26 emerging arts and production managers from Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Morocco, Palestine, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey were selected to exchange with peers as well as with experts.

This three-phased programme addresses artists, cultural actors, early-career arts managers and production managers or those who have ambitions to get involved in programming or producing art and art organizations who:

  • Wish to improve their art management skills
  • Learn from experts in the field 
  • Exchange ideas and best practices with their peers
  • Learn about new ways of cooperation and sustainable production and space and team management 
  • Learn about the organizational and technical process of realizing a production 
  • Interested in the relation between the artistic program and the practical/technical realization of it
  • Interested in the relation between artist, curator and production/technical staff
  • Interested in becoming part of a network to construct and share knowledge related to the topic.
  • Every age/race/gender.

You can find a full list of participants here and their bios below. 

Amjad Al-Mestarihy

Amjad Al-Mestarihy’s artistic background is quite wide. He has studied Graphic Design in Yarmouk University with several electives like pottery and visual arts. Later, he started working as a Designer and Project Manager in the Arts and Culture Organization MedeArts in his hometown Irbid and with the Dutch NGO Sounds of Change as a music trainer. Next to this, he is a guitarist playing the lead guitar in his local band Octave and also love experimenting with percussions.

He is an independent artist, with passion in many fields. He was born and raised in Irbid, a relatively conservative city in the North of Jordan. During his teenage years, he discovered the beauty of art and music. With little to no support in the beginning, he started to teach himself guitar and eventually received a scholarship for studying Graphic Design in Yarmouk University. With time, he got connected in the relatively small arts and culture scene in his city and beyond and had the pleasure to experience the heartfulness and mutual support in cultural and artistic networks. He is now working in different artistic fields. He is a member and lead guitarist in the ‘traditional rock’ band Octave, with which he has been playing in diverse festival and online sessions. They transfer old folk songs from Sahel Horan region to a new style of music using mostly rock elements mixed with traditional instruments. Next to this he is working with the Dutch NGO ‘Sounds of Change’ as a music trainer for unprivileged Youth in the Arab Region to empower them expressing themselves. Apart from this he is working as a local facilitator for the German organization MitOst. His main occupation is his work in the Irbid based Association MedeArts for which he established and manage the cultural space and creative hub Garage Art. Next to this working with and through this cultural organization he was able to contribute to and implement divers events and festivals which pathed my way as a Cultural and Space Manager.

Anas Abu Nahleh

Anas Abu Nahleh is a self-taught multi-disciplinary performer and choreographer. 

Anas started to dance when he was 14 years old. After more than 10 years of practice and advocating for dance development in the country, Anas and other friends co-founded a platform called Studio 8 for aspiring young people to showcase their potential, and the need for opportunities which provide inclusive creative projects that are crucial for allowing the dance to thrive and survive in Jordan.

Since 2014, Studio 8 has held more than 100 workshops of different dance styles, produced several original dance productions, toured in Jordan and abroad.

Additionally, Studio 8 has brought dance to galleries and exhibitions spaces in Jordan. Anas has choreographed and co-directed 3 dance productions with art installations. The installations and performance envision altogether a future where the lines between dance, design, architecture, circus arts, and science are crossed.

In 2017, Anas represented Studio 8 in ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Congress in New York and became a listed member of ISPA. For 2016 and 2017, he has taken youth leadership rites of passage programs with educator Melissa Michaels, Ed.D. And one-year-intensive training at Boulder Circus Center in Colorado, USA.

In 2019, he took an active role in stage management, artist liaison while organizing an 8-day dance festival in August. The festival is called International Dance Encounter Amman (IDEA). For the first edition, Studio 8 and Anas brought together 46 artists coming from 18 different countries with the support of many local, international, regional and international organizations, such as the European Union Institutes of Culture (EUNIC), the Swiss Arts Council, the Nationales Performance Netz – NPN, the Goethe-Institut , the Arab Ttre Training Centre (ATTC) , Al Balad Theater, and more.

Bilel El Mekki

Graduate in English literature and environmental communication, Bilel El Mekki follows a rich and varied pathway that orients him towards film distribution and cinema management. In 2012, he opts for an experience in the musical field where he works with vocalist and Oud player Dhafer Youssef. Involved in civil society, Bilel takes the way of social development as a logistic and communication officer within Advocacy Voice and Accountability – Ad.Vo.Act project. In 2016, He joins L’Art Rue team in the artistic residencies program and as a production manager in the multidisciplinary festival of contemporary art, DREAM CITY.

Burcu Yilmaz Deniz

Burcu Yilmaz Deniz is a curator, performer and cultural manager. She is the co-director of A Corner in the World, an independent collective for curatorial practice. She had a background on cultural heritage and arts management and performing arts and got her education in Turkey and France. She worked with national and international organisations including Anadolu Kültür (TR), Friche Laiterie (FR), Global Heritage Fund (USA) and as a consultant for Creative Europe. She performed for Villa Theatre (FR) and Altenburg State Theatre (GR) among others and toured in France, Greece, Germany and Italy.  Besides her activities as a trainer on creative dance, improvisation, yoga and  soundpainting, she works with different groups including disadvantaged groups and children. Currently, she is also performing in a children's play, Egg From an Elephant, with two versions, one for general audience and one for children with neurological differences.

Christina Skarpari

Christina Skarpari is a designer, researcher, and educator and her practice sits at the junction of social design and communication design.

She designs and co-designs, curates, facilitates and coordinates arts festivals, non-formal education programs, workshops, exhibitions, communication design initiatives, and community engagement projects.

She has a history of working in the public arts sector, in the higher education industry, and in the NGO field for over eight years. She began her training during MA in Communication design at Central Saint Martins (2012-2014). There she focused on the conceptualization and realization of “Xarkis Festival” which is now an international, nomadic arts Festival roaming mountainous villages of Cyprus. Since 2013 she became the founder and creative director of Xarkis NGO. 

Examples of projects include the award-winning Xarkis Festival and “Xarkis Residency program”, (Creative Europe, 2019), the award-winning, EU funded social entrepreneurship initiative and crowd-sourced oral history library called “Voicing Stories”, a UNESCO funded documentary with high-school students trained to collect craft stories in a non-formal education program, “MASA potluck”, participatory design workshops and "KaFEMeio: women's coffeeshop".

In the context of academia, she has received an AHRC Techne studentship for her ongoing practice-based research degree (Doctor of Philosophy - PhD) at Central Saint Martins, which employs a co-design methodology within the contexts of intangible cultural heritage preservation and community resilience.

In parallel, she works as an Associate Lecturer in the BA program at Central Saint Martins and in the MA program at London College of Communication, both at University of the Arts London. 

Constantina Georgiou

Constantina Georgiou explores creativity & the arts as means for inclusion and as a safe space that ultimately supports and accepts personal dispositions. Her aim is to develop meaningful projects with sensitivity and purpose, hoping to create a positive impact in the everyday life of different people and communities. 

In November 2009 and parallel to her freelance work, Constantina founded Among the Ants aiming to initiate artistic ideas [mainly in the public space]. She recently launched μoment Creative, a mentoring program for emerging artists and early career art managers, providing practical assistance, advice and motivation. Since January 2021 she is an Arts Emergency mentor in Manchester, supporting a young person in their journey towards the professional arts sector. 

Denizhan Çay

Denizhan Çay studied physical theater in Physical Theater and Comedia School, Fitiko with the movement pedagogy of Jacques Lecoq. In 2018, he was in a team founding Istanbul Fringe Festival which opens space for international dance, theater and performance works at different stages in Istanbul.

He experienced acting, directing and stage design in Sarı Sandalye Theater Company founded in 2016. Currently, he continues his Phd on human-technology interaction, conducting artistic direction of Istanbul Fringe Festival and performing in Sarı Sandalye Theater Company. 

Dina Kobrosly

Since 2017, Dina Kobrosly has been the project director of Home Arts Homecoming project (HAHP) by the Arab Theater Training Center (ATTC). She has taught theater in public and private schools from 2009 until 2017, where she wrote and directed many school plays. She has worked with Les Amis des Marionnettes from 2012 until 2017, where she acted in several projects, conducted workshops, and closely worked with local and refugee communities around Lebanon. She also worked at the Arab Puppet Theater Foundation (APTF) as a project manager. She has also conducted workshops on conflict resolution and peacebuilding using theater and puppets and using theater and puppets as an effective means in communication and expression. She held a workshop in puppetry in Poland organised by Roberto Cimetta Fund – Global Grand Central.

Dina has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater (acting and directing) from the Lebanese University (LU), and is pursuing her Masters Degree in Theater Studies at the Saint Joseph University (USJ). She has attended courses on Non-Violent Theater at the Academic University of Non-Violence and Human Rights (AUNOHR). She has also attended the Prague Summer Theater School (DAMU), where she took intensive courses in puppetry and in enlivening the performer. Dina has attended various professional workshops in acting, puppetry, art and drama therapy, and trauma and peacebuilding.

Elli Leventaki

Elli Leventaki is an art historian, a curator, and a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Theory and History of Art in the Athens School of Fine Arts. She is currently a curator at the Biennale of Western Balkans, while simultaneously collaborating with independent art programs and art spaces as a freelance curator.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Art Theory, and a Master’s degree in Art History and Curating, both from the Fine Arts Department of the University of Ioannina, Greece. She also holds a diploma on Adult and Continuous Education from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and is systematically attending seminars and talks on art, gender and politics.

Elli has years of experience as a curator and cultural manager, having collaborated as an arts-professional with various institutions, cultural spaces, festivals, artists and art-enthusiasts in independent projects. Furthermore, she has written numerous art-related texts for exhibition catalogues and scientific purposes. She often participates in conferences and lectures in Greece and abroad. She is a member of the Association of Greek Art Historians, AICA Hellas, ICOM, Europeana and a member of the History of Art Laboratory of the School of Fine Arts in the University of Ioannina.

Iris Canaj

Born in Tirana, Albania's capital city in the Balkans, Europe, Iris Canaj has been curious about different disciplines of art and sport since she was a little girl. After trying some courses, she chose to study Direction and finished an MsC at “University of Arts” in Tirana for Theater and Spectacle Direction. The University has three Faculties; The Faculty of Music, The Faculty of Stage Arts and The Faculty of Fine Arts. As directors, students do not learn only about directing, but also about other fields related to that, such as; acting, dancing, costume/scenography, light design, film direction, photography, etc. In 2015 and 2020, Iris made two specializations for “Business Management” and “Marketing in Practice” to create a bridge between Art, Production and possible Donors.
Creator of “Festivali i Artistëve të Rrugës”, #DoArtPërralla, etc.

After finishing her studies, in 2016 Iris started working as Artistic Curator at “Reja – The Cloud” installation, created by the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto in 2013 for “Serpentine Gallery”, London. Thanks to the “Luma” Foundation, the installation is now in Tirana, and it functions under the responsibility of the Municipality of Tirana.

In 2017, Iris co-founded “DoART” NGO. Its name has a bilingual meaning; in Albanian means “to love Art” and in English, “to make Art”. The co-founders all have various professional fields, but they have in common the believe that Art can make us all better people, and by doing art, we can make the community and the world a better place!

Jovana Jankova

Jovana Jankova is a student of Theatre, Radio and Culture Management and Production at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade.

Based in Pančevo, Serbia, Jovana is a volunteer coordinator at Pančevo Film Festival, Production assistant on Bašta Fest, and coordinator of numerous youth and culture projects. Co-founder of PančeVox - youth podcast on culture and activism. She supports activism and volunteerism and advocates for non-formal education of young people. She is interested in media education, cultural management, culture and youth policies and active participation of youth.

Katerina Gnafaki

Katerina Gnafaki is a cultural manager, festival producer and independent curator currently based in Berlin. As an arts professional, she has worked for many years in the production of contemporary art exhibitions like the Berlin Biennale, documenta14 and Athens Biennale.

As a festival producer, she has headed a wide roster of public programs in music and sound-related practices and has collaborated with festivals like Heroines of Sound (DE), European Music Day (GR), Transmediale Festival for Art and Digital Culture (DE), Impakt (NL) and p_public (GR).

She is the co-founder of Nature Loves Courage Festival, a biannual boutique festival at the southern tip of Crete focused on contemporary electronic and experimental music, curator of sound at Centrum, a contemporary project space in Berlin and works as a freelance exhibition producer for different exhibitions across EU.

Margarita Arsova

Margarita Arsova works as head of the film program department at Youth Cultural Center Skopje since 2010. After graduating in BA (Marketing studies) at Sheffield University in Thessaloniki, Greece, she accidentally found herself highly addicted to working in the field of cultural events and productions. From 2012, she runs the film program department at MKC, managing two cinemas and their programming – Cinema Millennium and Cinema Frosina (both part of Europa Cinemas network). Margarita is also the executive producer of CINEDAYS Festival of European film, the largest film festival in North Macedonia.

Marianna Kaplatzi

Marianna Kaplatzi (born in Athens, Greece) has an academic background in Cultural Studies, Film Theory & History and Translation. Since 2006, she has been working with official and independent film institutions, film festivals, cultural organisations and cinematheques in Greece & beyond (Hellenic Audiovisual Institute, Greek Cinematheque – Greek Film Archives, Filmmuseum Potsdam, Thessaloniki International Film Festival and more) as a film curator, researcher, in communication/PR, among other positions.

She joined the Athens-based “Balkan Can Kino” film collective in 2018 and has since curated and co-curated numerous programmes and activities in Athens, around Greece and abroad (Berlin Critics’ Week, 2 Sides Short FF Izmir). Her recent research interests focus on the relation between cinema and the public sphere and the redefinition of cinema as a special socio-cultural activity and an artistic endeavour. She is also working as a professional freelance translator with working languages Greek, English, French and Spanish.

Milena Janković

Milena Janković graduated from the Faculty of Drama Arts, Department for Theatre, Radio and Culture Management and Production.

She is currently enrolled in the MA programme UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management, University of Arts in Serbia.

She is employed as a project manager in “Novi Sad 2022 – ECOC” Foundation, and a member of “Polimorf” collective.

She is passionate about ecology, and devoted to New Belgrade.

Naoures Rouissi

Naoures Rouissi is a cultural manager, researcher, trainer, and film festival programmer. She has participated in organizing and programming many Film Festivals in Tunisia. She trained young cultural managers in Tunisia and in Cameroon in organizing film festivals and cultural events. She was the Head of Film and programming Department of Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia from 2015 to 2019.

In October 2020, She obtained a Master's Degree in Cultural Policy and Cultural Management from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Hassan II University Casablanca.

As part of this master, she participated in the Conference on Cultural Policy and Sustainable Development on July 8-9, 2019, at Bundesakademie Wolfenbüttel and The Artistic Cultural Diplomacy Forum 2020 "Bridges Cultural Building Through Art, Film, and Music" in Berlin.

Nikolay Neykov

Born in 1973, Nikolay Neykov grew up in Teteven, then went to D.A. Tsenov Academy of Economics in Svishtov 1991-1996. Now based in Sofia, he started earning a living at Soros Centre for the Arts Sofia 2000-2002.

He then was present at the creation and worked for the Art Hostel in 2001-2004 as the country looked to be re-orientating firmly from East to West and all kinds of exchange and travel was growing. He later was present at the creation of and worked for The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate – an independent cultural centre and venue. When The Red House reached the end of the road, in 2020, he moved on to ACT Association for Independent Theatre and its annual ACT Festival for Independent Theatre.

Rami Magharbeh

Rami Magharbeh is a Syrian cultural manager, the founder and director of Douzan Art and Culture, a Syrian NGO founded in Turkey to enable Syrians to practice and shape their contemporary cultural identity through preserving cultural memory, providing spaces for interaction and building capabilities, strengthening solidarity and cooperation to build Syrians cultural future between the heritage and the contemporary.

Magharbeh holds an MBA degree and a diploma in music. He worked as a program and grant specialist in many local and international organizations, and manage several culture projects between Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

Rand Taha

Rand Taha is a Palestinian dancer from Jerusalem, obtained her Dance BA from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, and completed her Postgraduate in Copenhagen Contemporary Dance School. Currently, she is a dancer at Shaden Dance Company and a dance instructor. And will be starting her MA degree in April 2021 in Arts and culture management at the Rome Business School.

Rand Taha was a member of the Academy’s Ensemble for three years and part of the excellence performance program. In her senior year at the Academy, she won 3rd place in the annual Gertrude Strauss Choreography Competition 2018.

Rand was chosen for the Henny Jurriens Summer Intensive scholarship 2017 in Amsterdam. In 2018, she performed as part of the B12 Performance project with Helder Seabra.

Rand participated as a dancer in the CINARS Biennale Festival 2018 in Montréal and had a tour in Canada with the solo “Premiere” in 2019 and her duet with Hala Salem ”Parallel”.

Rand participated in many workshops in Palestine and Europe with well-known dance companies, such as; YASamar Dance Company, Akram Khan, Sidi L’arbie Sharqawi, Peeping tom, Jiry Kylian and the Choreographer Maurice Causey.

Rola Khayyat

Rola Khayyat is a Lebanese interdisciplinary artist and curator. Her work explores new dimensions on the representation of war, memory, and identity. Rola has curated shows in Beirut, Thessaloniki, and New York, such as the BEYroute for the third Thessaloniki Biennale, Lattice Work at the Black and White gallery, Simmer at Kunstraum LLC and Light in Wartime at apexart. Her work has been exhibited at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Okk / raum 29, Catalyst Arts Belfast Photo Festival 2013, the 21st International Istanbul Art Fair and North of History (NY). Khayyat received her B.A. in Historical Studies from the American University of Beirut (2003), a diploma in Intensive Drawing from the Florence Academy of Art (2005) and an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University (2016). She is a Magnum Foundation fellowship recipient and an Assistant Professor in the Painting and Printmaking department at VCUQ (Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar). 

Samaa Wakim

Samaa Wakim from Palestine, Mi’ilya village, Galilee, graduated from the acting department at Haifa University. She has performed in various local and international plays such as I am Yusuf and This is My Brother, a co-production of the ShiberHur - a Palestinian theatre group - and the Young Vic theater in London 2009; The Beloved, a co-production of ShiberHur and the Bush Theater in London, 2012; Exit, Khashabi ensemble Palestine, 2011-2012; and in various film projects such as the social media video If I Go Back in Time, 2013 and In Your Absence 2014.

Dance credits include choreography (and acting) for Cabaret at Khashabi theatre 2018; and performance in Badke, a co-production between KVS, le ballets C de la B & A.M. Qattan Foundation and directed by Koen Augustijnen, Rosalba Torres & Hildegard De Vuyest 2012-2017; Modern Curses (choreography and performing), 2019; and with Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre since 2014.

Samaa was the Assistant Director and performer for Min Tala- a pan-Arab dance company - in 2016, and Production Manager of HIFF (Haifa independent film festival), 2018-19.

Stephanie Velichkova

Stephanie Velichkova is 25 and lives in Sofia, Bulgaria. For the past 5 years, she has worked in the field of digital marketing - a few years as an account manager in one of the most successful digital agencies in Sofia and the last two ones as a relations manager and a digital marketing specialist in a small boutique design and communications studio, also in Sofia.

Recently she started working for an NGO called The Digital National Alliance, aimed at promoting and contributing to national digitalization through various projects for children and adults, such as conferences, workshops, papers, etc.

Aside from her work, Stephanie runs an NGO called ARS Kino, dedicated to film education for children. ARS Kino organises and participates in film-related events both on the local and international level. In the last three years, Stephanie has been responsible for both the management and ARS Kino's events' communications.

At some point, Stephanie realized that working with children and especially the ones in their adolescent years, makes her really happy and is what “feeds her soul.” Even though she is not an artist, she can appreciate art in all its forms, especially its power to unite, teach, and develop us. So that is why she decided to combine her professional skills in the field of communications and event management with the love and trust in children to begin her work with ARS Kino.

Stephano Mendelek

After studying Cinema at IESAV - USJ, Stephano Mendelek joined Beirut DC in 2017 as a volunteer on Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya and essentially never left. I am currently the Director of Development, working on the development of new programs and partnerships. I believe in the power of film and the right to cultural access and cultural expression for all.

Vesna Sokolovska

Vesna Sokolovska FRSA is the founder and visionary behind the Green Culture project. She is a cultural manager and producer, leading the NGO Krug, International Center for Sustainable Cultural Collaboration, based in London, with branches in Podgorica and Cetinje, Montenegro and Skopje, Macedonia.

She’s been the author of numerous pioneering projects. She has been promoting the Balkan Cultures in the UK since 2006 through series of cultural events, such as art exhibitions, theatre performances, film festivals, concerts, literature readings, as well as educational projects on different subjects.

Through her work, she actively promotes the environmentally sustainable creative sector by raising awareness and hands-on activities such as over a decade of Green Culture summits and numerous other festivals.

She’s been part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Team. Vesna is a supporter and part of her local Friends of the Earth group, a member of the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of the Institute of Fundraising from London, UK.

She loves crafts and jewellery making in her spare time, actively trained in swimming in her teenage years, and she’s passionate about bringing people together, creating successful partnerships between them. She is а proud mother of Leno, Luka and Viktor, and a cat mum to 3 gorgeous cats.

Youssef Soubai

Youssef Soubai was born in Moroccan Sahara, he is a production manager and international relations coordinator in FADAE ATHINA, Tinghir and manager in cultural affairs and preserving cultural diversity service in the regional council of Daraa Tafilalt in Errachidia.

He is preparing a Ph.D. dissertation on heritage management and preserving cultural diversity 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 was the vice president of international festival of storytelling and popular arts in Zagora for 4 years. 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… in Morocco, Sultanate Oman, Egypt, and Tunisia and he has recently published several scientific articles on creative industries, censorship on artistic expression in Facebook.