Programme Participants

More programme participants soon to be released


Olu Alake (United Kingdom)

Director, November Ventures

Olu Alake is Director of UK-based cultural consultancy, November Ventures. He has developed and delivered cultural policy plans and programmes, arts and heritage initiatives, and undertaken programme and project reviews for clients across Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa. He has held senior management positions in the UK’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Commission for Racial Equality and Arts Council England.

Olu has also written and delivered various contributions on diversity, cultural identity and cultural policy for publications across several countries, and has sat on various steering groups, advisory boards and strategic forums. 

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Abdullah Alkafri (syria)

Executive Director, Ettijahat- Independent Culture

Abdullah Alkafri
 is a playwright and cultural activist, who works as a trainer in topics related to the field of culture with many organizations. A regular participant at conferences and forums on culture and art. He is a founding member and Executive Director of Ettijahat- Independent Culture: a Syrian cultural organization founded in the end of 2011 seeks to play a pivotal role in building a Syrian culture that is dynamic, democratic and diverse, taking into account the challenges experienced by Syrian society, through creating sustainable opportunities for artists, researchers and cultural operators, and enhancing the environment and forms of cultural expression, in addition to integrating creative work with social change.

Abdullah is a permanent contributor to international and regional conferences and forums as a researcher and a facilitator. His interests focus in the first place on the main roles that Art and culture can play during times of crises. Also on the level of enabling cultural practices in finding different ways, and opportunities to support  artists in spite of challenges such as censorship on freedoms.

Abdullah is a director and dramaturge, who collaborated with a number of artists from the Arab region. Moreover the works he participated in were presented in different international platforms. He graduated in Theatrical Studies from the High Institute of Dramatic Arts, Damascus, 2004 and completed his Master’s study at Saint Joseph University, Beirut, in the same field in 2015. He is currently a PhD Student at Saint Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon.

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toni attard (malta)

Founder and Director, Culture Venture

Toni Attard
is the Founder and Director of Culture Venture, an arts advisory and management firm. He was the first Director of Strategy at Arts Council Malta and was responsible for the leadership of the strategy team that created and developed the Council's five year strategy. He served as an advisor to the Ministry of Finance to co-author the creative economy strategy and was one of the authors of Malta’s national cultural policy. Toni is a regular speaker at international conferences and a visiting lecturer in arts management at the University of Malta. He graduated from the University of Malta in Communications and Theatre Studies. As a Chevening scholar he completed his postgraduate studies in cultural management and policy at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Toni is a founding member of Opening Doors, an NGO for the artistic development of adults with learning disabilities. He is also a theatre director and served as Festival Director of ZiguZajg international festival for children and young people for four editions until 2015.

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 Courtesy: © Darlyne Komukama

Courtesy: © Darlyne Komukama

Kampire Bahana (uganda)

DJ and writer

Kampire Bahana's writing work has appeared in Africa's a Country, Resident Advisor, Fields Mag, Gal Dem, Okay Africa, Dynamic Africa, Mon Pi Mon, Start Journal,  and Jalada

The art installation “Salooni” which she co-founded has traveled to La Ba Arts Festival, Uganda, Chale Wote Street Art Festival, Ghana, Nyege Nyege International Music Festival, Uganda, East African Soul Train (E.A.S.T) residency, Kenya, Africa Utopia, London and Kigali, Rwanda. 

One of East Africa's most exciting young DJs and a core member of Kampala's Nyege Nyege collective, in 2018 her music has taken her to Burkina Faso, Reunion Islands and on a European tour that included Sonar Festival, Barcelona. Her mixes have been featured on Resident Advisor, Le Mellotron, Radar Radio and Sounds of Sonar 

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Khaled Barakeh (SYRIA / GERMANY)

Artist and cultural activist

Khaled Barakeh is a conceptual artist and cultural activist whose works often revolve around power structures in the context of politics, identity, culture and history. Born in 1976 in Damascus Suburb, and currently based in Berlin, he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 2005, completed his MFA at Funen Art Academy in Odense in 2010 and finished his Meisterschueler at the Städelschule Art Academy in Frankfurt a.M in 2013. Barakeh has exhibited at many international venues and institutions around the world.

Besides his artistic work, he has shifted towards what he calls “Practices of Necessity”, responses to the issues and needs he observes of his surroundings. As part of these Practices, he has founded a non-profit organisation called coulture through which he manages several cultural initiatives, such as SYRIA Cultural Index and the Syrian Biennale, focused on supporting, empowering and reconnecting the Syrian cultural producers around the world.

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 Courtesy: M. Lipman/ FPAC

Courtesy: M. Lipman/ FPAC

Simon Brault, O.C., O.Q. (CANADA)

Director and CEO Canada Council for the Arts

Simon Brault began his five-year term as Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts on June 26, 2014. Active in the cultural sector for over 30 years, he has been a driving force behind a number of major cultural projects, most notably as Administrative Director and Director General of the National Theatre School of Canada, and as a founding member and Chair of Culture Montréal from 2002 to 2014. His first non-fiction book, Le facteur C: l’avenir passe par la culture, explains the dramatic rise of cultural concerns in the public agenda. This highly-acclaimed work was published in English as No Culture, No Future. Mr. Brault is a much sought-after speaker for national and international events addressing the economic and social contributions of the arts and culture. In 2017, he represented Canada as its cultural expert at the first G7 on arts and culture.  Simon has received numerous distinctions for his commitment to the social recognition of arts and culture, including the Order of Canada, l’Ordre national du Québec, and the Quebec CPA Order’s prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award for bringing together ‘two worlds that were once disparate – the arts and business – an alliance that significantly benefits society at large.’

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Jairo Castrillón Roldán (COLOMBIA)


Jairo Castrillón Roldán is a journalist based in Colombia and leads cultural initiatives in Medellín. He is a specialist in Cultural Management at the University of Barcelona. Mr. Castrillón holds a Master's Degree in Education from San Buenaventura University.

He has formerly served as an advisor to the Cultural Policy Unit of UNESCO and is a former official of the Ministry of Culture of Colombia. Mr. Castrillón is also a member of the Latin American Network Puente de Cultura Viva Comunitaria platform.

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 Courtesy and rights reserved by TaeyoonChoiDaily

Courtesy and rights reserved by TaeyoonChoiDaily

Taeyoon Choi (south korea / usa)

Artist and Co-Founder of School of Poetic Computation

Taeyoon Choi is an artist and a co-founder of School for Poetic Computation in New York City. His practice involves performance, electronics, paintings, and installations that form the basis for storytelling in public spaces. He was a fellow at Data and Society and Eyebeam Art and Technology Center. His projects were presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2018, Taeyoon is working on Distributed Web of Care and ongoing research with a critical perspective towards technology, ethics, justice and sensitivity to the concept of personhood. Taeyoon explores the connection between race, gender, disability and environment through his practice. He continues to organize and teach at the School for Poetic Computation, an artist run school with a motto of More Poetry, Less Demo.  

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Marion D'Cruz (malaysia)

Founding member of Five Arts Centre

Marion D'Cruz, a founding member of Five Arts Centre (Est. 1984), began dancing at the age of 6 and started making dance at the age of 16. She graduated with a BA in Performing Arts and an MA in Dance from University Science Malaysia and has studied classical, modern and contemporary dance in Malaysia, Indonesia, London and New York.  In 1983 she formed Marion D'Cruz and Dancers who have performed extensively both locally and internationally.  One of the pioneers of contemporary dance in Malaysia, her work has gone through many phases – the search for a Malaysian identity in contemporary dance, the socio-political commentary, working with ‘non-performers’, the democratization of the artistic space.  She has broken many rules and continues to do so in search of interesting projects that empower performers and audiences alike. Marion was manager of Arts Network Asia from 2004-2006.  At the 2006 BOH Cameronian Arts Awards, Marion was awarded the Cross-Cultural Champion of the Arts Award and at the 2015 BOH Cameronian Arts Awards, Marion was honoured as an Arts Legend. Now Marion choreographs, performs, produces and teaches fulltime in the Dance Faculty of ASWARA (The National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage).

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Mauricio Delfín (peru)

Researcher and Promoter of Open Government in Cultural Sectors, Director, Asociación Civil Solar

Mauricio Delfín received a Joint Honors in Anthropology and International Development Studies from McGill University and an MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. He founded and directed Realidad Visual (2001-2010), the Peruvian National Summit of Culture (2011-2014) and Culturaperu. org (2009-2015), a Cultural Information System designed and maintained by civil society. Delfín has worked as a research associate for Tándem, a cultural policy think-tank, and R&D strategist for La Factura, a civic software company. He was a Vanier Scholar (2014-2017) and an OAS Open Government Fellow (2015). He currently serves as technical secretary of the Peruvian Alliance of Cultural Organizations (APOC) and as founder and director of Asociación Civil Solar, a non-profit organization that promotes the open government of cultural sectors in Peru. He is a doctoral candidate in Communication Studies at McGill University.

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Dr Wulan Dirgantoro
(australia / indonesia)


Dr Wulan Dirgantoro is an academic based in Melbourne, Australia. The regional focus of her work is in Southeast Asia while the main focus of her work has been on the intersection between feminism and memory, and examined how the state, political and cultural institutions as well as art agencies are interlinked in the arena of cultural production. Prior to her current role as a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne, she taught at the MA Asian Art Histories program at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Kunstgeschichte und aesthetike Praktiken at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin, Germany.

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Khadija El Bennaoui (Morocco / Belgium)

Director, Art Moves Africa (AMA)

Khadija El Bennaoui is a cultural practitioner and consultant with more than 15 years of experience in the arts and culture sectors of the Global South. Working at the crossroads of artistic practice, cultural policy and civil society in Africa, Latin America and the Arab world, she is a leading voice in ongoing debates on the links between art, development and social justice.

As a consultant, Khadija has contributed her expertise in cultural cooperation, grant-making, cultural policy research and program design to missions led by EUNIC, the Ford Foundation, the European Cultural Foundation, Mimeta, Med Culture, UNESCO and more.

In 2005, she launched Art Moves Africa, the first mobility fund devoted to artists and cultural operators travelling within Africa. She currently serves as Executive Director of AMA, focusing on general management, resource mobilisation, programs development and advocacy.

Khadija is the author of the chapter Surviving the paradoxes of mobility, which was commissioned as part of the 2018 Global Report monitoring the implementation of the 2005 UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

She holds a B.A. in Arabic Studies from Ibnou Zohr University, a B.A. in Cultural Management from Hassan II University and a European Diploma in Cultural Management from the Marcel Hicter Foundation.

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Basma El Husseiny (EGYPT)

Director, Action for Hope

Basma El Husseiny is a cultural manager and an activist who has been involved in supporting independent cultural projects and organisations in the Arab region for the past 30 years. Basma was previously the Media, Arts & Culture Program Officer for the Ford Foundation in the Middle East and North Africa, and the Arts Manager of the British Council in Egypt. In 2009, Basma co-authored the EU report: Towards a Strategy for Culture in the Mediterranean Region. Basma is a UNESCO expert in cultural governance and a member of the Arab Cultural Policy Group.

Basma El Husseiny founded in 2004 Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy), the Arab region’s leading independent cultural organization, and was its director until September 2014. In early 2015, Basma founded, and is currently the director of, Action for Hope, an organization that seeks to provide cultural relief and cultural development programs to communities in crisis, with a focus on refugees and impoverished communities.

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 Photo: Annika Falkuggla

Photo: Annika Falkuggla

Ashkan Fardost (SWEDEN)

Technology and Digitalisation Expert and Founder of Oddball Ventures

Ashkan Fardost is a technology and digitalisation expert who sees the internet as a continuously evolving psychological, sociological and anthropological phenomenon that changes the dynamic of our world. Ashkan has seen the evolution of the internet from perspectives that few others have: as an aspiring teen creator and semi-hacker in the late ‘90s; music producer in the ‘00s; and in recent years as a collaborator with Hyper Island and the Stockholm tech scene, founder of Oddball Ventures, and expert on the internet revolution and digitalisation. His mission is to inspire change and help people leverage technology and digitalisation.

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George Gachara (KENYA)

Managing Partner, HEVA Fund LLP

George Gachara is the managing partner at HEVA Fund, a finance and business support facility for creative industries in East Africa. As Managing Partner, George works to define strategy, identify investors and funding partners and provide assistance to creative and cultural sector ventures to achieve their growth plans.

George has a background in Communication from Daystar University (Kenya), Conflict Prevention and Management from the International Peace and Security Institute (Italy), Design Thinking and Problem Solving from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Private Equity and Venture Capital, Strathmore Business School (Kenya). He brings to this role a unique blend of career experiences working in non-profit resource development and governance with particular focus in youth development, social innovation and arts management.

George has significantly contributed to the transformation of creative economy policy environment in Kenya and in the region, most notably spearheading the development and finalization Kenya's first film policy white paper (2017). George continues to work closely with the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts and the Executive Office of the President to create and implement interventions for cultural and creative economy growth.

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Professor Amareswar Galla (INDIA)

Chief Curator, Amaravathi Heritage Town, India; Executive Director, International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, (INDIA)

Professor Amareswar Galla founded the inclusive museum movement two decades ago and chaired the drafting and adoption of the ICOM Cultural Diversity Charter in Shanghai in 2010. An alumnus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, he was formerly Professor of Museum Studies at University of Queensland and prior to that Professor of Sustainable Heritage Development at the Australian National University. He is also an active ICOMOS member and accredited mentor/trainer of UNESCO for the 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention. His extensive publication record ranges from World Heritage: Benefits Beyond Borders, Cambridge University Press & UNESCO Publishing, 2012 (French and Korean translations 2013) to Heritage Curricula and Cultural Diversity, Prime Minister & Cabinet, Australia, 1993.

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Tanja Hichert (South Africa)

Research Associate at the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at the School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University (South Africa)

Tanja Hichert is a futures / foresight practitioner specialising in scenario planning, horizon scanning, scenarios for risk management and facilitating strategic conversations that provide clarity and direction for organisations faced with complexity and uncertainty. She has fifteen years of in-house strategy and scenario planning experience working for global multi-national corporations and has spent the last twelve years running a specialised futures consulting firm.

Tanja has a MBA specializing in Strategy and Forecasting, and a M. Phil in Futures Studies (cum laude) from Stellenbosch University. In addition to running Hichert & Associates, she works as a Research Associate with the Centre for Complex System in Transition at Stellenbosch University, is an associate at Vision Foresight Strategy LCC, teaches post graduate students, and serves on the board of the Association of Professional Futurists. She also serves as a director of the South African Node of the Millennium Project where she co-founded the Foresight for Development platform.

Tanja is based in Cape Town and works all over the world, but her passion is expanding and building the practical application of Future Studies on the African continent. Where opportunity allows, she relishes in designing innovative, creative and experimental approaches, and working at the intersection of complex issues.

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Dr Lucina Jiménez (MEXICO)

Director General, National Institute of the Arts (INBA)

Dr Lucina Jiménez has obtained a PhD in Anthropological Sciences from the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM), Iztapalapa in Mexico. She has been a member of the UNESCO Chair on Cultural Policies and International Cooperation since 2000. From 2011-2018, she has been part of the Expert Group on Governance for Culture and Development, UNESCO and from 2015, she has served as an expert at the World Network of Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) for the implementation of Agenda21Cultura.  

In 2017, she received the Donna Universum Internazionale Award and has also been a recipient of the prestigious Angel Award of the City of Mexico. She has worked in Latin America, the United States, Europe and Africa and has been a consultant for the Andrés Bello Agreement, the Organisation of Ibero-Americam States (OEI), the Organisation of American States (OAS) and freeDimensional. She is also a member of the International Network of Women in Culture.

From 2005-2018 she founded and directed the International Consortium for Art and School A. C. / ConArte). She was Deputy Director of Broadcasting of the General Direction of Popular Cultures, Deputy Director of Radio Education Planning, Technical Director of the Cultural Program of the Borders and of the National Coordination of Decentralisation of National Council for Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA). She was previously the General Director of the National Arts Center (CENARTES) and was a member of the Drafting Council (Consejo Redactor) of the Law for Culture and Cultural Rights of Mexico.

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Philippe Kern (BELGIUM)

Founder and Managing Director KEA European Affairs

Philippe Kern is the founder and managing director of KEA. Based in Brussels since 1999, KEA is Europe’s leading consultancy and research center on culture and creative industries. KEA is also active in China (Shenzhen) since 2009. KEA helps territories, organisations and people managing cultural and creative resources to deliver innovation. KEA is managing the trade association b.creative, a unique global network of 2,500 creative entrepreneurs, incubators, hubs, networks and associations, in 100 countries.

Kern has 30 years’ experience in the world of culture, creative industries, public affairs and legal advice. He is a specialist in culture economics, copyright, anti-trust and trade law. He has led a range of research and strategy programs at European level, notably for the European Commission and the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and WIPO. He is advising numerous public and private bodies on the formulation of strategies in the field of urban development, innovation, culture and audiovisual policies. Kern set up IMPALA in 2000 and acted as Secretary General for 8 years. Philippe was former Director of Public and Legal Affairs of PolyGram (now Universal) and head of the IFPI Brussels office. He graduated in law from the universities of Strasbourg and Paris as well as the College of Europe in Bruges.

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Saba Khalid (PAKISTAN)

Founder and Chief Editor, Aurat Raaj

Saba Khalid is a Social Entrepreneur, Filmmaker, Journalist and Women Empowerment Influencer from Pakistan. She has developed an animated film series for young girls called Raaji that touches upon honour, abuse, harassment, cycling, self-defence, early marriages, financial inclusion and menstrual hygiene. Her app uses AI to educate girls about their health, hygiene and safety. She has won a BAFTA Global Sustainability Award for her film. She was the national round winner of She Loves Tech Pakistan. She was awarded the seed prize with The Do School and The Pollination Project. Her organisation has won the MHM challenge by UNICEF, the girl's education grant by UNESCO and the UKAID ILM Ideas ed tech fund. She continues to write for Kulturaustausch, Rolling Stone Germany, Musikexpress, Dawn, Tribune, Blinkist, Lama and many more digital media outlets.

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Levan Kharatishvili (GEORGIA)

Deputy Minister, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia

Levan Kharatishvili is Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia. As Deputy Minister he is responsible for Culture, Cultural Strategy, Creative Industries and International Relations. Levan Kharatishvili was involved in the adoption of the first culture strategy document – Culture Strategy 2025.

In 2013 he worked for the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia as a Deputy Minister. In 2017 he worked for the Ministry of Culture and Sport and from 2018 he has been working for the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport.

Between 1998 to 2007, he was actively engaged in civil society sector and worked at UNA-Georgia as the Program Manager and was later elected as the Executive Director of Civic Initiative Center (coalition of seven prominent civil society organisations). From 2007 to 2013 he was the Headmaster of Buckswood International School, Tbilisi.

Levan Kharatishvili graduated from Tbilisi State University in 2003 and holds Master Degree in International Law.

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Eddin Khoo (MALAYSIA)

Founder-Director, PUSAKA

Eddin Khoo is a poet, writer, translator, and journalist. He is the founder of Pusaka, one of the region’s leading cultural centres. He has worked intimately with Malaysia’s custodians of the traditional and ritual arts including shadow puppeteers, musicians, dramatists and dancers, researching aspects of oral transmission, cultural and religious politics and aspects of ritual in traditional theatre. In recognition of his work in culture, Eddin was selected as one of the Asians of the Year 2006 by Channel News Asia, Singapore. Eddin Khoo is the co-author of a book on traditional Malay woodcarving, The Spirit of Wood. He edited an autobiography of the celebrated Malaysian artist Ibrahim Hussein, entitled Ib: A Life (2010). He has translated works of the Indonesian poet Goenawan Mohamad and the Malaysian poet Latiff Mohidin into English, and is presently compiling and editing the complete writings of his father, the Malaysian historian Khoo Kay Kim.

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Kenneth Kwok (SINGAPORE)

Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Planning & Engagement), National Arts Council of Singapore

Kenneth is the Assistant Chief Executive Officer (Planning & Engagement) at the National Arts Council overseeing the Strategic Planning, International Relations, and Research teams as well as initiatives in community & youth engagement, arts education, and capability development. A former secondary school teacher, vice principal and Assistant Director of Curriculum Policy at the Ministry of Education as well as adjunct lecturer for Educational Drama at the National Institute of Education, Kenneth has also been involved in various applied theatre community projects and has led training for students, teachers and community workers both in Singapore and overseas. A former arts writer and co-editor of online arts journal, The Inkpot Theatre and Dance, Kenneth holds an Ed.M in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is currently pursuing an MA in Creative Writing at LASALLE College of the Arts. Kenneth currently sits on the boards of Arts House Limited and the national youth centre, *SCAPE.

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Joy Mboya (kenya)

Executive Director, The GoDown Arts Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

Joy Mboya is Executive Director of The GoDown Arts Centre, Nairobi, Kenya. As a performer and cultural activist, who was educated as an architect, she has led the centre’s development as a site for artistic experimentation, cross-sector partnerships and creative collaboration. She has spearheaded a variety of ambitious programs such as the annual Nairobi-wide festival Nai Ni Who that connects culture and city, and Manjano – the Nairobi County visual arts exhibition and prize.

Joy has served on the Governing Council of the Kenya Cultural Centre and was a member of the Steering Committee for the Arterial Network, a pan-African consortium for the cultural sector. Currently, she is trustee of Gaara Dance Foundation and a board member of Buni Media.

Her work has been recognized by several awards: she received the Head of State Commendation medal (2009) for her contributions to the development of Kenya’s creative economy and was awarded the Order of the Golden Warrior (2013) for her outstanding leadership in the field.

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Felipe Mella Morales (chile)

Executive Director of the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center

Felipe Mella Morales is currently the Executive Director of the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center, a non-profit corporation focused on access to culture and audiences development.

Mr. Mella has a wide experience in the public sector. From 2007-2016, he was the Executive Director of Balmaceda Arte Joven, a non-profit corporation with more than 25 years of experience in artistic education and present in the five most important cities of the Chile. He has served as advisor in the Executive Secretariat of the Bicentennial Commission (2003), in the Executive Directorate of Bicentennial Works of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (1999-2003) and in Lan Chile (1994-1999).

Mr. Mella has been a member of the board of the FAVA Foundation, Vice President of Adculture and the Association of Cultural Managers of Chile.

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Simon Mellor (ENGLAND)

Deputy Chief Executive, Arts and Culture, Arts Council England  

Simon Mellor is Deputy Chief Executive, Arts and Culture for Arts Council England. He is a member of the ACE Executive Board and has responsibility for national arts and cultural strategy. Prior to joining the Arts Council in 2012, he helped set up the Manchester International Festival in 2006 and was its first General Director. Before that he was the Chief Executive of the Lyric Hammersmith, West London’s leading producing and presenting theatre. He was also the producer founder of Gloria Theatre (an international music theatre company), Youth Arts Projects Coordinator for the Southbank Centre London, Head of Education at Battersea Arts Centre London and Co-Director of Pegasus Theatre in Oxford. 

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Dato'  Dr Faridah Merican (malaysia)

Co-Founder & Executive Producer, The Actors Studio, klpac, Penangpac

Affectionately referred to in the Performing Arts Community as ‘the First Lady of Malaysian Theatre’, Faridah’s early acting credits include such plays as ‘Lela Mayang’, ‘Tok Perak’, ‘Uda dan Dara’ and ‘Alang Rentak Seribu’, works that defined the Malaysian theatre in the 1960s and 1970s, and determined the direction that theatre would take in the next few decades.

In 1989, Faridah co-founded The Actors Studio with her husband Joe Hasham OAM. In June of 2003, floods destroyed the entire complex of The Actors Studio in Plaza Putra, Dataran Merdeka. Out of that devastation, Faridah’s ‘nothing is impossible’ attitude generated yet another ground-breaking event – the birth of The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, set up by the YTL Group, Yayasan Budi Penyayang and The Actors Studio.

Faridah Merican was awarded the BOH Cameronian Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. In July 2005, Faridah was conferred the 'Darjah Dato' Paduka Tuanku Ja'afar by the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan on the occasion of His Highness' 83rd Birthday. The following year, she received an Honorary Master of Letters at University Sains Malaysia's 35th Convocation. In 2014, Faridah received the Outstanding Achievement Award under the Arts, Culture and Entertainment category of the Inaugural Malaysian Women of Excellence Awards. On November 2015, she was awarded the Honorary Master of Arts at ASWARA’s 11th Convocation. Faridah is a member for ASWARA’s Post-Graduate Quality Assurance Committee and is also the Executive Producer and Co-founder of the Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac). In 2018, she was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in the Arts by Taylor’s University.

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Magdalena Moreno Mujica

Executive Director, International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA)

Ms Moreno was appointed Executive Director on 1 August 2017.  She first joined IFACCA in July 2014 as the Deputy Director. Prior to IFACCA, she was Head of International Affairs at the National Council for Culture and the Arts (CNCA), Minister's Cabinet, Government of Chile, and international advisor to Ministers of Culture Luciano Cruz-Coke, Roberto Ampuero and Claudia Barattini. In addition, she served as Programme Director of 6th World Summit on Arts and Culture staged in Santiago, January 2014. During her post in Chile, she was also responsible for three editions of Chile's Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and served on the board of Fundación Imagen de Chile, and from March 2012 to January 2014 represented CNCA on the board of IFACCA. Prior to her appointment by CNCA and move to Chile, Ms Moreno worked in Australia as CEO for Kultour, Australia's national peak body supporting cultural diversity in the arts and was a member of the National Cultural Policy Taskforce for Creative Australia. She has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Melbourne, is an alumnus of the Asialink Leaders Program (2008) as well as the Inaugural Emerging Leaders Program 2010, Australia Council for the Arts. In 2000, awarded the Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch Fellowship, she undertook an internship in UNESCO (ICOM) in Paris. Since September 2016 Ms Moreno has served on the board of Diversity Arts Australia.

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Professor Dato' Dr Mohamed Najib bin Ahmad Dawa (MALAYSIA)

Director General, National Art Gallery, Malaysia

Professor Dato' Dr Mohamed Najib bin Ahmad Dawa was born in Karak, Pahang, Malaysia. He holds a PhD in Education (1995) and MA (1992) from Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester England along with a BA (Hons) from University Sains Malaysia (1989).  He has attained a Specialist Art Teaching certificate from the Specialist Teacher Training College (1982) and a Teaching Certificate from the Sultan Idris Teacher Training College Tanjung Malim Perak (1977). He specialises in traditional arts, symbols and symbolism in Malay traditional culture, architecture and modern art.

Professor Dato' Dr Mohamed Najib bin Ahmad Dawa is currently the Director General at the National Art Gallery Malaysia (2017-2019). He was President of IKIP Group Of Colleges (2013 – 2015) and Rector ASWARA at the National Arts Academy (2011-2012). He began his career as a primary school teacher (1977-1985) and later worked as a university lecturer, Dean from 1990 to 2008.

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Helena Nassif

Managing Director, Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy) 

Helena Nassif studied public health, journalism and media studies in Beirut, Aarhus, Amsterdam, Swansea and London. She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Westminster, with research focused on the construction and reception of popular cultural, moral and spatial telos. Helena’s multi-disciplinary research and career in media and culture extend to the non-governmental sector, the aid industry, television and documentary film production, program design and evaluation, training and education, and consultancy. Her work is driven by the desire to understand the impact of the arts and culture in society, and to contribute to its vital role in community building and social change. She is the managing director of Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy) since September 2017. 

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Georgia Nicolau (BRAZIL)

Director and Founder, Instituto Procomum 

Georgia Nicolau has experience in public policy - at the Brazilian Ministry of Culture - in big media corporations and in arts and civil society organizations. In 2016 she co-founded the Procomum Institute and serves as the program director for the organisation. Among Procomum Institute’s projects, we have a citizen laboratory, which functions as a relational device of organisational experimentation and constructions of tools for collective life and bem viver, working with arts, science and technology to build citizen innovation. Georgia is on the supervisory board of the Global Innovation Gathering Network, which brings together innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world, focusing on the global south. In 2017 she was selected as a global cultural leader by the European Union.

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Ojoma Ochai (NIGERIA)

Director Programmes Nigeria, British Council

Ojoma Ochai leads the British Council’s arts, education and society programmes working with colleagues across Sub Saharan Africa and the UK to devise strategies and lead programme teams to deliver positive artistic, social and economic outcomes particularly for young people in Nigeria. Before that, she was Director, Arts, Nigeria and West Africa for British Council for over six years.

Ojoma is also a member of the UNESCO global expert facility on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression. From 2014 to 2016, she supported the World Bank Growth and Employment project, advising on approaches for film and music sector development.

Listed on the YNaija list of 10 Most Powerful People in Nigeria’s Arts and Culture (under 40) in 2014, Ojoma is a Fellow, DEVOS Institute of Arts Management, University of Maryland, USA, Associate Fellow, Nigerian Leadership Institute, Board Chair, Lagos Theatre Festival (2015 -2018), Board Chair, Open House Lagos (2015 – 2017) and Chair, Creative Industries Thematic Group, Nigerian Economic Summit Group.

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Professor Justin O’Connor (australia)

Professor of Cultural Economy, University of South Australia

Justin O’Connor is Professor in the School of Creative Industries at the University of South Australia. He is also a visiting Professor in the School of Media and Design, Shanghai Jiaotong University. From 2012-2018 he was Professor of Communications and Cultural Economy at Monash University. He is part of the UNESCO ‘Expert Facility’, supporting the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity.

Justin has produced creative industry policy documents for the Australia Federal Government and the Tasmanian State Government and is currently developing a consultancy document for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DEFAT) on Creative Industries and Soft Power. He has worked with the Ministries of Culture in both Mauritius and Samoa to develop cultural industry strategies under the UNESCO/EU Technical Assistance Programme.

Justin is the author of the 2016 Platform Paper After the Creative Industries: Why we need a Cultural Economy, and Cultural Economy in the New Shanghai (forthcoming). He is co-editor of the 2015 Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries, and with Rong Yueming (2018) Cultural Industries in Shanghai: Policy and Planning inside a Global City. London, Intellect.

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Jordi Pascual (SPAIN)

Coordinator of the Committee on Culture of the world organisation of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)

Jordi Pascual is the founding Coordinator of the Committee on Culture of the world organisation of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The Committee organises a global award as well as a biennial Summit, manages a unique database of good practices and promotes a range of learning programmes on capacity-building and connectivity.

As Coordinator of the Committee, he is one of the leaders of the global campaign that advocates for the role of cultural factors and actors in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He has published books, articles and reports on international cultural relations, culture and sustainability and the governance of culture, which have been translated to more than 20 languages. Some examples include: Cultural rights, local cultural policies and sustainable development. Looking for a coherent narrative (Journal of Law, Social Justice and Global Development, 2018), Culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development: the best is yet to come (Economia della cultura, 2016) and Rio+20 and culture: advocating for culture at the centre of sustainability (UCLG, 2012).

Jordi has been a member of the jury of the European Capital of Culture and teaches cultural policies and management at the Open University of Catalonia.

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Tiago Prata (sweden)

Journalist and Cultural Manager

Tiago Prata is a journalist and cultural manager based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Tiago holds a Bachelors degree in Communications and Masters degree in Cultural Management. His areas of expertise include; online and print media and production in the fields of music, film and performing arts. He is currently interested in sustainable societal development through artistic and cultural practices, in transnational partnership building, and in nomadic idea generation. 

Tiago is an international project manager at TILLT, leads the transnational art project Borderline Offensive: Laughing in the Face of Fear. He is an alumnus of Tandem Cultural, European Diploma on Cultural Management programme, and Global Cultural Leadership Platform. He has participated as a speaker at European Creative Hub Forum (Lisbon, 2015) and Business Meets Art 3rd Edition (Udine, 2015).

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Rika Preiser (South Africa)

Senior Researcher at the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at the School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University (South Africa)

Rika Preiser is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Complex Systems in Transition at the School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University (South Africa). Her research explores how an interdisciplinary engagement with Complex Adaptive Systems can inform conceptual frameworks and practical applications for Systems Change toward resilient Anthropocene futures and Earth Stewardship.

She is addressing Anthropocene challenges at the science-society interface and explores systems-based approaches to inform better decision making in a hyper-connected world where people, place and the environment are intertwined. Her work is focused on the human experience to recognise the normative call to re-imagine what it means to be human in the Anthropocene and what role science-society and science-art interfaces and artistic practices and interactive modes of engagement could stimulate more positive responses to bringing about alternative social-ecological futures.

Rika holds Masters degrees in Journalism and Social Anthropology and completed a PhD in Philosophy in 2012. She is a Salzburg Global Fellow and is co-author of Exploring Geoethics: Ethical Implications, Societal Contexts, and Professional Obligations of the Geosciences (Palgrave, 2019) and co-editor of Critical Complexity. Collected Essays by Paul Cilliers (De Gruyter, 2016) and Complexity, Difference and Identity (Springer, 2010).

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Tan Sri Norliza Binti Rofli (MALAYSIA)

Director-General, National Department for Culture and Arts, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia 

Tan Sri Norliza Rofli was appointed Director General of the National Department for Culture and Arts in May 2005.  She obtained her BA in Geography (Honours) from the University of Malaya and a masters degree in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. As the Director General, Datuk Norliza Rofli has played a key role in developing Malaysia’s performing arts scene through promotion, conservation, guidance and training, as well as the development of non-governmental organizations and cultural infrastructure. Datuk Norliza Rofli also plays an active role in the culture component of ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (ASEAN-COCI), and has represented the department at a ministerial level through her attendance of the Meeting of ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts (AMCA) and the Asia Europe Ministers of Culture Meetings (ASEM).

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Kathy Rowland (malaysia / singapore)

Managing Editor of

Kathy Rowland is the Managing Editor of, which she co-founded with Jenny Daneels. The site is dedicated to supporting and promoting arts criticism with a regional perspective in Southeast Asia. Kathy has worked in the arts for over 25 years, running arts and culture programs and arts media platforms. She has edited several volumes of plays by leading playwrights in Malaysia and Singapore. Her articles on the politics of culture have appeared in publications in Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the US. She has worked in the areas of cross-cultural exchanges and arts advocacy, with a special interest in arts censorship. Kathy has also produced theatre and visual arts events in Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, New York, Australia and Thailand. Kathy lectures part-time at the School of Creative Industries, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore.

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Cathy Runciman (UNITED KINGDOM)

Co-founder, Atlas of the Future

Cathy is co-founder of Atlas of the Future, a London- and Barcelona-based online resource raising the profile of innovative, future-focused, socially responsible people and projects around the world. Cathy also curates Fixing the Future, an annual two-day event for 1000 future-curious participants at the CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona).

In addition, Cathy is head of partnerships at independent global media platform openDemocracy. She is a board advisor to Makerversity, a pioneering community of maker businesses in London’s Somerset House, a member of the Point People systems changers network and board member for Goldsmiths University’s recently launched Goldsmiths Press.

Previously Cathy was Time Out Group's International Managing Director, responsible for the launch of Time Out media businesses in more than 30 cities worldwide. 

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 Photo: Amshu Chukk i

Photo: Amshu Chukki

Dr Mamta Sagar (INDIA)

Poet, Playwright and Translator

Dr Mamta Sagar, a Kannada poet, playwright, translator and activist from Bengaluru, engages with concerns across gender, caste and marginalisation. Her writing focus on identity politics, feminism, linguistic and cultural diversities. Mamta curates community poetry events at public spaces bridging socio-cultural barriers generated in the name of caste, region and religion.

As a creative practitioner, her interests include trans-disciplinary poetry performance, poetry in public space, curating community poetry events and collaborating with visual artists and musicians. She is now a faculty associated with the Creative Writing Programme at Srishti, Bengaluru.

Her creative and critical writings are taught at Universities within India and abroad. She has taught Comparative Literature, Translation Studies, Kannada Literature, Postcolonial and Cultural Studies at Indian Universities.

Mamta is a recipient of poetry residency and exchange programme during UK India Year of Culture (2017-18), Poetry Translation project of GoetheInstitut India & AcademieDerKunst Germany, Charles Wallace Fellowship and Melding Voices, Arts Council funded project, UK etc.

The participation of Dr Mamta Sagar is supported by the Commonwealth Foundation through the Commonwealth Writers programme.

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Consuelo Sáizar (mexico / uk)

MPhil, Doctoral Researcher in Sociology, University of Cambridge

Consuelo Sáizar has a BA in Communications from Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico City), where she also studied Political Science and Public Administration. She has a Master of Philosophy in Modern Society and Global Transformations from the University of Cambridge in England, and is currently doing research towards obtaining a PhD at the same university. She is also a research scholar at Harvard University. She has professional experience in publishing, having been director and CEO of Editorial Jus; Hoja Casa Editorial, and Fondo de Cultura Económica, all based in Mexico City. She was also President of Mexico’s National Council for Culture and the Arts (known today as the Ministry of Culture) and of the Regional Center for Book Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (Cerlalc).

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Patrick Sam (NAMIBIA)

Chairperson National Art Council of Namibia (NACN)

Patrick Sam is a Namibian thought leader, born and raised in Katutura, a marginalized community in the capital, Windhoek. As the chairperson of the NACN, he has been driving the transformation of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) in Namibia and southern Africa. Patrick is a development consultant, broadcasting journalist, TV anchor and arts activist. As a Fulbright scholar, he completed an MA in International Education Development from Columbia University and a BA from University College Utrecht in the Netherlands. He hosts 2 weekly shows on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation.

Namibia hosted the 1st Art Summit of Southern Africa (ASSA) along with the IFACCA Africa Regional Chapter meeting. The platforms drafted clear resolutions intended to mainstream the CCI into key national and regional development strategies. Patrick ensures that the arts are central to the process of human development through complying to the legislative process. His work is aligned with an enabling policy environment that ensures institutional arrangements that optimize operational efficiencies that must be cost effective.

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Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin (MALAYSIA)

Founding CEO of CENDANA

Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin is the founder of Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA). Prior to setting up CENDANA, Izan led one of Malaysia’s leading cultural and creative industries development organisations.

Izan also played a pivotal role in various industry development committees, including: former Board of Director and The KL Biennale Committee for the National Visual Arts Gallery; Performing Arts Committee for the National Creative Industry Policy; the catalyst, committee observer and facilitator for The Royal Arts Gala Fund Selection Panel. 

She also serves on the evaluation panel for the INXO Arts Fund, and currently is the council member of the Global Entrepreneurship Movement and Arts, Live Festival and Events Association (ALIFE).

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Tristan Schultz (AUSTRALIA)

Co-Director, Relative Creative

Tristan Schultz is shaped by his Kamilaroi Aboriginal and European Australian heritage which informs his extensive interdisciplinary critical design experience, sitting at the intersection of decolonial thinking, design and sustainability. He is founder and creative director of strategic design practice Relative Creative Community Hub on the Gold Coast, dedicated to designing experiences and event that help people think, talk and mobilise their futures. He is also a lecturer in Design at QCA, Griffith University, Australia and with GNIBI Whandaran School of Indigenous Knowledge and Aboriginal Futures, Southern Cross University. He has served on the Australia Council for the Arts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Strategy Panel and as deputy chair and consultant for Blakdance, Australia’s peak body for Aboriginal dance. He holds a B.Design and M. Design (Hons) and has submitted a PhD. He has published widely in academic journals, book chapters and conferences, exhibited internationally and completed major design works.

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Anupama Sekhar (INDIA/SINGAPORE)

Director, Culture Department, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

Anupama Sekhar is the Director of the Culture Department at the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), which facilitates cultural exchange and collaboration among artists and arts organisations in 51 countries across Asia and Europe, in its role as the only institution of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

Currently, she is part of the Expert Facility of UNESCO to support capacity development initiatives for the implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Prior to joining ASEF in 2009, Anupama worked with the International Labour Organisation and with independent arts spaces in India. Anupama holds degrees in English Literature and International Studies. She is a trained dancer in the Indian classical style of Bharatnatyam.

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Patrick Shannon (CANADA)

Creative Social Innovator

Nang Ḵ’uulas (Patrick Shannon) is an artist and storyteller of Haida ancestry, specialising in filmmaking, photography and design to celebrate, empower, and tackle important indigenous topics both urban and rural.

Inspired by his cultural upbringing, Patrick endeavours to use technology and media to empower locals in addressing the social & cultural issues within Canada’s Indigenous communities. He has a decade of experience working within the Vancouver film, television and design industries, and currently operates a multimedia creative studio based out of Haida Gwaii, Canada.

Patrick's passion for discovering new ways to strengthen his culture comes in the form of storytelling through film and media. This passion continues into his work with youth as Patrick mentors young Indigenous and settler filmmakers while providing many opportunities for them to get experience in film.

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Clare Shine (AUSTRIA)

Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Culture, Salzburg Global Seminar

Clare Shine was appointed Vice President and Chief Program Officer of Salzburg Global Seminar in 2012. She is responsible for multi-year program strategy, design, partnerships and implementation in Salzburg and around the world; next-generation leadership development; communications and marketing; and the Salzburg Global Fellowship which straddles nearly 170 countries. Prior to joining Salzburg Global, Clare worked from 1990-2011 as an independent environmental lawyer and policy expert for intergovernmental organizations, national governments, the private sector and NGOs. Clare is a UK-qualified barrister, an Associate of the Institute for European Environmental Policy, a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, and a bilingual French speaker and professional facilitator. Clare is also a professional journalist who was the Financial Times' theatre critic in France from 2001-2011. She holds an M.A. in English literature from Oxford University, UK and post-graduate degrees from London University and the Sorbonne University, Paris, France.

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Ragnar Siil (ESTONIA)

Founder and Managing Partner of Creativity Lab

Ragnar Siil is a Founder and Managing Partner of Creativity Lab, cultural policy and creative industries think-tank and consultancy based in Estonia and Latvia, and Director of the Board of the Cultural Policy Designers Network, European network of independent cultural policy experts. He is a strategy adviser for governments, cultural organisations and creative enterprises, and also a lecturer and researcher at Estonian Business School, where he is currently undertaking his doctoral studies in creative clusters management. Previously, Ragnar has held positions of Estonian Undersecretary of Arts, Chairman of the EU Expert Group on Cultural and Creative Sectors, and Key Expert at the EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme, through which he was advising governments of Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Belarus in reforming their cultural policies and creative industries strategies. Ragnar’s work expands from Europe to Asia and Africa, currently he is working with creative industries consultancy projects in Malta, Israel, Portugal, Moldova and Georgia. 

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Dr María Paulina Soto Labbé

Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Arts, Ecuador and Director of the Cultural Corporation of the University of Santiago, Chile

Dr María Paulina Soto Labbé holds a PhD in American Studies and specialises in political and social studies. She has taught and conducted research in the Social Sciences, the Arts and Cultural Management for over twenty years. She founded and coordinated for eight years the Department of Studies and Documentation of the National Council of Culture and the Arts in Chile. Ms Soto Labbe was Director of Research in Patrimonia Consultants; member of the UNESCO expert pool for the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions; and adviser, panellist and lecturer in a number of organisations in cultural cooperation in more than 25 countries.

Ms Soto Labbé is currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the University of the Arts in Ecuador and Director of the Cultural Corporation of the University of Santiago (Chile). She is also the manager of a Chilean-Brazilian research team in intercultural coexistence that created the International Index of Intercultural Coexistence (ICI), coordinated and funded by the Itau Cultural Observatory in Sao Paulo.

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Daliana Suryawinata (INDONESIA)

Co-Founder of SHAU

Daliana Suryawinata co-founded SHAU, a multi-awarded architecture office in Indonesia, the Netherlands and Germany together with Florian Heinzelmann and Tobias Hofmann. SHAU’s ambition is to be part of the evolution in design, architecture and society. SHAU initiate and design projects including; ‘Microlibraries’; ‘Vertical Kampung’; ‘Steel Park’; and ‘Social Mall’. Daliana was an active member of the Young Indonesian Architects (AMI) between 2001-2002. She graduated from the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam in 2005. After her studies, she worked for OMA, MVRDV, West8 and taught master courses at TU Delft and the Berlage. In 2009 she curated ‘Open City Jakarta’ with Professor Stephen Cairns for the 4th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR). Daliana is a recipient of the Indonesian Diaspora Network Innovation Award 2012. She is a board member of the Indonesian Diaspora Foundation. She also founded the Liveable Cities Taskforce at the Indonesian Diaspora Network. Together with patron and partners, she co-organised Kota Tua Creative Festival 2014 to revitalise Jakarta’s old town with contemporary program and architecture.

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Paula Tuovinen (FINLAND)

Director, Arts Promotion Centre Finland

Paula Tuovinen is Director of Arts Promotion Centre Finland. In 2013-2018 she held the position of Vice-President of the University of the Arts Helsinki and in 2005 -2013 she was President of the Theatre Academy Helsinki. Prior to attaining management positions in the sector, she worked as a contemporary dance artist: dancer, choreographer and dance teacher for 20 years.

Tuovinen has obtained an MA in Cultural Anthropology and holds an Executive Master of Business Administration.

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Kay Poh Gek Vasey (SINGAPORE)

Chief Connecting Officer at MeshMinds and Founder of The MeshMinds Foundation 

The MeshMinds Foundation is a registered not-for-profit arts organisation that is focused on enabling sustainable development through creative technology. MeshMinds is an immersive media studio focused on the creation and distribution of impactful experiences. Team members across both organisations include experts covering VR, AR, 3D printing, IoT and AI, working with creators on ideas to drive the sustainable development of people and our planet. Kay is an experienced international technology lawyer focused on multimedia content licensing. She has significant experience advising a real-time data analytics company and is an investor in three startup technology companies across the recruitment, event marketing and ride-hailing sectors. She is passionate about the power of human connections to enable positive action for a better world.

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Dea Vidović (CROATIA)

Director of Kultura Nova Foundation

Dea Vidović is a Director of Kultura Nova Foundation, public foundation dedicated to civil society organisations in contemporary arts and culture in Croatia. She graduated in Comparative Literature and Indian Studies and earned a PhD in 2012 from the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. For more than 15 years of her professional engagement in culture, she worked as a manager, editor, journalist and researcher. Her professional trajectory was built on numerous collaborations with institutions on local, national and international levels. The academic aspect of her professional engagement has been developing through regular publishing and editing of both scientific and expert books, papers and articles on contemporary cultural practices, as well as through delivering of lectures and presentations at various discursive events. She is an ENCATC Board member as well as an Advisory Board member of the “OpenHeritage” project supported by Horizon2020.

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Carlos J. Villaseñor Anaya (mexico)

Independent International Consultant on cultural based development policies

Carlos J. Villaseñor Anaya is based in Tlaxcala, México. He is an independent international consultant on cultural based development policies, with expertise on the 2003 (Intangible Heritage) and 2005 (Diversity of Cultural Expressions) UNESCO Conventions. He is President of Cultural Interactivity and Development (NGO recognised by UNESCO for the 2003 Convention), member of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), the Cultural Economy Network, ICOMOS México and the Latin American Legal Group for the implementation of the Iberoamerican Cultural Charter (SEGIB-OEI).  Since 2011 he has been part of the Expert Facility of the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (UNESCO 2005).

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 Photo: Red Works Studio

Photo: Red Works Studio

Jesse Wente (CANADA)

Director, Indigenous Screen Office and member of the Board of Directors of the Canada Council for the Arts

Jesse Wente is an Ojibwe writer, broadcaster, producer and speaker. Born and raised in Toronto, his family hails from Chicago and the Serpent River First Nation. Jesse is best known for his 22 years as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, Jesse spent 11 years with the Toronto International Film Festival, the last seven as the Head of TIFF Cinematheque. Jesse is currently co-producing his first film, a screen adaptation of Thomas King’s best-selling book, The Inconvenient Indian. An outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Metis and Inuit art, he has spoken at the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Canadian Arts Summit, the Americas Cultural Summit, and numerous Universities and Colleges. This November Jesse will deliver the annual Eva Holtby Lecture on Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum. Jesse currently serves on the board of directors for the Canada Council for the Arts and the Toronto Arts Council. In 2017 he was named the inaugural recipient of the Reelworld Film Festival’s Reel Activist Award and recently received the Association of Ontario Health Centres’ Media Award for 2018. Jesse is currently working on his first book for Penguin Random House Canada and in February, Jesse started a new role as the first Director of the Indigenous Screen Office in Canada.

The participation of Jesse Wente is supported by Canada Council for the Arts.

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Stephen Wainwright (NEW ZEALAND)

Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand

Stephen Wainwright joined Creative New Zealand in 1990 and was appointed Chief Executive in 2008. Prior to being appointed Chief Executive, Stephen was Acting Chief Executive and had been a member of Creative New Zealand’s senior management team since 2002 as Manager of Arts Infrastructure Services. Creative New Zealand’s job is to work with the arts community to build New Zealand’s culture and help the wider community appreciate and support its development. Stephen graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce and Administration.

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Dr Wendy Were (AUSTRALIA)

Executive Director, Strategic Development and Advocacy, Australia Council for the Arts

Wendy Were was appointed to the Executive of the Australia Council for the Arts in January 2014 where she holds responsibility for Council’s work in strategic development, research and knowledge management, communications and advocacy, corporate strategy and planning, international development and arts sector capacity building. Wendy has over two decades of wide-ranging experience in arts management, curation and business development and a track record in championing the development of sustainable careers for Australia’s creative workers. Former roles include Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sydney Writers Festival, Chief Executive Officer at West Australian Music, Business Advisor at the Creative Industries Innovation Centre, and Producer at the Perth Festival. Wendy also holds a PhD (Distinction) in literature.

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James Williams (United Kingdom)

Writer and Academic

James Williams is a writer and academic. He received his PhD from Oxford, where his research focused on the philosophy and ethics of attention and persuasion in technology design. In 2017 he won the inaugural Nine Nots Prize, a major literary award for innovative thinking. His first book, Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy, was published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press and hailed by The Observer as 'a landmark book.' Previously, James worked for over ten years at Google, where he built the metrics framework for the company's search advertising business and received the Founders' Award, the company's highest honor. He is also a co-founder of the Time Well Spent campaign, a visiting fellow at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at the University of Cambridge, and an advisor on technology issues to numerous governments and companies. His work has been featured by The New York TimesThe Economist, The Guardian, the BBC, and numerous other news outlets.

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