Mentors & guest speakers

200+ mentors/presenters have allowed insights into their careers

Mentors and guest speakers at the training programmes are 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. Mentors are present throughout, not only as lecturers but fully engaged in (one-on-one) conversations and guidance of the participants. International and regional guest speakers are invited to add extra insights and perspectives on different topics. 

Mentors and guest speakers all allow participants an honest and open insight into their careers including both success stories and failures. They share their motivation and explain their (artistic) choices in view of The Festival Academy’s mission. 

Following the most recent Online Ateliers of 2020, our Experts network now includes 200+ mentors & guest speakers coming from 50+ countries and all continents. 

Frosyni Trousa at the Atelier Eleusis in February 2019 (photo by Constantinos Theodorou)

Carolina Courbis Bascuñán, a participant in the Atelier Merano 2017:

"What I feel that what’s very valuable from the Atelier is: (...) The amazing pool of mentors that shared their experience with us. A group of real experts in their fields from a range of backgrounds, that were generous enough to tell us about their stories, ideas, achievements and failures, but overall that were genuinely open to have a horizontal conversation with us which in every single case, nurtured our idea of festivals."

Robyn Archer:

“As mentors and presenters I know we will get at least as much out of the participants as they may get out of us in the coming week. It should be understood at the outset that there are very few differences between us as mentors and you as participants, except perhaps in terms of experience. We are all participants in the Atelier.”

Pool of Festival Experts

  • Agnes Havas, Director Armel Opera Festival - Hungary 
  • Airan Berg, Artistic Director and Theatre Maker - Festival der Regionen in Upper Austria - Austria 
  • Ahmed El Attar, Founder and general manager of Orient Productions, founder and artistic director of The Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Ministry of Culture - Egypt
  • Alain Weber, Artistic Director Fez Sacred Music Festival - Morocco
  • Ana Carla Fonseca Reis, Economist and Director of Garimpo de Soluções – Brazil
  • Andrea Caruso Saturnino, Director Cena Aberta, São Paulo - Brazil
  • Andy Fryers, Sustainability Director of Hay Festival - United Kingdom/South America
  • Angele Galea, Artistic Consultant of Science in the City - Malta
  • Angharad Wynn Jones, Head of Creative Engagement at Arts Centre Melbourne – Australia
  • Anna Gallagher-Ross, Associate Artistic Director & Curator at Fusebox - United States of America
  • Anna Mülter, Artistic Director of Festival Theaterformen - Germany
  • Annet Lekkerkerker, Managing Director Holland Festival - Netherlands
  • Arundhati Gosh, Executive Director India Foundation for the Arts - India
  • Artur Mendes, Arts Manager at BOOM Festival - Portugal
  • Asiimwe Deborah Kawe, Director of Tebere Arts Foundation, Producer & Co-Curator of the Kampala International Theatre Festival, Sundance Institute Theatre Program Associate - East Africa
  • Benn Wiebe, Executive Producer of HF Productions, Climate Reality Leader, Board Advisor of SIE Society, Advisory Committee member of Center for the Digital Future on the Expansion & implementation of GDKP, governance team member of UN Environment's Playing for the Planet Alliance  – North America, Australia, South-eastern Asia, European Union
  • Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, President Lyon Biennial - France
  • Beth Ponte, Arts Manager, Researcher and Independent Consultant - Brazil
  • Biljana Tanurovska-Kjulavkovski, Co-curator Lokomotiva Festival for contemporary art and performance in Skopje - Macedonia
  • Brenda Uphopho, Co-Founder & Festival Producer of Lagos Fringe, Founder of Women in the Arts - Nigeria 
  • Brett Pyper, Associate Professor and Head Wits School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg - South Africa
  • Sir Brian McMaster, Former Director of Edinburgh International Festival - United Kingdom
  • Camilla Colombo, Founder Ohme - Belgium
  • Carla Van Zon, Artistic Director of Auckland Arts Festival - New Zealand
  • Carmen Romero Quero, Executive Director Teatro a Mil Foundation - Chile
  • Carole U. Karemera, Artistic director of Ishyo Arts Centre - Rwanda
  • Catherine J. Wang, President of the Centre for China Shanghai International Arts Festival - China
  • Celestine Kubelka, Production Manager Wiener Festwochen - Austria
  • Chiaki Soma, Representative Director of Arts Commons Tokyo - Japan
  • Chiara Badiali, Knowledge and Sector Intelligence Lead for Julie’s Bicycle – United Kingdom
  • Ching-Lee Goh, Executive and Artistic Director CultureLink Singapore - Singapore
  • Christopher Crimes, Consultant/Advisor to [N!A] Project and Eleusis 2021 European Capital of Culture - France/Greece/United Kingdom
  • Cristina Fuentes, International Director Hay Festival - United Kingdom/South America
  • Darko Brlek, Artistic and General Director Ljubljana Festival - Slovenia
  • Dena Davida, Co-founder of the Festival International de Nouvelle Danse and the Tangente dance performance space, co-creator and managing editor of Turba: The Journal for Global Practices in Live Arts Curation - Canada
  • Dora Palma, Sustainability Manager at Rock in Rio – Portugal/Brazil
  • Dorottya Bauer, Virens Events (Sziget Festival) - Germany
  • Eckhard Thiemann, Artistic Director of Shubbak - United Kingdom
  • Elad Schetcher, Dancer and Choreographer, Founder of Agrippas to Jaffa Festival - Jerusalem
  • Elisabeth Knauf, Production Manager Hebbel am Ufer - Germany
  • Ellada Evangelou, Cofounder Rooftop Theatre, Leadership Circle of the IMPACT project, Cyprus
  • Emanuele Sinisi, Set Designer and lecturer at School of Fine Arts of Turin and Venice - Italy
  • Erica McCalman, Creative Producer and Consultant, Art Oracle - Australia
  • Eva NeklyaevaFormer Artistic Director Santarcangelo Festival Italy, director Checkpoint Helsinki, Baltic Circle International Contemporary Theatre Festival - Belarus
  • Farooq Chaudhry, Producer at Akram Khan Company - United Kingdom
  • Fergus Linehan, Director and Chief Executive of the Edinburgh International Festival - United Kingdom
  • Frosyni Trousa, Artistic Director ARC for DANCE Festival – Greece
  • Fruzsina Szép, Festival Director Berlin Festival & Lollapalooza Berlin Hörstmann Unternehmensgruppe HUG - Germany
  • Gabi Gonçalves, Creator and coordinator of Corpo Rastreado, Risco Festival and FarOFFA - Brazil
  • Galin Stoev, Founder Fingerprint Company - Belgium/Bulgaria
  • Gavin Henderson, Artistic Director Dartington International Summer School - United Kingdom
  • Gerard Mortier (†2014), Former General Director Teatro Real de Madrid - Spain
  • Gerardo Salinas, Artist and Curator, Member of KVS Artistic Direction Team, Playwright and Co-founder of the PROXIMAMENTE platform - Belgium/Latin America
  • Grace Lang, Programme Director Hong Kong Festival - China
  • Graham Sheffield, Director Art British Council London - United Kingdom
  • Grayson Wambach, Creator/Producer - United States of America
  • Gundega Laivina, Artistic Director New Theatre Institute of Latvia - Latvia
  • Gunjan Arya, CEO Only Much Louder, NH7 Weekender Festival - India
  • Guy Coolen, Artistic and General Director Muziektheater Transparant and Artisic Director Operadagen Rotterdam – Belgium/Netherlands
  • Guy Weizman, Artistic Director and choreographer at Noord Nederlands Toneel, Club Guy & Roni and NITE  - Israel/Netherlands
  • Han van Poucke, Head of Production Holland Festival - Netherlands
  • Heiner Goebbels, Artistic Director Ruhrtrienniale - Germany 
  • Hjamar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Theatre activist, co-founder Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization, Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre - Germany/ Bolivia/Afghanistan 
  • Hongming Lin, Professor and Dean of the Art Management Department of Shanghai Conservatory of Music - China
  • Hortense Archambault, Director MC93 Maison de la Culture de la Seine Saint-Denis -  France
  • Hugo De Greef, Former Coordinator of the Atelier for Young Festival Managers, Co-founder of The Festival Academy and former EFA Secretary General - Belgium
  • Iman Aoun. Artistic Director of ASHTAR Theatre (Actress, Director, Producer) - Palestine
  • Ismail Mahomed, Chief Executive Officer of the Market Theatre Foundation - South Africa
  • Jeff Kahn, Performance Space Sydney - Australia
  • Jelle Dierickx, Director Festival van Vlaanderen Mechelen/Lunalia - Belgium/Germany
  • Jerry Aerts, General Manager and Artistic Director deSingel International Arts Campus - Belgium
  • Jinghui Meng, Artistic Director Beijing Fringe Festival, WuZhen Theatre Festival, Beijing Bee Hive Theatre - China
  • John Ashford, Director of Aerowaves, former director of The Place Theatre and the ICA Theatre, founding theatre editor of Time Out magazine - United Kingdom
  • Sir Jonathan Mills, Former Director of Edinburgh International Festival - United Kingdom
  • Joseph V. Melillo, Artistic Director Brooklyn Academy of Music New York - United States of America
  • Joyce Rosario, Independent Curator/Producer - Canada
  • Julia Gause, Sustainability Consultant of Fuchsbau Festival - Germany
  • Jurriaan Cooiman, Founder and Director of CULTURESCAPES - Switzerland
  • Kate Craddock, Founder and Festival Director of GIFT: Gateshead International Festival of Theatre - United Kingdom
  • Katrijn De Wit, Coordinator Press & Audience Development deSingel - Belgium 
  • Kee Hong Low, Head of Artistic Development West Kowloon Cultural District Hong Kong - Singapore
  • Keitu Gwangwa, Head Windybrow Arts Centre - South Africa 
  • Kelly Diapouli, Artistic Director Capital of Culture Eleusis 2021 - Greece
  • Kyu Choi, Co-founder and Member of Steering Committee at Asia Producers’ Platform and APP Camp - South Korea
  • Lilian (Lily) Hughes, Programme Manager for the Edinburgh International Culture Summit - United Kingdom
  • Lina Attel, Founder, Director General of The National Center for Culture and Performing Arts, Jordan
  • Luiz Coradazzi, Cultural Consultant, Founder Pangea Cultura and former Director Arts British Council Brazil - Brazil
  • Mandisi Sindo, Theatre4Change Arts Project - South Africa
  • Mantse Aryeequaye, Co-director Chale Wote Festival – Ghana
  • Marie-Agnès Sevestre, Director Festival des Francophonies en Limousin - France
  • Marie-Hélène Falcon, Former Director Festival TransAmériques Montréal - Canada
  • Mark Ball, Associate Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival (MIF) - United Kingdom
  • Mark Russell, Founder and Co-Director Festival Under the Radar - USA
  • Marsha Reid, Executive director at Kindred Arts. curator and public programs director at Monumental Tour - United States of America
  • Marta Keil, Curator, dramaturg and researcher - Poland
  • Matthias Vogt, Institut für Kulturelle Infrastruktur Sachsen - Germany
  • Mauricio Lomelin, Producer of Contemporary Programming at Lincoln Center - United States of America
  • Meera Krishnan, Senior Arts Manager at Prakriti Foundation - India
  • Mengtong Guan, Executive and Creative Director at Ping Pong Productions - China/United States
  • Michail Marmarinos, Artistic Director 2023 ELEVSIS European Capital of Culture
  • Michał Merczyński, Director Malta Festival Poznan, Nostalgia Festival Poznan - Poland
  • Mike Van Graan, President African Cultural Policy Network - South Africa
  • Monique Veaute, President Fondazione Romaeuropa - Arte e Cultura - Italy
  • Joe Sidek, Director of George Town Festival - MalaysiaNele Hertling, Member Strategy Group “A Soul for Europe” - Germany
  • Nevenka Koprivsek, Artistic Director Mladi Levi Festival - Slovenia
  • Nick Rongjun YU, Chief Director of ACT Shanghai International Theatre Festival – China
  • Nicolas Klimis, Founder Ohme - Belgium
  • Norman Armour, Executive Director PuSH International Performing Arts Festival Vancouver – Canada
  • Ong Keng SEN (PhD), Artistic Director TheatreWorks and Artspace 72-13 Singapore, founder Arts Network Asia and the International Curators Academy - Singapore
  • Ophelia Huang, Director of International Affairs in Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center (SDAC) and Programme Director of ACT Shanghai International Theatre Festival - China
  • Orwa Nyrabia, Artistic Director International Documentary Festival Amsterdam – Netherlands/Syria
  • Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco, International consultant for culture, arts and creative economy - Brazil
  • Pedro de Freitas, Director at Périplo, creator of FarOFFA - Brazil
  • Rania Elias, Director Yabous Cultural Centre and Jerusalem Festival - Palestine
  • Rania Kamhawi, Director and creative producer Amman Contemporary Dance Festival, Jordan
  • Rashmi Dhanwani, Arts Consultant, Curator, Creative Producer, Founder of The Art X Company - India
  • Renato Quaglia, General Director at the Foundation Foqus, Former Managing Director of the Venice Biennale - Italy
  • Ricardo Peach, Director Vrystaat Kunstefees/Arts Festival/Tsa-Botjhaba - South Africa
  • Roberto Naccari, General Manager Santarcangelo Festival - Italy
  • Rose Fenton, Co-Founder and Former Director LIFT Festival, Former Director of Free Word - United Kingdom
  • Roselle Pineda, Curator, dramaturge, educator, scholar, community worker, artist-activist, founder and artistic director of Aurora Artist Residency Program and Space (AARPS) and Performance Curators Initiatives (PCI) - Philippines
  • Roy Luxford, Programme Director Edinburgh International Festival - United Kingdom
  • Rucera Seethal, Artistic Director of National Arts Festival Grahamstown - South Africa
  • Ruth Mackenzie CBE, Artistic Director Théâtre du Châtelet - France 
  • Samantha Nampuntha, Event producer, PR and Communications Expert - Malawi
  • Seok Kyu Choi, Creative Producer AsiaNow Productions - South Korea
  • Seonghee Kim, Artistic Director of Asia Culture Center Theatre - South Korea
  • Sepehr Sharifzadeh, Artistic Director of NH Theatre agency – Iran 
  • Siphiwe Ngwenya, Curator & Founder The Maboneng Township Arts Experience - South Africa
  • Steve Austen, Permanent Fellow Felix Meritis Foundation - Netherlands
  • Tamar Brüggemann, Managing Director WoNDeRFeel - Netherlands
  • Tisa Ho, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival - Hong Kong
  • Tobias Kokkelmans, Festival dramaturgy and artistic policy coordinator of Operadagen Rotterdam - Netherlands
  • Tom Stromberg, Former Director Impulse Festival - Germany
  • Tzvetelina Iossifova, Director of Red House for Culture and Debate - Bulgaria
  • Valentina Corona, Director of Playwave - Australia
  • Vallejo Gantner, Artistic Executive Director of the Onassis Foundation, chair at Hoovie – United States of America
  • Vigdís Jakobsdóttir, Artistic Director and CEO Reykjavik Arts Festival - Iceland
  • Vincent de Repentigny, Artistic and General Director of the OFFTA - Canada
  • Wai-Lap Kwong, Programme Director Guangdong Modern Dance Festival - China
  • Yolanda Markopoulou, Co-founder & Curator of Mind the Fact,  line producer in major cultural institutions  – Greece
  • Yuan Zhang, Performing arts curator - China
  • Yvette Hardie, ASSITEJ Director - South Africa

Artists

  • Ahmed Tobasi, Artistic Director The Freedom Theatre - Palestine
  • Arkadi Zaides, Artist/Choreographer - France 
  • Ashraf Atraqchi, Artist, Arts Critic, Curator - Iraq
  • Asif Majid, Scholar, Artist and Educator - United Kingdom
  • Benjamin Von Wong, Visual Engineer, Solution Consultant and Installation Artist for Change – Canada
  • Bronwyn Lace, Animateur for the Centre for the Less Good Idea - South Africa 
  • Claudia Billourou, Worldwide-active Stage Director, Set and Costume Designer, Creator and Director of the School of Art and Trades for the Contemporary Show of Theater of La Plata - Argentine
  • Danny Yung, Experimental art pioneer, influential artist, Founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Zuni Icosahedron - Hong Kong
  • Dijana Milošević, Theatre director DAH Theatre - Serbia
  • Emily Johnson, Dancer, Choreographer - Yup'ik Nation (United States of America)
  • Erifili Giannakopoulou, Opera singer/director/teacher, Greece
  • Gebing Tian, Director, Founder and Artistic Director of Paper Tiger Theatre Studio - China
  • Hajooj Kuka, Founder of Refugee Club and the director of Beats of the Antonov – Sudan
  • Hamza Boulaiz, CEO and Artistic Director Spectacle Pour Tous – Morocco
  • Hank Willis Thomas, Conceptual Artist – United States of America
  • Hira Nabi, Filmmaker and multimedia artist - Pakistan
  • Khaled Harara, Hip-Hop Artist – Palestine
  • Lázaro Rodriguez, Actor and Director at Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol - Mexico
  • Leila Heinriques, Director ‘Hani: The Legacy’ - South Africa 
  • Lemi Ponifasio, Artist and Founder of MAU – New Zealand 
  • Mety Panagiotopoulou, Performing arts researcher and practitioner - Greece
  • Nima Dehghani, Transdisciplinary Artist - United States/Iran
  • Omar Abi Azar, Theatre Director, Founding Member of Zoukak Theatre Company - Lebanon
  • Robyn Archer, Singer, writer, artistic director and public advocate for the arts, former Artistic Director of the Adelaide and Melbourne International Arts Festivals - Australia
  • Shahidul Alam, writer and human rights activist, initiator of Chobi Mela International Photography Festival - Bangladesh
  • Tania El Khoury, Distinguished Artist in Residence of Theater and Performance and Director of Center for Human Rights & The Arts at Bard College, New York – Lebanon/United States of America
  • Tom Creed, Opera & Theatre Director - United Kingdom
  • William Kentridge, Craftsman, performer and filmmaker at the Centre for the Less Good Idea - South Africa

Experts from other fields of action

Foundations, policy-making, science, social movements, education, digital and new technologies etc. 

  • Anthony Richter, Director Special Initiatives Open Society Foundations New York - United States of America
  • Prof. Brian Walker, CSIRO Honorary Fellow, Australian National University Visiting Professor, Fellow in the International Beijer Institute for Ecological Economics Sweden - Australia
  • Carole Gürtler, Head Department Levant, Drosos Foundation (Zurich) - Switzerland
  • Cathrine Helland, Communication Manager International Cities of Refuge Network  (ICORN) - Norway
  • Christos Carras, Executive Director Onassis Cultural Centre, Greece
  • Cynthia Schneider, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy; Co-Director Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics Georgetown University, Co-Director MOST Resource, Co-Director Timbuktu Renaissance, Former US Ambassador to the Netherlands - United States of America
  • Dea Vidović, Director Kultura Nova - Croatia
  • Fine Stammnitz, Founder of Green Touring Network - Germany
  • Hooman Nassimi - Founder of Society in Motion and the New Faces toolkit - Netherlands
  • HOWEST, School of Arts Digital and new technologies, Kortrijk - Belgium
  • John Speyer, Director of Music In Detention - United Kingdom
  • Karin Hansson, Coordinator ICORN - Sweden
  • Keith Nurse (PhD), Principal/President Sir Arthur Lewis Community College Morne Fortune, St. Lucia and Unesco Expert - Caribbean
  • Keren Zaiontz, Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Creative Industries in the Global City in the Department of Film and Media and Cultural Studies Graduate Program – Canada
  • Konstantinos Tzathas, Programming Research Coordinator ONASSIS Foundation - Greece
  • Lavinia Iovino, Spokesperson for MockCOP 26 – A group of young people dedicated to creating a set of climate targets ahead of COP26 – Global
  • Manon Muti, Peace and Justice  Digital Security Training - Netherlands
  • Marisa Henderson, Chief of the Creative Economy Programme in United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Palais des Nations - Switzerland 
  • Mike Verledens, Owner of Sparklink - Belgium
  • Moky Makura, Executive Director of Africa No Filter – South Africa 
  • Monica Urian, Programme Manager European Commission
  • Ouafa Belgacem, CEO and Co-Founder of Culture Funding Watch - Tunisia 
  • Oussama Rifahi, Board member and Executive Director 2010 - 2016 Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) - Germany/Lebanon 
  • Parvin Ardalan, Activits & Journalist - Iran
  • Polly Gifford, Executive Director at Theatre Complicité and Anchor circle member of Culture Declares Emergency - United Kingdom
  • Serhan Ada, Professor Cultural policies and management, Cultural diversity, Art practice and criticism at Istanbul Bilgi University - Turkey
  • Susanna Seidl-Fox, Program director for culture and the arts Salzburg Global Seminar - Austria