Mentors & guest speakers

Mentors and guest speakers at the Atelier 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 the 7 Atelier days, 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 the different topics.

Carolina Courbis Bascuñán, 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 an horizontal conversation with us which in every single case, nurtured our idea of festivals."

70+ mentors/presenters have allowed insights into their careers

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 Atelier NEXT, Eurometropolis region BE/FR  (November 2019) 85 mentors coming from 34 countries and all continents have taken part. 

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

  • Shahidul Alam, writer and human rights activist, initiator of Chobi Mela International Photography Festival - Bangladesh
  • Robyn Archer, Artistic Director The Light in Winter Melbourne – Australia
  • Hortense Archambault, Director MC93 Maison de la Culture de la Seine Saint-Denis -  France
  • Parvin Ardalan, Activist & Journalist - Iran
  • Norman Armour, Executive Director PuSH International Performing Arts Festival Vancouver – Canada
  • Ashraf Atraqchi, Artist, Arts Critic, Curator - Iraq
  • Mantse Aryeequaye , Co-director Chale Wote Festival – Ghana
  • Steve Austen, Permanent Fellow Felix Meritis Foundation - The Netherlands
  • Mark Ball, Associate Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival (MIF) - UK
  • Airan Berg, Artistic Director and Theatre Maker - Festival der Regionen in Upper Austria - Austria 
  • Darko Brlek, Artistic and General Director Ljubljana Festival - Slovenia
  • Andrea Caruso Saturnino, Director Cena Aberta, Sao Paulo - Brazil
  • Seok Kyu Choi, Creative Producer AsiaNow Productions - South Korea
  • Guy Coolen, Artistic and General Director Muziektheater Transparant and Artisic Director Operadagen Rotterdam – Belgium/ The Netherlands 
  • Luiz Coradazzi, Cultural Consultant, Founder Pangea Cultura and former Director Arts British Council Brazil - Brazil
  • Kelly Diapouli, Artistic Director Capital of Culture Eleusis 2021
  • Christopher Crimes, Consultant/Advisor to [N!A] Project and Eleusis 2021 European Capital of Culture - France/Greece/UK 
  • Jelle Dierickx, Director Festival van Vlaanderen Mechelen / Lunalia - Belgium / Germany
  • Tom Creed, Opera & Theatre Director - UK 
  • Rania Elias, Director Yabous Cultural Centre and Jerusalem Festival - Palestine
  • Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, President Lyon Biennial - France
  • Marie-Hélène Falcon, Former Director Festival TransAmériques Montréal - Canada
  • Rose Fenton, Co-Founder and Former Director LIFT Festival, Former Director Free Word - UK
  • Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco, International consultant for culture, arts and creative economy - Brazil
  • Cristina Fuentes - International Director Hay Festival, UK/ South America
  • Heiner Goebbels, Artistic Director Ruhrtrienniale - Germany
  • Ching-Lee Goh, Executive and Artistic Director CultureLink Singapore - Singapore
  • Carole Gürtler, Head Department Levant, Drosos Foundation (Zurich) - Switzerland
  • Karin Hansson, Coordinator ICORN - Sweden
  • Khaled Harara, Hip-Hop Artist – Palestine
  • Agnes Havas, Director Armel Opera Festival - Hungary 
  • Gavin Henderson, Artistic Director Dartington International Summer School - UK
  • Nele Hertling, Member Strategy Group “A Soul for Europe” - Germany
  • Tzvetelina Iossifova, Director Red House for Culture and Debate - Bulgaria
  • Vigdis Jakobsdottir, Artistic Director and CEO Reykjavik Arts Festival - Iceland.
  • Hjamar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Theatre activist, co-founder Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization, Theatre of the Oppressed and Playback Theatre - Germany / Bolivia / Afghanistan 
  • Carole U. Karemera, Artistic Director Ishyo Arts Centre - Rwanda
  • Marta Keil, Curator, dramaturg and researcher - Poland
  • Seonghee Kim, Artistic Director Asia Culture Center Theatre - South Korea
  • Elisabeth Knauf, Production Manager Hebbel am Ufer - Germany
  • Nevenka Koprivsek, Artistic Director Mladi Levi Festival - Slovenia
  • Celestine Kubelka, Production Manager Wiener Festwochen - Austria
  • Wai-Lap Kwong, Programme Director Guangdong Modern Dance Festival - China
  • Gundega Laivina, Artistic Director New Theatre Institute of Latvia - Latvia
  • Grace Lang, Programme Director Hong Kong Festival - China
  • Annet Lekkerkerker, Managing Director Holland Festival - The Netherlands
  • Kee Hong Low, Head of Artistic Development West Kowloon Cultural District Hong Kong - Singapore
  • Hongming Lin, Professor and Dean of the Art Management Department of Shanghai Conservatory of Music - China
  • Roy Luxford, Programme Director Edinburgh International Festival - UK
  • Ruth Mackenzie CBE, Artistic Director Théâtre du Châtelet - France 
  • Yolanda Markopoulou, Co-founder & Curator mind the fact,  line producer major cultural institutions  – Greece
  • Erica McCalman, Creative Producer and Consultant, Art Oracle - Australia
  • Sir Brian McMaster, Former Director Edinburgh International Festival - UK
  • Joseph V. Melillo, Artistic Director Brooklyn Academy of Music New York - US
  • Jinghui Meng, Artistic Director Beijing Fringe Festival, WuZhen Theatre Festival, Beijing Bee Hive Theatre - China
  • Michał Merczyński, Director Malta Festival Poznan, Nostalgia Festival Poznan - Poland
  • Sir Jonathan Mills, Former Director Edinburgh International Festival - UK
  • Ismail Mahomed, Chief Executive Officer of the Market Theatre Foundation - South Africa
  • Gerard Mortier, Former General Director Teatro Real de Madrid; †2014
  • Roberto Naccari, General Manager Santarcangelo Festival - Italy
  • Eva Neklyaeva, Former Artistic Director Santarcangelo Festival Italy, director Checkpoint Helsinki, Baltic Circle International Contemporary Theatre Festival - Belarus 
  • Brett Pyper, Associate Professor and Head Wits School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg - South Africa
  • Anthony Richter, Director Special Initiatives Open Society Foundations New York - USA 
  • Oussama Rifahi, Board member Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) - Germany / Lebanon 
  • Mark Russell, Founder and Co-Director Festival Under the Radar - USA
  • Susanna Seidl-Fox, Program director for culture and the arts Salzburg Global Seminar - Austria
  • Ong Keng SEN (Ph.D.), Artistic Director TheatreWorks and Artspace 72-13 Singapore, founder Arts Network Asia and the International Curators Academy - Singapore
  • Marie-Agnès Sevestre, Director Festival des Francophonies en Limousin - France
  • Sepehr Sharifzadeh, Artistic Director NH Theatre agency – Iran 
  • Graham Sheffield, Director Art British Council London - UK
  • Chiaki Soma, Representative Director of Arts Commons Tokyo - Japan
  • Galin Stoev, Founder Fingerprint Company - Belgium/Bulgaria
  • Tom Stromberg, Former Director Impulse Festival - Germany
  • Fruzsina Szép, Festival Director Berlin Festival & Lollapalooza Berlin Hörstmann Unternehmensgruppe HUG - Germany
  • Gebing Tian, Director, Founder and Artistic Director of Paper Tiger Theatre Studio - China
  • Frosyni Trousa, Artistic Director ARC for DANCE Festival – Greece 
  • Monica Urian, Programme Manager European Commission
  • Han van Poucke, Head of Production Holland Festival - The Netherlands
  • Mike Van Graan, President African Cultural Policy Network - South Africa
  • Carla Van Zon, Artistic Director Auckland Arts Festival - New Zealand
  • Monique Veaute, President Fondazione Romaeuropa - Arte e Cultura - Italy
  • Matthias Vogt, Institut für kulturelle Infrastruktur Sachsen - Germany
  • Catherine J. Wang, President of the Centre for China Shanghai International Arts Festival - China
  • Alain Weber, Artistic Director Fez Sacred Music Festival - Morocco
  • Carmen Romero Quero, Executive Director Teatro a Mil Foundation - Chile
  • Nick Rongjun YU, chief director of ACT Shanghai International Theatre Festival – China
  • Danny Yung, Experimental art pioneer, influential artist, Founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Zuni Icosahedron - Hong Kong
Frosyni Trousa at the Atelier Eleusis in February 2019 (photo by ConstantinosTheodorou)