africa
  • Luiz Coradazzi, Deputy Artistic Director - Brazil
  • Joyce Rosario, Independent Curator / Producer – Canada
  • Erica McCalman, Art Oracle - Australia
  • Ophelia Huang, Director of International Affairs in Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center (SDAC) and Programme Director of ACT Shanghai International Theatre Festival - China

Alumni/Co-facilitators :

  • Lilian Hughes - Edinburg Culture Summit - UK
  • Mauricio Lomelin - Lincoln Centre New York - US/Mexico
  • Adel Abdel Wahab - Theatre is a Must - Egypt
  • Angela Delgado - Hay Festival - Peru
  • Meera Krishnan - Prakriti Foundation - India

Panel speakers : 

  • Kate Craddock - Founder and Festival Director of GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre - UK
  • Anna Gallagher-Ross - Associate Artistic Director & Curator at Fusebox - US
  • Vincent de Repentigny - Artistic and General Director of the OFFTA - Canada
  • Jeff Kahn - Performance Space Sydney - Australia
  • Rashmi Dhanwani - Art X Company - India
  • Sepehr Sharifzadeh - Re-connect Festival - Iran


Mike Van Graan

Founding President African Cultural Policy Network - South Africa

Mike van Graan is the founding president of the African Cultural Policy Network, and has served in leadership positions in a variety of anti-apartheid cultural organizations. He is also a 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 currently a fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), working on his first novel.

You can read his full bio here


Hank Willis Thomas

Conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. His work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. His collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth)Writing on the Wall, and the artist-run initiative for art and civic engagement For Freedoms, which was awarded the 2017 ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is also a recipient of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship (2019), Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2018), Art For Justice Grant (2018), AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), Soros Equality Fellowship (2017), and is a former member of the New York City Public Design Commission

Find out more about him here.

Find out more about his work related to the current protest in the US here.

Orwa Nyrabia

 Artistic Director International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam – The Netherlands/ Syria

Orwa Nyrabia (1977), born in Syria, is well-known in the documentary world as a producer, festival director, curator and mentor.

Nyrabia is a member of the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Deutsche Filmakademie, the International Documentary Association and the European Documentary Network. He has received several awards and distinctions during his career, including the George Polk Award for Documentary Film and a European Documentary Network Award. 

Orwa Nyrabia has been involved with IDFA for some time now, in a variety of roles. He worked as a programmer on the theme programme Shifting Perspectives: The Arab World (2017)has sat on the festival jury and was active as a mentor and advisor for IDFAacademy and the IDFA Bertha Fund.

Find out more about him here.

Arundhati Gosh

Executive Director of India Foundation for the Arts (IFA)

 Arundhati has received recognition from several quarters for her work in the non-profit sector. In 2010, she received the Global Fundraiser Award from Resource Alliance International, the same year IFA won the “India NGO of the Year” award in the medium category. She is a recipient of the fellowship under Chevening Clore Leadership Awards in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2015-2016 and has worked with the National Theatre, UK to recommend a strategy for their national reach. 

She is also a recipient of the Chevening Gurukul Scholarship for Leadership and Excellence at the London School of Economics, London in 2005. She is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar and also their facilitator for the Young Cultural Innovators programme. 

Find out more about her here.

Moky Makura

Moky Makura was born in Nigeria, educated in England and has lived in London, Johannesburg and Lagos. She is the Executive Director of Africa No Filter, a donor collaborative focused on shifting the African narrative. Prior to that she was the Deputy Director for Communications Africa at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she was responsible for building and managing the foundation’s reputation on the continent. In 2017 she took on interim role as the foundation’s Country Representative to South Africa responsible for government relations and internal program coordination. Before joining the Gates foundation, Moky worked as Communications Director for the Tony Elumelu foundation in Nigeria. Prior to that she was a well-known TV presenter, producer, author, publisher and a successful entrepreneur in her own right. Moky holds an Honours degree in Politics, Economics and Law from Buckingham University in the UK. As part of her passion to present a positive image of Africa and showcase its heroes and achievements, she created one of the first websites to serve as a repository of positive facts about the continent. 

Moky started and runs the first storytelling networking event for women called Herstory Joburg. She serves on the advisory boards of two non-profits including Junior Achievement Africa and the Houtbay Partnership. 

Find out more about her work here

Watch Moky at: (Living it promo) (TED Talk on telling the African story)

Lemi Ponifasio

Lemi Ponifasio is known internationally for his radical work as a choreographer, director, designer, and visual artist and for his collaborations with many communities. He is the founder of MAU, a platform for reconnecting indigenous and marginalized communities with the power of their cultures, creating experiential, participatory contexts for regenerating ways of being, knowing, and seeing that have been devalued by dominant colonial institutions.

Lemi Ponifasio’s collaborators are people from all walks of life creating works in factories, remote villages, opera houses, schools, marae, castles, galleries, and stadiums. His projects with MAU have included fully staged operas, theatre, dance, exhibitions, community forums, and festivals in more than 40 countries. 

Lemi Ponifasio’s works have been presented in major festivals and theatres including Festival d’Avignon, Lincoln Center New York, BAM New York, Ruhrtriennale, Edinburgh International Festival, Theater der Welt, Theatre de la Ville Paris, Onassis Cultural Centre Athens, Holland Festival, Vienna Festival, Santiago a Mil Chile, the Venice Biennale and throughout the Pacific region. 

Ana Carla Fonseca Reis

 Creative Industries – Brazil 

An economist and PhD in Urbanism, Ana Carla Fonseca is an international consultant, writer and speaker, having worked in 32 countries, for the UN and the IADB. She leads Garimpo de Solucoes, a pioneering company on the creative economy and cities, responsible for the development of creative economy and regional development plans, conferences, research and special projects.

Benjamin Von Wong

Viral Epic Photographer, Visual Engineer and Storyteller - Canada

Benjamin Von Wong's work lies at the intersection of fantasy and photography and combines everyday objects with shocking statistics. It has attracted the attention of corporations, like Starbucks, Dell, and Nike and has generated over 100 million views for causes like ocean plastics, electronic waste, and fashion pollution. Most recently, he was named one of Adweek's 11 content branded masterminds.

Find out more about him here


Airan Berg

 Artistic Director and Theatre Maker at Festival der Regionen in Upper Austria - Austria

Airan co-founded the Theater ohne Grenzen, a visual theater company and the international puppetry festival for adults DIE MACHT DES STAUNENS in Vienna. He was the artistic director for performing arts of the European Capital of Culture Linz 2009. He developed the Urban Inquiries project of the Burgtheater – National Theater of Austria and he also served as the international artistic advisor for Valletta 2018.

To find out more about him click here. 

Brett Pyper

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

Between 2005 and 2007,  Brett Pyper 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.

One of his main fields of interest is music, therefore you should not be surprised to read that he is currently writing a doctoral dissertation on contemporary jazz culture in South Africa and that he was founding Chair of the South African Society for Research in Music.

Find out more about him at this link

Carole Karemera

Artistic Director Ishyo Arts Centre - Rwanda

Carole Karemera is the producer of Kina Festival (International Performing Arts Festival for Youth) and co-producer of Kigali Up music festival and Isaano Arts festival. She is also an arts manager, an activist supporting freedom of creative expression and is a member of the steering committee of the African Cultural Policy Network.

You can find more here.

Luiz Coradazzi

Deputy Artistic Director at the Theatre Municipal

Active member of global networks like ISPA – International Society for the Performing Arts, Mensa, Opera Latinoamerica and the Global South Arts and Culture Initiative

 Founder of Pangea Cultura and former Director Arts at the British Council Brazil - Brazil. 

Find out more about him, click here.

Joyce Rosario

Independent Curator / Producer – Canada

Joyce Rosario is a performing arts curator, producer and manager based in Vancouver BC on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She spent seven festival seasons in curatorial positions at PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, most recently as Associate Artistic Director. She is currently in the first cohort of the Critical Response Process Certification program led by Liz Lerman and John Borstel. Previously, Joyce spent 10 years in the Canadian dance milieu, leading organizations such as New Works and Made in BC - Dance on Tour. Her formal training is in Theatre Production/Design from University of British Columbia’s Theatre program. Her first foray in performance was as a teenage participant in ‘Turning Point’, a new genre public art project by Suzanne Lacy. She is an alumni of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers (Edinburgh 2014) and returned as a peer mentor (Gothenburg 2018). She is thrilled to contribute to the inaugural digital edition of the Atelier.

Erica McCalman

Erica McCalman is a creative producer, curator and consultant of Ballardong (Noongar), Irish convict, Scottish and Cornish heritage. With her independent project (Art Oracle), Erica seeks to find new ways of working as a producer, dissolving power imbalances between artist and institution and nurturing the next generation of First Nations producers.

In the past years she has distinguished herself for her work on both national and international level, by collaborating with artists from South Korea, Timor Leste and Aotearoa as well as for the British Council. She took part in the Atelier for Young Festival Managers in Malta (2019) and in 2016 she was the recipient of the George Fairfax Memorial Award for Excellence.

To know more about her click here

Ophelia Huang

Ophelia Jiadai Huang is Director of International Affairs in Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center (SDAC) and Programme Director of ACT Shanghai International Theatre Festival. She is an experienced cultural manager in performing arts and cultural diplomacy. Ophelia worked in arts journalism, gallery, international arts residency programme as well as for British Council in China for more than a decade. Since she joined Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre in 2015, she has been playing active role in connecting local independent scene and art institutions, and in leadership programme such as US-China Young Leaders Forum. 

Ophelia also maintains her own creative practice as a dramaturg and performance artist. Her own and collaborative works had been presented in festivals, art centres and museums in Asia an Europe. She sits on a few artistic advisory boards for arts festivals and networks in Asia. Ophelia graduated from University of Warwick(UK) and University of Arts in Belgrade (Serbia) with MAs in performance studies and interdisciplinary arts .


Lilian Hughes

Lily Hughes is an experienced curator and producer of international cultural events and festivals. 

She is currently the Programme Manager for the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, which brings together culture ministers, artists, academics and industry leaders from around the world. 

She is interested in cultural policy and investment from an international perspective with a focus on art and cultural practices that provide creative solutions to global challenges. 

She has previously worked for The Lab for Global Performance and Politics, British Film Institute, London Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Africa in Motion and Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival. Lily holds a Master of Arts in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University.

Mauricio Lomelin

A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, Mauricio began his professional career in Mexico City in the field of marketing, focusing on event production. 

He went on to pursue an MFA in Theater Producing from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where he produced several plays with the school’s professional arm, the CalArts Center for New Performance. 

Mauricio joined Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City in 2009. He now serves as Producer of Contemporary Programming at Lincoln Center, presenting works by U.S.-based and international artists as part of two main festivals, the Mostly Mozart Festival and the White Light Festival. 

Mauricio is also Associate Producer for the New York City operations of the Mexican theater company Por Piedad Teatro, which has presented off-Broadway productions of the shows Working on a Special Day (based on Ettore Scola’s film of the same name) and The Duchamp Syndrome. Mauricio is a grant recipient from the National Endowment for the Arts in Mexico.

Adel Abdel Wahab

Adel Abdel Wahab is an Egyptian Theater director, curator, and culture manager based in Alexandria City, Egypt. Since 2006, Abdelwahab worked as a Project Manager in various cultural organizations, then he founded “Hewar Independent Theater Company”. In 2012, he initiated “Theater Is A Must” Independent International Theater Forum for Contemporary political and socio-political theater together with Hewar Independent Theater Company in Alexandria; and since then he has been managing and curating all the editions of the forum (6 editions).

Abdelwahab is particularly interested in the evolution of the Independent Theater and culture scene in the aftermath of the revolution; his work in the contemporary theater is based on political ideas and a contemporary theater form, which uses multi-media and site-specific performance spaces. In 2014, he was a fellow of the International Forum at(Berliner Theatertreffen).

He directed several performances and his latest piece is a German-Egyptian interdisciplinary theater production called “Music for Unstageable Theater” that participated in “Theater Treffen” festival Berlin 2017

Angela Delgado

Born in Arequipa, Perú, in 1966, Year of the Fire Horse in the Chinese zodiac, for the ones interested in astrology.

Director of Hay Festival in Peru since 2015.  I got involved in Arts Management and Cultural Affairs since the beginning of year 2000.  I’ve studied Journalism at the Catholic University in Arequipa; Tourism Promotion and Cultural Management in different diploma courses abroad.

 Curious, vulnerable, creative, sometimes daring, sometimes shy.  Love reading fashion and design magazines.  Love travelling, walking, and watching independent movies.

Love writing prose and some poetry.

I want to be part of the transformation of my city through culture.  I need a frequent dose of fun, art, beer, wine and open mindedness.

Meera Krishnan

Over the past 12 years, I’ve been associated with Prakriti Foundation as their Senior Arts Manager. Of the 4 festivals and one bi-annual award which is currently hosted by the foundation, I am the festival director of one of the festivals Short and Sweet Theatre Festival, and been involved in the other festivals on various leading capacities and spearheading all performing arts and outreach initiatives of the organization – music, contemporary dance, theatre, and poetry. 

I am currently spearheading the foundation’s new initiative “Mental Well Being with Prakriti” for the arts community. I am an ARThink South Asia Fellow (2017-18), International Society for performing arts’ Global Fellow (2018 &2019). I was invited to participate in the Culture du monde programme, Paris hosted by the Ministry of Culture France in 2019.


Kate Craddock

Founder and Festival Director of GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre, an annual artist-led festival celebrating contemporary theatre.

Kate 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.

Anna Gallagher-Ross

Anna Gallagher-Ross is Associate Artistic Director & Curator at Fusebox, an annual contemporary performance festival based in Austin, Texas. 

A graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, she has curated performances, exhibitions, and public programs in New York, London, Toronto, and Austin. Anna's writing and interviews have appeared in Art PapersC Magazinethe Walker ReaderTheater MagazineWritten & Spoken, and other places. 

She is co-editor of Imagined Theatres, Issue #04: Curating Performance (Fall 2020).

Vincent de Repentigny

A graduate from the National Theatre School of Canada, Vincent de Repentigny is appointed as Co-director of the OFFTA, live art festival in Montreal, in December 2013. In 2015, with Jasmine Catudal, he redefine the festival’s mandate which broadened its activities and became LA SERRE – arts vivants. LA SERRE’s mission is to provide emerging artists with an environment that is conducive to the creation and dissemination of meaningful work. In 2019, he is appointed Artistic and General Director and continued the organization's mission by consolidating its operation and strengthening its model of artistic support. 

Vincent is a Fellowship Québec 2019-2021 of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA) and is also Vice-President of the board of the Regroupement des arts interdisciplinaires du Québec (RAIQ).

Sepehr Sharifzadeh

Sepehr is a Tehran based independent producer, curator, and festival organizer, He has studied M.A. of Puppetry at the University of Tehran with his Thesis on "Standardization of Puppet Theater Festival based on PMBOK method" and has co-founded the first International Theater agency in Iran; aiming to facilitate the cultural exchange between Iran and the world through performance. He is working as an artistic adviser, curator and board member with several independent festivals in Iran. In 2018 He worked as the project coordinator of the "Welcome to Iran" festival in BOZAR and co-programmed "The first showcase of Iranian performing arts" during the Fadjr Theater Festival in Tehran at 2019.
He recently co-founded the "Re-connect Online performance Festival" in light of Coronavirus global pandemic.

Jeff Khan

Jeff Khan is a writer and curator based on Gadigal country in Sydney, Australia. Currently Artistic Director and CEO of Performance Space, Jeff works at the intersection of performance, dance, visual arts and sound and has a particular interest in experimental and cross-disciplinary practices. At Performance Space, Jeff curates and oversees the annual Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art, as well as a year-round program of artist development, residencies and international exchange. Performance Space’s programs situate Australian practice in an Asia Pacific context and Jeff’s recent curatorial work is particularly engaged with exigent issues in the region, from queer and feminist conversations to artists’ responses to environmental, political and intercultural complexities. Jeff sits on the Board of Chunky Move and has previously held positions and Guest Curatorships at the Next Wave Festival, Gertrude Contemporary, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. He has participated on juries and assessment panels for the Taishin Art Award (Taiwan); the Australia Council for the Arts; Arts Northern Rivers, and many more.

Rashmi Dhanwani

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.

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