Speakers and Discussion Activators’ Bios
Alex Meszmer is a visual artist, curator and a member of the National Committee of VISARTE – Association of Professional Artists, Switzerland. Meszmer works closely with IGBK Berlin as an expert for the European Commission for questions regarding artists’ mobility. He is Head of Fine Arts and Lecturer at the Art and Design School, St. Gallen. Together with his partner Reto Mueller, he is organising a digital archive about the Swiss village Pfyn, running the Transitory Museum, an ever-changing museum and searching for the beauty of democracy with their club ‘désirer’.
Alexandros Mistriotis was born in Ottawa, Canada and raised in Athens. He studied at the École Superieure des Beaux-Arts de Marseille, France. His research led him to literature, painting, cinema, photography and hybrid forms of multimedia. In recent years, Alexandros started performing his texts as part of a project called The Theatre of Quietude. His work focuses on contemporary orality, therefore, it is not published. His artistic profil is elusive, oscillating between texts and images, presence and representation, precision and abstraction. He is part of the Greek independent scene that emerged in the last decade, defending fragility and disappearance and keeping a critical distance to all kinds of media representations or institutions. He has been invited on multiple occasions to share his views around Europe on a variety of issues such as the relation of art towards society or the relation of technology with culture.
Anna Rosling Rönnlund
Anna Rosling Rönnlund is a co-founder of Gapminder Foundation, the organisation that developed Trendalyzer, a software that converts international statistics into moving, interactive and comprehensible graphics. After Google bought Trendalyzer, Gapminder shifted its focus towards improving students’ understanding of the world, via projects such as Dollar Street, where photo and data are combined in order to make people’s everyday life all around the world easier to understand.
Annalisa Cicerchia is Professor of Management of The Creative Enterprise at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Roma “Tor Vergata’”, a Senior Researcher on culture and leisure at the Italian National Statistical Institute and Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Economia della cultura. An expert in cultural policy, strategic planning and evaluation, Cicerchia was Head of Unit, “Environment, Culture and Territory” at the National Institute for Economic Analysis and Studies (1999-2010) and member of the Evaluation Unit of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage (2004-2008). Further, Cicerchia was responsible for European Projects and Research at MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts Foundation (Rome).
Barbara Gessler is currently the Head of Unit Culture for the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). She was previously Head of Press at the European Economic and Social Committee, where she had worked since 2009. Previously, she was a representative of the European Commission in Berlin and in Bonn, and for the Directorate-General of Information, Communication, Culture and Audiovisual Media. She worked in the European Parliament before joining the European Commission in 1994. She is a graduate of the College of Europe.
Bel Olid translates, writes, teaches and reads. She has translated over 50 books into Catalan and Spanish, and has subtitled over 200 films since 1999. As a narrative writer, she has published the novel Una terra solitària (Empúries, 2011) awarded the Documenta Prize for Narrative, the short story collection La mala reputació (Proa, 2012), awarded the Roc Boronat Prize for Narrative and Crida ben fort, Estela! (Fineo, 2009) awarded the Qwerty Prize for the Best Children’s Book of the Year. Her writing focuses on everyday violence, the difficulties people have to connect with each other and the strangeness of life. Bel Olid is president of AELC (Association of Writers in Catalan Language).
Catherine Cullen has created and managed cultural projects and events for the last 30 years and has contributed to many national and international issues on various aspects of culture through her writings and conferences. With French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu as director of the publication, she was Editor in Chief of LIBER, the first European cultural supplement in the eighties, and an advisor to the French Presidency for the implementation of the Universal Academy of Cultures in the nineties. Between 2001 and 2014, Catherine Cullen was Deputy Mayor in charge of culture for the City of Lille, France, as well as a Councillor for Culture at the Lille Metropole (MEL). Today, she is President of the Committee on Culture of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and teaches culture and sustainable development at the Lille Institute of Political Science.
Cecilia Guida is Director of the Education Office at the Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy and Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence. She holds a PhD in Communication and New Technologies of Art from IULM, University of Milan. Guida is the author of Spatial Practices: Public and Political Function of Art in the Network Society (FrancoAngeli, 2012).
Chris Torch is Founder and Senior Associate at Intercult, a production and resource unit based in Stockholm. Intercult focuses on culture, ideas and the arts. Apart from large-scale project design, Torch plays a role in developing intercultural politics. He lectures regularly on intercultural policy and currently serves on the Executive Committee of Culture Action Europe. He was part of the Artistic Direction team for Matera 2019 – European Capital of Culture (Italy) and presently works for the candidacy of Rijeka 2020 (Croatia) as Programme Director. He is also Artistic Director for the EU / Creative Europe supported multi-annual project CORNERS – turning Europe inside out.
Clymene Christoforou is a Board member of Culture Action Europe and the director and founding member of ISIS Arts, a visual and media arts organisation based in Newcastle, UK. ISIS Arts undertakes an international programme of commissions, residencies and events revealing hidden stories and shared values. Recent projects include collaborations with artists from across Europe, India, South Africa and the USA. Christoforou is a NESTA International Cultural Leadership Fellow and is currently undertaking a British Council secondment to work with cultural organisations in Ukraine.
Cristina Da Milano
Cristina Da Milano is the President of ECCOM (European Centre for Cultural Organisation and Management), an organisation dedicated to promoting an interdisciplinary approach to cultural organisations. She is Research Fellow in the field of museum education and communication, with specific regard to the issue of culture as a means of social integration, a topic on which she has published several papers and presented numerous lectures. Da Milano managed many European funded projects, most recently Museum Mediators, DIAMOND – Dialoguing Museum for a New Cultural Democracy and She-Culture.
Divina Frau-Meigs is a Professor of Media Sociology at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, France. She is a specialist in media and information literacy as well as a researcher in media uses and practices of young people. She heads several projects such as ANR Translit and ECO for MOOCs. She holds the UNESCO chair for Savoir-devenir / Forwardness in sustainable digital development. Frau-Meigs is also the director of CLEMI (Centre de Liaison de l’Enseignement et des Médias d’Information), the operator of Media and Information Literacy for the French ministry of education and research.
Eileen Jerrett is an American documentary filmmaker. Jerrett is interested in community and the value of places which allow for dialogue with ones neighbors. Her films include Blueberry Soup, which tells the story of the constitutional change in Iceland; Cut and Paste, a personal document on the artist Candy Lucas and The Bean Scene, which examines the coffee makeing process from seed to cup.
Fredrik Elg is Head of Development of Malmö’s Culture Department. Previously, he was Project Manager for Shelter Cities for artists at the Swedish Arts Council. He initiated the ICORN Safe Haven programme in Malmö and was instrumental in opening up the programme, initially focusing on writers, also for musicians and visual artists. The ICORN Shelter City programme organises cities and regions offering shelter to writers and artists at risk. He worked as a producer for Malmö Museums and as a producer, director and director of photography in numerous film projects. Elg studied at the European Film College, Malmö University, University of Cape Town and Lund University.
Haris Biskos is the programme coordinator of synAthina in Athens, an initiative by the City of Athens that facilitates citizens’ actions to increase the efficiency of local governance and public policy making. Biskos worked for international architecture firms in Berlin and Zurich and since 2012, has been working as an independent architect focusing on urban projects, master-planning and urban development. In 2014, he founded the urban initiative Traces of Commerce, a participatory platform that deals with the challenges of vacant spaces within the pragmatic context of financial crisis. He has taught in international architectural workshops and studios of higher education institutions such as Princeton University, University of Patras and Bezalel Art Academy and he has been an invited critic at ETH Zurich, Architektur TU Berlin and Columbia University.
Iolanda Pensa is a Researcher at SUPSI University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland. She has been the Scientific Director of the projects Wikiafrica: Increasing The Quality and Quantity of African Content on Wikipedia and Share Your Knowledge: Creative Commons and Wikipedia for Cultural Institutions. Currently, she is the principal investigator on the research projects The Alps on Wikipedia, Swiss Foundations and Open Licenses and Wikipedia Primary School: Providing on Wikipedia the Information Necessary to Complete the Cycle of Primary Education in the Languages Used by the Different Education Systems.
Joakim Larsson is the President of the Regional Council, Västra Götaland Region, Sweden. Member of the Green Party, Larsson has served in the Council since 2010 and has been a member of the Committee of the Regions since July 2015. Larsson helped found Wikimedia Sweden where he served as Vice-President. Larsson also served in many committees, both in the Västra Götaland Region and in Gothenburg municipality.
Jonathan Michael Hill
Jonathan Michael Hill is the Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. He was the Deputy Head of Cabinet for the previous Education and Culture Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou. Before joining the European Commission, Hill was the Head of EU Office at the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and Director at APCO Worldwide.
Jordi Pascual is a researcher and the coordinator of Agenda 21 for Culture for the world organisation of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). Agenda 21 for Culture is the first document at a world level to set out the principles and commitments of cities and local governments for sustainable cultural development: culture, diversity and creativity. Pascual is also one of the leaders of the global campaign www.culture2015goal.net and a Lecturer on cultural policies and management at the Open University of Catalonia, Spain.
Julien Dorra is the co-founder of Museomix, a collaborative event started in 2011 to build new museum experiences. Museomix has now become an international open community, allowing more than a thousand participants to build over a hundred prototypes during the last two editions. In November 2015, Museomix will take place in eleven museums and fice countries. Dorra has taught at various schools, including Paris I, Parsons and Strate and has been dedicated to developing the creative approach to technology, with projects such as ArtGame Weekend, Responsive Museum Week or Code, Colors, Cookies: Programming in a Museum.
Kathrin Merkle heads the Culture and Democracy Division of the Directorate of Democratic Governance at the Council of Europe and oversees the Organisation’s novel work on Culture and Democracy Indicators and Culture and Digitisation. She coordinates Cultural Policy Reviews and the Compendium information system. Merkle is the editor of numerous cultural policy publications, a reference work on everyday culture and teaches European Cultural Policy at the University of Strasbourg. Before joining the Council of Europe, Kathrin worked for UNESCO Statistics.
Katrín Oddsdóttir was one of the twenty-five members of the Constitutional Council of Iceland, which drafted a new constitution for the country in 2011. The process of the Council has been recognised worldwide for its emphasis on democratic methods and the use of social media as a tool for public participation in the drafting of Iceland’s new constitution. Oddsdóttir worked as a journalist and copywriter. She is as a human rights lawyer at Rettur – Adalsteinsson & Partners law firm in Iceland, focusing on the rights of refugees, disabled people and children, among other related fields.
Linda Harju is the Integration Coordinator for the city of Borås, Sweden. She is the project manager for a mentoring programme creating arenas for integration through volunteers, both individuals and associations. She has previously worked as an international coordinator to increase the mobility of for disabled youths within European countries. She holds a degree in International migration and ethnic relations.
Luca Bergamo has been the Secretary General of Culture Action Europe since 2012. He led the establishment of Zone Attive, a company founded on his proposal by the City of Rome focused on developing revolutionary cultural initiatives. In late 2004, Luca was appointed Director-General of the Glocal Forum, an international foundation promoting peace dialogue in post-conflict areas through local diplomacy and cultural cooperation. In 2007, he was called to lead the launch of the Italian National Agency for Youth (ANG) under the premiership of Romano Prodi. Bergamo’s professional life began with babysitting and ten years in ICT and artificial intelligence, before focusing (again) on human development.
Luka Frelih is a digital artist, a computer programmer and web designer. He has been a core member of LJUDMILA – Ljubljana Digital Media Lab, where he was one of the developers of the cultural information portals Culture.si and Kulturnik.si. He was part of many collaborations connecting art and technology, including the projects 7-11, Refresh and Remote-C. Together with other Ljudmila programmers, he developed the SLIX (Slovenian Easy to Use Linux), a distribution and free software tool. Since 2011, Luka is a member of the electronic noise band Theremidi Orchestra.
Magnus Aspegren is the CEO of Riksteatern, the Swedish national touring company. Previously, he was the vice chancellor at the University College of Opera, Managing Director at Folkoperan in Stockholm and the Artistic Director and CEO of the Norrlandsoperan in Umeå.
Mary Ann DeVlieg
Mary Ann DeVlieg is the Chair of the working group Arts-Rights-Justice and a consultant in international cultural projects. She was the Secretary General of IETM, International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts and was the Senior Advisor for freeDimensional. She founded On The Move and is a co-founder of Artsfex and the Roberto Cimetta Fund. DeVlieg was a member of the EU High Level Reflection Group on Youth Mobility, chaired the EU Working Group on Creativity and Creation and was awarded the EU ‘Individual Award’ for her services to artists’ mobility.
Mercedes Giovinazzo is the Chair of Culture Action Europe’s Executive Committee and the Director of Interarts Foundation, a Spanish non-governmental organisation specialised in international cultural co-operation. Previously, Giovinazzo was the Chair of the “Access to Culture”, a platform organised by the DG Education and Culture of the European Commission. She served as the Director of Services and Deputy Director of Customer Services at the Universal Forum of Cultures, Barcelona; Administrator at the Division of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage (DG IV, Council of Europe) and Director of the Mastère Européen Management des Entreprises Culturelles at the École Supérieure de Commerce de Dijon, France.
Nicholas Anastasopoulos is an architect, activist, researcher, academic and lecturer at the National Technical University of Athens. His areas of research include public and private domains in regard to commons, sustainability and eco-communities in Europe, the USA, Israel and New Zealand, examined through systems and complexity theory. He is the co-founder of TREE and the Koino-Athina collective and a member of the P2P Foundation. Anastasopoulos was also the President for the Marathon National Park in Greece.
Niels Righolt is CEO of The Danish Centre for Arts and Interculture (CKI), Copenhagen. CKI is a national knowledge, competence and communication centre for international culture and cultural diversity. He is the founder and owner of Righolt Communication, a consulting company within the fields of art, music, performing arts, cultural strategy, innovative and artistic management. Previously Righold was Managing Director of the magazine and communication bureau Cultures, Director of Dunkers Kulturhus, Helsingborg, Sweden, Chief Curator and Cultural Developer at Kulturdirektoratet, Frederiksberg and Communication Officer and Project Coordinator at Kulturby 96 in Frederiksberg, Denmark.
Nir Boms is the co-founder of CyberDissidents.org, an online platform dedicated to empowering human-rights activists. He is the founder of the Centre for Freedom in the Middle East and the Vice-President of the Washington based Foundation for the Defence of Democracies. Dr. Boms lectures extensively on human rights in the Middle East and has written, to only cite a few, for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and The National Interest. He also contributed to the publications Copts in Egypt, A Christian Minority Under Siege (G2W-Verlag, 2006) and The Long March to the West (Valentine Mitchell, 2007).
Olena Pravylo is the Head of the Congress of Cultural Activists. A Cultural activist, trainer and facilitator, Pravylo works with issues relating to culture policies, creative industries, city transformation, civil society activation, community development and international collaboration in the Ukrainian and Caucasian regions. Pravylo is a Researcher in the project Mapping of Generation in Transition and a Moderator and Facilitator in the Ukrainian cultural strategy project Culture 2025. She organised the International Interdisciplinary Festival Transkavkazija in Kiev, 2013 and the Georgian Movie Days in Ukraine, 2011.
Patrick Bartos is CEO of the Creative Region Linz and Upper Austria Creative Industries Development Company. He is a highly experienced international creativity and innovation leader, specializing in successfully building and managing enterprises and institutions that focus on innovation, creativity, culture and the creative industries in public and private sectors. Formerly an Associate of TRAM Research in Barcelona and Advisory Expert for the European Commission Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Patrick regularly acts as an engaging and witty speaker and workshop moderator for organizations such as UNESCO, the OECD and the Council of Europe. He holds a Master in Arts and Media Management, a Master in Law and a PhD in Social And Economic Sciences from the Institute for Cultural Studies and Cultural Economics at Linz University.
Per Olsson Fridh
Per Olsson Fridh is State Secretary to the Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy, Alice Bah Kuhnke. Olsson is a member of the Riksdag and the Chair of the Swedish Green Party in Stockholm. He has served at the Swedish Centre for International Youth Exchange, the National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations, the Education, Youth and Culture Council, Stockholm City and at CISV International (formerly Children’s International Summer Villages). Further, Olsson Fridh served at the Swedish delegation to the UN and in the European Commission Expert Group on the Mobility of Young Volunteers. Olsson Fridh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Lund University and Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights from Malmö University.
Peter Gorgels is the Manager of the Rijksmuseum’s digital communication, including the museum’s website, the online collection and Rijksstudio. Gorgels was responsible for developing the museum’s e-strategy and for the major redesign of the Rijksmuseum website, which coincided with the museum’s reopening after extensive renovations. Gorgels is always looking for innovative ways to improve the interaction of the audience with the masterpieces of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Philippe Fanjas has been the director of the French Orchestras Association since 1999, after managing two different symphonic orchestras. He is also the President of the contemporary dance company Kelemenis and President of Le Centre de musique de chambre de Paris, an innovative project for concerts and training. Philippe Fanjas is a lecturer at the University of Paris-Dauphine, Sorbonne and Saint-Denis as part of the Cultural Management Master programme and author of Give your ear!, which covers the topic of the educational role of orchestras.
Rachael Jolley is the Editor of Index on Censorship magazine and writes regularly for the New Statesman and other publications. Jolley has contributed to numerous UK and international publications including The Times, the Financial Times and The Guardian. Previously, she was the Editorial Director at the think tank British Future, Managing Editor at Business Traveller, Editor of Business Traveller Middle East, as well as Head of Online for the Fabian Society. Jolley co-wrote the play Murdering The Truth.
Rasoul Nejadmehr is a Culture Developer and Researcher at Region Västra Götaland, Sweden. Currently, he conducts the newly established platform for intercultural dialogue and the platform for intercultural research. Previously, he was a Development Manager for Human Rights, Region Västra Götaland; an Expert on Cultural Diversity, City of Gothenburg; an Expert on Civil Society and Cultural Policy, Swedish Ministry of Industry and Swedish Ministry of Culture and a Consultant on Cultural Diversity Expert, Swedish Ministry of Culture. He holds a PhD in Philosophy of Education from the Institute of Education, University of London.
Robert Manchin is the President of Europa Nova, a think tank and consulting organisation and a Distinguished Senior Scholar at the University of Pannonia Koszeg Knowledge Center. Previously, Manchin was the Senior Vice President of Gallup Organisation, Princeton and the Chairman and Managing Director of Gallup Europe.
Sara Whyatt is an experienced campaigner and researcher on freedom of expression and human rights, notably for PEN International for over 20 years and previously for Amnesty International. Since 2013, Whyatt has been working as a consultant, running projects for PEN, as well as for other organisations. In November 2014, she published the report Turkey: Freedom of Expression Under A Shadow and in May 2015, Whyatt worked on the Global Monitoring Review of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversities.
Sarah de Heusch
Sarah de Heusch is a project officer for the development and strategy department of SMart, a social enterprise that emerges from the creative sector and that supports autonomous workers in the development of their professional activities. She joined the SMart team in 2008 as a Researcher. Before SMart, Sarah de Heusch was a co-founder, administrator and dancer at Transe-en-dance and Assistant to the Secretary General at UNICA (University Network of Capitals of Europe). She holds a Masters in Political Sociology from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Sotiris Diamantis is the co-founder of Kado Paradiso, an independent space centred around up-cycling as a tool for changing educational and learning experiences. He is a member of FatCut, a collaborative network of horizontal structures that experiment, create and transform seemingly useless objects in order to up-cycle them into useful products and educational toys.
Since 2013, Staffan Rydén has been the Head of Culture Affairs of the Västra Götaland region, Sweden. He is an opera singer as well as cultural manager. From 2010 to 2013, he was the Dean of the Academy of Music and Drama at the University of Gothenburg. Rydén was the Vice-President of the Royal Dramatic Theatre and the CEO of Folkoperan, which he co-founded in 1976. Rydén has a vast experience in various performing arts institutions.
Susanna Dahlberg is the CEO of Regionteater Väst, Västra Götaland, Sweden. Regionteater Väst is the largest touring company for young audiences in Sweden, and also has the only dance company exclusively reaching children. Dahlberg has a long experience in the performing arts field, most recently as producer of children’s and youth plays at Backa Theatre, Gothenburg. Further, she has worked at several free theatre groups, and at SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
Teodor Celakoski is a cultural worker, activist and one of the initiators of Clubture, a network for exchange of independent cultural programmes within Croatia. Celakoski co-founded the Multimedia Institute, an organisation focused on digital culture, human rights and critical theory. Further, he played a key role in initiating Kultura Nova, a public foundation for the development of non-profit independent contemporary culture and POGON, a cultural centre in Zagreb. Celakoski is a leading organiser of Right to the City, a civil initiative focused on the issues of spatial justice.
Walter Zampieri is Head of Unit, Cultural Diversity and Innovation at DG Education and Culture, European Commission. Before joining the European Commission, Zampieri was Assistant Professor at University of Central Florida and Visiting Professor, Lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts. He holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Connecticut and attended University of Padua, Italy.